Bible Question:

In Genesis 18:8, we see angels eating. Then in Genesis 19:10, angels pulled Lot back. It appears that these spirits had some sort of physical form. How can we reconcile that with Jesus' statement He was not a spirit? Jesus used the fact that spirits cannot be touched as proof that He was not a spirit, but angels can eat, drink, and have bodies.

Bible Answer:

The Bible refers to angels, spirits, and ghosts. So, are ghosts and spirits angels according to the Bible? What did Jesus mean by “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” in Luke 24:39? If Jesus could walk through walls, does that mean spirits, ghosts, and angels might have flesh and bone too? Let us examine what the Bible teaches about ghosts, spirit, and angels. Are ghosts and spirits angels according to the Bible?

Supper at Emmaus Dinner In Emmaus

Do Spirits Have Flesh and Bones?

After Jesus Christ died and was resurrected, Luke 24:39 tells us that He suddenly and unexpectedly appeared in a room in which the disciples were gathered. He said to them, “Peace be to you.” But the disciples doubted that it was Jesus because they thought that whoever had just suddenly appeared had to be a spirit.  Luke 24:36-43 reveals what happened,

While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. Luke 24:36-43 (NASB)

There are two amazing statements in this passage. The first one is Jesus “stood in their midst.”  That is, Jesus suddenly appeared in the presence of the eleven disciples. The second statement is that Jesus said He had “flesh and bones.” Therefore, spirits do not have flesh and bones, but Jesus’ resurrection body had flesh and bone. John 20:26-29 reveals that Jesus entered a room with all of the doors shut. On that occasion, Thomas touched and felt Jesus’ hands and side. To Thomas, Jesus did not feel like a spirit. At this point we have learned an important fact because Jesus said spirits do not have flesh and bones.

Do Ghosts Have Flesh and Bones?

The word ghost appears three times in the New American Standard Bible. In Isaiah 19:3, the Hebrew word translated as ghost is, itti. Ghost is the basic meaning of the Hebrew word. The Isaiah passage suggests that due to God’s punishment upon the Egyptians, they would turn to the occult for guidance. They would seek out idols, ghosts, mediums, and spiritists. That is, the term “ghosts” as it is commonly used today is a concept related to occultic practices.

I Samuel 28:8-19 describes another occult event when consulted with mediums, and spiritualists. He went to the Witch of Endor to seek help from Samuel. Verse 12 reveals the woman was surprised. She did not expect Samuel to appear. This means mediums and spiritists are frauds. The appearance of supposed ghosts or spirits are either an illusion or manufactured by the demons of the occult. Saul did not know that, but the Witch of Endor did. So she was surprised when she saw something she did not expect. The real Samuel appeared. The disciples did not know that ghosts are not real either. For an explanation of I Samuel 28:8-19 visit “Did Saul go to heaven and meet Samuel? — I Samuel 28:19.”

In the New Testament the Greek word phantasma appears in Matthew 14:26 and Mark 6:49 and it is translated by most Bibles as ghost. In both passages the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water during the night hours and thought Jesus was a ghost. All that both passages prove is that the disciples believed ghosts existed. But they do not exist as we have already discovered from Isaiah 19:3 and I Samuel 28:8-19. The “Witch of Endor” demonstrated for us that it is impossible for spirits or angels to be ghosts since ghosts do not exist.

Do Angels Have Flesh and Bones?

Are angels spirits? Yes! Hebrews 1:14 says that holy angels are ministering spirits to believers. That is, all angels are spirits, but every spirit is not necessarily an angel. Now that statement is not a riddle. It is truth. Why? Typically, the word “spirits” is used to refer to evil spirits, unclean spirits, demons, fallen angels or evil angels, (Matthew 8:16; 10:1; 12:43, 45; Mark 1:23, 26, 27; 3:30; 5:2, 8, 13; 6:7; 7:25; 9:17, 20, 25; Luke 4:33, 36; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2, 29, 55; 9:39, 42, 55; 11:24, 26; 13:11; Acts 8:7; 19:12, 13, 15, 16). These are the angels who joined Satan’s rebellion in heaven and were cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19).  Revelation 12:3-4 states that a third of the angels in heaven were cast down to earth. Apparently part of the punishment imposed on these evil angels, who joined Satan in his rebellion, is that they lost their bodies of flesh and bone.

When the Bible uses the word spirits, it refers to evil spirits, unclean spirits, demons, which are evil angels. Scripture never tells us that evil angels can appear or have appeared as humans. Only holy angels have appeared as humans.  They appeared to Abram and Sari as humans in Genesis 18:1-8, 22 and sat and ate food. Genesis 19:1 tells us the “men” were actually angels. Genesis 19:3 also tells us they ate a feast. Verse 10 tells us that could grab Lot and pull him into the house. Verse 16 says they touch Lot, his wife, and his two daughters. That implies they had some physical form. Hebrews 13:2 tells us that some have entertained angels without realizing it. Also, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and Mary (Luke 1:11, 26-38).

So, the demonic realm is composed of fallen angels, who are spirits, but they do not have bodies of flesh and bone for Jesus said in Luke 24:39 that they do not have bodies. That is why they could enter a herd of pigs (Matthew 8:30-32). But holy angels appear to have flesh and bone since they can appear and eat food. Angels are not evil spirits nor ghosts.


So ghosts and evil spirits are not angels. The above discussion reveals the answer is that ghosts and spirits are not angels. Spirits do not have bodies of flesh and bone. Ghosts are a creation of the occult. But angels have bodies that at times appear to us.

Suggested Links:

Are Ghosts Real? — What does the Bible say?
Are evil spirits present with us here on earth?
Can angels or evil spirits come and stay in one’s house?
Do spirits have bodies which will feel pain in hell? — Luke 16:19-31
Did Saul go to heaven and meet Samuel? — I Samuel 28:19