angel of the Lord, angels, empty tomb, ghosts, Godhead, Incarnation, living creatures, spirit of man, spirits, yatsar
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Perhaps because of this, many Christians perceive spirit beings—angels, demons, and the life force of man—as being formless. But Jesus never said spirits are formless and Scripture does not describe them as such. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost. When Peter showed up at the house where they were praying for his release, the people present thought it was his angel. Both of these instances inform us that in the minds of Jesus’s Jewish contemporaries, spirits had localized and defined forms.
The Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is the only omnipresent Being. All that is exists inside God. No one and no thing can get beyond Him. Accordingly, we cannot rightly ascribe “shape” to the Godhead. But the Creator imposed shape on all else. It is why He calls Himself the Maker.
5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
7 I form [yatsar] the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.
9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker [yatsar]! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it [yatsar], What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (Emphasis added.)
The Hebrew word yatsar means “to mold into a form.” God is the Maker, the ultimate Potter who crafted the creation and all that is within it. He condescends to a form when interacting with His creatures. He appeared in bodily form with two angel companions on the plains of Mamre and had supper with Abraham. The Holy Spirit appeared as a fiery man to Ezekiel and a dove to Jesus. The ultimate condescension was the Incarnation.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Angels have form as well, from the fantastical living creatures to ordinary human appearance.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
The spirit of man has a shape as well and its appearance is like that of the person’s body. Look how Ezekiel describes his out of body experience in which he traveled to Jerusalem.
1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me.
2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.
3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
The elders watching saw Ezekiel’s body sitting before them. In the spirit realm, the Holy Spirit grabbed the prophet by his “spirit” hair and transported him over to Jerusalem. Samuel, Moses, and Elijah were all recognizable in spirit form to their viewers and the saints in heaven have enough substance to wear “spirit” clothes.
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Spirits Impacting the Physical World
Scripture offers multiple examples of angels impacting the physical realm. For those who cannot see them, the results appear magical. Consider the officials who were waiting for Daniel to be cat food. Seeing the predators stalk about the prophet without so much as a roar had to be disappointing to them as well as puzzling. For his part, Daniel didn’t spend a frightful night wondering when the lions would pounce. He knew he was being actively protected.
19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
An angel was present with Daniel keeping the lions’ mouths shut. God didn’t change the nature of the lions. They devoured the Daniel’s accusers in short order. I imagine they tried more than once to get a taste of Daniel and must have wondered why their jaws wouldn’t respond.
When Sennacherib laid siege to Jerusalem, the Lord spoke through Isaiah that He would protect the city. That night, the angel of the Lord went out and killed 145,000 Assyrians. When Peter was in prison, an angel woke him up by hitting his side. These were real physical impacts.
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
The earth didn’t shake because of the rolling stone. It shook because the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He then rolled the stone away to reveal that Jesus was already out of the grave.
Often, spirits are spoken of as having no mass. Since time is affected by gravity and mass is a measure of gravity’s effect, many postulate that spirit beings are essentially timeless. One major problem exists with this paradigm. Mass and energy are interchangeable. Though one could possibly conceive spirit entities to be massless, none would claim they have no energy. And energy has its own gravitational signature. The verses above are an example of this. The angel’s “energy mass” shook the earth.
Now that we have seen how spirits have shape and substance that impacts the physical realm, we are ready to consider time in the spirit realm.
 Luke 24:39.
 Matt. 14:26 NKJV.
 Acts 12:13-16.
 Gen. 18:1-8.
 Ezek. 8:1-3.
 Luke 3:22.
 Ezek. 1:4-21; Rev. 4:6-8.
 If Ezekiel’s spirit man had hair, I can only assume mine does too. I can’t speak for readers who are bald. Two additional notes to consider here are: one, our spirits can have hair (God counts them, after all), and two, this was a transport not a translation.
 1 Sam. 28:12-14; Matt. 9:4-5.
 Dan. 6:24.
 2 Kings 19:35.
 Acts 12:7.