Can we communicate with the dead? Is this possible according to the Bible? Should Christians be trying to communicate with the dead?
Communicating with the Dead
I have heard about the many that portend to be able to communicate with the dead. They hold séances and try to get in touch with the deceased in order to have their family or friends communicate with them. They desire to ask them a question, see what’s on the other side, where they are at, and so forth. The fact is that if they indeed do communicate with anyone in the spirit world, it is an evil spirit for the Bible states that “the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten” (Eccl 9:5). Further, Solomon says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Eccl 9:10). Even Isaiah records about the deceased that, “They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them” (Isaiah 26:14).
It is not wise for believers or unbelievers to try and communicate with the dead. For one thing, the one that they are trying to call back from the dead may not be who they think it is. There is a spiritual world out there full of demons who are fallen angels that chose to rebel with Satan and they love to mimic the deceased in order to have people fall into the trap of thinking that they are communicating with the dead. This is truly dangerous territory for anyone to venture into and it is sin for unbelievers and for believers.
Saul Communicates with the Dead
In Deuteronomy 18:10-11 it says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.” The punishment for this in the Old Testament was death because this is territory that humans have no business being in. When Saul, being fiercely outnumbered by the Philistines, went to a medium at Endor, he asks the medium to call back Samuel for advice. Here is the account in 1 Samuel 28:11-12 where the medium asked Saul, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” Here we note that the medium was terrified because she actually saw Samuel called up and knew that he was dead. The medium was shocked because she had likely never done this before and here was an actual person being called up from the dead – to her utter amazement and terror.
Then, “Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night. When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do“ (1 Sam 28:15-21).
Notice that when the only time recorded in the Bible where someone actually did come back from the dead, it was to announce the death of the one who sought this (Saul). The woman was terrified and she feared for her life, knowing that this was punishable by death at that time. I believe this was the only exception because Saul was being disobedient and God had declared that David would be king years before. Nothing good came out of this experience for Saul and the same could be said for anyone who tries to repeat such a thing as Saul did.
The Bible on Consulting Mediums, Witches, Astrology’s and Psychics
The Bible is clear that believers or unbelievers should not be consulting mediums, psychics, and witches. God alone is sovereign over the future and we have no business trying to know it. No good thing will ever come from trying to do this. In fact, it is a mystery to me why Christians read their horoscope to see what their day will be like when there is absolutely no evidence that using the stars to read the future works. Worse than that, it is clearly sin. Even Ouija boards are considered sin, even though most Christians may not see the harm.
The Bible has much to say about consulting with mediums, witches or psychics.
Isaiah 8:19 “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?”
Leviticus 19:31 “’Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 20:6 “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.”
2 Kings 21:6 “He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.”
Isaiah 19:3 “The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists.”
Isaiah 47:13 “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.”
Jeremiah 27:9 “So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.”
Micah 5:12 “I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells.”
We have seen that the dead can not communicate with the living (Isaiah 26:14), that consulting mediums, witches, astrology’s, and psychics is sin (Duet 18:10-11), that such spiritists will be cut off from God forever (Lev 20:6), and that it all comes to nothing anyway (Isaiah 19:3). God’s face is against anyone that tries to communicate with the dead, or consults mediums, psychics, witches, astrologers, and any kind of spiritist. If you communicate with someone from the dead, it is not who you think it is. Besides, once someone dies, they can not cross over again to the living (Luke 16:26). Since fallen angels (demons) have lived for thousands of years, they know the traits and tendencies of deceased family members and can appear to sound like or look like those who are deceased. It is dangerous for anyone to even try. Once a person dies they are in only one of two places. In torment and separated from God or with the Lord in a state of bliss. In either place that soul will live forever. It will be either in agony and regret or in joy and happiness…both will be forever. Decide today where you will go after you die. By placing your trust in Jesus Christ, I can assure you that it is a decision you will eternally live to never regret.
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