Occult Watch: Can the Dead Really Talk with the Living?
- Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Editor's Note: Ghosts, ghoblins and ghouls are the stuff of Halloween legends and costumes, but are they real? Christians know that their deceased loved ones live on eternally. Can they ever communicate with the living? And does Satan specialize in preying on people who long for just one more message from the dead?
“Someone has a connection to the number 7,” began the psychic.
A grieving woman raises her hand. “I was born in July, the seventh month.”
“I’m with you.” The psychic recognizes her desperation to hear from a dead loved one. More importantly, she is suggestible and easily led.
“I see a male figure holding a rose, which is their way of saying…”
The psychic continues: The woman supplies details and interprets symbols to fit with her loved one.
Since that infamous incident the Garden of Eden, Satan knows we can be easily deceived. For this reason, John advises: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God… This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…” (1 John 4:1, 2-NIV).
Talking to and receiving messages from the dead is an old trick of the devil. And dangerous, too. Some spiritualists and psychics warn that demonic spirits masquerade as departed loved ones to fool people into opening up so that they can possess them.
In A Do It Yourself Guide to Communicating with the Dead, Lori Lothian writes: “Most communication attempts don't work, or may be faked, but there is ALWAYS the possibility of contacting or inviting something you could never, in your wildest imagination, be prepared for — the inhuman spirit.” Lothian warns that ouija boards and other occult practices can lead to dangerous encounters with demonic beings.
Monthly, over a half million grieving, curious, or “spiritual” people search the Internet for information on how to communicate with the dead. They are asking the same two questions:
(1.) Can the dead communicate with the living?
There are a couple of incidents in the Bible of the dead communicating with the living.
Saul and the witch of Endor
In 1 Samuel 28, Saul consults a medium requesting she summon Samuel. When the spirit of Samuel actually appears, he is unhappy to be disturbed and the medium is frightened. Samuel’s spirit speaks directly to Saul without the medium and his message is without symbols. He does not bring comforting news. Saul forfeits his life because he consulted with a medium rather than inquiring of God. (1 Chronicles 10:13, 14)
After the death of Christ
The Scriptures recount a strange incident immediately following the crucifixion (Matthew 27: 51-53): Tombs broke open, dead holy people were raised to life, went into Jerusalem, and “appeared to many people.”
The Mount of Transfiguration
In Matthew 17, Elijah and Moses appeared to Jesus and certain disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.
We can conclude from these incidents that on very rare occasions, it may be possible for the righteous to be permitted by God to communicate with those on earth. Let’s underscore these points:
After-death communication is extremely rare. Any message is pointed and direct, and Will verify that Jesus Christ “has come in the flesh is from God.”
(2.) Are the dead aware of what is happening here on earth?
Some cite Ecclesiastes 9: 5-6 as proof that the dead are unaware of anything: “…the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.” (KJV)
Some scholars believe this refers to the living forgetting the dead rather than the dead forgetting the living. This is bore out in Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31).
When the rich man died, he went to Hades, a place of conscious torment for the unrighteous. Lazarus went to “Abraham’s bosom” or paradise. Jesus’ teaching shows that though the rich man remembered his brothers and desired to warn them to repent, he could not do so. In other words, the rich man remembered his family but couldn’t reach them from “the other side.” We are not privy to whether he could see what was happening to them.
In Revelation 6:9-11, we are given an intriguing picture of the dead’s level of awareness: Sleeping martyred souls awake and ask God how long He is going to allow the unrighteous to rule the earth. They are comforted and told to be patient a little longer. From this we can infer that martyrs are somewhat aware of what is happening on earth but not necessarily on an individual basis.
For many, it is a comforting thought that their loved ones are watching over them from heaven. Perhaps they are the “cloud of witnesses” referred to in Hebrews 12.
Although the hereafter is shrouded in mystery, we know these facts for certain.
We are not to attempt to communicate with the dead through mediums. ~ Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Lying spirits will attempt to deceive people. ~ I Timothy 4:1
The grieving can know that God holds their loved ones and His love, mercy, and power extends to “the other side.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15.
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