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Should a Christian try to communicate with the dead?

The Question:

I see a lot of TV shows and commercials that say we can contact those who have died. Should we try to communicate with the dead?

The Answer:

We have seen a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the past few years, as well as an increased unity in the Body of Christ. Many individuals have been gifted and anointed by God to carry the Gospel into all the earth.

 At the same time, however, there has also been an upsurge in the activity of the evil one, and an explosion of all sorts of ungodly and pagan religions. Many men and women are being deceived and eternally lost as a result.

 We see a parallel in the media. There are several Christian TV networks now and many hours of godly programming are on the air. At the same time, occult themes and programs are also abounding. This reminds me of the verse:

 "…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" - Romans 5:20

 The alarming thing is the number of people who feed on an occult spiritual diet, not realizing the spiritual danger they are in, even those who otherwise profess to be believers in Christ. They seem to lack spiritual discernment, and partake of anything mystical that comes down the pike. 

We've all been exposed to commercials on TV about psychics, mediums, tarot readers and the like. And their claims of supernatural knowledge are so obviously scripted that I don't see how anyone could fall for it. When they proclaim, "How did you know that?" I yell, "It's in the script stupid!!"

 A new program that's just begun recently on the SciFi channel is called "Crossing Over with John Edwards". The commercials proclaim that he has an unusual gift that unites us with the dead. I shudder. This is necromancy, or communicating with the dead, which is specifically forbidden by God in the Holy Bible.

 "When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his 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. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so." -Deuteronomy 18:9-14

In the KJV, the word used for one who consults or communicates with the dead is necromancer. In the Hebrew, the word used here is darash {daw-rash'}, meaning to resort to, to seek (with a demand), seek with care, to investigate, require; to consult, enquire of, to seek (heathen gods, necromancers), to seek deity in prayer and worship, to practice, study, follow, seek with application, to care for. Today such a person is called a medium, a spiritualist, a trans-channeler, a psychic, or perhaps "gifted".

 Moses gave the people of Israel this command when they were approaching the Promised Land. God was dispossessing the people who had practiced the occult in that land because of their idolatry. Again, the prophet Isaiah warns against consulting such people:

"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? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness." Isaiah 8:19-22

 Isaiah makes it clear that consulting psychics, mediums, necromancers, etc. is a poor substitute for consulting God. The law and the testimony - that is the Word of God - should be what we consult for all spiritual matters.  

Isaiah also points out the results of such communication with these servants of the evil one: distress, hunger, aimless roaming, being in need, becoming enraged at God, full of darkness and gloom. This is how we come under the lordship of the doctrines of demons and spiritual deception. Paul warns us:  

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Paul characterizes those who teach the doctrines of demons as "hypocritical liars" whose consciences have been "seared as with a hot iron". In Biblical days, a drastic treatment for an open would was to cauterize it, or take a hot piece of metal such as a knife and burn the wound closed. Before the days of sanitation and antibiotics this severe treatment was the only treatment method available for such wounds. If a person survived this medical practice, the nerve endings in the wound would be forever damaged and numbed.

 In the same way, the doctrines of demons will sear your conscience and make you unresponsive to the teachings and warnings of Scripture. In other words, the more you participate with hypocritical liars such as psychics, mediums, necromancers and the like, the less likely you will be able to escape their grip.

 In the Holy Bible, Samuel the prophet, according to the command of God, anointed Saul as King over Israel. As long as Saul was humble and followed the word of the Lord through Samuel, he was blessed. But he got the "big head" as we would say today, became puffed up with pride, and tried to take the place of the man of God. His last act of rebellion, after Samuel's death, was to attempt to communicate with the dead. In his earlier days, when he was trying to serve God, he had banished the witches, mediums, necromancers and idolaters from the land. Now he stooped to consult with one!

 "When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name."

But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?" - 1 Samuel 28:5-9

Disobedience will put us in a place where we try to consult God and He will no longer answer us! If God has nothing to say to you, what would a servant of the evil one have to offer? Samuel confirmed Saul's doom. Within a few days Saul and three of his sons were dead.

 The warnings of the Word should be enough to preserve us from such things. But, since these occult practices are becoming so accepted and commonplace, we find ourselves being pulled in. You probably already know someone who is involved in these things, and who is trying to convince you that they are REAL.

When I was a child, studying the Word of God, I often wondered about the fact that God's people in the Old Testament so easily and so frequently abandoned God and the Law and became idolaters with the nations around them. I wondered that they so carelessly disobeyed the commands of God and warnings against consulting idols, psychics, mediums, necromancers and the like. I wondered how they could sacrifice their own children to evil idols, such as making them "pass through the fire" to Molech, that is, burning them alive to a pagan idol. 

Now I realize how easily we are influenced by our culture, by those whom we call friends, by what is commonly and readily acceptable around us. Our culture and society is becoming increasingly ungodly and immoral, and as we seek to "fit in" and be accepted, we open ourselves to all kinds of doctrines of demons and eternal destruction. 

Most of what we see and hear that make the occult prophecies and teachings seem to be REAL is deception. Stage magicians use what is called "sleight of hand" and optical illusion to make it seem they have magic powers. It is no accident this practice is called a "trick"… there is some hand movement accompanied by suggestion that diverts our attention and keeps us from seeing what is really occurring. 

This is what happens nearly every time someone gets caught up in any kind of psychic or occult activity. We are distracted by our need to know, desire to believe, and emotional involvement, and inadvertently give off clues to a trained observer to facts and events we think we've kept hidden. We are so gullible and easily deceived! 

Add to this the fact that almost anything imaginable, real or unreal, known or unknown, can be simulated today through computer graphics and camera tricks. We should trust nothing we see on TV, in the movies, or in the print media!  

Also the terrible truth is that there are servants of the evil one, motivated by demonic power and knowledge that can plumb certain secrets and catch us in their net. The Bible teaches that 1/3 of the angels rose in rebellion against God with lucifer and are now his servants. These beings are immortal, intelligent and cunning.  

Some people are very interested in genealogy - the charting of their ancestors, and there is nothing Biblically wrong with this interest. In fact, the Bible itself records the full genealogy of the people of God leading to the birth of the Messiah.  Indeed, it is often fascinating and helpful to know where we came from. 

I believe that the demons know more about our genealogy that we do, however. They have been intimately acquainted with our ancestors, recording each flaw and generational curse in hopes that they can use this information to trip us up. 

For example, if your father or grandfather was an alcoholic, they know it, and will try to use this information to trip you up, using circumstances to try to entice you to start drinking alcoholic beverages in hopes you will become addicted too.  

Not only that, but these demonic archives contain information about your loved ones who have passed on, both the godly and ungodly ones. How easy it would be for them to convey this information to a willing vessel who then would use that information to deceive you and snare your soul.

 Heed the Biblical warnings! Do not attempt to communicate with the dead!

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