Death and the Afterlife
Why do so many resist the obvious import of these biblical statements? Strong traditional biases may be part of the answer, but there is much more involved. Many sincerely believe that they have physical, eye-witness proof that the dead do return. They have the witness of their own senses that they have actually conversed with departed loved ones. What can be said about these manifestations? They can give the place, date and hour when they were confronted by dead relatives or friends in exactly the same form as when they lived.
Shall we discount all such psychic appearances as mental aberrations of emotional, unstable individuals? Hardly. The fact is that forms do appear, and they have been verified countless times. But on the basis of the infallible Word of God we can categorically reject them as being the spirits of the dead. The dead cannot return; neither do they have any post mortem existence in any conscious, living form whatsoever.
Then who is appearing in these bodily forms and making lying claims in the name of the innocent dead? Who else but the father of lies who built his first deception around the issue of death? He boldly contradicted God when he said to Eve, "Ye shall NOT surely die." When death did follow, Satan tried to make the survivors believe it was only an illusion. By impersonating those who died, Satan has persuaded millions that he was right and God was wrong. Accepting the testimony of their eyes and ears above the testimony of the Bible, many have become expert in calling up the spirits in séances, others use Ouija boards, these are all dangerous things to get involved in.
Often Satan exploits the grief of those who have lost relatives and tries to draw them into his spiritualistic snare by pretending to be their own special loved one. What an overwhelming delusion! Only those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will be able to stand against this type of attack.
Let us share with you an incredible example of Satan's mode of operation. A couple living in an isolated mission station lost their three-year-old daughter when she was struck down by a fatal tropical fever. They buried the little girl on a hillside across from their home. A few days after the funeral the mother was sitting in her kitchen when the door burst open, and her little daughter ran across the room to fling herself into her mother's arms. Can you picture yourself under that kind of traumatic horror? And to top it all, the little girl cried out, "Mommy, I'm not dead! I'm not dead!"
Fortunately, that mother knew the Bible truth about death, and God gave her the power to pray instantly for deliverance from that Satanic masquerade. When she called on the name of Jesus, the form disappeared.
Is this an exceptional case? Unfortunately. no. Experiences like this have been repeated over and over again. Doubtless there are some charlatans who create their own illusions, but we have to recognize that very often the prince of all evil is manipulating the minds of people by his supernatural expertise in deceit.
Communicating with the spirit world has existed since antiquity. Most modern channelers/mediums learn the art through the practice of Eastern meditation. This mildly altered state of consciousness enables the channeler to psychically perceive spirit messages. These manifest themselves as a "thought or voice," which is perceived in the stillness of the medium's mind. Experienced mediums can enter into a trance state whereby the spirit entity takes direct control over the medium's voice, speaking through it in an accent quite distinct from the medium's normal mode of speech.
Spiritists and mediums were common among the pagan peoples of the Bible lands. God warned the children of Israel against becoming involved in these practices just prior to their entry into the Promised Land of Canaan.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 "When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you." (NKJV)
King Saul of Israel sought counsel from a medium called the Witch of Endor. The armies of Israel were about to be attacked by the Philistines. Saul was in rebellion against God and in desperation sought the services of a spiritist.
1 Samuel 28:8 "So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, 'Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.'" (NKJV)
Saul then asked the medium to conjure up the spirit of the deceased prophet Samuel, to ask his counsel regarding the pending Philistine attack. The medium was afraid to do this...
1 Samuel 28:9 "Then the woman said to him, 'Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?'" (NKJV)
Saul had at one time obeyed God and had decreed that all mediums and the spiritists be put out of the land...
1 Samuel 28:3 "... Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land."
We see here that Saul had once done as the Lord had asked him ridding the land of mediums and spiritualists, but now he has turned from God...
1 Samuel 28:13-14 "And the king said to her, 'Do not be afraid. What did you see?' And the woman said to Saul, 'I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.' 14 So he said to her, 'What is his form?' And she said, 'An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.' And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down." (NKJV)
Saul should have known better than to consult with a medium, for God had warned in Leviticus 20:6...
Leviticus 20:6 "And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people." (NKJV)
The end result of king Saul's quest was tragic. Shortly after his visit to the witch, the king was wounded in battle and took his own life rather than be captured by the enemy.
Was the spirit conjured up by the medium a genuine agent of God? Was it actually the deceased prophet Samuel - or was it a spirit imposter? The Bible says...
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 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."
Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
In this story of Saul there are some very interesting key points that we must not overlook.
First, the spirit was "ascending out of the earth."
1 Samuel 28:14-15 "And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. 15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disquieted me to bring me up?"
Those who believe that when you die, your spirit goes up to heaven have to ask themselves; why was Samuel's spirit coming up from the earth, rather than down from heaven?
Second, when the spirit speaks to Saul and gives a prediction, the spirit says, "tomorrow you and your sons will be with me."
1 Samuel 28:19 "Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: ..."
Again we have to ask, if Samuel is a good man and prophet of the Lord, isn't he supposed to be in heaven? If we assume that the spirit of Samuel is in heaven, then, how can Saul, who is in rebellion against the Lord, also end up where Samuel is the next day? It seems the spirit is a lying spirit!
Does the Bible confirm this?
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 "So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. 14 But he did not inquire of the LORD; ..." (NKJV)
The medium's spirit was an imposter, for Scripture clearly states that Saul "did not inquire of the Lord."
In our modern day, just like king Saul of old, people seek counsel from psychics and mediums. But what is the real source of the messages uttered by these spiritists?
Think of the implications of this for a moment! Millions have literally submitted their lives to the control of demons, believing that they were being advised by loving relatives. Can't you see the monstrous irony of the situation? And can't you see how easily Satan can even start controlling the lives of Christians who have not understood the true Bible teaching about death? The only safety for anyone is the Word of God. Yet the stage is set for the majority of Catholics and Protestants to be swept away by the final manifestation of Satanic power — all because they have been taught a lie about the state of the dead.