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Does God let people contact the dead?

by Stephen Davey

Josh asked “Does God allow us any contact with a loved one who has died?”

The short answer is no, and this is something that Christians should never pursue.

The Bible is consistently clear in it condemnation of seeking to communicate with the dead.

One example is Leviticus 19:31 which says “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God” (ESV).

I encourage you to read Leviticus 20:27 and Deuteronomy 18:10-13 as well.

Someone asking this question is probably thinking about 1 Samuel 28, when King Saul goes in disguise to meet with a medium, and the dead prophet Samuel appears to them. From this we know that mediums did exist in Israel, despite that warning in Leviticus that they should not be consulted.

However, in this one instance, God does allow Saul to speak with the dead. But the passage makes clear this was not done by the power of the human medium; in fact, we read in the passage that when Samuel does appear, "she cried out with a loud voice" (1 Samuel 28:12). In other words, she was surprised! She didn't think Samuel would appear, because she knew she didn't really have this power; she was faking it.

God used the prophet Samuel one final time to deliver judgment onto Saul, just like he allowed Moses and Elijah to appear to Jesus and the three disciples during the Transfiguration. These two specific events are not evidence that we can speak to the dead, they are one-time miracles performed by God for specific purposes and only for specific people. They are not a pattern we can follow today.

I believe that people who claim to be able to communicate with the dead today fit into the category described in 1 Timothy 4:1–2. They are deceived and are deceiving others. Paul said:

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.” (ESV)

The Bible tells us to turn in faith to Christ and to seek the truth He has given us in the Bible. God’s Word alone gives us spiritual truth. Any other path will lead us astray.

Attempting to speak with the dead is an Occult practice that Christians must avoid. Anyone who has been involved in this practice must confess the sin to God and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing and protection.

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