READ ONLINE | CAN WE COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD?
HIS sister died in distressing circumstances, alone in a remote rural property, and when he visited – to feed the cat and tidy up a little – he thought he heard voices as he entered. There was no one there, but whenever he next visited that conviction grew. Was his sister trying to communicate with him? Trying to tell him something? Wanting to say ‘Goodbye’? If so, how could he reach her?
That sense of loss and regret is common to many of us, especially when the death of a loved one occurs unexpectedly. But is there an opportunity to cross the line that separates the living and the dead? What is the state of the dead? And what do those who claim to have communicated with people in the afterlife find out about life ‘on the other side’? This booklet seeks to answer those questions by looking at Bible teaching about the state of the dead, the hope of a future life, and whether it is advisable to try and contact people who have passed away. It starts with an account of a vigorous attempt that was made to make such contact.
Harry Houdini is well known as an escapologist. He could escape from anything: tied into a straitjacket, handcuffed, and chained, he could not be kept confined for long. His tricks got more and more daring, but he survived them all. Born Ehrich Weisz in Budapest in 1874 (Houdini was his stage name), he was devoted to his mother and when she died in 1913, he was grief-stricken. But it was not the desire to contact her that caused him to visit spiritualists; he had been visiting them before on a regular basis. For Houdini was much more than an escapologist: he was a magician. Indeed, he was President of the Society of American Magicians from 1917 until his death in 1926 and, as a magician, he was interested in the work of mediums and their performances at séances. There they claimed to communicate with the dead, and for about twenty years Houdini attended such meetings, often in disguise. He took a professional satisfaction in exposing their trickery, sometimes demonstrating what he had observed in his stage performances. In 1924 he published a book denouncing the trickery he had witnessed entitled, A Magician among the Spirits. He had been friendly with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, both keen spiritualists, but their friendship did not survive that exposé.
Houdini died of peritonitis, aged only fifty-two. He had been married to Bess, his stage assistant, for over thirty years and they agreed a secret code which he would try and communicate to her on the basis that if anyone could escape death, he could! For the next ten years she visited séance after séance to no avail declaring, at the end of that fruitless quest that “ten years was long enough for any man”. But that didn’t stop members of the Houdini society continuing to try. Harry had died on October 31 (Halloween!) and year after year members of his society met to try and hear from him. But all such attempts have failed. Nothing has been heard from this remarkable escapologist now that he is dead.
The modern movement of spiritualism only dates from 1848 and originated from some strange events in the village of Hydesville, New York State. The Fox family lived there with their two girls, Margaret and Kate, aged eight and six at the time, and the parents began to hear strange noises in the house during the evenings. They invited their neighbours to hear them and the villagers became convinced that the house was haunted and that a murder had once taken place there. In fact, the noises were made by the children, as they later confessed, but this supposed phenomenon launched a movement, with Margaret and Kate as central characters. Their elder sister, Mrs Fish, saw the earning potential at once, organised a “Society of Spiritualists” and encouraged crowds to come to the house to see the children and hear the “rappings”. Soon the displays moved from Hydesville to Rochester, then New York, and later the girls were taken on a tour of US cities.
Kate then went to school and Margaret began a series of séances in Philadelphia but things didn’t work out quite as she had planned. After thirty years acting as a medium, in 1888 she gave a signed confession to the press explaining how the noises in the house had been made and how she and her sister had been able to make the now world-famous “rappings”. They were able to produce certain noises with their knuckles, joints, and toes and she proceeded to give a public demonstration before nearly two thousand people. But despite Margaret’s confession and Houdini’s exposure, modern spiritualism had taken root and there were many new so-called ‘mediums’ who stepped forward, ready to say they could communicate with the dead.
Between the 1840s and the 1920s the movement grew rapidly, especially in the English-speaking world. At the turn of the century there were reckoned to be more than eight million followers in the US and Europe; by now there are probably twice that number. It is said to be the eighth largest religion in Britain and over the years it has had some notable followers. Mention has already been made of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The Ghost Club was founded in London in 1862 for the scientific study of alleged paranormal activity and Charles Dickens was a member, among many well known people. Nobel laureates, journalists, scientists and physicians were all attracted to the new movement, though again there were many critics, including magicians who continued what Houdini had started, by exposing the trickery that was still being used.
However, the movement grew and as it became more organised some of the churches developed these key ideas:
- Souls survive bodily death and live in a spirit world – Spiritualists say that every human soul survives the death of the body and enters a spirit world that surrounds and interpenetrates the material world.
- These souls can communicate with the material world – Spiritualists say that communication is possible between the material world and the spirit world under the right conditions – usually through a medium.
- Spirit beings are little changed from their earlier selves – Spiritualists say that those in the spirit world are much the same as they were in the material world, although without any physical deficiencies.
- Spirit beings are interested in people in the material world – Spiritualists say that those in the spirit world are aware of and interested in the lives of those they have temporarily left behind in the material world. 
It must be recognised that there are many societies of spiritualists with different approaches and attitudes though attempts have been made to unify the movement. There is now a Spiritualists’ National Union and a National Spiritualist Association of Churches. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that upon the death of the physical body the spirit continues as an integral part of the spiritual world.
Life after death
There are many Christian groups who also believe in the survival of the soul or spirit after death, as many people have throughout the ages, whatever their religious convictions. It may come as a surprise to readers that the Bible teaches that death is an unconscious state and that the real hope of life after death is bodily resurrection from the dead at the return from heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the evidence and then consider two case studies.
Human life began when God created Adam and then Eve and gave them the opportunity to show that they loved Him by obeying a simple law they had to keep. Unfortunately, they failed the test and their paradise existence ended abruptly. It is only in the third chapter of the opening book of Genesis that we are told what death is, when God said to Adam:
“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19) 
Death was a return to the ground from which he had been made; it was a declaration that he would cease to exist – though in the mercy of God he lived until he was 930 years old before he died (Genesis 5:5). His death is recorded in a chapter that lists all his descendants who also die and, because we have inherited his mortality, we now live for a much shorter period but, sooner or later, we die. The Bible never suggests that there is something in our nature that survives death; the idea of an immortal soul is a pagan belief that people have adopted because they like the thought of it. Bible teaching is that death means death and being dead in the grave is described like this:
“Before I go to the place from which I shall not return, to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land as dark as darkness itself, as the shadow of death, without any order, where even the light is like darkness.” (Job 10:21,22)
The faithful man who said that, in the middle of his troubles, had the one hope of survival the Bible promises. He believed that he would be vindicated when he was raised from the dead. Physical or bodily resurrection is what God offers to people who want to be part of His continuing purpose. So Job could say:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25,26)
Over the years, as pagan notions have got mixed up with true Bible teaching, people have got confused and have come to believe that after death we go to heaven. But the Bible promise is that heaven is coming to earth when the Lord Jesus Christ returns from heaven to establish God’s kingdom here. That is why the Lord taught his disciples to pray:
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
All that is going to happen when Jesus returns, raises the unconscious dead and confers the gift of everlasting life. Whether you look in the Old Testament or the New, the promise is the same:
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2);
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:17–23)
Death is described as “sleep” and resurrection as an awakening and nowhere is there any indication of a conscious existence after death. To the contrary, death is a state of forgetfulness and the cessation of any contact with Almighty God. King Hezekiah was critically ill when he prayed to God for deliverance, lamenting that in death:
“… Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day.” (Isaiah 38:18,19) 
Two case studies
The Bible is a book about people and the way they responded to God. In that way it gives us encouragement and hope, for people who were doing their best to follow God often made mistakes along the way but were still acceptable to God. Here are two life experiences which tell us a lot about life after death.
- King David enjoyed a good relationship with God and was described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Whilst in King Saul’s court and later as a member of his family, he was often in danger and when he became king, he was a formidable warrior. But he was also a poet and musician and was inspired by God to write many Psalms in which he tells us about his hopes for the future. Here are two brief extracts:
“Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalm 6:4,5)
“Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” (Psalm 13:3)
Again, he was describing death as a cessation of existence: a sleep and a forgetting, and he is now asleep in death. People who imagine that death is a transition to a new life in heaven might be surprised by New Testament teaching to the contrary:
- “No one has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).
- The Apostle Peter said this about King David: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:29-31).
- And later he says: “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand”’” (Acts 2:34). The Psalmist David, says the apostle, spoke – in Psalm 110 – about the ascension and exaltation of Christ, not that he would live in heaven.
- The Apostle Paul says this about David’s current status: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption” (Acts 13:36).
Like all the Bible characters, King David now sleeps in the dust of the earth awaiting the coming of the Lord Jesus who will raise the dead and establish God’s kingdom here, on earth. So, there is no prospect of communicating with him, until that happens.
- Jesus was friendly with a family who lived at Bethany, near Jerusalem. As his enemies became more determined to arrest him, it became difficult to visit, even though Lazarus was sick. He had been dead four days before Jesus arrived, and both his sisters – Martha and Mary – said the same things to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). There are several things to notice about this account in John chapter 11:
- When Jesus talked about death, he called it falling asleep and when he said he was going to Bethany, despite the danger, it was to “wake him up” (verse 11).
- Upon his arrival, Jesus never once suggested that Lazarus was better off now that he had transferred his conscious existence to a spirit world, and neither of the sisters – who were familiar with Jesus’ teaching – suggested that.
- Instead Jesus said to them, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23), and it was clear that they expected that resurrection to take place “at the last day” (verse 24).
- To demonstrate that he had received life-giving power to raise the dead, Jesus proceeded to the tomb and raised dead Lazarus back to life (as he had done previously with two other dead people). See verses 38-44.
- Lazarus is not recorded as saying anything about his after-death experience: he had been unconscious in the state of death – like a dreamless sleep – and now had been ‘awakened’ and ‘raised’ from the dead.
It follows, of course, that if the dead really are dead, there is no possibility of contacting them and any supposed communication with them needs some other explanation. It is not suggested that all mediums are fakes, rather that they are communicating in some way with the subconscious minds of those who come to seek their help; people who are often in a distressed and vulnerable state.
Consulting the Oracle
Whilst the modern spiritualist movement only began in the nineteenth century, attempts to contact the departed go way back in time. Think of the elaborate preparations made by and for Egyptian rulers for the afterlife, involving huge building works and extensive provisions. Or consider the conviction in ancient times that there were people who could foretell the future because they were in touch with supernatural powers. There was an Oracle at Delphi, in Greece, who was often consulted by ancient kings as she was thought to be the mouthpiece of the god Apollo. Before attacking Persia in 560 BC, King Croesus of Lydia came to ask if the gods were on his side, and was told “If you do, you will destroy a great empire”. In the event it was his own empire that was destroyed. Alexander the Great visited her before his invasion and got no answer until he entered the temple, dragged the Oracle from her chambers and demanded a reply. He was content when he heard her say, “You are invincible, my son” and his army marched into battle and success.
There are plenty of superstitious people around today, but few would now think that the Oracle – also know as the pythoness – was the mouthpiece of Apollo. Historians are inclined to think that the priestess was in a trance-like state because of ethylene gas that seeped through the crevices near her chamber, or because she was using substances to inspire her prophecies. Laurel, cannabis, rhododendron, and oleander have all been suggested as drugs that would induce her oracular pronouncements, which often had to be interpreted by her attendants. However these predictions were made is less important for us than noting that throughout history people have tried, in many different ways, to reach out to sources of knowledge. These pronouncements are thought by the enquirers to have come from another world, or another state of being. But was this something that happened during Bible times, much earlier than the time of Croesus or Alexander?
The Bible and Spiritualism
The nation of Israel came together when the people were slaves in Egypt. Rescued by Moses, they left that nation of over two thousand deities and became worshippers of the one true God – the God of their forefathers. Having all grown up in a polytheistic society it took them a while to become worshippers of the one true God and there was always a risk that they would begin again to worship idols – false gods that don’t exist, except in the imagination of people who worship them. To clear their minds, Moses was given laws from God that set out in detail an acceptable form of behaviour and the worship of Almighty God. All told, there were 613 different laws and regulations in the code of law that was given to Moses, and they included that no attempt should be made to try and contact the dead. That prohibition indicates that the use of mediums or soothsayers was an established practice in ancient Egypt, where there was a strong belief that the dead continued to exist after they had been mummified and entombed. Here are those laws that God gave to Moses:
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31) 
“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.” (Leviticus 20:6)
“A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:27)
These laws show us that trying to contact the dead was a well-established practice in ancient times and that God wanted the practice to cease in Israel. That was because:
- There was no point in attempting it because the dead were uncontactable.
- The process of seeking spurious information would suggest there was another way of finding out about spiritual things apart from the way that God has chosen to reveal Himself, in the scriptures of truth. The comparison for today is when people say they have been prompted to do something which is contrary to Bible truth because “the Holy Spirit has revealed it” to them. 
To help us get an idea of how seriously this wrong practice was viewed by God, when Moses repeated aspects of law, some forty years later, he warned the people about some abhorrent religious ceremonies that were being practised in the land they were about to enter and possess. Worshippers of the god Molech believed that to gain the favour of their god, or to appease his wrath, they had to sacrifice young children as part of their worship. We shrink in horror from such barbaric forms of worship, and Moses was told that the God of the Bible also regards them as abominable. Now notice how the prohibition about that sort of behaviour is immediately followed by a reminder about any attempt being made to consult sorcerers or mediums, claiming that they can make contact with the spirit world:
“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. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practises witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 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. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
This warning was repeated by the prophet Isaiah when he said:
“And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19,20)
The prophet’s counsel was that if you want to know about the future read what God has revealed to mankind in His word, the Bible. Isaiah was prophesying about 600 years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, but now we have an even more detailed account of the gracious purpose of God, His promises, and His intentions for the future. The Bible tells us everything we need to know and consultations with people who claim to know differently are not going to help us; indeed, they could do us harm and confuse us about what is true and what is false. It follows from these clear instructions from God that dabbling with the occult, attending séances, playing with Ouija boards, or suchlike, is something to avoid. Such practices are contrary to the law of God.
Two case studies
There are two narratives in the Bible which feature people who were thought to have supernatural powers and who profited from this claim.
- In one instance the person in question was a slave, and the profit accrued to her masters. They used her powers in Philippi, a city in northern Greece, which was visited by the Apostle Paul and his companions as they were on a preaching tour. Their paths happened to cross with the slave girl, day after day, and this occurred:
“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities …” (Acts 16:16-19)
The account says that she was “possessed with a spirit of divination” or, more literally from the Greek text, “she had the spirit of the ‘python’”. Like the Oracle in Delphi, she would have been regarded as the mouthpiece of Apollo (one of the most important of the pantheon of gods who were thought to inhabit Mount Olympus). So, it was an unusual thing for her to have acclaimed the Apostle Paul as the servant of the Most High God. It seems likely that she had something like extrasensory perception, some skill at mind-reading, or she was in a drug-enhanced state. Usually this state of mental derangement was deployed to the advantage of her masters, but what seems to have happened here is that in her somewhat unbalanced mental condition she locked-on to the energy and enthusiasm being exercised by the Apostle Paul and his companions. Because he had Holy Spirit gifts that he could use to further his preaching, Paul was able to cure her mental illness and, in the process, she lost her fortune-telling powers, much to the annoyance of her masters, who proceeded to have Paul and Silas imprisoned.
- The second incident is quite a lot more elaborate and it happened in Old Testament times during the reign of Israel’s first king, whose name was Saul. He was frequently troubled by attacks from the west coast where a formidable group of Philistine warriors had established themselves. They were prone to make incursions into Israel whenever there were rich pickings, and they judged that the time was right to challenge Saul and the Israelite army to a showdown. Saul was very worried about how the battle might go and, like kings from pagan nations, he wanted to consult someone who could give him a forward look. Ideally that would be his mentor, the prophet Samuel, but Samuel had been estranged from him and now he was dead. Saul thought that if he could use a medium to communicate with Samuel, he could be told how things were going to work out, and then act accordingly. But, following the law God had given to Moses, he had eliminated all those who claimed that sort of power; well, as it turned out, all but one. So, he and two armed companions set out to Endor to consult the medium.
He went in disguise, but he was a very tall man and was known for his height. So when they reached the medium at night and he asked if she could consult someone who was dead she was immediately on the defensive. ‘Saul’, she said, ‘had killed all the mediums and fortune-tellers from the land; so, was this a trap?’ Her suspicions were probably confirmed when Saul swore an oath that no harm would come to her: who could give that assurance except the king? And when he asked her to bring Samuel up, she must have known for sure that it was Saul who was consulting her. But then things took a rather different turn, as the account indicates:
“When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, ‘Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!’ 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.’ 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.” (1 Samuel 28:12-14)
Notice that he is described as “ascending out of the earth” and that the medium was taken aback by what happened. Further, he is described as “an old man” probably wearing something that was characteristic of his earthly appearance. He did not come down from heaven clad in shining robes. He was immediately recognisable, even to her, and she was not likely to have been someone who worshipped with the prophet. But there was more to come. For Samuel – or the vision of Samuel – asked why he had been disturbed and Saul explained his anxiety about the forthcoming battle. This was Samuel’s reply, and you can read the full account in 1 Samuel chapter 28:
“… Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 28:18,19)
There are two opinions about how all this came about:
- Some Bible readers think that the medium made it all up: that it was all a grand display or histrionic acting, that she saw nothing, but conjured it up from her own imagination and acted it out with dramatic skill. As we have seen from the past, mediums have been very skilled at trickery and artistry. This lady may have practised such skills in the past and put on a super performance, especially as her failure to conjure up Samuel could have meant the loss of her life.
- Others think that this was something that took her by surprise and overwhelmed her, because God chose to send Saul a vision of Samuel and, through that vision, He announced to him that tomorrow he and his sons would be dead. In that event, the lady would have been a mere conduit through whom a divine message was conveyed, something that happened occasionally in Bible times when God used false prophets – like Balaam – to convey a true message.
There is an easy solution to this question once you think about the psychology of the situation. A defenceless woman has three armed men visit her late at night and asks her to summon up the prophet Samuel. If she does that by subterfuge – conjures up an appearance when, in fact, nothing happens except for her performance – ask yourself this question. What would you make the prophet say? Would you (a) tell the king that all will be well on the morrow, that he and his army will be victorious and the Philistines will flee, or (b) tell him that tomorrow he and all his sons will be killed and the army of Israel will be routed? It seems to me that (a) is the obvious, and the only safe, option. Choosing to declare that the king and his sons will be dead tomorrow does not bode well for client satisfaction.
It was God, not the medium, who controlled the happening and it was He who accurately predicted what happened the following day, when Saul and his sons were killed. Such an accurate forecast was beyond the insight of the medium and was far too dangerous for her to have suggested, even if she could have anticipated it, given Saul’s frail mental state that evening. But was he right to have tried to communicate with long-dead Samuel, given God’s express prohibition of such activity? The Bible leaves us in no doubt about that, as you might expect. Saul was Israel’s first king and he made many errors of judgement and failed to live up to God’s requirements, having been put in charge of the people of God. Summing up his life, the inspired writer of the Book of Chronicles – which assesses Israel’s leaders from a divine standpoint – might have focused on many of his failings. So it is telling what the divine record says by way of an obituary:
“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. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13,14)
The Bible is clear, both by its warnings and through these case studies, that it is wrong to try and communicate with the dead, for very good reasons:
- The dead are dead. They are in an unconscious state, knowing nothing and are unable to communicate. As the Bible puts it, they are “asleep”.
- The Bible hope of life after death is bodily resurrection from the dead at the return from heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he will awaken some of the dead from their ‘sleep’ and invite them to come to him.
- People who profess to be able to communicate with dead people are not doing so. They may think they are in touch with somebody, but the likelihood is that they are communicating with the distressed mental state of the bereaved or the enquirer. This may be possible because they possess extrasensory perception, or because they are telepathic. In some cases, certainly in the past, some mediums have used techniques that were intended to deceive.
- People who know what the Bible teaches but who also like to dabble in the occult are liable to become confused as to what is true and what is make-believe. For the claims made by people who call themselves ‘Spiritualists’ do not accord with true Bible teaching. Mediums say that the dead are conscious, living in a spirit world which is much like our present existence. The Bible says that they are not.
The one-word answer to the question, “Can we communicate with the dead?” is no! God goes further than that and says we should not! Let the prophet Isaiah have the last word:
“And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19,20)
2 All quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
3 There is much more about Bible teaching concerning life after death in our other booklet, After Death – What?
4 The Greek version of the Old Testament offers an insight into the methodology being used, for it reads: “You shall not follow after ventriloquists, and you shall not attach yourselves to enchanters, to be thoroughly polluted by them; it is I who am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31, Septuagint).
5 For more about this subject read our booklet, The Holy Spirit.