Talking to the dead — is it Biblical?

For some, it may be comforting to “talk” or pray to those that have gone on before them.  But is it Biblical?  How does the God of the Bible feel about it and does He draw any analogies to this practice?  As Christians, is this something that is okay for us to do in order to help us through our grieving process or should we steer clear from it?

Well buckle up and hold on…I will try and answer those questions and more in this article.  As always, you are welcome to do what you want and believe what you want.  My job as a Minister of the Lord is to present the Bible and it is your job to use that the information that I share with you any way that you like.  If you think I am wrong and wish to challenge me with Scripture, I am okay with that.

Rather than dance around the subject, let’s get right to it.  There are verses in the Bible that say that we are not to try and communicate with the dead.  The “dead” are those humans who have already died and passed over to the other side – whether it be to Heaven or to Hell.

God is telling us with the word “communicate” that we are not to pray to or talk to them.  One of those reasons is they having no power and they cannot hear you.  Only God is omnipresent.  Even though they may be in Heaven they have no power to make anything happen for you.  So, why waste your time praying for a dead saint?  Prayer is simply communication with God or anyone.  It could be even someone living.  “I pray you, not to go to the market on Tuesdays.” It simply means to communicate.  If your Uncle John passed and every day you get up you say, “I love you Uncle John” You are in effect praying or communicating with Uncle John.

When Jesus was walking in the New Testament – He specifically told us that we are to pray direct to God the Father if we have any specific needs that must be met. There is not one verse that I am aware of where He told us that we could also pray direct to dead saints. If God the Father wanted this possibility as an option, then I believe Jesus would have specifically told us so in the New Testament – but He did not!

One of the great things that Jesus’ death on the cross done is open up direct communication to the very throne of God.  Notice it did not open up communication to the thrones of dead saints.  Come to think of it, when we circumvent God and we pray to dead saints, do you think we could be hurting God’s feelings?  I do.  However, I know that God knows, that many do this out of ignorance and that is what this article is all about…and we will get to what God’s Word says in a minute.

There are specific scriptures that tell us NOT to attempt to communicate with the dead.  The clue is in the word “medium” or “spiritist.” A medium is someone who attempts to call up the dead so that someone can communicate with them.  You may have heard of a séance.  If God the Father does not want you going to a medium to contact the dead for you, then it is a safe bet that He does not want you to contact the dead yourself!  When you start to pray to the dead saint, you are attempting to try and communicate with them.

Now, I promised you that we would go to God’s Word to see what He said on the matter and here are the Scriptures:

When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.   There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.   Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.   For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.   Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.   For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”  Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Necromancer means to “call up the dead’ and God makes it clear that this practice is an abomination in His eyes.  When you speak to them or communicate with them or pray to the dead you are “necromancing”.  In James 1:5, God promises us that He will give wisdom to all who ask.  Calling on the dead is not only unnecessary but dangerous.  Such practice can usually lead to contact of evil spirits and not that of loved ones.  I would even caution making innocent statements (like, I love you or I miss you or help me with my homework or I know you are going to help me with this)…any attempt at communication.

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. “  Leviticus 19:31

He again, God is warning us not to seek after mediums, those that would seek after the dead on our behalf. Nor should we seek familiar spirits.  This could be our loved ones or saints we knew in life.  Again, why is God so deliberate in His commands?  Notice the use of the word wizards?  I don’t want to belabor this but it is worth mentioning at this point; a very familiar children’s series, “Harry Potter”.  I will just say be careful what you let your children watch and read.  Also, there is a difference between entertainment (a card trick) and wizardry.

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.” Leviticus 20:6

I find it interesting that God would use the word “whoring” or “prostitute” in some translations as an analogy.   Keep in mind that you are prostituting yourself when you are seeking supernatural (key word supernatural help, I can read the emails now, “Brother Kevin, what do you mean I can’t call my Pastor for help?  SUPERNATURAL, okay? J) or guidance from anyone other than God.  Again, we see God using very intense language when talking to us about communicating with the dead.

“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;” 1 Chronicles 10:13

King Saul literally incurred the wrath of God when he asked a witch to call up the prophet Samuel who had already died.  This is also what inevitably led to his downfall here on earth and early death.

Saul, instead of going directly to God for what he needed, he called up Samuel, one of God’s dead saints for guidance.  That’s what it says, go back and read it.  What a great prophet and man of God that Samuel was, but Saul had no business going to his dead spirit, he should have went directly to God.

We need to consider the characteristics of God.  God is omnipresent, that is He is everywhere at once and he is capable of hearing our prayers — every prayer in the world (Psalm 139:7-12).  A hum, on the other hand does not possess this attribute.  Also, God is the only one that has the power to answer our prayers (Revelation 119:6).  Finally, our God is omniscient, He knows everything (Psalm 147:4-5).  God knows our thoughts before they are even a thought.  Humans, dead or alive don’t even know our thoughts.

So, in order for our loved one to receive our prayers, the dead individual has to hear our prayer, possess the power to answer it, and know how to answer it.

Lastly, the Bible warns us that talking to the dead can actually be dangerous.  That we should not have anything to do with it as it could summon up demons.   Take cheer, God has provided a mediator between Him and man and that mediator is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).  When we can go through a perfect Jesus, why would we risk communication with a sinful dead person?

Pastor Kevin R. Airrington

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