Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Jeff Price1
Ghosts, Mediums And The Bible
My sister was four the day she disappeared. My father was still at work. I had just stepped off the bus from a long day at school to see my mother standing in the front yard. She was calling my sister’s name. I could tell she was worried. There was a desperation in her voice I was not accustomed to hearing.
We lived on a small farm in the country. The closest neighbor was a quarter of a mile down the road – an unlikely trek for a four-year-old little girl. The traffic on the dirt road on which we lived was sparse at that time of day – comprised mostly of a few coal miners returning home from his shift in the local mine. It was doubtful she had been abducted. It was far more likely she was playing somewhere in or around our house, so I wasn’t so worried… at first.
I helped my mother search. As time wore on, however, I began to feel a bit desperate, myself. My sister was not in any of her favorite hiding places and the longer she remained missing the more our fear grew.
Finally, my mother spotted her coming out of the empty house that sat across the road from ours. The house had belonged to my grandparents. My parents kept it unlocked because they would do some weekly up-keep to it in an effort to keep the house livable. They had planned to rent it out the following fall.
“Why did you go over there?” my mother asked, hugging my sister tightly.
“I don’t know.” My sister replied – the typical four-year-old response.
“What were you doing in there for so long?” my mother pressed, her voice still choked with emotion.
“Talking.” my sister said, simply.
“Talking? Talking to who?” my mother asked, hoping to make even the slightest bit of sense of what had just happened.
“Grandma and granddad.” she answered. “They said they love me!”
The thing is, at that point, my grandparents had been dead for three years prior to my sister’s visit with them! Moreover, not only was my sister too young when the grandparents died to remember them at four years old, but she was also not prone – even at her young age – to imaginary flights of fancy.
Later that night, as my mother pressed her for further details, my sister revealed particulars of her visit with the grandparents that left my mother convinced that my sister had experienced something supernatural. My mother was positive that the spirits of her father and mother had ventured into the realm of the living in order to spend some quality time with the granddaughter they had not got to enjoy for very long in the pshysical world.
As strange as this story is; it’s a heart-warming thought, isn’t it? The idea that the love of departed grandparent’s could drive them to cross the great divide so that, if only for a short period, they could spend some time with their beloved grandchild is indeed stirring. It also serves to soothe our minds about life after death.
Through just this one supernatural experience, one could conclude that mates in life are mates in death, spirits are cognizant of our lives here on earth and they can cross over to our world when need be, and not all ghosts are scary or harbor ill intent toward the living. Some, in fact, can be helpful and loving. Who among us would not find these assumptions reassuring? They certainly work toward quelling the fear of death. One could say that this supernatural experience was a good one.
Many others have had similar comforting experiences with the spirit realm. Consequently, our need to believe in and find comfort in these things has fueled the immergence and popularity of such psychic mediums as the late Sylvia Browne, John Edwards, James Van Praagh and as of late, Theresa Caputo, the renowned “Long Island Medium”. These individuals enjoy immense popularity due to their “gifts” that permit them to supposedly “communicate” with what are presumed to be spirits of loved ones who have passed. Now, I would be remiss were I not to mention that most, if not all so called “psychic mediums” are nothing more than frauds. In fact, James Randi, a famous stage magician, has had a standing offer for many years of one million dollars to anyone who can conclusively prove that they possess psychic abilities. To date, nobody has been able to claim the reward.
It is especially easy in this day and age of computer technology and mass communication to be able to quickly access personal information on anyone. And any computer-literate person could promptly amass enough data to pass for a credible medium. Moreover, the art of the “cold read” – the ability to make educated guesses about individuals to such a degree as to appear to have psychic powers – has proven to be quite an effective tool for street magicians and fortune tellers for centuries. But, what if true clairvoyants do exist? In some cases, a person’s capacity to seemingly communicate with the dead is astounding and defies explanation. These types of people can offer details on the spot that would never turn up in any sort of search of personal information or by even the most proficient cold read, leaving us with no alternative but to concede that some people can indeed speak with the dead. But, can this actually happen and, more importantly, is this Biblical?
We Christians are very conscious of the fact that the world in which we currently find ourselves is, in effect, an artificial one created for us by God. We know and understand that we are meant to spend a certain amount of time here and then we are to pass over into the true reality – the spirit realm, Ecclesiastes 12:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, John 5:28-29. Given this, it is plausible that, under the right conditions, some of us are capable of contacting spirits while we are yet in the material world! In fact, we can find several verses in the Bible that support this contention. The problem is, the preponderance of those verses are warnings against such actions, such as Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 2 Chronicles 33:6 and Isaiah 8:19.
In fact, the only verses where the ability to contact the spirit world is permitted are those in which it is according to the will of God. For instance, In Matthew 17:1-8, the Apostles Peter and James found themselves in the company of ghosts during the transfiguration of Christ. In this instance, both Peter and James saw Moses and Elijah, who at that time had long been dead. Furthermore, we read in John 11:38-44 that there was an instance where Jesus not only spoke to the dead, but He also brought the dead person back to life; an act known as necromancy, which is strictly forbidden by God. Yet, in this case, so that those standing around would believe in the power of God and His Son, God allowed these supernatural acts to take place. Lastly, In 1 Samuel 28:1-24, we see the account of how Saul used a medium to summon the spirit of Samuel, a prophet of the Lord, in order to gain insight as to how to deal with the Philistinean army that had amassed against him. This is somewhat confusing because not only does Saul disobey the law of God by calling on a medium to speak with the dead, but we also read in Job 7:9-10 that once a person dies, that person can not come back. How, then, was this woman able to accomplish such a feat? Was it because she was a powerfully gifted medium? Verse 12 offers some insight. In this verse, the medium is clearly surprised. Perhaps because this was the first time her conjuring had actually worked or perhaps she was not used to seeing anything other than a demonic apparition during her conjurings. God had certainly intervened in this instance. He allowed the medium to actually summon Samuel, and He allowed Samuel to cross the divide into this world. But, we understand that God had permitted this as part of His process of pronouncing judgment against Saul and stripping him of his rule. In fact, we see later in in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 that Saul is condemned for his consult with the medium.
So, what are we to learn from what the Bible says about the supernatural? The word of God makes it very clear that the only time that a person is permitted to use a supernatural power is when God gives it to him or her for the purpose of carrying out God’s will. With regard to those having prophetic powers or powers to speak with the dead, God tells us that there is one way to determine if those powers are from God and not demons, and that is that the person possessing those powers is absolutely correct about all the information they claim to have obtained from the spirit world; absolutely correct all the time, every time – without exception. Deuteronomy 18:22 supports this assertion. The passage deals with prophesy, but we can be assured, being that God can not lie, that such a test would go for anyone who claims to be a medium also.
I challenge anyone to find someone out there claiming to be a prophet or a medium that can meet such criterion. The fact is, with all the John Edwards, James Van Praaghs, Sylvia Brownes and Theresa Caputos in the world, NONE of them are able to meet the challenge!
Well, then how can these mediums be so good at what they do? Where are they getting their information? It’s simple; provided they are not merely excellent at doing a cold read, the only other explanation is that they are getting their insight from the fallen angels who inhabit the spirit realm. The fallen angels are simply that – angels who have been banished from the presence of God. But, that is a whole other study. Suffice it to say that these beings possess very powerful supernatural abilities. They would certainly know intimate details about both the living and the deceased. So, what does that mean? It means that every real psychic ability that isn’t from God, every ghost, every alien encounter every U.F.O. sighting and every bit of information that comes from a medium is a deception from the fallen angels.
But, why would these beings do such things? Aren’t they supposed to be evil? How can something as innocuous as someone being able to speak with a deceased spouse or even seeing the spirits of departed grandparents be harmful in any way? The answer is that these things run contrary to the word of God and cause deception.
Once a person has a supernatural encounter, it makes it very hard for them to believe the word of God when it says such things are from demons – especially when the event had perhaps brought the person joy and peace. Also, a person who has a supernatural experience will be all the more susceptible to becoming involved in Spiritism and the Occult after such an encounter because it opens one’s mind to the possibilities of other affable supernatural things. Moreover, to those who aren’t familiar with what the Bible says, supernatural experiences will give the wrong impression of certain things. For example, if a person knows that, in this life, his or her deceased relative had never come to God and was, in general, not a very good person, they would assume that person is perhaps paying for their way of life in the afterlife. But, then if a medium tells them that their dead relative is living it up in the afterlife, that would lead them to believe that if that person made it, certainly they, themselves, will get to heaven just as their departed relative did – without God.
You see, Satan does not only use evil to snare us, he uses good as well. He can pretend to be benevolent and obliging or he can make things seem to be benevolent and obliging. In fact, the Apostle Paul warns us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14. But, we will come to find later in our lives that Satan’s so called “kindness” was really designed to destroy our lives. Satan is as patient as death and as cunning as a fox, and he seeks to destroy every one of us and he will do whatever it takes to accomplish his end goal. This is why Peter tells us, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”, 1 Peter 5:8. Moreover, Ephesians 6:11-12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” And 1 John 4:1-3 tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God”.
It is for these reasons that we are to have nothing to do with anything paranormal, whether we desire to seek out the supernatural, unwittingly encounter the supernatural or find ourselves possessing supernatural abilities. That goes for spiritism, the occult, witchcraft, mediums, psychics, horoscopes, tarot cards, astrology, fortune telling, palm readings, séances and the like because none of these avenues are a Godly means of obtaining information, advice or guidance.
So, does this mean that psychics and mediums are working hand-in-hand with the devil? Yes, but not necessarily intentionally. Some who actually possess psychic powers believe they are using them for good. For example, Linda Rossi, Sylvia Browne’s former business manager is quoted as saying, “Everything she (Sylvia) does is through God and with God. She gives God credit for everything.” If this were true, then Mrs. Browne would have been able to pit her readings against Deuteronomy 18:22. As it stands, Mrs. Browne fell far short of that criterion. In fact, Mrs. Browne had been scorned on many occasions for her claims of being up to 90% accurate with her readings. An accuracy level which, when examined with more scrutiny, turned out to be more like 1% at most.
So, to whom do we turn, then, for insight into the afterlife if ghosts and mediums can not be trusted? God has continually made it apparent in his word that guidance is never to be obtained from mediums or physics. Guidance is to come from the Lord only, either by His Spirit, Matthew 7:15-20, John 14:26, John 16:13, through His word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 or through prayer, James 1:5.
I will never know for certain what effect my sister being visited by fallen angels had on my mother or anyone else who is familiar with the event. My sister can’t recall the incident at all, my father writes it off to childhood imagination and I stopped believing in ghosts many years ago after learning the very things discussed in this article. My mother, however, went to her grave believing that my sister had been visited by the spirits of her grandparents. I don’t know to what extent, if any, that experience affected my mother’s concept of God and salvation. I can only hope the effect was minimal. I hope to see my mother and grandparents in the afterlife one day. I was too young and naïve about God when they died to know for certain where they stood in their Christianity. One thing is for certain, though; I will not be seeking out a medium to find out!
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…, 1 Timothy 4:1.