A message from the dead
God has forbidden us to communicate with the dead in an effort to discover truth.
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus described the afterlife and revealed that God places some restrictions on the dead who wish to communicate with us. (Many believe this is a parable and not something that actually happened. I have discussed that in this post: Lazarus and the rich man – parable or actual event? ) When the rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus he asked that Lazarus be allowed to come to him to give him some relief from his suffering.
And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.”
But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” (Luke 16:24-26)
Abraham pointed out that it was impossible for Lazarus to grant his request because the chasm between them could not be crossed. The rich man then asked that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers of the place he was in.
And he said, “Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.”
And he said, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”
He said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:27-31)
Abraham didn’t say that it was impossible for Lazarus to carry out this request but that it would be useless for him to do so. But one time God did allow a dead person to return and deliver a message to someone.
Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel and during his reign he relayed God’s orders to him. Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites but he failed to obey. As a result the kingdom was taken from him and given to David. Since he had been reluctant to accept the position at first you would think he would be willing to step aside and let David take over but that wasn’t the case. He had grown to love the power that came from being king and he refused to give up his position. Shortly after this Samuel died.
Saul found himself at was with the Philistines and didn’t know what to do.
And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. (1 Samuel 28:6)
He resorted to a desperate attempt to get the help he needed.
Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” (1 Samuel 28:7)
This was a clear act of disobedience. When he visited the medium things didn’t go as he expected.
Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”
When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.”
The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?”
And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.”
He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said,
“An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.”
And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. (1 Samuel 28:11-14)
The woman was obviously a fake who couldn’t really contact the dead because she was frightened when a dead person actually showed up. God allowed Samuel to return so he could deliver one last message to Saul.
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.”
And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 28:15-19)
The message didn’t provide the guidance Saul was looking for but was a final announcement that he was about to be judged for his disobedience.
If we want to know God’s will we need to study the truths he has given us through his Word and not look to the dead for information.
Posted on December 21, 2018, in Bible study and tagged Amalekites, communication with the dead, Hades, king of Israel, Lazarus, Philistines, rich man, Samuel, Saul. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.