Talking To The Dead
by Jim Murriner
I Samuel 28:1-20
"And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men."
"And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever."
"Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in His own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land."
"And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa."
"And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled."
"And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets."
"Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor."
"And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee."
"And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?"
"And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing."
"Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel."
"And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul."
"And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth."
"And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh 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 himself."
"And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquited me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do."
"Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?"
"And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David:"
"Because thou obeyest not the voice of the Lord, nor executedest his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day."
"Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."
"Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night."
Saul here had gotten himself in trouble with the Lord. Saul had been disobedient unto the Lord in many ways, and now his iniquities had separated him from the Lord in that the Lord would not answer his prayers.
Verse six tells us that he prayed but received no answer.
"And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by urim, nor by prophets."
Sometimes we who have been saved by the grace of God, become so backslidden that God will not hear our prayers either.
1 "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
2 "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
All of us who are saved need to be aware that when we will not obey the Lord, He will not listen to our prayers.
24 "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;"
25 ”But ye have set at nought all my conusel, and would none of my reproof:"
26 “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;"
27 "When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you."
28 "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:"
Often when we get out of the will of the Lord, and things go wrong, rather than turning unto the Lord, and being faithful unto Him once again, we go farther and farther away from Him.
We are warned about this in Hebrews 12:6-9.
6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth."
7 "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
8 "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
9 "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"
Saul here in our text has done this very thing, he first was disobedient unto the Lord, then when God would not hear him, due to his disobedience, Saul proceeded to go further and further away from the Lord, even going to one that previously he had banned from the land.
Now in his time of distress, and trouble, when the Lord will not answer him because of the sin and rebellion in his life, Saul seeks out a woman with a familiar spirit.
Saul here like many today, was looking for a blessing from God, by doing just the opposite of what God's Word commands us to do.
The question then arises, what did actually happen there at Endor that night? Did this witch, this enchanter, this woman with a familiar spirit, actually bring a man of God back from the dead?
Whether it be Saul, or us today, God will never bless us for doing just the opposite of that which He has commanded in His Word.
8 "Will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
9 "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."
We might choose to not tithe, or we might choose to send our tithe money somewhere other than to the Lord's local church, but God tells us to bring it to the store house, which is His church, the pillar and ground of the truth, and the one accreted for us to worship through today.
God has already told us in the above verses that if we either do not pay our tithes, or if we give it to the wrong one, that we are cursed with a curse. It is not service to God just because we say it is. It is only service to God if it is done according to His precepts.
God promises a great blessing to those who will turn from being openly disobedient to His word, whether in the way that Saul was, or in not tithing or any other thing which we might do contrary to His word.
II Chron. 7:13-14
13 "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land or if I send pestilence among my people."
14 "If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
While it is possible for many people to do many things by the power of a false spirit, God will not use things which He has commanded us to not do.
Witchcraft and all that goes with it is condemned by the Lord, and had been long before the day of Saul.
10 "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,"
11 "Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer."
12 "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."
Not only is it wrong to go to a witch, or a fortune teller, to learn of them. It is a terrible sin even an abomination to try to contact the dead. This is true, regardless of who the dead one is that we might want to contact. It does no matter if it be a long dead relative of yours or if you are trying to contact Mary the mother of Jesus, or any other dead person.
In Duet. 18:12 a necromancer is one who claims to tell the future by alleged communication with the dead.
In our times this would include such supposed harmless things as the ouija board.
Leviticus 19:31, commands us to avoid such as this witch which Saul was visiting, and seeking counsel .
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God."
Leviticus 20:6, tells us that God will set His face against such.
"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 anomg his people."
One sign that we are now in the last days, just before our Lord's return is that we now see a great interest in such things, and this is one of the things which point to the Lord's return.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
Many of those today who make a big deal about angels, are really talking about spirit beings, and do no think of God at all.
The Roman religion is built upon this. They command those who follow their teaching to pray to dead saints. If we are not to attempt to communicate with the dead, then we most certainly are not to make a pretence to pray unto dead people.
Ouija boards, and all other spiritual ways of communication with the dead, are an abomination unto the Lord. They are exceedingly sinful, and we must not do them.
Anything that God would have us know, anything which we need to know, about this present world, or about the future, or even about the spirit world, we are to learn from the Word of God, the Bible.
1 "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,"
2 "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"
How is it then that God speaks to us this day by His Son? Is it possible that Jesus the Son of God, would stand in your living room and speak with you? Is it possible that Jesus the Son of God, would visit you at night in your dreams? Is it possible that Jesus the Son of God would speak unto you today in some audible way?
1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
2 "The same was in the beginning with God."
The Greek word which is here translated "Word" is correctly translated by the King James writers. Yet the context of these verses show us that the "Word" here is none other than the Lord Jusus Christ.
The only way that God speaks to us today is through His Word, the Bible. While it is true that the Holy Spirit leads people to do certain things, we will never be lead by the Holy Spirit to do anything which is contrary to the Word of God.
13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
14 "He shall glorify me: for he shall recieve of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
This witch of Endor, stated that she saw Samuel, but Saul did not see him, or anything for that matter.
I Samuel 28:12-13
12 "And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou decieved me? for thou art Saul."
13 “And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth."
Isaiah 29:4 speaks of one who will be brought down, and speaks of them being as one who speaks out of the earth like one who has familar spirits.
"And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust."
This witch of Endor, tells Saul that she sees gods ascending out of the ground. Yet the scriptures teach us that the spirit of a righteous man, such as Samuel, goes upward.
"Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?"
The message given by the one that the witch of Endor claimed to be speaking, shows where the message as well as the image came from.
The message here was not for the purpose of leading Saul to repentance, but to urge him on to ruin. This cannot be the message of God.
"Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
We are told in I Chronicles 10:13-14 that this going to the witch of Endor was the reason that Saul died, and the kingdom was given unto David.
13 "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 inquire of it;"
14 "And enquired not of the Lord; therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse."
II Corinthians 11:14-15 shows us that this was the devil or one of his demons which the witch saw that day.
14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
15 “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of the righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
We then need no other light than the light of the Word of God. Rather than fearing such as ghosts, and things which seem to speak from the dead, let us fear the Lord.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
While this is our whole duty, we fall far short of doing our duty, so even then we must trust the Lord Jesus Christ to have fulfilled the law, and to have died upon the cross to pay for our sins.
Since you are unable to do your duty when it comes to keeping all of God's commandments, may God give you grace even now to place your faith in Christ as your own savior.