With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.
As Christians, we have the responsibility to…
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)
So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part 4 of our 5 part series on Halloween:
- A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
- A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
- A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
- A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
- A Summary of Our Study On Halloween
May the Lord be glorified in our study….
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.(Isa 8:19-20)
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:31)
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:26-27)
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 disquieted 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 neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst 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. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.(1Sa 28:7-25)
The History of The Necromancy (to prophesy using the dead) Symbols:
Séances – Attempts to communicate with dead spirits have taken place throughout history. From rites performed among many ancient religions, to the Biblical account of King Saul consulting the witch at Endor (see below), to the Fix sisters claims of speaking to the dead through the first modern-day use of séances in 1848; the desire to speak to those who have died has been an ongoing pursuit.
The modern Spiritist movement began in 1848 by the Fox sisters of New York. The sisters began hearing strange noises at night. It was believed by the sisters that these noises came from a spirit dwelling in the home. In response to a series of questions posed by the sisters, the spirit began to answer them using a series of knocks. Interest in this phenomenon grew as word of the event spread.
In 1888, one of the sisters confessed that the entire series of events was staged. According to her, the sisters had used joint cracking and apples dangling from strings to create the illusion of the sprit’s responses. Later, the sister recanted her confession, however, most researchers believe that the confession of fraud was truthful.
It was through this series of allegedly fraudulent events that the popular use of modern séances was begun. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Séance
Ouija Boards – The first use of Ouija boards was thought to be in China in the 1100 BC. It is recorded in the Chinese history under the tern “Fuji” or “pointer writing”. Portions of the Chinese text “the Daozang” is claimed to have been written entirely through the use of the Fuji.
Patents for the modern day lettered board were filed in 1891. The first board with the name “Ouija” was produced in 1901. One of the creators claimed the name “Ouija” is Egyptian for “good luck”. However, the more widely accepted translation for “Ouija” is “Yes”. This board reached its peak of popularity in the early to mid 1900’s.
In both the Quija board and Séances, we have the attempt to speak to the spirits of dead humans in view. This easily fits into the Halloween tradition of attempting to commune with, honor and pacify the dead spirits that roam the earth.
Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Is the Lord pleased with attempts to communicate with the dead? Let’s see what the Bible says…
In our texts, we have different aspects of communicating with the dead described by two different terms:
“them that have familiar spirits” – Hebrew phrase “one that speaks in a jar” “one that mumbles”
“wizards (that peep, and that mutter)” – Hebrew phrase “a knowing one” “one that conjures”
As followers of the Lord, we are to seek counsel, wisdom and knowledge from our God not the dead:
“should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony:”
“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”
We must always judge messangers based upon the Word of God. If a messenger proclaims anything that does not align itself with God’s Word, they are to be recognized as lost individuals and unreliable messengers of God:
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Please notice, that the Lord clearly condemns attempts to communicate with the dead:
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them”
This is a grave sin punishable by death according to the Old Testament law:
“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”
The account of King Saul going into the witch at Endor is a very important event that we need to address in our study of “necromancy” (to prophesy using the dead)
Please read our text … 1 Samuel 28:7-25.
The two questions that we must answer about this account are:
1. Was the spirit seen by the witch actually the prophet Samuel, or was it a demon masquerading as the prophet?
2. If it was Samuel, does that mean that the Lord used a forbidden act (necromancy) to deliver His message to King Saul?
To answer these questions we must remember some basic, Biblical principles…
- King Saul received God’s punishment (death) due to this horrible sin he had committed (1Ch 10:13-14)
- Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that He spoke to mankind using necromancy. In times past, He spoke through His prophets and, later, His Son. His Word is the only reliable record of the messages spoken by His prophets and Christ. (Hebrews 1:1-3).
- Nowhere does the Bible say that the Lord used the spirit of a dead man to speak to anyone. Likewise, the Bible does not say that we can speak to those who have died. Conversely, the Bible indicates it is an impossible. (Luke 16:24-27)
- Satan is a very powerful deceiver, who can deceive the minds of men. (2 Thess 2:9-10)
- Based on our previous study on death (Halloween Part 2) we said that there is no intermediate dwelling place for dead spirits. They immediately enter into the eternal state, from which they cannot depart (Lk 16:25).
- Saints are said to be at rest and in glory with the Lord after their death. It is hard to believe that they can be yanked out of their state of peace, at the whim of a medium. (2 Cor 5:, Rev 6:11)
- If we say that Samuel actually appeared to Saul and delivered God’s message; in essence, we are saying that God refused to speak to Saul when Saul approached Him. But, when Saul used an illicit method of communication, the Lord conceded and sent His message to Saul. (1 Sam 28:5-6, 28:15-21)
- Satan and his demons can masquerade as messengers of God with the hopes of deceiving the listeners. (2 Cor 11:14-15)
- Keep in mind, that Saul had not received any new information from “spirit Samuel”. This being had only repeated the very same message that Saul had received previously from God. Compare 1 Samuel 15: with the message “spirit Samuel” spoke to him.
- The witch claimed that she saw “gods” ascending out of the earth. This Heb word can speak of angels, or mighty ones. What she actually saw were demons (fallen angels) who have access to this earth. They were seen coming up out of the earth, just as the second demonic beast of Revelation came out of the earth as well (Rev 13:11)
- What had taken place was, following his breach with the Lord, Saul entered a state of being open to Satanic intervention. Much like a “reprobate” described in Rom 1:21-32.
To summarize, the story of Saul and the witch of Endor is a story of a man, who, after willfully sinning against the Lord, is separated from God due to his sin. Once separated from God, He continues on his downward path, falling deeper into sin by seeking counsel from the dead through the use of a medium. At this point, Satan intervenes, sending a demonic messenger to Saul, in the hopes of deceiving Him into thinking he is communicating with a messenger from God.
Satan’s purpose? To further deceive Saul and mislead him into a further corrupting of the nation of Israel. This is much like the role that Satan and his demons play in our society today…”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1Timothy 4:1)
Think of the great deception that has followed due to this sin on the part of Saul… Not only was the witch, and Saul, deceived into thinking this was Samuel, but many people throughout the following generations, have tried to use this account to validate and legitimize necromancy.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
Once again, as before, let me ask each of us the question I asked at the beginning of our series… have we taken the time to prayerfully consider 1 Thess 5:21-22…“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
It is obvious that by participating in the holiday of Halloween in no way makes a Christian guilty of consulting with spirits. However, is participating in the Halloween festival “abstaining from all appearance of evil”? This is what each of us should prayerfully consider.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
There has been a recent surge in interest concerning the afterlife. The entertainment industry has been fueling this flame with a release of many movies and TV series that deal with the subject of consulting with spirits and other issues of the occult. As we have seen in our study, to get a proper understanding of the afterlife, we should consult the Scriptures alone.
The Bible makes it plain that, through the intervention of Christ into our lives graciously granting to us forgiveness and peace, we can be prepared to enter the afterlife.
Do you know that you are prepared for the afterlife? The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom 5:1-2)
Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.