First, there was "Crossing Over with John Edward" on the SciFi cable channel and now ABC’s "Contact: Talking to the Dead with George Anderson." This makes the fictitious "X-Files" and "CSI" look boring. This is real life and really creepy. Or is it? Is what we see in these mediums really logical? What does God’s Word have to say about spiritual mediums who offer such services?
Those who claim to channel dead souls are knowingly or unwittingly flirting with demons at worst and at best, highly skilled hucksters— either one is bad. Some say it offers comfort to the living. What’s the harm in that? Some mediums even mix in a little Christian lingo and wear crosses to fend off criticism.
It doesn’t make logical sense to me. Aside from my faith in Christ and what the Bible tells me, I don’t think the dead are concerned about the trivial details these mediums bring up as proof of contact. If I’m dead, I don’t want to remind my loved ones to eat right or give cryptic clues about petty details. I just think their conversations would be more meaningful.
The last minute calls of those who knew they would die on Sept. 11 come to mind. None of them were saying, "Water the geraniums I gave you so you’ll always remember me." Those people who left voice mails and made cell phone calls on 9/11 were offering last messages of love and comfort, which is a no-brainer if I am a medium. "A mother figure says she loves you and don’t worry about her," is not a tough stab in the dark.
It’s funny how none of these supposed dead ever have a bad thing to say. "You know, now that I’m dead and it doesn’t matter any more, I hate you and I always did." Somehow, when we die, these spiritualists want us to believe everyone is in a happy place and lovey-dovey with everyone. Just once you think we would hear a spirit say, "You treated me rotten and I’m glad to be away from you." And with all the dead folks out there, some of them have to be holding grudges, don’t they?
Another thing, how do they make the connection so quickly? With all the area code changes recently, I wish all my phone calls to living souls went through with such ease. And why are these dead people in such a hurry? It seems when the living want more details, "Oh, there he goes." There must have been some fun cruise-ship-for-the-dead activity like cloud shuffleboard they just couldn’t miss to hang around talking to a loved one.
Logically, I think the substance and circumstances of these "conversations" are suspicious. So what does the Bible say regarding this? I found two types of examples: stories of encounters with dead people and direct instructions about seeking such conversations.
Luke 16 records Lazarus and a dead guy’s conversation. What did the dead person want to say to his living loved ones?
[BIBLICAL BRUSHES WITH THE DEAD]
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’" (Luke 16:19-31)
In 1 Samuel 28, Saul and the Witch of Endor speak to a dead Samuel. What did Samuel say? He rebuked Saul regarding his spiritual life. When Jesus was transfigured, He spoke with Moses and Elijah. They were encouraging Jesus in the godly tasks He was to undertake and then they were gone.
Each of these biblical examples of conversations with dead center on the spiritual well being of the living, not on the trivial details of living. Unlike mediums on television, some of the Bible’s dead are in hell. Those in hell want relief from their pain and to warn their loved ones of their impending doom if they do not trust Christ, not a message to let your sister have the heirloom or that the family pet is there with them on the other side. The dead are primarily concerned about the living they love and alerting them to the reality of eternity. For those with Christ, that concern for loved ones’ souls and worship of Jesus are probably their only real cares. Every dead person would want to warn their loved ones.
That’s where Satan comes into this seemingly harmless entertainment for us as onlookers as well as the manipulated participants. How DO these spiritualist know about apparently personal facts no one else could know? Mediums and spiritualists may actually tap into demonic forces that give us a scrap of truth—always Satan’s modus operandi—that makes us think it’s really our loved one speaking to us from beyond the grave. If that’s the case, Satan is purposefully trying to deceive the living into an untrue fantasy about death. There’s a bright light and there’s no pain. Down the warm tunnel I met all of my dead loved ones and we all got along (unlike at the holidays). No one is unhappy and soon you’ll be here too.
It’s a scam and it is probably the widely accepted view of death in America, if not the world. God tells us not to flirt with it:
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who
whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Now, Isaiah’s words make a bit more sense to me than these TV spookies. Watching this as entertainment is the same as getting pleasure out of seeing someone go to hell. These tearful, confused victims and even the mediums themselves are deceived and probably destined for eternal separation from God where they only too late figure out they were lied to. I can’t bear to watch it. It wasn’t as good as "CSI" anyway.