Excerpt from Chapter Ten
of The Book

Spiritual Teachings and Universal Truths

Copyright (c) 1998 by Raphael. All rights reserved.

 

The True Meaning of "Inquiring of the Dead"

 

 

 

 

      Isaiah proclaimed, "Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  Consult the message and the counsel of God."  (Isaiah 8:19)

      When you speak or write of the "dead" you are usually referring to those who have departed from the Earth and whose bodies are at "rest" in the churchyard.  You put no other meaning upon the word dead.  Death signifies to you the severance of the spirit from its Earthly body, or to the most ignorant it refers to the end of all existence. 

      The original Holy Scriptures constantly refer to "death" and to the "dead", but rarely to designate corporeal death.  The dead of whom the Bible speaks are not those whose days on Earth are over.  When the Bible mentions death it does not mean the separation of the spirit from the body, but the separation of the spirit from God.  To be united with God and to belong to Him is life.  To be severed from God is death. 

      This teaching recurs throughout the Old and the New Testament. 

      The dead are those who are severed from God, the spiritually dead, whether they are spirits in the Beyond or passing through life on Earth as men and women who have forsaken God. 

      The very first reference to death in the Bible signifies separation from God, because when God forbade the first people, dwelling in Paradise, to eat of a certain fruit, He added the warning, "For on the day you eat from that tree you shall die."  (Genesis 2:17)   It was not the death of the body that was meant by these words, but separation from God, because as you know, the first people did not suffer bodily death, but spiritual death when they had violated His Command.  By their disobedience, they went over to the side of Evil and thereby severed themselves from God. 

      When Moses, as his life on Earth drew to an end, said farewell to the people, he gave them this powerful advice, " . . . I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the curse.  Choose life, that you and your children may live, by loving the Eternal, your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to Him."  It was not terrestrial life, nor bodily death that he had set before the people, but spiritual life, which should endure while they held fast to God, and spiritual death, which would ensue at the instant of their forsaking God and severing themselves from Him. 

     He that keeps the commandments keeps his soul, but he that is disobedient and careless of his ways will die. 

      The sin of apostasy from God carries with it spiritual death.  The Apostle Paul said, "Do you not know that you are the servants of him whom you obey, either the servants of the sin which brings to you the spiritual death, or servants who obey the call of righteousness?  What fruit had you to show in those days?  Was it not of which you are now ashamed?  Is not the end of it all spiritual death?  But now, being rid of sin and having become God's children, you have fruit which makes for your sanctity, and which in the end leads to the life hereafter.  For the wages of sin is the spiritual death but God's gift of grace is a life to come."  (Romans 6:21,23)

      Not all sin leads to separation from God, but as James said, " . . . only the sin when it is full grown brings forth death."  (James 1:15)   It is not the stumbling and falling of those who believe in God and seek Him that bring forth spiritual death, because the stumbling is through human weakness and the falls are suffered on the road Godward.  But to abandon God, to turn your back upon Him, and to act as though there were no God, that is the sin which brings forth spiritual death. 

      The spiritually dead are Gods enemies.  They have placed themselves under the rule of the spirits of Evil.  They have deserted their colors and serve the Prince of Darkness.  They have chosen him as their god.  That is the meaning of the word "whoredom" which occurs so often in the Holy Writ.  Hosea proclaimed, "Their doings will not suffer them to turn unto their God, for the spirit of whoredom is within them and they know not the Lord!  And because of this spirit they are not ripe for a return to their God.  Will I ransom them from the power of Sheol (Hell); will l redeem them from death?  0 death, where are thy plagues?  0 Sheol, where is thy destruction?"  Plagues and destruction are the punishments that God visits upon apostates through the spirit powers of evil. 

      It is natural that God, Who wants only what is good in spiritual life, should have strictly forbidden all intercourse with the "dead" who are His enemies.  There is nothing good, there is no truth and no virtue, that can be learned from them. 

      Appalling were the consequences of the dealings held by the nations of old with the evil apostate spirits through the agency of low spiritualism, to which the Bible refers to as harlotry or idolatry.  There were no abominations in which the "dead" did not lead the misguided people through their human mediums.  Not only did the people eat the raw flesh of the animal offerings that had been dedicated to the demons, in token of fellowship with the latter; but they sacrificed their infant sons and daughters to the evil spirits and committed the most shameful sexual perversions as well as excruciating torture and murder of "chosen" adults at their sacrificial rites.  All of these practices were instigated by the Powers of Evil, once the people had entered into communion with them. 

      David in the Psalms said, "They joined themselves also unto Baal-Peor and ate the sacrifices of the dead.  Yea, they sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons."

      The consequences of idolatry are pictured in the Wisdom of Solomon with these words, "For while they slew their children in sacrifice, or used secret ceremonies, or made reveling of strange rites; they kept neither lives nor marriage any longer undefiled; but either one slew another traitorously, or grieved him by adultery.  So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, and shameless uncleanness.  For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end of all evil.  For either they are mad when they are merry, or prophecy lies, or live unjustly, or else lightly forswear themselves."

      When you read of these things you may be led to conclude that those people acted in that manner because they were no longer in their right minds.  They were, nevertheless, as normal as you are today.  But such is the power of evil, and so subtle are its ways of misleading people, that those who have once fallen into its snares find it almost impossible to extricate themselves from them.  Of all the weapons of the Powers of Darkness, the mightiest is a mixture of truth and falsehood. 

      The evil spirits convinced those who communicated with them by "inquiring of the dead" that animals, the sun, the moon and the stars were the embodiment of mighty spirits which had great power over men, and could shape their fortunes for good or ill, and that, in consequence, these beasts and heavenly bodies must be worshipped in order to ensure worldly well-being and to avert calamity.  They taught, furthermore, that communication with them could be had by means of sacrifices, particularly by the sacrifice of children. 

      This doctrine was true to the extent that it taught that spirits are incorporated in all material things, and also, that communication can be had with these spirits through sacrificial offerings.  The fatal underlying falsehood was that the spirits of the Lower World were powerful benevolent spirits, having the good of their worshippers at heart.  Once the evil spirits had impressed their followers with this belief, the step to human sacrifice was a short one.  The parents of a child marked for sacrifice were told that after its death, its spirit would constantly hover about them and bring them good fortune, but that both they and their child were doomed to the direst misfortune should they refuse to allow it to be offered to the idols.  Obsessed, as they were, they always gave way in the end. 

      You need not wonder at this, because during the rites performed before the idols and at idolatrous gatherings generally, the evil spirits announced these doctrines through their trance-mediums and supported them by the exhibition of miracles that accompanied their discourse.  Frequently, the idols themselves spoke.  Such speech was a "direct voice" produced by the low spirit world with the aid of the spiritual energy of the offerings and that of the mediums in attendance. 

     The cause of apostasy from God was then, as it is now, the craving for worldly success and prosperity, but in those days all of the prerequisites for communicating with the spirit world were well known, while today they have fallen into oblivion.  Consequently, apostasy manifested itself in those times not only in inward defection from God, but in deliberately fostered obvious communication with the evil spirit world, held through spiritistic idol-worship.  Seeking unto the "dead" was as much a part of the daily lives of the worldly minded, as was seeking unto God an integral part of the worship of the faithful.  The messages sent by the "dead" through their mediums were meant to encourage the human vices of the recipients, who heard nothing but what was agreeable to them and who had no desire to listen to God's instruments, the good mediums. 

            It was only what would please them that they wanted to hear, especially such things as would further their worldly interests, as King Saul wanted when consulting the witch of Endor who summoned the spirit of the prophet Samuel.  Good spirits will not allow themselves to be summoned at the whim and pleasure of men.  They come of their own accord with God's sanction, or in certain cases, at His express command.  But they come only to those who seek unto God, in order that they may point out the way to Him.  Which particular one of the good spirits is to manifest itself is not for man to determine, but rests with the good spirit world.  It is also true that of the evil spirits, not always those whose visit people desire are allowed to appear, because they too may communicate only by permission.  They will, however, invariably claim to be the ones that were summoned, whether or not this is true, because they are spirits of falsehood whose only concern is to tell their listeners what these would like to hear. 

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Biblical Accounts of Mediums


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