Deceased people and Familiar Spirits
Safe Harbor Ministries
Safe Harbor Ministries
- In scripture: Luke 13:28 and 16:19-31, it is evident that those in hell could see others in paradise (Abraham’s bosom). That was part of their torment. But the reverse was not true—those in heaven weren’t allowed to look down on earth or hell because there are no tears or sorrow in heaven. If departed Christians could see the human condition on earth, it would be heartbreaking; for them to see the torment in hell would be unbearable. In hell, there is separation from all good. In heaven, there is total separation from all evil. “A deceased person’s involvement with the living is sometimes viewed by us as what is necessary to convict a hardened sinner. If we are not convinced by Jesus’ resurrection, a visit beyond the grave by a loved one would be denied also” (Matthew Henry commentary).
- It is not a function of deceased Christians (in heaven) to pray. Christians are commanded to pray many times in the Word of God. If perfected saints in heaven were able to pray, there would be no need for our imperfect prayers here on earth. Their prayers would suffice. Angels assist in taking our prayers to God and bringing the answers from Him back down to us (Rev. 8: 3-5).
- Hebrews 12:1 speaks of a cloud of witnesses. According to scripture, this group is made up of the “heroes of the faith” (Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, etc., as described in Heb. 11: 30-40). Our deceased loved ones are not in the cloud of witnesses; therefore, generally speaking, they are not looking on as we live our lives. The cloud of witnesses is to serve as inspiration to us by their earthly example.
- There are no Biblical accounts of deceased saints being concerned about their loved ones back on earth. The chasm between heaven and earth cannot be breached by departed Christians or departed heathen—only by angels and demons. The deceased are not allowed to speak to humans, visit humans, or visit earth for any reason. They do not need anything from us nor do they have anything to offer us—no comfort, encouragement, or ability to strengthen. That is the function of the Holy Spirit and why He was sent to the Body of Christ. Therefore, any “presence” of the deceased that a person may feel at a funeral or at any other time, is a familiar spirit/ghost (a demon familiar with that person’s life). Familiar spirits can imitate a person’s voice, appearance, and activities. They are “familiar” with the entire history of the deceased person, therefore they are privy to knowledge that only that person may have had (like the combination of a safe, a family secret, etc.). A favorite deception of the enemy is to have familiar spirits speak through those who “channel” spirits in order to convince the family/loved ones that the actual person is speaking to them from the great beyond. In actuality, the “medium” is allowing a demonic familiar spirit to use their mind, body, and speech to cruelly deceive the loved ones seeking to contact the deceased. When an ungodly soul tie of longing exists with a deceased loved one, ask the Lord to sever it with the sword of the Spirit. Great relief and release will result.
- What about Saul contacting Samuel from the dead in I Samuel 28? A familiar spirit impersonated Samuel when Saul asked the witch of Endor to conjure him. Only the witch saw Samuel. Saul did not see Samuel. Why would God allow a witch to access a prophet who was deceased? Look at the fruit of the meeting. “The conversation with the familiar spirit pointed Saul toward despair and suicide, not hope and repentance like a true prophet would. Samuel had already prophesied over Saul when he was alive. Saul didn’t seek Samuel prior to his death; why consult him after death? The apparition told Saul that he was Samuel. Satan knows how to speak with an air of religion (religious spirit) to deceive. He speaks “good words” with a malicious design” (Matthew Henry).
- A key to identifying the presence of familiar spirits is that they whisper and murmur (Is. 8:19; 28:4).
- In the account of the transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13, Moses and Elijah did indeed appear with Jesus. At the time, Moses was in Abraham’s bosom (not heaven) and Elijah never saw death (caught up in a fiery chariot). The purpose of their appearance was a unique moment in time which God orchestrated in order to confirm the ministry of Christ. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented the prophetic. For them all three to appear together dispelled any misconception that Jesus was Elijah or Moses. But the higher purpose was for God to reveal that the “law” and the “prophetic” both came together to signify that this was truly His Son, come to earth to fulfill both.