Fallen man has great curiosity concerning the future. If only we could know what would happen in the future, we could take preventive measures to mitigate pitfalls ahead and avoid tragedy. We know hindsight is perfect so we pay premium for certainty.
Everyone wishes to avoid trouble and desires prosperity, wealth and health. Hence, fortune telling is a big business. This explains why horoscopes and geomancy are so popular because man fears the unknown. If only someone could tell you about the future, you could live your life with peace of mind expecting all is well in every aspect in life. This is quite close to buying insurance to insure your future is paved with health and wealth and a life of ease.
There are some people who market themselves with such special gifts and talent to help insecure souls find their ways around in this life. So such people who claim to have access to the spirit world are much sought after especially by those who are facing troubles in life.
These people with special talent could reveal information to poor seekers that could be very real and convincing because they possess so much intimate details about the seekers through spirits of another world. As such, these seekers are taken in swallowing hook, line and sinker concerning everything these people also known as mediums have to tell them. This is a very dangerous path to take in surrendering one’s critical thinking to such mediums and of course eventually, the pied piper must be paid.
In the Old Testament, these people with special gifts and talent are those with familiar spirits. Consulting familiar spirit is expressly forbidden under the Old Testament.
Leviticus 19:31: Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
This commandment is given for a reason. Those who have familiar spirits are definitely some people with insights ordinary people do not possess. These people are possessed with familiar spirits that would know about the seeker, his circumstances, his family and friends and many other details in his life. He would prove to be so convincing to the seeker that the seeker will listen and obey what this person with familiar spirit would tell him to perform.
This would ultimately lead the person away from the Lord. Violation of this commandment attracts serious consequence.
Leviticus 20:6: 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 among his people.
Death penalty awaits those with familiar spirits under the Jewish penal code. The state has a duty to carry out such execution on behalf of Jehovah God.
Leviticus 20:27: 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.
Deuteronomy 18:9: When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deuteronomy 18:10: 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,
Deuteronomy 18:11: Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deuteronomy 18:12: 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.
So these people with special talent did get executed in Israel even under the reign of king Saul. Ironically, in his moment of desperation, king Saul went to consult one such person with a familiar spirit.
1 Samuel 28:3: 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.
1 Samuel 28:7: 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.
1 Samuel 28:8: 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.
1 Samuel 28:9: 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?
King Saul was about to face the Philistines in battle and he was truly desperate. Usually, the king could get confirmation from Jehovah God what step to take before a battle but the Lord was ignoring him. Prophet Samuel who anointed him to be the first king of Israel had died. He had no one else to turn to for direction and assurance of victory against the Philistines.
Not knowing the future was a serious trouble for this commander in chief. Under the leadership of Jehovah God, the children of Israel had never lost a battle. The soldiers could go into battlefields with full confidence assured of victory because the God of Israel would fight for them.
Now king Saul was without divine illumination and assistance. His future was definitely bleak. Lacking military intelligence was a serious matter. So desperate times called for desperate measures. But he resorted to violating the commandments of the Lord in seeking a person with a familiar spirit to reveal to him the future and what he had to do before the battle with the Philistines.
1 Samuel 28:10: And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
1 Samuel 28:11: Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
1 Samuel 28:12: 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.
1 Samuel 28:13: 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.
1 Samuel 28:14: 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.
1 Samuel 28:15: 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.
1 Samuel 28:16: Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
1 Samuel 28:17: 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:
1 Samuel 28:18: 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.
1 Samuel 28:19: 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.
1 Samuel 28:20: 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.
Here was a case of necromancy.
This woman with a familiar spirit was taken in for a ride. Her standard operating procedures for this out of the world transaction was beyond her expectation. It was one of those business dealings she was familiar with but this time, it was her business partner, the familiar spirit failed to turn up for work.
So this woman with a familiar spirit was shocked. She realized king Saul had lied to her. Her usual trade was interrupted by divine intervention. The familiar spirit she was so familiar with went into vacation mode. She was treading on new territory and her familiar spirit became unfamiliar this moment. The Lord supernaturally allowed Samuel to be disturbed from his rest to return to this world and spoke with king Saul. Samuel’s condemnation of king Saul was quick and swift.
How does it work for those with a familiar spirit? Such a person would be a willing vessel for a familiar spirit to indwell him or her from time to time. When a seeker sought his expertise to communicate with someone from the dead, the familiar spirit would go to work. The familiar spirit could convince and reveal to the seeker he was the dead person the seeker was looking for. This familiar spirit is actually an imposter.
How would the familiar spirit know so much about the seeker? The Scriptures called such spirits familiar spirits for a reason. In fact these spirits are so familiar with the seeker that intimate details of the seeker that even the seeker’s parents or spouse would not know could be revealed to gain the seeker’s trust. These spirits are not human that came into this world with an expiry date. They have been around since the beginning of time.
Once the seeker believes the revelation from the familiar spirit, he would be drawn away from the Lord God of Israel. Hence, consulting with familiar spirits are forbidden in the Bible. It has been unequivocally condemned and punishments meted out to those who violate this law of God. So king Saul was executed for this transgression against Jehovah God.
1 Chronicles 10:13: 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 enquire of it;
1 Chronicles 10:14: And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
It is not possible for the living to communicate with the dead. Those with familiar spirits could however, act as imposters to lie to anyone seeking such special service. The case of king Saul managed to communicate with Samuel who had died was a case of divine intervention that even the woman with a familiar spirit was shocked. She would not be so terrified had it been a normal event with her usual business dealings with seekers that came to her for her service.
More importantly, it is the scriptures that confirmed Samuel speaking to king Saul. This was not the work of the familiar spirit. This was a one time incident to condemn the practice of necromancy.
Throughout the history of the children of Israel, one of the pet peeves Jehovah God had with them was concerning their rebellion in turning to false spirits and worshipped false gods. The children of Israel sought to communicate with another world via other agents rather than going to the God of Israel.
2 Kings 21:6: And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
2 Chronicles 33:6: And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Isaiah 8:19: 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?
Isaiah 19:3: And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.
Isaiah 29:4: 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.
Nevertheless, under the reign of righteous kings, they did execute judgment on such wicked people and one such king was king Josiah.
2 Kings 23:24: Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
Any fallen man would be impressed and convinced if you as a total stranger could reveal to him his personal secrets and circumstances no one else knew. Nathanael believing the Lord Jesus Christ who told him He saw him under a fig tree before meeting him is a case in point.
John 1:46: And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
John 1:47: Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
John 1:48: Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
John 1:49: Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
John 1:50: Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
Can you imagine how convincing familiar spirits would be who know so much about you, your friends and family and your circumstances and tell you things that would astound you? Won’t you listen to him and obey him what he would tell you to do?
Decades ago, I know of this church going person who went to Bible College. He spent four years and graduated and then returned to his home country. However, he left church shortly after and as far as I know, no church members could locate him. I went to his home but his family told me there was no such person. After a while, he opened the windows and saw me and then let me into his house.
We talked and he told me stuff that were ridiculous. He was disillusioned and unhappy with his Bible College experience. I knew he wasn’t having a good time with poor health and unable to cope with class and financially in trouble as well. But what troubled me was his revelation that he went to consult a medium after returning home.
The medium could tell him so much details about his past experiences and pointed out incidents where people wanted to harm him and even mentioned that one such person tried to poison him during a barbeque dinner. All these I believe are his vain imaginations and the medium simply confirmed them for him. Familiar spirits are very familiar with the person they are dealing with and it is not funny at all.
So he got what he wanted to believe and he listened to the medium who recommended he changed his name. No wonder church members could not locate him and especially with the help of family members confirming there was no such person residing there at his last known address.
Hence, I asked him about doctrines concerning salvation. He no longer believed salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Works would be necessary and other religions help too. So simply be a good person and perhaps you could make it. This was very sad revelation for a person who graduated with a Bible degree from a Bible College.
As such, I put to him this question: Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh?
He looked on the floor and refused to answer.
I pressed him a few more times for an answer and he finally told me no.
So that was it. It was no longer necessary to continue our conversation. And that was the last time I last met him more than two decades ago. The Bible tells us to try the spirits and that was what I did.
1 John 4:1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1 John 4:2: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1 John 4:3: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Since this person had another spirit, in particular, the spirit of antichrist, there was no point in debating him to bring him to his sense. In fact, in the beginning, some church members were already in doubt whether he was a suitable candidate for Bible College. His academic performance was pretty bad as far as we know and his salvation experience was not very impressive to begin with as he actually had trouble verbalizing and communicating well in English.
In addition, there was a strange spirit about him who was usually quiet and in fact strange. One time while he was in Bible College, he wrote a letter to a local preacher to beware of this foreign missionary calling the missionary a red hair monkey, a derogatory term in the Hokkien dialect close to the Chinese calling Caucasians foreign devils. Of course the gist of the letter was to warn the local preacher not to trust foreigners who were here on the mission field with ulterior motives.
The local preacher betrayed him and passed the letter to this missionary. This missionary met him back in Bible College with a hug and all was forgiven. Could a saved Christian behave that way, especially one who was pursuing a Bible education intending to be a preacher? Ignoring such red flags was not wise.
It is sad that missionaries sometimes take profession of faith for granted simply because the new “Christian” attends church and is active in activities. How much do they know about such new converts? Is the gospel message in English clearly understood by these English second language people? It is nice to write glowing reports from the mission fields regarding sinners converting to Christ and Christians surrendering to serve the Lord. But this may not always be the case with facts on the ground.
So we have this convert who went through Bible College and eventually rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and the pure gospel of Christ. What made it more frightening and tragic was he went to consult a medium just like king Saul went to a woman with a familiar spirit. This spiritual warfare is not an academic exercise. It is very real and many casualties have littered this earth for centuries.
In the Old Testament, believers are told not to consult a person with a familiar spirit. The consequence for the children of Israel who violated this commandment is death. In the New Testament, Christians are warned about seducing spirits. However, no powers are given to the Church to mete out judgment like those given to the State of Israel on such people. New Testament Christians are just warned to take heed about such Satanic activities and avoid them.
1 Timothy 4:1: 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;
So some will indeed depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits. They will be sucked into doctrines of devils. As Christians, we are to discern between the spirit of truth and spirit of error.
1 John 4:6: We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
If Christians are careless, they could become victims to seducing spirits. Christians cannot afford to be ignorant because there is a spirit working in the children of disobedience. We are living in perilous times and in a dangerous world.
Ephesians 2:2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
The Holy Bible has already revealed our glorious future. We need not seek to know the future by other means from the spirit world. The Holy Spirit who indwells us will lead us into all truths and not error.
John 16:13: 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.
1 John 2:20: But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
1 John 2:26: These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
1 John 2:27: But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
So listen to no other voice other than the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 10:27: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Are you one of the Lord’s sheep?