As discussed, humans are able to communicate with both good spirits and evil spirits. The former is a source of truth and encouraged as inquiring of God. The latter is forbidden, for it is contacting the spiritually dead – evil spirits – and will tend to lead the participants away from God and into deception and idolatry. The Bible gives ample examples of spirit communication of both kinds. Let’s look here at the Old Testament spirit communication
In Amos 2:11, we read “I [God] raised up some of your sons as prophets and some of your young men to be dedicated to God.” From the opening passages of the Bible onward, we read that God conversed with mortals – Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and others. How did this occur?
Process of Old Testament Spirit Communication
All life, in both the material world and in the world of spirit, is bound up with and powered by the odic force, or life force, which pervades everything. This is the most powerful force in Creation, and it is the force by the means of which God, from whom this force emanates, can control all things. It is the means by which He and His spirit world perform what to us appears as miracles. Used by the evil spirit world, it is the force that enables the magician to perform deceptive superhuman feats or dumb idols to speak. It was with this force that Jesus Christ healed the sick and raised the “dead” – those whose silver cord holding the soul and body together had not yet been severed. With this force Jesus also cast out the evil spirits from those possessed of them and performed other miracles.
For most of the spirit manifestations of which the Bible speaks, mention is made only of the fact of such communication. Little or nothing is said about the accompanying phenomena. Nevertheless, there are instances in which the employment of od is expressly mentioned – often as a flame or a cloud.
Genesis 15:17 says: “When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces [of cut-up animals].” This happened while the Lord was speaking with Abraham. The odic current, when only slightly condensed, looks like a cloud of smoke and has a reddish-yellow gleam in the dark, like a flame of fire.
The story of Moses is full of examples. In Exodus 3:2 we read: “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame of fire leaping up from a thorn bush: when he looked, he saw the thorn bush ablaze with fire, yet not being consumed by it.” It had to have been night when Moses saw this spectacle, for in the daytime, the od would have looked not like a flame, but like a cloudlet enfolding the bush. This is confirmed by the account in Exodus 13:21-22: “The Lord went before them, in a column of cloud by day, to show them the way, and in a column of fire by night, to shine for them, so that they might travel both by day and by night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people.” The cloud of od, both in the case of the thorn bush and in guiding the Israelites, formed the odic shell that surrounded the angel of the Lord and that the angel needed to become perceptible to humans.
Whenever the Old Testament mentions a column of cloud, it is always in connection with some activity on the part of one of God’s spirits. “Then the angel of God who had traveled in front of the army of Israel up to this point shifted position and moved to their rear; consequently, the column of cloud moved from before them to behind them.” (Exodus 14:19). “As soon as Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at the entrance of the tent, as long as the Lord was speaking to Moses.” (Exodus 33: 9). “Then Moses called together seventy men from among the elders of the people, and had them stand all around the tent. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke to him.” (Numbers 11: 24-25).
On Mount Sinai, when the Lord wanted to speak with Moses in tones loud enough for all the people to hear, He said to Moses: “This time I will make the cloud thicker yet, so that all the people may hear me speaking to you and believe you forever.” (Exodus 19:9). This indicates that the cloud of od was necessary to enable the Lord to speak to man, and the denser the od, the louder the sounds produced by means of the odic force. When, therefore, the Lord appeared upon Mount Sinai amid a mighty blare of trumpets, the odic force had to be correspondingly strong. Hence we are told: “And the mount of Sinai was completely wrapped in smoke, as the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke rose like smoke from a smelting furnace, and the whole mountain quaked. And the sound of the trumpets became louder and louder. Moses spoke and the Lord answered him in a loud voice.” (Exodus 19: 18-19).
The flames in the thorn bush, the pillar of cloud, the breastplate of judgment, and the other things in the Bible connected with communications of the spirit world with mankind were essential conductors for the “telephone conversations” from the Hereafter to the here. They constituted the bridge over which God’s spirits traveled to reach the people of those times. Without that bridge, they could not have come. The material contributed by terrestrial beings was the odic force, and it became visible to everyone. In the same way, odic force was required for constructing the material form of the many spirit materializations in those days. The sources of odic force for the spirit communications recorded in the Bible were, just as they are today, mediums.
Old Testament Communication through Prophets
The Old Testament frequently mentions “prophets” and even “prophet schools”. The word “prophet” is understood to designate someone who can foretell the future. In reality, a prophet is a person through whom not his own, but a foreign spirit speaks. It was in this sense that the Apostle Paul later wrote of “spirits of prophets”(I Corinthians 14: 32). A person who was called a prophet in biblical times would today be known as a medium. If the spirits that speak through prophets are spirits of truth, they are called “true prophets”. If, however, lying or evil spirits use the prophets, the Bible speaks of them as “false prophets”.
All the great personalities of the Old and the New Testament were mediums. Abraham and Moses were already mentioned with specific examples. In very ancient times mediums were called “seers” because they generally possessed the gift of clairvoyance in addition to their other mediumistic abilities. The word “prophet” is a later coinage. “Formerly, in Israel, when one went to consult God, one used the expression: Come, let us go to the ‘seer’, for persons now called ‘prophets’ were formerly called ‘seers’.” (I Samuel 9:6-9). That is how Saul and his servant happened to go to the house of Samuel, who too was a medium, and more.
Samuel was not only a medium himself, but also the head of a “medium school” in Ramah. In those days these schools were called “prophet schools”. When Saul had reached Gibeah on his way home after seeing Samuel, just as Samuel predicted would happen, he came across a group of mediums. They were in a state of trance, and through them spirits were sounding praises of the Lord. Saul, too, fell into a trance, and a spirit came into him. (I Samuel 10:10).
In the times of Elijah and Elisha there was a medium school in every large town, as in Ramah, Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and others. The student prophets under Elisha were so numerous that their places of assembly could no longer hold them, and so one day they said to him: “This room where we sit before you for instruction is, as you can see for yourself, too small for us. Let us therefore go to the Jordan, and each of us get a log, to build a dwelling place for ourselves there.’ And he answered: ‘Yes, go!’ (II Kings 6: 1-2).
Divine service was the most important part of the curriculum in the medium schools. The objectives were to bring the mediums being developed there – or “student prophets” as they were called in those days – into sincere communion with God in their whole inner attitude and to establish an unshakeable belief and trust in God as the foundation upon which their mediumistic abilities could develop. In this way they would become qualified to serve their fellowmen as worthy instruments of God and His world of spirits, for the dangers that threatened mediums in those times were the same as they are today.
False Prophets in Old Testament Times
The greatest danger to godly prophets, then as in all ages, was the craving for honor and money. Mediums were highly regarded. Not only did the worldly rulers try to have numerous mediums, but many well-to-do families kept a medium, whom they called priest, in their employ for consulting the Beyond. These mediums were given valuable presents and their entire livelihood.
An example of this is in the Judges 17:1-13. A man named Micah restored to his mother the money he had taken from her, part of which she used to have a “carved and molded Divine image” made, which was installed in Micah’s house. Micah appointed one of his sons to serve him as a priest. He also induced a Levite from Bethlehem to serve him in the same capacity, saying unto him: ‘Stay with me, be my father and priest; I will give you ten shekels of silver every year and provide for your clothing and livelihood.’ When he further encouraged him, the Levite agreed to live with the man.” What is in some Bibles translated as a “carved and molded Divine image” (v. 4) were in fact two parts of a planchette – an instrument used to receive messages from the spirit world.
It is humanly understandable that the mediums made every effort to remain in the good graces of those with whom they lived, and therein lay the great danger. In their desire to transmit only agreeable tidings to their employers, they sometimes did not hesitate to conceal unpleasant truths from them and to utter falsehoods. By doing so, they became lying prophets, thus severing their connection with the good spirit world and becoming instruments of evil, even though for the sake of appearances they invoked the name of God when engaged in their mediumistic work.
Mediums who were in the service of worldly masters were especially prone to yield to this temptation, as shown by the story of King Ahab (I Kings 22). Here 400 mediums conspired to tell the king nothing but agreeable news. They thus cut themselves off from the spirits of truth, knowingly making themselves the instruments of lying spirits. Naturally, they feared that their falsehood would be exposed if the king consulted a medium of the good spirit world. Therefore, when Ahab summoned Micaiah, the other mediums sent a messenger to intercept Micaiah with instructions to persuade him to enter into the plot. Micaiah, however, warned Ahab of impending disaster, as the spirit of God had told him, whereupon one of the lying prophets struck Micaiah on the cheek, saying: “What? Did perhaps a spirit of the Lord leave me to speak through you?” This is an example of an utterly corrupt prophethood resorting to falsehood and deceit for the sake of riches and worldly honor, but which, nevertheless, gave the impression of being an instrument of God.
Mediumship of this nature, especially under the patronage of kings estranged from God, was bound to be disastrous to the whole nation, as it aligned itself with undisguised idolatry. They were exceedingly numerous and became known as “prophets of Baal”. At times there were scarcely any good mediums left. Thus it is said of the time of the High Priest Eli: “At the time when young Samuel served the Lord under Eli’s supervision revelations from the Lord were rare in Israel.” (I Samuel 3: 1). The prophet Elijah, as the only prophet of God in his time, confronted on Mount Carmel 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (I Kings 18:16-40).
The prophet Micah pinpointed the problem: “Thus the Lord spoke against the prophets who lead my people astray, who predict good fortune when they get food to eat, but preach holy war on any who refuse to feed them…. ‘Their prophets are divining for money, and all the while calling upon the Lord.’” (Micah 3:5,11). About the false female mediums, the Lord spoke through the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man, face the women of your country who only act as prophets on their own discretion; speak out against them, and say: ‘Thus saith God the Lord: Woe to the women that sew bindings for all wrists, and make hoods of an appropriate size to capture souls. You are stealing souls from me. You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and for a bite of bread in order to slay souls that should not die, by lying to my people, who like listening to lies.’” (Ezekiel 13:17-19).
The Bible gives no description of medium schools conducted by idolatrous priests because the development of “Baal’s mediums” took place at the general gatherings held to pay homage to idols. No special form of development is required to serve evil ends. This comes about by itself, for “Man is inclined to evil from the days of his youth.” (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). But to attain what is good and pleasing to God requires effort and struggles, and for this, special preparation is imperative. Hence, such preparation was necessary for mediums who had resolved to become instruments of the Divine will only. They were educated at the “prophet schools”, as related in the Bible, under the guidance and spiritual leadership of men of God, like Samuel, Elijah and Elisha.
Reference, and parts adapted from: Johannes Greber, Communication with the Spirit World (translated from German original, copyright 1932, with subsequent translations and revisions.), pages 62-86 and 127-142.
Images courtesy of the following at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/:
Flame: Dr. Joseph Valks
Mountain in cloud: tuelekza
Header Photo: Dr. Zsolt Zatrok
For background information, go to Forms of Mediumship.