As mentioned in the article, Nature of Inspiration, spirit communication or spiritualism is not a recent phenomenon, but spirits have always manifested to humans in one way or another. The continuity of life was understood, as was the communication of spirits. However, the state church tended to suppress such knowledge.
It is true that spirits can both help and harm humans, therefore it is important to test the spirits as the Bible exhorts. Even good spirits may have limited understanding as far as the true nature of the Kingdom of God and the development and transformation of the soul from the image of God into Divine Substance through Divine Love is concerned. Spirits as teachers of spiritual truth should understand that Jesus is the best beloved son of God who at his coming to earth brought the knowledge of the restored availability of the Divine Love to humanity, as well as teaching and showing the way by which Divine Love may be obtained.
Spirit-human communication is not only possible, it has happened in the past, is happening in the present, and will no doubt continue happening in the future. It is true, however, that the Bible speaks against certain kind of spirit communication, while encouraging and giving examples of another. What is the difference and how can we be sure we stay on the right path?
Forbidden Spirit Communication
Soon after leaving Egypt, Israel was given several injunctions regarding a certain kind of spirit communication. “Do not go to mediums who conjure up the dead or to fortune-tellers; do not consult them so that you may not be defiled by them. I am the Lord, your God.” (Leviticus 19: 31). “If anyone consults a medium who conjures up the dead or a fortune-teller to practice idolatry with them, I will turn against that person and drive him out from my people.’ (Leviticus 20: 6). “A man or a woman who has within them a spirit conjured up from the dead or a fortune-teller spirit shall surely be put to death; they should be stoned. Blood guilt weighs heavily upon them.” (Leviticus 20:27).
The Israelites had acquired the practice of inquiring of the spiritually “dead” in Egypt and many of them had succumbed to idolatry there. That is why the prohibition against inquiring of the dead was necessary if they were to become people of God.
Who are “the Dead”?
What does the Bible mean by “the dead”? It does not always mean spirits that have become separated from the body by mortal death, but rather those who are spiritually dead. “Death”, according to the Scriptures, can also mean the separation from God. The “dead” are therefore those who have been separated from God because of their unbelief and defection. They are the spirits of darkness. The “kingdom of the dead” is the realm of the opponents of God, the realm of lies, deception and disaster.
The above passages show that the men and women who conjured up the dead were mediums through whom evil spirits spoke. Their “blood guilt” wasn’t actual bloodshed or physical killing. Rather it was spiritual slaying, or estrangement from God. The conjurers of the dead had incurred blood guilt because they had brought those who came to them into communication with evil spirits, thus leading them away from God and committing them to spiritual death.
The necromancers of old were generally recognized as being, knowingly and deliberately, in communication with the Powers of Darkness — the demons. Hence God’s stringent command voiced in the Old Testament, to root out the necromancers from among the people.
According to the Scriptures there is a kingdom of the “dead” and a kingdom of the “living”. It is within our power to communicate with spirits in either of these kingdoms. We can seek counsel of the “spiritually dead” — in which case we would be consulting evil spirits. Or, we may turn to the “living” in the Beyond, which would be seeking counsel from the good spirit world, or, as the Bible puts it: “inquiring of God”. “When someone tells you to consult necromancers, ask them if a people should not rather consult their God. Why should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8: 19). “Ask me [God] about things to come!” (Isaiah 45: 11)
There is, therefore, only one clearly defined kind of communication with spirits that the Scriptures forbid, namely, communication with the evil spirits. On the other hand it is the duty of humankind to seek communion with God and with the good spirit world.
If, therefore, we, as faithful servants of God, or, at least, as honest seekers after the truth, try to get into touch with the good spirit world, we are committing no sin, but rather obeying one of God’s commandments. It is an important commandment, for only through contact with the good spirit world can we arrive at the truth. There is no other way.
For this reason, nowhere in the entire Scriptures are the seekers after truth told to go for guidance to their fellowman, but always to God and His spirits. This holds true also for the New Testament. At the time of Jesus’ departure from the earth, there were many things which he still wanted to tell his followers and which they couldn’t as yet understand. These matters were to be more fully explained to them later, however not by any human agency, but through God’s spirits, which Christ would send them as messengers of the truth, whose actions would be discernible by the human senses. “You shall see God’s spirits ascending and descending.” (John 1: 51)
Reference, and parts adapted from: Johannes Greber, Communication with the Spirit World (translated from German original, copyright 1932, with subsequent translations and revisions, pp. 2-6 and 149-160.)
Related articles on this website:
Our Spirit Helpers and Guides
Nature of Inspiration
Old Testament Spirit Communication
New Testament Spirit Communication
For background information, go to Forms of Mediumship