Beginning of the End


Ancient and Modern Spiritualism

The Scripture account of Saul’s visit to the woman of Endor puzzles many students of the Bible. Some say that Samuel was actually present, but the Bible gives evidence for the opposite conclusion. BOE 345.1

If Samuel was in heaven, he must have been called from there either by God or by Satan. No one can believe for a moment that Satan had power to call the prophet from heaven to honor the magic spells of a lawless woman. Nor can we conclude that God summoned him to the witch’s cave, for the Lord had already refused to communicate with Saul by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets. BOE 345.2

The message itself shows where it came from. Its purpose was not to lead Saul to repent, but to urge him on to ruin. This is not the work of God, but of Satan. In addition, Scripture cites the act of Saul in consulting a sorceress as one reason why he was rejected by God: “Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13, 14). Saul did not communicate with Samuel, God’s prophet, but with Satan. Satan could not present the real Samuel, but a counterfeit that served his purpose of trickery. BOE 345.3

In ancient times sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief that one could talk with the dead. Those who practiced these arts claimed to obtain a knowledge of future events through departed spirits. “When they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19). BOE 345.4

The gods of the heathen were believed to be the spirits of departed heroes who had risen to the level of gods, so the religion of the heathen was a worship of the dead. Speaking of the apostasy of the Israelites, the psalmist says, “They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead” (Psalm 106:28), that is, offered to the dead. BOE 345.5

In nearly every system of heathenism, the dead were believed to reveal their will to human beings, and also, when consulted, to give them counsel. Even in so-called Christian lands, the practice of talking with beings claiming to be the spirits of the dead has become widespread. Spirit beings sometimes appear in the form of deceased friends and tell personal experiences from their lives and do things that they did while alive. In this way they lead people to believe that their dead friends are angels. For many people, what they hear from this supposed dead loved ones has greater weight than the Word of God. BOE 345.6

Many regard spiritualism as a hoax and its phenomena as fake. But while it is true that the results of trickery have often been passed off as genuine, there have also been striking evidences of supernatural power. And many who reject spiritualism as human deceit will be led to admit its claims when they are confronted with manifestations that they cannot explain. BOE 346.1

Modern spiritualism and ancient witchcraft—both claiming communion with the dead as their most important principle—are based on that first lie by which Satan deceived Eve in Eden: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it ... you will be like God.” (Genesis 3:4, 5). Based on falsehood, both modern spiritualism and ancient witchcraft are from the father of lies. BOE 346.2

God said: “The dead know nothing. ... Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6). “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalm 146:4 KJV). The Lord declared to Israel: “The person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.” (Leviticus 20:6). BOE 346.3

The “familiar spirits” were not the spirits of the dead, but evil angels, the messengers of Satan. The psalmist, speaking of Israel, says that “they even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,” and in the next verse he explains that they sacrificed them “to the idols of Canaan.” (Psalm 106:37, 38). In their supposed worship of the dead, they were actually worshiping demons. BOE 346.4