Signs from Beyond the Grave?

February 27, 2019 at 11:21 am | Posted in Q&A | 2 Comments
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Question: Some people (even Christians), when they have lost a loved one, believe they are getting “signs” from that person. Am I closed-minded to think that this can’t be true? I just don’t see God letting someone come back to earth to make an object move by itself across the room, or perform some other “trick.” Our final destination is either Heaven or hell. There is no in-between, right? I guess some people feel so much grief, that maybe the idea of a “sign” from their loved one brings comfort. Is there Scripture on this?

Answer: When this happens, I don’t think the person grieving his lost loved one is really thinking correctly about what he is feeling or thinks he’s seeing. The Bible says that, for a Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:6-8), so you are correct in saying there is no “in-between.” When someone dies, his or her soul and consciousness go directly to Heaven or hell (Hebrews 9:27).

It’s hard, because when a person is seriously grieving, we have a tendency to be glad when they find any sort of comfort. “If it makes them feel better or helps them get through it, where’s the harm?” we tend to think. The problem is, like you said, nothing in the Bible says this is okay. In fact, it’s really the opposite: Job 7:9-10; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; Psalm 146:4. And we are even warned not to get involved with attempting to communicate with people who have died: Isaiah 8:19-20; Leviticus 19:31; I John 4:1,4.

Finally, it may sound harsh, but I do not really think that, once we get to Heaven, and especially once we see Jesus face to face, we will even have a desire to come back to this world to visit our loved ones or to try to make them feel better. They are supposed to be finding their comfort in Christ through His Spirit (Philippians 4:19), anyway, not from mysteriously mobile objects or spooky feelings or rainbows or old notes stowed away in dresser drawers. In the passages in the Bible which describe Heaven, the focus is always on the Lord and the worship of Him, not on what we left behind.

We should really pray for pastoral staff members who are counseling and helping people grieving over the death of a loved one. It is very easy to say the wrong thing, and there is always a temptation just to let them take comfort in whatever seems to work, but these “signs” and “messages” and “visions” can easily become an unhealthy fixation. In the Bible, the spirits of the dead were referred to as “familiar” spirits, which means people wrongly associated them with “family” members who had died. Of course, Satan can take advantage of this and prey on people’s emotions (II Corinthians 11:14-15), so it’s better to deal in truth even when we’re trying to deal with someone who is very distraught.

The Psychic Hotline May be Hotter than You Think

August 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Q&A, Where There's a Way There's a Will | 4 Comments
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Question: (1) Are mediums and psychics really communicating with the spirits of dead people, or with demons? (2) Based on Deuteronomy 29:29, is it okay to even ask this question?

Answer: I tend to think the majority of “mediums” and “psychics” are really con artists that prey on gullible (sometimes desperate and distraught) people who want some type of closure with a deceased loved one, or some kind of hope that their future is going to be okay. However, the Bible does not rule out the possibility that some of them could be communicating with demons, either willfully or unwittingly. Satan is a great deceiver, and he would like for people to look anywhere besides the Bible for comfort, guidance, and truth. Possibly for both of these reasons, the Bible clearly condemns all of the following: fortunetelling, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, necromancy (trying to talk to dead spirits), soothsaying, sign-reading, consulting familiar spirits, divination, trance-induced visions, horoscopes, and false prophecy (Exodus 7:11; 22:18; Leviticus 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; I Samuel 15:23; II Kings 21:6; Isaiah 8:19; Acts 8:9-13; 16:16; Galatians 5:20-21; Revelation 21:8).

As to your second question, God’s will about certain things is intentionally hidden from us for our good and His glory. It is wrong for us to inquire into what He has chosen to keep secret for now. However, a question like this, which is just about how we are to think about those who attempt to violate Deuteronomy 29:29, is not itself a violation. It is right and good to think about anything God has revealed in Scripture, including the revelation that there are some things He has chosen not to reveal.

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