Can we talk with those who have died?


I have a question: when a loved one who was pure and good dies, is it possible for that person to come back to the living? How can one learn ways to communicate with a loved one?


The Bible teaches that those who die are not able to return. Job asked the rhetorical question, "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14). Concerning his recently departed son, David said, "But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (II Samuel 12:23). Jesus tells us that when the rich man wished for Lazarus to return and warn his brothers. "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead'" (Luke 16:28-31).

In the Hebrew language, a person who claims to consult with spirits is called by the word owb, which is usually translated as a spiritist or a person with a "familiar spirit." The literal meaning of the word is "one who mumbles in a bottle or a ventriloquist." Thus the word for referring to a spiritist also states that it was trickery (mumbling into a large bottle haves a hollow breathy sound to a person's words). Mediums and spiritists are among those condemned for practicing witchcraft (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

God has on rare occasions used the spirits of those who have died to make a point. When Saul went to a medium at Endor and asked to speak to the spirit of Samuel, we read, "When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!" And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth." So he said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming 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 down" (I Samuel 28:12-14). The woman screamed because something happened that she wasn't expecting. Instead of trickery, she actually saw a spirit rise and it scared her. Samuel's spirit then delivered the message that God had turned against Saul, that he would lose his kingship, and that the Philistines would shortly kill him.

The only other case of the dead speaking with the living was when Jesus was seen with the spirits of Moses and Elijah on a mountain (Matthew 17:3).

The answer to Job's rhetorical question is found in Job 14:12, "So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep."

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