Jesus was unequivocal, the people who have physically died still exist. They are just not here:
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”Matthew 22:32 (ESV)
When you lose somebody, especially if it was unexpected, there can be a powerful desire to communicate with them again. We can have questions about their wellbeing, how to survive without them, and possibly how and why they died.
There are also less pure motivations for communicating with the dead. People may think the dead have some sort of profitable knowledge or can provide some sort of assistance to the living. For some it is just the attraction of dark arts or having some form of mastery over death.
Of course, communicating with the dead is impossible. Right? I wouldn’t be so sure. The Old Testament has strong statements against such a practice. Communicating with the dead is one of the reasons that the Canaanites were dispossessed from Palestine in favor of the Jews. Deuteronomy lists their sins and warns the Jews not to follow their example.
“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God,Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (ESV)
Abomination is a pretty strong word. Why? The first set of motives listed above are not impure. Part of it is no doubt how this is possible in the first place. This is not using the power of God, nor utilizing something inherent in nature; this is using the power of Satan and his kingdom. As such it is dangerous. It can also be the source of twisted truth. It may also leave a person open to other manifestations of evil, like possession. It would seem that such practices were common in the ancient world and possibly the source of some modestly twisted information about life after death.
Keep in mind that at this time, everybody went to Sheol (for more information) https://afterdeathsite.com/2021/05/11/an-expectation-of-sheol/. This may matter. The righteous were segregated from the unrighteous. The one biblical story about communicating with the dead was communication with the righteous as King Saul summoned the prophet Samuel using the “Witch of Endor” in 1 Samuel 28.
13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.
15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy?1 Samuel 28:13-16 (ESV)
Samuel was not pleased, and the desperate attempt of Saul did not help him.
Some would dismiss this as simply a mythical story and consulting the dead as a form of fraud. Certainly, charlatans exist in this area who are willing to take advantage of peoples’ grief. Another theory is that demons masquerade as the dead. This is not how it is presented in 1 Samuel however.
What about modern-day mediums? Are they just frauds? I expect that most, if not all, are frauds. It may also be possible that a person can have an equivalent to a “spiritual gift” (1 Corinthians 12), but one that is not from God. Using such a service remains forbidden by God.
How should we handle devastating grief? https://wordpress.com/post/afterdeathsite.com/734
First, we need to trust the promises of God about forgiveness through Jesus and eternal life. https://wordpress.com/post/afterdeathsite.com/884 If we are not confident about our loved one being saved, then it is not forbidden to continue to pray for them. In the case of suicide, we need to understand how God’s grace actually works. We do not need to confess our sins as the last thing we do. https://wordpress.com/post/afterdeathsite.com/778
Trusting the matters of life after death to God is the right thing to do and leads to healing. Losing purpose from the loss of relationship is something we can actively pursue. We fill the void in our lives by helping others.