Time or Eternity? ™

Familiar Spirits

In Familiar Spirits on February 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

Who are these familiar spirits? To this question two answers have been returned :—

1. They are the spirits of our dead friends.

2. They are the fallen angels who imitate or counterfeit them.

One of these answers must be true; both of them cannot be; which, therefore, shall we accept as the truth?

If we could believe the familiar spirits themselves, the first answer must be true; for they profess to be the spirits of the dead, and they claim to bring up any of the dead who are called for. But there are some reasons for distrusting their testimony.

1. In the case which the Bible gives at length, as a specimen of their works, familiar spirit which consorted with the witch of Endor professed to bring up the dead at pleasure, and to enable them to speak; yet we have found this to be a false pretense; for the familiar spirit did all the speaking and dead Samuel had nothing to say.

2. The Bible warns us against them all as wicked and deceitful. Deut. 18.

The New Testament is very plain in its denunciation of all forms of Spiritualism. Its statements are worthy of our consideration, in the light of the same manifestations in the Spiritualism of to-day.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft,’ hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21)  Philip and Peter met with the deceptions of a Spiritualist medium during their ministry at Samaria: “There was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.” (Acts 8:9-11)  This “medium” was nominally converted by the preaching of Philip; but his experience in the occult led him to desire to replace the power which formerly controlled him by the power of the Holy Spirit which attended the work of the apostles. Being too gross to understand its sacredness, he offered to buy from the apostles this power with money. To this proposition Peter administered the scathing rebuke, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. … I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” (Acts  All belong to this class who, for a money, profess to “cure,” “heal,” “restore,” or perform any other miraculous work by the power of God, through prayer, by the ministration of spirits, or in any other way. And to the evil work of those who would make merchandise of religion and the things of God, the name “Simony” has been attached in recognition of this circumstance.

The doctrine that  familiar spirits are the spirits of the dead, in ancient times rested upon the following propositions:—
1. That the spirits of the dead are now in a state of conscious existence.  2. That they are now endowed with superior intelligence. 3. That they inhabit a region within the earth itself.

“In modern times, however, the same doctrine is supported thus: — 1. That the souls of men are immortal.  2.That death is the gate to endless joy.  3.That they enter upon their reward at death.  4.That they are in death endowed with superior intelligence.  5.That they are ministering spirits to the living, having their abode, either in heaven or upon earth, at pleasure. “The modern doctrine is an improvement upon the theology of the days of Saul. But the Bible sweeps away this cunningly devised fable of ancient days, and with it the doctrine that dead men can hold converse with the living. Thus, the Bible teaches us : —

1. That God made man of the dust of the ground, and gave him life from His own breath. Gen. 2.

2. That He warned him that for transgression he should be deprived of life, and turned again into dust. Gen. 2:17.

3. That all men are now under the sentence of death, and are both mortal and corruptible. Heb. 9: 27; Job 4:17; Rom. 1: 23.

4. That those who seek immortality shall receive it at the resurrection, from Him who is its only source. Rom. 2:7;1 Cor. 15: 51-55; 1 Tim. 6:15,16.

5. That death came into the world by sin; that it is the last enemy; that Satan has had the power of it; and that death and Satan shall both be destroyed in the lake of fire. Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15 : 26; Heb.2 : 14; Rev. 20.

6. That in death there is no remembrance of God. Ps. 6: 5.

7. That in the day of death the thoughts perish. Ps. 146:4.

8. That the dead know not anything; and that their love, and envy, and hatred, is now perished. Eccl. 9: 5, 6.

9. That the dead do not praise God. Ps. 115 : 17.

10. That sheol, or hades, the under-ground abode of the dead, is a place where there is no work, device, knowledge, nor wisdom; a place of silence, secrecy, darkness, corruption, and death. Eccl. 9: 10; Job 14: 10-15″. 17: i3~l6

11. That the righteous are not to be with Christ till He  comes back after them. John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:32; 1 Thess. 4.

12. That men are neither rewarded nor punished till they have first been judged. 2 Peter 2:9; Rev. 22 : 12 ; Matt. 16 : 27.

13. That the dead, both righteous and wicked, are now asleep. Dan. 12:2; Job 14: 12; 1 Thess. 4: 14; 1 Cor. 15:6,18,20.

14. That the keys of death and hades are not in the hands of familiar spirits, but in those of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. 1 : 18.

These facts are certainly sufficient to show that the familiar spirits do not come from the dead themselves, and that they do not, and cannot, bring up any of the dead. Who, then, are the familiar spirits? We need not deny their existence, nor can we without denying the Bible. Nor should we pronounce it an inexplicable mystery that our dead friends, whose very thoughts have perished, and who sleep quietly in the silent dust, are by them apparently made to speak in so wonderful a manner.

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