Time or Eternity? ™

Spiritualism

In Spiritualism on April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

The Old Testament Scriptures contain numerous references to, and denunciations of, the manifestations of ancient Spiritualism, under the names of familiar spirits, witchcraft, necromancy, etc.

To Israel, on their journey from Egypt to Canaan, the Lord gave the warning, “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deut. 18:9-12)

While encamped before Sinai the Lord said to Israel, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:31)  Moses wrote, “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit [one who is a spirit medium], or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with ,stones; their blood shall be upon them.” (Lev. 20: 27)  Samuel said to King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Sam. 15: 23) The disobedience of Saul was counted as rebellion, and rebellion was a heinous sin. It was compared to witchcraft, one of the worst of crimes in the sight of God.  Of Manasseh, king of Judah, it is written, “And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought nmch wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” (2 Kings 21: 6)

As the ancient people of earth forgot God, and in consequence lost communication with heaven, they invented false systems of worship to take the place of the true service of the living God. Hence came the worship of fire, the sun, “all the host of heaven,” and a numerous  deities. Their gods were often the spirits of great men who had lived on the earth. Heathenism, idolatry, and ignorance always breed superstition. Not having faith in the only true God to sustain them, the heathen nations turned toward any form of worship which contained the elements of the supernatural. Hence they became an easy prey to evil men and women who dealt in soothsaying, magic, astrology, necromancy, witchcraft, spirit incantations, etc.

These were the abominations of the heathen against which God warned His people Israel.  At one time Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream which troubled him exceedingly. As a superstitious heathen, he attached great importance to signs and dreams. And in this instance, although the king had forgotten the dream, he was not able to banish the impression of it from his mind. “His spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.”  “Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” (Dan. 2: 2)  But these men were helpless. Evil spirits do not know our thoughts, and can not enter into the secrets of a midnight dream. Hence they could not aid their servants, the sorcerers and Chaldeans, in their time of peril.

It was not until Daniel, the prophet of God, was called that the dream and its interpretation were revealed to the king. This was, in the providence of God, a lesson demonstrating the utter worthlessness of the source of information upon which the king had heretofore relied. It taught the power of the true God, and the reliance that can be placed upon communications from the realm of light.

At an earlier date King Pharaoh of Egypt, when confronted with the miracles performed at the hands of Moses and Aaron, withstood them with the magic of evil men who appeared to duplicate the first three miracles of the servants of God. See Ex. 7: 11, 12, 22 ; 8: 7.  God had set the bounds on these evil men. “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther.” After the third effort their power to counterwork the miraculous evidences sent of God, failed. They recognized a power greater than that which possessed them, and cried out to the king, “This is the finger of God.” The work of evil spirits had again been defeated by the invisible power of heaven.  The readiness of these heathen kings to call upon the charlatans of their court in case of perplexity, is again illustrated in the account of Belshazzar of Babylon. At the height of the great impious feast of his closing dynasty there came the terrifying scene of the “handwriting on the wall.” None present could read the writing or explain its import. The king therefore sent for his court “astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.”

The foregoing incidents show that spirit communion constituted a large part of the stock in trade of the wise men in the courts of Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar. These men claimed supernatural powers through the influence of spirits. Even the Chaldeans, who were the educated men of the court of Babylon, relied upon their supposed communion with the spirits of the dead for much of their mysterious information. These manifestations of the far-distant past were identical with those of the Spiritualism of the present day.

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