Should People Speak To / Pray To / Consult the Dead?
Necromancy is the term used to describe the practice of communicating or consulting with the dead.
The practice of necromancy has been occurring for centuries throughout many different cultures, sects and religions all over the world. Even in our modern era, consulting or communicating with the dead is just as common as it was in the past.
There are societies that believe in the culture of ancestral worship where it is believed that the spirits of one’s dead ancestors can have a positive or negative impact on the life of the living. Therefore prayers and offerings to the dead are made by the living in order to worship, consult or appease the dead in order to avoid curses and receive good fortunes and blessings from the ancestors.
So to communicate with the dead, many people will use necromancers, spirit mediums, psychics or witches who will mediate or act as a channel of communication between the dead and the living.
Other examples and methods which are used as attempts to communicate with the dead also include the use of Ouija boards, conducting a séance or simply talking to the dead as if one were praying.
Besides cultural reasons, there are other reasons why people may seek to communicate with the dead. For example, many people practice necromancy for the purposes of foreseeing the future. Others do it in order to supposedly contact a dead loved one whose relationship they miss. Others attempt to speak to the dead in order to receive counsel and advice pertaining to specific worldly or spiritual matters. Still others do so out of mere curiosity or a desire for secret knowledge and spiritual power.
However, should people communicate with the dead? Are there any dangers involved when the living either pray to the dead or seek to consult the dead? What does the Bible say about the living attempting to communicate with the dead?
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 wizard or a necromancer, 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.
Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
According to God we should never attempt to communicate with the dead. Attempting to communicate or make contact with the dead is an occult practice which God forbids. We should never seek spirit mediums, psychics, fortune tellers, necromancers or anyone who claims to serve as a mediator between the living and the dead.
According to Deuteronomy 18:12 it is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord to practice necromancy or any form of ancestral worship or to attempt to communicate with the dead.
Communication with the dead is also a form of idolatry or worship. When a person consults the dead, he/she presumes that the spirits of the dead are omniscient and all powerful, which are attributes that are only reserved for God alone. Necromancy is a form of spiritual idolatry and worship because when one consults with the dead or prays to them, they are believing that the dead person is powerful enough to impact any circumstances happening on earth. In their deception, those who seek the help of the dead treat the dead as gods. Biblically, ancestors cannot serve as mediators or “gods” over the living after they have died. Our worship and prayers should only be made to God alone and never to dead people.
According to Scripture the dead cannot contact the living and neither are the living capable of contacting dead people. Once a person is dead, the spirit of a dead person does not have any direct impact or effect on the events happening on earth.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 says: For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
Hebrews 9:27 says: And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
Therefore anyone who dies will either go to heaven or hell after God has judged them.
In Luke 16:19-31 there is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. We learn from this story that after both men died, the rich man went to hell while Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom. However they were both not allowed to interfere in the affairs of the living. The rich man in hell requested to Abraham if Lazarus could be sent back to earth to warn the rich man’s brothers about hell. However Abraham said that it was impossible and that those living on earth already had the Scriptures to inform them about their need to repent.
Necromancy Involves Demons and Demonic Possession
All forms of necromancy or contact with the dead involve evil spirits or familiar spirits.
Praying to the dead or the practice of appeasing and giving offerings to the dead is an occult practice which invites demonic deception and demonic possession into one’s life. It is dangerous and therefore God forbids it and calls it an abomination.
Demons or familiar spirits can possess a spirit medium or necromancer and then imitate the characteristics or mannerisms of a loved one or a dead person.
So when people speak to a supposed dead person during a séance or any type of necromancy meeting – the entity they will be speaking to is actually a familiar spirit or a demon and not the actual dead person.
Necromancy is also dangerous because people who also seek to consult the dead usually open themselves and their lives to demonic oppression and demonic possession. Such practices are also belief systems of many in the New Age movement.
The story of Saul consulting a spirit medium to bring up the spirit of the dead Samuel resulted in Saul’s death for seeking to consult a spirit medium instead of trusting in God.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 says: So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
Jesus Christ is the Only Mediator and the Only Answer
There is only one Mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). We do not need to pray to our ancestors and neither should we consult or pray to the dead in order to receive help or blessings.
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus Christ alone serves as our High Priest who not only sympathizes with our weaknesses, but He also intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:25)
The Bible also tells us that Jesus Christ alone is able to give us eternal life so that we may have an eternal relationship with God (John 3:16). Jesus Christ paid for our sins on the cross with His precious blood. Our sins past, present and future are forgiven because of the penalty for our sin which Christ paid on our behalf. Therefore we do not need to appease the dead nor seek the approval of the dead if we are believers in Jesus Christ because He alone is our only Mediator. When we genuinely accept Jesus Christ into our life we become forgiven and redeemed and our relationship with God is secure in Christ who is our Saviour and High Priest.
Therefore anyone who is in Christ has automatic access to God. The Christian believer does not need to pray to the dead or give offerings to receive help or blessings but instead he/she trusts in God through all circumstances
The Bible warns us that if we do not repent and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour then hell awaits. It also warns us that idolatry or any form of occult practice such as necromancy without genuine repentance to Christ will lead one to hell because it is an abomination to God. It is therefore imperative to avoid all forms occult practices and set our eyes on Jesus Christ as our Lord, Saviour and true Mediator.