Spiritual Demise

Saul had sinned, causing God to turn away from him. After much prodding by Samuel, Saul made a half-hearted attempt at repentance, but it was not complete (1 Samuel 15:24-31). “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14). Under the Old Covenant, the presence of the Holy Spirit was a temporary gifting, just like God’s blessings were conditional. Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in those who believe, and God says He will never leave or forsake us.

The evil spirit was not of God, but was sent by God. God reigns supreme, and He can use Satan and his emissaries as a means to discipline His people, as He did with Saul. He also used the godless nation of Assyria to discipline His people (see Isaiah 10:5-6). Even the Church is advised to turn grossly immoral people over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh so that their souls may be saved (see 1 Corinthians 5:5).

After Samuel died, Saul sought guidance from a medium. Saul had previously purged the nation of mediums and spiritists (see 1 Samuel 28:9), but now he was paying a visit to the witch of Endor. Coming to the witch in disguise, Saul persuaded her to call up Samuel (see verses 11-19). However, the scheme backfired when God permitted Samuel himself to return, which terrified the medium. Samuel foretold the imminent capture of Israel by the Philistines and the death of Saul and his son (see verse 19).

God expressly forbids the practice of necromancy, which is an attempt to bring up the spirits of the dead (see Isaiah 8:19-20). The story of the rich man and Lazarus teaches the present-day impossibility of communicating with the dead (see Luke 16:19-31). When a secular psychologist claims to have regressed a client back to a former state of existence through hypnosis, don’t believe it. When a psychic claims to have contacted the dead, don’t believe it. When a New Age medium purports to channel a person from the past into the present, realize that it is nothing more than a demonic spirit or the fraudulent work of a con artist.

A lady was once working through the Steps to Freedom when she suddenly became frightened. When the encourager asked what she was hearing or seeing, she said, “You mean you don’t see my father standing right there?” The encourager didn’t bother to look, because he knew he wouldn’t see anything. Instead he asked, “Tell me about your father.” She said, “I’m responsible for my father.” Of course that was not true, but that was what she had been taught by her father, who was a Mormon. When they started the Steps again she had another apparition of her grandmother, who had introduced the family to Mormonism. The woman became free when she renounced Mormon practices and beliefs.

Mediums have to reach a passive state of the mind in order to channel spirits, which is the most dangerous thing one can do spiritually. God never bypasses our minds; He works through them. Hypnosis also bypasses the conscious use of the mind and is not a practice in which Christians should participate. “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

Dr. Neil

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