Tuesday, March 23, 2010

 

Calling All Pastors:

What happens is there are answers to life’s problems. And, what Pastors have to be ready to do is to answer the kinds of questions that fall within their territory. They’ve got to be able to do that. There are some things that people never ask us, nor should. No one comes to me because they think I’m a banker, nobody comes to me and asks me how to fix their car. There are things I can talk about, but one thing is for sure, when it comes down to spiritual matters, when it comes down to theological things and biblical things, Pastors simply have to be able to give an answer. That’s our job!  And one thing that frustrates me today is that so many of my colleagues, not all, but many of them, do not give biblical answers to biblical questions. They just kind of answer off the top of their head, or as the spirit leads them so to speak. When I get questions from people immediately I grab a Bible. I want to answer them from the Word of God. That’s really what they’re looking for. Not just some pat answer, not just something that you feel, but something that is from the highest authoritative source you can have, which is the Bible. Preach the Word. Isn’t that what it says? That’s what we ought to do, and we also should answer questions from the Word of God.

Here’s a question that is one that ministers, Pastors always get asked. And it must be answered very, very carefully. A wrong answer to this question can open up some real bad doors in your church, doors that can lead to other things that could be disastrous for your ministry.   Because, there are certain things that the Bible tells us we can do, and of course there are certain things that the Bible tells us we cannot. I find that a lot of Ministers, some Pastors take courses in biblical counseling which is great. It’s good to learn all about counseling cause definitely Pastors do a lot of it. I know. Every week I’m dealing with counseling and love it. It’s part of the job. However, knowledge of Biblical counseling alone is no good unless also you understand theology:  Biblical theology, systematic theology. That’s right! There is no counseling we give that escapes the teachings of the Bible and the doctrines of the Bible, who Jesus is, what happens after you die, the resurrection. All of these things are important. So, systematic theology, the general training that a Pastor gets has to be what informs their biblical counseling practice. That’s the only way you will be able to satisfactorily answer this question that I’m about to present to you now. 

Here’s the question, not given to me, written to someone else actually. And I’m reading from this source that I have here. This person was grieving and asked this question: 

My mother died recently after a long illness. I went to see her every day at the nursing home and I’m dealing with this grieving process now. I know her soul is with Jesus. I want to know  if it is a sin for me to talk to her? I find as I’m going through her things, I will say things to her like; gee mom, thanks for saving this or that. I remember the good times that we had then. Or, when I visit the grave I might say, hello mom. I brought your favorite flowers. I miss you a lot. It’s a pretty day today. Or Sissy says, (I guess that’s the name of a sister or someone),  Sissy says she will come to see your grave this summer. You know how she is. Now, I don’t expect an answer and I’m not trying to conjure up some kind of weird sighting of her, or anything like that.  But, am I sinning to talk to her? I know the Bible says for us not to try and communicate with the dead.  I’m not trying to make her appear of anything, its just that I miss talking to her. I would never do a séance or any of that weird stuff. But, is it ok for me to talk to her or is that a sin? Should I just be talking to the Lord about her and stop talking to her? I don’t do it every day, just every once in a while, when I’m feeling very sad. Thank you for your answer.

BIBLE TOPIC QUESTIONS:

Now what I’m wondering is, what answer should this person get? Is it ok to talk to our departed loved ones? And, very importantly, does the Bible say we can or should talk to the dead?  As a Pastor how do you answer this? As a Christian how do you answer this? I’m not interested here, necessarily in your personal experiences, because if your personal experiences do not stand up to the test of the Bible then you’re in trouble.  What does the Bible say? Does the Bible say we can and should talk to the dead?  What would your answer be to this person’s question?

Calling all Pastors! This is definitely a question that Pastors need to be able to grapple with. It is something that will occur if it hasn’t already occurred in your ministry. Is it ok to talk to our departed loved ones? Does the Bible say we can and should talk to the dead? What do you think about this particular question and this particular challenge today?

Callers’ responses:

Somewhere in I Samuel I think Samuel, they made a law which outlawed people from conjuring up spirits or people from the dead, and I think he still did anyway.

Deuteronomy 18: 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,  11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

1 Samuel 15: 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

He disguised himself or had someone disguise themselves to call a prophet back up to speak with him about David. So, I would assume that no, we’re not supposed to do that.  But can speak to them in remembrance, I think that is a difference.

Pastor Moss: You’re talking about I Samuel 28 where Saul who is seeking for Samuel to come back and talk to him. He goes to a medium to do so and Samuel appears.

I Samuel 28: 8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”  9 But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”  10 Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”  11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said.  12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”  13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.”  14 “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.  15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”  16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy?

 

Undoubtedly, God allows this to happen, but, you’re right when you say they passed a law that it shouldn’t be done, that no one should be calling on the dead. Who are the them that you’re talking about? Was this from man or was this from God?  Are you saying that there is somewhere in the Bible that forbids us from talking to the dead?

I can’t confirm or deny.

Exodus 22:18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Leviticus 19:31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:27 “‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’”

Callers’ responses:

The bible says there is no conscience after we die.

Pastor Moss: What about the scripture that says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord?

2  Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

 

Pastor Moss: What about Luke 16 starting at verse 22? (Pastor reads the account of the beggar and the rich man).  Is there any place in the Bible where we are forbidden to talk to the dead?

Luke 16: 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

How does that line up with what you said about there is no conscience after we die? I know it says that in Ecclesiastes 9:3-5,10, but what is that talking about in light of this Scripture?

Unfortunately we can’t say who has the abilities to do that (talk to the dead).

Callers’ responses:

I’m going to say no to that question and it’s found in Deuteronomy 18 verses 10-12.

Pastor reads the passages. So you’re saying this forbids what?

Caller reads verse 12.

Pastor Moss: So you’re right. Verse 11 the charmers, the consulter with familiar spirits, those are mediums. And what the mediums would do is conjure up the dead for you. That is something forbidden by God. So that’s a good scripture, but if that is so could you explain this passage to me?  Over in Matthew, remember the transfiguration on the mount,  (reads Matthew 17 starting at verse 1) Now, we know Elijah, he didn’t die, he was caught up in a fiery chariot, but, Moses was dead.  If you are not supposed to talk to the dead what is Jesus doing talking to him?

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

We can’t do it but Jesus can do what he wants to do. God is not limited. All power and authority was given to the Son by the Father.

Callers’ responses:

Exodus 22:18 (caller reads passage) Not only did Saul disobey the laws that say you shouldn’t conjure up the dead or talk to the dead, but it says specifically in the judgment  set forth that thou shall not suffer a witch to live. This is a person that has a familiar spirit over in I Samuel, she’s also called a witch. Now, to answer your other question, where does it say that Saul punitive damages for what he did? Let’s go to I Samuel 28:18 (caller reads passage) Now this is all because of what he did with the witch in conjuring up Samuel.

Pastor Moss: But where in that passage does it specifically say that the reason that judgment came was because he went to consult the witch of Endor?  The passage in Samuel doesn’t say that he died because he went to the witch of Endor or got counsel outside of God. Is there any scripture more specific than that, which says he died because he consulted her?

I’ve not found that.

Callers’ responses:

If people do talk with the dead or they come to you has a door been open?

Pastor Moss:  Would a door just be open or would someone have to open that door? If a person is talking to the dead a door has to be open? How would that door be open and who would open that door becomes the question. What do you think?

I think the person they’re coming to have some sort of spirit or are anointed. God has anointed the person for the dead to come to them.

Pastor Moss:  So you’re telling me that the dead can just come like they want to? And then if they come back where are they coming from?  Hell or heaven?

Hummm,  I don’t know, I don’t think they can come back.

Callers’ responses:

I want to say in I Samuel 28:18 the reason Saul was killed was because he disobeyed God by not killing all the amalekites. Then when you go to the 1st chapter of Samuel it speaks of the person even though he died on his sword there was a person who helped kill him and that’s in the first chapter of Samuel.

Pastor Moss:  So you’re saying that there is no place in the bible where it says that the reason Saul died is because he consulted the witch of Endor?

Right. That was not the reason.

Callers’ responses:

 

What comes to my mind is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus and if you go to the 27th verse he says, I pray thee therefore father that thou would send him to my father’s house, talking about Lazarus, for I have 5 brothers that he may testify unto them lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham said unto him, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, Nay father Abraham but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent. And then he says in verse 31, and he said unto him, if they heed not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded through the one rose from the dead.  So I take from that that we’re not supposed to listen to the dead spirits or familiar spirits at all.

Pastor Moss: Well I think you gave a good answer, especially in verse 26 remember where it says, and besides all this between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot neither can they pass to us that would come from thence. So it says also that seemingly there is a barrier, that the dead don’t come back and the living don’t go to where they are under their own will. So I would say that that’s a good answer.

Callers’ responses:

I’m calling just on the part where you said is there some place in the bible that says that Saul was killed for consulting a medium. I Chronicles 10 (caller reads passage).

I Chronicles 10 13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

Pastor Moss: Well that’s exactly right; that’s’ the one I’m looking for. So specifically the bible does say in I Chronicles 10 that the reason why he died was because he consulted that medium. Now there were other things that he did as well, but that was also included as one of the reasons why he died.

Pastor Moss Summation: The answer is no we should not try to talk with the dead.

1.      God Forbids it. It gets you off into dealing with the occult, sorcery, and witchcraft which God forbids as well.

2.      In Luke chapter 16 it seems to be pretty clear where it says concerning this life and the afterlife. Where Lazarus goes into Abraham boson (heaven  we believe), and the rich man ends up in Hades. The rich man wants some things done. What he asks for is that Lazarus could return from the dead and go and preach to his brothers. But there is something that  is said (26 verse) here: 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.  Let us say that there is a supernatural barrier. People don’t just come back from the dead. God of course for his purposes can allow anything to happen because his sovereign, but definitely we don’t see anything in the Bible where people are communicating with their dead love ones.

 

 

 

We’d like to suggest you take Pastor Moss class “Kingdom of the Occults.” Come learn the Biblical responses on this and other topics. Find out who is really taking, it sure isn’t aunt Sally!