Study 5 SAUL: THE SNARE OF SPIRITISM
(Scripture Portion: 1 Samuel 28: 3-25)
As you read this section of scripture you will agree that there is a fearful pathos about the story as well as a solemn warning concerning the perils of this ancient and modern heresy. Why is it that people get involved with witchcraft, sorcery and the occult? Well, why did Saul? Because he was out of touch with God, depressed and troubled. Many people today, in times of bereavement and sorrow, seek comfort by trying to get into communication with their departed loved ones. It is quite evident that the Witch of Endor did not expect Samuel to speak, much less to appear (verse 12). This incident is therefore a strong argument against the theory that the medium actually contacts those who have departed, and it is an argument for what many believe to be the case — that the voices heard in seances are in reality the voices of evil spirits who impersonate the dead. The fact that Samuel, and not an impersonating spirit, did appear and speak was a great shock to the Witch, and to Saul, and it was due to a direct intervention of God. There are seven clear statements about Spiritism and every form of the occult which provide us with seven reasons for rejecting it.
1. Spiritism is one of Satan’s snares.
Be sure about this: it is not of God, but of the Devil. The great objective of Satan is to blind the minds of men and women – look up 2 Corinthians 4: 4. This is the explanation of the presence of so many false religions and cults in the world today. It is the Devil’s way of blinding men and women to the truth. He does not mind their being religious and enthusiastic about some doctrine so long as they are kept in the dark as to the truth of God – so beware, be warned, Spiritism is not only a form of bondage to Satan but it is also a kind of Satan-worship. All who dabble in Spiritism, or any other form of the occult, are accepting the lies of the Devil rather than the revelation of God – look up 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12.
2. Spiritism, when resorted to, indicates a state of unbelief and backsliding.
No soundly converted Christian who is living in touch with the Lord can possibly have recourse to Spiritism. Anybody, anywhere, who is engaged in spiritist practices is either an unbeliever or a believer who has got out of touch with the Lord – as was the case with Saul, as we learn from verse 6. How sad it is when a Christian, through being overwhelmed with bereavement or sorrow, turns aside from the God of all comfort to that which issues from the god of this age – the Devil himself! – look up 2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4.
3. Spiritism is on the increase and is one of the signs of the last days.
Probably there has never been a time when this heresy has abounded more than it does today, and in a way this encourages us, for it announces the near return of our Lord Jesus Christ – look up 1 Timothy 4: 1 – 2; it indicates that we are living in “the latter” times. Be quite convinced of this, that although there is much fraud in Spiritism, there is also a very great deal of reality. Those who go to seances do hear voices and mutterings, and they do see visions, but they are thoroughly deceived in thinking they are listening to the actual voice of their loved one or are looking upon the actual form of their loved one. It is a simple matter for the Devil, whose knowledge is very great, to send an impersonating spirit to anyone who is breaking the laws of God and who is out of touch with Him.
4. Spiritism is described in Scripture as one of the works of the flesh.
Look up and read Galatians 5: 19-20; it is certainly not one of the fruits of the Spirit – look up Galatians 5: 22-23. Of everyone who professes to be a Christian and at the same time professes to believe in and dabble in Spiritism, the question needs to be asked: Have you crucified the flesh, that “work” of the flesh which is “witchcraft”? – look up Galatians 5: 24 – 25.
5. Spiritism is an abomination to the Lord, and therefore it is emphatically and explicitly forbidden in His Word.
How can anyone whose eyes have once been opened to the truth of God turn to Spiritism when God in His Word so clearly warns us against this peril? Carefully read the following selected scriptures:- Exodus 22: 18; Leviticus 19: 26, 3l; 20: 6, 27; Deuteronomy 18: 10 12; 2 Chronicles 33: 6; Isaiah 8: 19-20; Acts 16: 16-18 and 19: 19, and add to these the other scripture references included in this study in which we are warned not to have anything to do with Spiritism.
6. Spiritism is an enemy of the Christian Faith.
So-called Christian Spiritualist Churches and professing Christians who are engaging in and advocating the methods of Spiritism are in reality wolves in sheep’s clothing – look up Matthew 7: 15. To be a true Spiritist one must reject the Word of God, and anyone who does this is an enemy of the Christian faith. Notice that: (1) Spiritists reject the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures; (2) have a conception of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit and of the Church which is unscriptural and, indeed, blasphemous; (3) do not accept the atoning virtue of the blood of Christ; (4) believe in salvation by works; and (5) deny the existence of evil spirits, of the Devil, of judgment and of Hell, and they minimise sin.
7. Spiritism can only lead to disappointment, disillusionment, darkness, despair and final destruction.
It is damaging physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and eternally – look up and compare Revelation 21: 8 and 22: 15. If you have any connection at all with Spiritism, renounce the whole thing – look up 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18! If you know any Spiritists or any who are becoming ensnared by Spiritism, pray for them! Be sure to read 1 Chronicles 10: 13 14. Of course, what we have said with great care, but also with great certainty, applies equally to every form of the occult. Many years ago, Dr A. T. Pierson issued the following warning:-
“To meddle with this awful realm of spirits may bring us under the sway of malignant supernatural agents and forces. Not only God, but wicked spirits wield weapons which, to us, are superhuman and supernatural…The devil can sway man by powers which belong to a higher realm; and to dare to invade those forbidden precincts is to venture into an unknown territory, and run corresponding risks, risks which are proportionate to the success of our experiment!”
This means that we must “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4: 1). How can we test them?
(1) Is what they say in harmony with the Word of God (Isaiah 8: 19-20)?
(2) Do they confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4: 3)?