1 Samuel 28:1 - 25
ESV - 1 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, "Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army. 2 David said to Achish, "Very well, you shall know what your servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.
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Christians who have died do not visit or communicate with those whom they have left behind on earth. When Christians on earth believe in or attempt such communication, it makes them vulnerable to being influenced or attacked by Satanic spiritual forces that seek only to harm them and to draw them away from God. The passage cited in the question contains the account of Saul visiting a medium (even though God had ordered all such people to be put to death (Leviticus 20:27), and Saul himself had earlier ordered all such individuals to be cut off from Israel (1 Samuel 28:3)) when God would no longer tell him what to do through any of the normal means of revealing or determining His will, such as through dreams, prophets, or the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). The medium brought up a spirit being whom the Bible identifies as Samuel (the last of Israel's judges), who had died some time earlier (1 Samuel 25:1). However, multiple Bible commentators contend that the being who appeared to Saul was not Samuel, but was in fact a demonic spirit, precisely because of having been brought up by a medium. In light of such considerations, no valid conclusions can be drawn from this episode concerning visitation from, or communication with, those who have died.) I would recommend the free e-book Journey Out of Time by Dr. Arthur C. Custance (which can be fully found at http://www.custance.org/Library/Journey/index.html) for a sound, biblically-based discussion of what happens to Christians when they die. I have found that it satisfactorily addressed all the questions that I had about a believer's experience after death.
The Bible say absolutely nothing about the departed visiting us here on Earth. Actually, the Bible doesn’t say anywhere that upon death we go to heaven. However, there are numerous Bible text saying that the dead go to “sleep” awaiting the resurrection - both righteous and unrighteous, are in their graves until Jesus' voice will be calling them from the grave to reward or punishment (Daniel 12:2). The dead knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10), they do not praise the Lord (Ps 115:17), their awareness and thoughts are no more (Ps 6:5; 146:4; Job 7:10). The apostle Peter plainly stated that David is dead and buried - not alive in heaven (Acts 2:29). Furthermore, Hebrews 11:32-40 makes it clear that all the faithful have not yet been rewarded, but rather will all be rewarded together at the end of time (Heb 11:39, 40). How about 1 Samuel 28? Taking in consideration everything the Bible teaches about the dead and afterlife, Samuel apparition was nothing but a demon impersonating Samuel. Three things to keep in mind: 1. God said never visit a witch 2. Witches were supposed to be executed 3. The spirit that came up and claimed to be Samuel says that the witch had the power to raise him. The Bible tells that only God has that power. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. The devil can't give life to people. If Samuel was in heaven, do the devil had the power to call him back on earth? Of course not! Finally, in 2 Corinthians 11:14 we read that Satan has the power to create illusions trying to deceive as many as he can. Also please read Ephesians 6:11-16.
It is difficult for me to assume that the medium in 1 Samuel 28 was bringing up demonic or satanic visions. Saul recognized the vision as Samuel and was told what was about to happen in the battle with the Philistines, that he and his sons would die. According to Scripture, all that the vision (Samuel) said came true. Why should anyone assume that what was reported in Scripture not be from God? The vision, Samuel, told Saul of God's refusal to speak to him; of His anger toward Saul for his previous actions. Why would such an interaction not be the inspired Word of God? Why should this story even be included if it were not a clear indication that Samuel did indeed visit Saul? This is the only example in Scripture concerning the dead visiting the living except when Elijah and Moses visited Jesus - Matthew 17:3 and Mark 9:4 - at the transfiguration. At least, I don't remember any others. We cannot second guess God and His Word. We cannot rule out anything occurring when God is in charge. As with other questions regarding visions and dreams, they need to pass the Biblical test. Does the vision or dream contradict Scripture in any way? If it does, be very wary of such visions and dreams for they are not from God. The dead don't visit us at all. The dead are dead and will stay that way until Christ comes again. Daniel 12:2 and Hebrews 11:39-40 Our memories bring our past alive which can seem like reality at times, especially when we are grieving. It doesn't happen as it does in books, movies or television. We don't carry on actual conversations with dead people. The past inspires our dreams and visions. But those dreams only occur when we are in an unconscious state - like sleep. If those dreams or visions contain familiar people from your past, do they comfort you? Do they bring you closer in your walk with Jesus? Do they contradict the Word of God? If yes, yes, and no, who's to say that these things are bad?
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