Can the dead speak to the living?

“The dead are still with us and death is just an illusion. The dead try to connect with us every day. To receive guidance and comfort from them, we only have to be open and aware of the signs they send us.” Mystics and mediums promise they can help people hear from the dearly departed. Many people wonder if the dead really can speak to them. Many claim to have had contact with a deceased relative. Whether it be a touch of the wind on their cheek or a vision of a loved one, they believe they have had personal contact with a spirit. While these experiences offer a sense of comfort, are they real? What does the Bible say about speaking to the dead?

Most importantly, Scripture strongly condemns attempts to get instruction, input or guidance from the dead. Deuteronomy 18:11-12 says, “There shall not be found among you anyone who . . . practices divination or a sorcerer or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” This is not just a command for the Israelites that no longer applies today. All throughout the Bible witches and mediums were closely connected with idolatry. The New Testament condemns all forms of witchcraft and sorcery, which includes necromancy, mysticism and divination. If it were possible for the dead to speak to the living, the living are prohibitted to seek guidance from them.

The dead cannot speak to the living. The Bible describes the dead as no longer able to speak to the living. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, “The dead know nothing.” and Ecclesiastes 9:10 says there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave. Psalm 115:17 calls the grave a place of silence. These verses teach that the dead have no more voice upon this world.

But what about King Saul? Didn’t he speak to the spirit of the prophet Samuel? In 1 Samuel 28 King Saul visits a witch to seek guidance from the deceased prophet. The witch of Endor was genuinely surprised when Samuel appeared. Her surprise hints that she did not actually expect the spirit of a dead man come at her call. This incident is the only one of its kind in the Bible. None should read the description of Saul’s sin as permission to seek guidance from the dead. Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor is specifically mentioned as one of the reasons for his death in battle against the Philistines. Samuel’s appearance to the witch of Endor was a unique event that God allowed to happen for His own purposes. The dead do not possess any ability in themselves to speak to the living.

Everything the Bible teaches about the spirits of the dead shows that we should not expect to hear from them. The Word of God gives clear and strong condemnnation against seeking to contact the dead. These supposed contacts may offer a measure of comfort to some, they are fleeting and ultimately unnecessary. Wer have no need to seek input from the dead. The Bible gives all the comfort, instruction and guidance that anyone needs.