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I have a friend who sees people who have passed away. She can see, hear, and talk to them. This isn't fake, she really can. She recently told me that she sees my deceased grandfather at our ball games. She cannot see her mother who died a few years ago, which frustrates her. She isn't religious. Does the Bible say anything about this? Is this absolutely impossible? What does this mean about the people she sees, like my grandfather? Some would say that he hasn't crossed over into the after world. I'm almost positive he was saved though. Thanks.

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I agree with @BruisedReed. I read a book many years ago entitled "The Beautiful Side of Evil". I'm also currently reading a book entitled "Lucifer Dethroned". Both of these books give some insight into the deception of the demonic world. Perhaps these would be helpful to you in understanding this. The bottom line, though, is that it is extremely dangerous to mess with the spiritual world without a personal relationship with Jesus. –  Narnian Mar 31 '14 at 12:56
Just ask her if she has been involved in occult activity. That is always a dead giveaway (no pun intended) as to when she opened the doors to this. As Narnian said, only Jesus can shut them again. –  Steve Mar 31 '14 at 13:13
It's probably important to ask if this is something that happens to her, beyond her control, or if it is something she actively does - i.e. 'call up' these people. –  DJClayworth Mar 31 '14 at 19:15
@DJClayworth the answer to that question is implicit in the description - she is seeking to commune with the spirit of her deceased mother –  bruised reed Mar 31 '14 at 19:50

2 Answers 2

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but the bible calls this necromancy and describes it as an "abominable practice":

9 “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. - Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (ESV) (emphasis mine)

To inquire of the dead is to intentionally initiate this activity, and a medium is someone who engages in necromancy professionally.

Unfortunately, your friend's experiences are most likely due to the influence of a demonic spirit as per the slave girl in Phillipi. Her visions and conversations may seem very real to her and she may even receive special knowledge that she would not have access to through natural means. This doesn't mean that she is really seeing dead people however - demons can and do deceive people about such matters. I suggest you seek pastoral counsel for the best way to help her.

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I'm just curious, I like your answer Bruised, but how would this reconcile the belief (not everyone's, obviously) that Deut (and most of Moses' books) was a command specifically to the people of Israel as God's chosen nation? I'm not sure where the asker is from - but I'd assume out of Israel. I'm just curious. Again, great answer! –  Jesse Mar 4 at 4:02
@Jesse I wouldn't try it to reconcile it to something I don't believe in! I believe it comes under the general category of 'moral law' (not just Israel specific). You might find this Q&A helpful. –  bruised reed Mar 4 at 5:34

What does the Bible say about people who see dead people?

There are three possibilities.

  1. What is told is a hoax.
  2. What is seen is real.
  3. What is seen is not real.

  4. There are and have been a number of people who make a living telling people what they would like to hear about their deceased loved ones.

  5. In 1 Samuel 28 a record is given of Saul seeking the witch of Endor who used a “familiar spirit” to supposedly contact the dead (In this case Saul sought the counsel of Samuel). It may be that this is the only time real contact with the dead was ever allowed.

  6. There are a few possibilities for seeing things that are not real.

A. Auditory hallucinations are generally symptomatic of mental illness while visual hallucinations are generally symptomatic of blood toxicity such as fever, poison, tumor, drugs, bad food or other chemical agent.

B. Dreams or hypnotic states can create a “reality” out of memories, elements from fiction, movies, books, etc. that can be taken and combined with desires to seem convincingly real.

C. One who has become accustomed to demonic contact can be influenced to “see” various things. These sort of experiences have often been sought in tribal cultures. These people can speak with great sincerity as to the things that they perceive.

It is with this last situation that most often impassioned and sincere claims are made about the “reality” of contacting the dead.

To this end, we should to consider what Moses told Israel just before they were to enter the land of Canaan.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

These practices were performed by the Canaanites (including putting their children into a fire to insure a good harvest). These were fairly common tribal customs of trying to get favor, control others and the environment, obtain information, and find “lucky” times to do things. The Israelites were supposed to trust in God instead of allowing themselves to be seduced by demons to act in ways that drew them into their own strength and away from trust in God.

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

At first it might seem odd that rebellion and witchcraft would be equated. However, both have at their heart a desire to take control.

Isaiah 8:19 And when the people [instead of putting their trust in God] shall say to you, Consult for direction mediums and wizards who chirp and mutter, should not a people seek and consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? - Amp

Here the foolishness of dealing with those who claim to contact the dead is contrasted with the option of going directly to God himself.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Here we can see that there is activity the object of which is the deception of Christians. To accomplish this objective we have humans and demons being “transformed”.

transform = metaschēmatizō = disguise, transfigure

Basically there would be two possibilities for someone who sincerely believed they were seeing dead people or Ghosts. The first would be they have fixated upon an imagining and solidified it in their thinking or that they have come under demonic influence. The Bible does not describe much the conditions of mind that cause people to believe things that are not real. However, there are verses that describe the demonic activity that is an abomination to God.

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