Mediums, magicians, and others who practice occult arts might offer entertainment by means of deception, but some mediums legitimately communicate with either the dead or with demons. The point is that any spirit not from God comes from Satan.
Occultists in the Bible and Throughout History
People have been consulting with the dead for millennia, hoping to find out what is on the other side; believing they can learn the future; desiring control and power.
As the Philistines continued to threaten the kingdom of Israel, Saul sought help from Samuel, but since Samuel was dead, Saul consulted the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). As a slave, the power of “fortune-telling” was a source of income to her owners (Acts 16:16-19).
Mediums, magicians, and others who practice occult arts might offer entertainment by means of deception, but some mediums legitimately communicate with either the dead or with demons. If there is any doubt that such a thing is possible, one should remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the [...] cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).
Whether a medium is speaking to a client’s dead relative or to a demon posing as a deceased loved one, the point is that any spirit not from God comes from Satan.
Why Mediums are Unwelcome in God’s Kingdom
King Saul was already on the way out as the king of Israel, but consulting a medium was “the final step in [his] tragic downfall” because he failed to seek God’s guidance. We are invited to ask God for wisdom. “His way is always best, and He wants to show it to you — because He loves you.”
John Piper designates spiritualism as “the use of psychic or spiritual forces to control another person or the course of events.” People who engage in “divination, soothsaying, augury, sorcery, the use of charms, mediums, wizardry, or necromancy” are doing so in order to “gain […] power over destiny, and for controlling people and events to [their] liking.” “God frustrates” their plans when “directed against His people.” Their plans and the individuals themselves are “abominable in the eyes of God.”
Whether those actions include human sacrifice or merely playing around on the fringes of spiritualism, “every inclination to the deed is evil.” It’s an act of “rebellion” rooted in deception, taking us right back to the garden where the devil tempted Eve by saying “you will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4).
Piper argues that “we belittle God and exalt ourselves” when we try to discover the unspoken mysteries of our futures and of God’s plans. Jesus is the “Revealer,” appointed by the Father.
Knowing the Difference
Christians need to pay attention because “the coming of the lawless one” will be accompanied by “false signs and wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Satan and his retinue are “ravenous wolves” wearing “sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15). These demons seek to lead Christians into chaos and pre-Christians to destruction.
They use mediums and astrologers and others of spiritualism to do their work. Prophecy is a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture." Prophecy is a “human report of a divine revelation.”
Christians are warned to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). False prophets “reject the word of the Lord” and also say “let us go after other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:2). The gift of prophecy as a revelation directly from God was given “temporarily” in order to “lay the foundation of the early church” and to teach followers before there was a completed bible for reference to God’s “revealed word.” “If someone now claims to have received a ‘special revelation,’ we must test it against Scripture.” Even if it “is consistent with Scripture, then we have to ask why an ‘extra’ word was necessary if its truth is already contained in the Bible.”
The gift of prophecy in today’s church is not a means of satisfying curiosity or easing anxiety about the future, but is understood as “the divine strength or ability to communicate God’s truth and heart in a way that calls people to a right relationship with God.”
Is There Hope for Mediums?
As Piper says, individuals who practice spiritualism are abominable to God, but “not beyond the reach of God’s love.” While preaching in Samaria, “a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic” and had become arrogant with his fame and skill “believed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:9, 12).