Have you heard of White Noise? It’s a scary movie about a man and his son who endure unspeakable grief after their wife and mother fails to come home one night. To their horror, they discover she has been killed in a freak car accident. As the heartbroken husband steps into an elevator after the funeral, his cell phone rings. Glancing at the caller ID, he’s startled to see a familiar name on the tiny screen. The caller is his wife. She’s attempting to contact him from “the other side.”
Have you noticed the ghostly trend? Hollywood’s movie studios and the TV networks are rolling out productions about communication with dead people. NBC’s Medium and CBS’s Ghost Whisperer are two examples. Both are highly acclaimed TV series featuring attractive women who dialogue with the deceased. Nor is it all fiction. TV shows like The Lisa Williams Project and Messages from Carla Mae are hosted by professional mediums who claim a real connection with those “beyond the grave.”
One of the most popular mediums today is New York Times best-selling author Sylvia Browne. Browne is a regular guest on The Montel Williams Show and has appeared on Larry King Live and Entertainment Tonight.
Another famous medium is Allison DuBois, the inspiration behind NBC’s Medium series. In her bestselling autobiography, Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye, DuBois explains how DuBois first became involved with spirits:
When she was six years old, Allison’s deceased great-grandfather came to her with a message for her mother: “I am OK, I am still with you. Tell your mom there’s no more pain.” Allison shared his comforting message with her mother, and thus began her lifelong mission of connecting loved ones with those they have lost.1
The Source of Communications
What I say next may surprise you: I believe that a spirit did appear to young Allison DuBois. I also believe that many mediums truly are in touch with otherworldly intelligences. But let me clarify something: I don’t believe for a minute that it was DuBois’s deceased relative who appeared to her that day. Demonic forces are invading our air waves.
Satan is inserting himself into our prime-time television programming.
The Great Deception
Believe it or not, ghosts can lie. The Bible speaks of “deceiving spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1)* that exist on “the other side.”
Nearly three thousand years ago God warned His people through Moses, “ ‘There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord’ ” (Deuteronomy 18:10–13; emphasis added).
Amazingly, Moses wrote that being “a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead” is “an abomination to the Lord.” If you look up the word abomination in any dictionary, you will see that it refers to something utterly detestable, vile, and abhorrent. If this language sounds too strong, don’t blame me. I didn’t write Deuteronomy 18. Moses did.
Many Bible translations use the word medium in Deuteronomy 18:11, yet other translations replace medium with “a consulter with familiar spirits.” Essentially, the two are the same. A “medium” is a person who consults with “familiar spirits,” and “familiar spirits” are the spirits that provide information to mediums.
Medium Allison DuBois candidly acknowledged, “My guides never steer me wrong.”2 Medium Sylvia Browne also commented about a ghost named Francine: “Like all Spirit Guides, she’s been my closest companion and advisor every minute of every day of my life this time around.”3 Thus DuBois and Browne both admit they have personal spirit guides that constantly direct their lives. Unknown to these women, these are the “ familiar spirits” the Bible refers to.
In ancient times, the Lord even declared, “ ‘ “A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones” ’ ” (Leviticus 20:27). This may seem exceedingly harsh to our modern ears, especially to those of Sylvia Browne and Allison DuBois, and of their clients, relatives, and friends.
The question is, Why the strong warning? Why the death penalty? The reason is because those spirits are not who DuBois and Browne think they are, not matter what they claim. Instead, they’re “seducing spirits” whose hidden agenda is to deceive and destroy all who follow them.
The more we discern what the Bible teaches about mediums, familiar spirits, and calling up the dead, the more we will realize that God’s goal is to protect us all—including mediums themselves—from getting hurt, from hurting others, and from being deceived by malicious spirits that inhabit the invisible realm.
Do parents speak strongly to their kids about playing in the street? Is such language justified? Of course it is! The same is true of our Creator God who seeks to shield us from “the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). He loves us more than we realize.
Can the Dead Return?
Notice carefully what Job wrote so long ago: “ ‘As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, So he who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore’ ” (Job 7:9, 10).
This verse mentions the utter impossibility of a ghostly “return” from “the grave.” “He who goes down to the grave,” Job clarified, “does not come up.” Take note: “He shall never return to his house.” There it is. A dead man lying in his grave beneath a silent tombstone in a cemetery cannot return to visit, frighten, or comfort his living relatives. Such a thing is fundamentally impossible.
The Bible predicts that right before the battle of Armageddon there will be an apocalyptic burst of demonic energy designed to dupe the entire world. Notice carefully: “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty . . . Armageddon” (Revelation 16:14, 16; emphasis added).
This passage is God’s earnest attempt to teach us the truth. Fallen angels, led by a leader named Lucifer, aka the devil or Satan, really do exist. Throughout history, starting among the leaves of a forbidden tree, they’ve been working diligently behind the scenes, weaving webs of deceit and seeking to carry out their infernal designs. Their goal is global dominion. And you can be sure of this: one of their primary strategies is to disguise themselves as the ghosts of dead people. That’s why they have convinced most people the world over that dead people aren’t really dead.
TV series such as Medium and Ghost Whisperer, Hollywood movies such as White Noise and The Sixth Sense, and professional mediums such as Allison DuBois, Lisa Williams, Carla Mae, and Sylvia Browne have all brought communication with the dead into our mainstream society. This is not merely a social phenomenon or the ebb and flow of normal human events. Something bigger is afloat, something apocalyptic. Revelation predicted that this time would arrive. We are nearing Armageddon!
Grief and Hope
So where should we turn in times of grief and loss? Where can we find hope amidst pain, tragedy, and death? The biblical answer is, we can find it in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, rose from the dead, and has promised to return to reunite His people with their deceased relatives who died trusting His grace.
Notice Paul’s description of this awesome event: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).
When Jesus returns, “the dead in Christ will rise first.” This is the resurrection of God’s saints. “Then,” Paul wrote, “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them.” Please don’t miss this! One of the grandest moments in history is being described. That all-important word together depicts the joyful reunion of the living and the dead. Parents whose babies were torn away by death will see their happy faces again. Husbands will embrace their wives, and wives their husbands. Fathers will rejoin their sons, and daughters will hug their mothers. This will all happen when Jesus Christ returns. Until then, we should seek solace and comfort from the living God, not from dead humans.
As planet Earth rushes rapidly toward Armageddon, I appeal to you: don’t be fooled by “seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1). “It’s me, your dead grandma!” a ghost may claim. Don’t believe it. Trust what the Bible says, even above what your eyes see, what your ears hear, or what your heart feels. Don’t buy into what popular talk-to-the-dead radio shows or TV programs promote, what professional mediums say, or what tricky spirits claim.
Satan has succeeded in getting himself on prime-time TV. Don’t let him get into your life!
Steve Wohlberg is the director of White Horse Media and the author of Demons in Disguise: The Dangers of Talking to the Dead. His Web site is www.whitehorsemedia.com.