Wicked Spirits Are Powerful
1. Why do many persons believe that they can talk with the dead?
OFTEN PEOPLE say they have talked with the dead. The late James A. Pike, a prominent Episcopalian bishop, said he talked with his dead son, Jim. According to Pike, his son told him: “I have masses of people around me, and hands lifting me up, as it were . . . I was so unhappy until I could make you know.”
2. (a) Why can nobody talk with the dead? (b) So what questions are raised?
2 Since such experiences are so common, it is evident that many people have spoken with someone from the spirit world. But they have not talked with the dead. The Bible is very clear when it says: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) So if it is not the dead who are speaking from the spirit world, who are speaking? Who are pretending to be dead persons?
3. (a) Who pretend to be dead persons, and why? (b) To whom do wicked spirits often give information?
3 Wicked spirits are. These spirits, or demons, are the angels who joined Satan in rebellion against God. Why do they pretend to be persons who have died? It is to advance the idea that the dead are still living. Wicked spirits have also led many to believe the lie that death is only a change to another life. To spread this lie, wicked spirits provide spirit mediums, fortune-tellers and sorcerers with special knowledge that only seems to come from persons who have died.
PRETENDING TO BE DEAD SAMUEL
4. (a) Why was King Saul desperate for help? (b) What was God’s law regarding spirit mediums and fortune-tellers?
4 There is an example in the Bible of a wicked spirit who pretended to be a dead prophet of God, Samuel. This was in the 40th year of King Saul’s reign. A powerful army of Philistines had come up against Saul’s Israelite army, and he was very much afraid. Saul knew God’s law: “Do not turn yourselves to the spirit mediums, and do not consult professional foretellers of events, so as to become unclean by them.” (Leviticus 19:31) In time, however, Saul turned away from Jehovah. Therefore Samuel, who at the time was alive, refused any longer to see Saul. (1 Samuel 15:35) And now, in this time of trouble, King Saul was desperate because Jehovah would not listen to his calls for help.
5. (a) Where did Saul go for help? (b) What was the spirit medium able to do?
5 Saul was so eager to learn about what was going to happen that he went to a spirit medium in En-dor. She was able to bring forth the form of a person that she could see. By her description of the form, Saul identified him as “Samuel.” At this the spirit person, pretending to be Samuel, spoke: “Why have you disturbed me by having me brought up?” Saul answered: “I am in very sore straits, as the Philistines are fighting against me.” The spirit person replied: “Why, then, do you inquire of me, when Jehovah himself has departed from you and proves to be your adversary?” The wicked spirit person, who was pretending to be the dead Samuel, then went on to tell Saul that he would be killed in the battle with the Philistines.—1 Samuel 28:3-19.
6. Why could it not have been Samuel who spoke with Saul?
6 Obviously, it was not really Samuel that the spirit medium had contacted. Samuel was dead, and at death a person “goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (Psalm 146:4) A little thinking on the matter further shows that the voice was not really that of dead Samuel. Samuel was God’s prophet. So he had opposed spirit mediums. And, as we have seen, while he was alive he had refused to speak any more with disobedient Saul. So, then, if Samuel were still alive, would he allow a spirit medium to arrange for him to meet Saul? Think too: Jehovah had refused to give Saul any information. Could a spirit medium force Jehovah to give Saul a message through dead Samuel? And if the living could actually talk with dead loved ones, surely a God of love would not say that they had become “unclean” because of turning to a spirit medium.
7. What warning did God give to protect his people against wicked spirits?
7 The fact is that wicked spirits are out to harm humans, so Jehovah gives warnings to protect his servants. Read the following warning to the nation of Israel. It gives you an idea of methods that the demons use to mislead people. The Bible says: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) We should want to find out what wicked spirits are doing to harm people today and how we can protect ourselves from them. But before we learn about this, let us consider when and how the wicked spirits got their start.
ANGELS THAT BECAME WICKED SPIRITS
8. (a) Who did Satan also get to rebel against God? (b) After stopping their work in heaven, where did they go?
8 By lying to Eve in the garden of Eden, a certain angelic creature made himself the wicked spirit Satan the Devil. Afterward he began trying to get other angels also to turn against God. In time he succeeded. Some angels stopped the work that God had given them to do in heaven, and they came down to earth and made for themselves fleshly bodies like those of humans. The Christian disciple Jude wrote about them when he mentioned “the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place.” (Jude 6) Why did they come to the earth? What wrong desire did Satan put in their heart to get them to leave the fine positions they had in heaven?
9. (a) Why did the angels come to earth? (b) How does the Bible show that what they did was wrong?
9 The Bible lets us know when it says: “The sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.” (Genesis 6:2) Yes, the angels put on fleshly bodies, and they came to earth to have sexual relations with beautiful women. But such love affairs were wrong for angels. This was an act of disobedience. The Bible indicates that what they did was just as wrong as the homosexual acts of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Jude 6, 7) What resulted?
10, 11. (a) What kind of children did the angels have? (b) What happened to the giants when the Flood came? (c) What happened to the angels at the time of the Flood?
10 Well, babies were born to these angels and their wives. But the babies were different. They kept growing bigger until they became giants, yes, wicked giants. The Bible calls them “mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame.” These giants tried to force everyone to be bad as they were. As a result, the Bible says that “the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” (Genesis 6:4, 5) So Jehovah brought the Flood. The giants, or “Nephilim,” and all the wicked people were drowned. But what happened to the angels that had come to earth?
11 They did not drown. They put aside their fleshly bodies and returned to heaven as spirit persons. But they were not allowed to become part of God’s organization of holy angels again. Instead, the Bible says that “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.”—2 Peter 2:4.
12. (a) What happened to the wicked angels when they returned to heaven? (b) Why can they not take on human bodies again? (c) So what are they now doing?
12 These wicked angels were not thrown into a literal place called Tartarus. Rather, Tartarus, which is mistranslated “hell” in some Bibles, refers to the abased or fallen condition of these angels. They were cut off from the spiritual light of God’s organization, and they have only everlasting destruction awaiting them. (James 2:19; Jude 6) Since the time of the Flood, God has not permitted these demon angels to take on fleshly bodies, so they cannot directly satisfy their unnatural sexual desires. Yet they can still exercise dangerous power over men and women. In fact, with the help of these demons Satan is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) The great increase today in sexual crimes, violence and other wrongdoing shows our need to be on guard against being misled by them.
HOW WICKED SPIRITS MISLEAD
13. (a) How do wicked spirits mislead? (b) What is spiritism, and what does the Bible say about it?
13 We learned earlier that Satan, as “the god of this system of things,” uses worldly governments and false religion to blind people to Bible truths. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Another important way that wicked spirits mislead men and women is through spiritism. What is spiritism? It is the getting in touch with wicked spirits, either directly or through a human medium. Spiritism brings a person under the influence of the demons. The Bible warns us to keep free from every practice connected with spiritism.—Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8.
14. (a) What is divination? (b) What does the Bible say about it?
14 Divination is a very common form of spiritism. It is the practice of trying to find out about the future, or about something unknown, with the help of unseen spirits. This is shown by what the Christian disciple Luke wrote: “A certain servant girl with a spirit, a demon of divination, met us. She used to furnish her masters with much gain by practicing the art of prediction.” The apostle Paul was able to free the girl from the power of this wicked spirit, and no longer was she able to foretell the future.—Acts 16:16-19.
15. (a) What are some things connected with spiritism? (b) Why is taking part in such things dangerous?
15 Many persons are interested in spiritism because it is mysterious and strange. It fascinates them. So they become involved with witchcraft, voodooism, hypnotism, magic, astrology, Ouija boards or something else connected with spiritism. They may read books about these things, or go to movies, or watch television programs about them. They may even go to a meeting where a medium seeks to contact the spirit world. But all of this is unwise for a person who wants to serve the true God. It is also dangerous. It can lead to real trouble now. Also, God will judge and cast away from him all practicers of spiritism.—Revelation 22:15.
16. How does the Bible show that Christians have a fight against wicked spirits?
16 Even when a person does all he can to keep free from spiritism, he may still come under attack by wicked spirits. Recall that the voice of the Devil himself was heard by Jesus Christ, tempting him to break God’s law. (Matthew 4:8, 9) Other servants of God have had such attacks. The apostle Paul said: “We have a wrestling . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” This means that every servant of God must “take up the complete suit of armor from God, that [he] may be able to resist.”—Ephesians 6:11-13.
RESISTING WICKED SPIRIT ATTACKS
17. What should you do if a “voice” from the spirit world speaks to you?
17 What should you do if a “voice” from the spirit world speaks to you? What if the “voice” pretends to be a dead relative or a good spirit? Well, what did Jesus do when the “ruler of the demons” spoke to him? (Matthew 9:34) He said: “Go away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10) You can do that too. Also, you can call on Jehovah for help. Pray out loud and use God’s name. Remember that he is more powerful than are wicked spirits. Follow this wise course. Do not listen to such voices from the spirit world. (Proverbs 18:10; James 4:7) This does not mean that everyone who hears “voices” is being spoken to by demons. At times the hearing of voices can be traced to certain physical or mental illnesses.
18. What example of the early Christians at Ephesus is a good one to follow if a person wants to break free from spiritism?
18 Maybe at one time you shared in some practice of spiritism and you now want to break free. What can you do? Well, consider the example of early Christians at Ephesus. After they had accepted the “word of Jehovah” preached by the apostle Paul, the Bible says: “Quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” And these books were worth 50,000 pieces of silver! (Acts 19:19, 20) In imitation of those who became Christ’s followers at Ephesus, if you have objects in your possession that are directly related to spiritism the wise course is to destroy them no matter how costly they are.
19. (a) What do most persons who take part in spiritism not know? (b) If we want to live forever in happiness on earth, what must we do?
19 Since there is so much interest today in the strange and mysterious, more and more persons are becoming involved in spiritism. Most of these persons, however, do not know that they are actually becoming involved with wicked spirits. This is not innocent fun. Wicked spirits have power to hurt and harm. They are vicious. And, before Christ jails them in destruction forever, they are doing all they can to bring humans under their wicked power. (Matthew 8:28, 29) So if you want to live forever in happiness on earth after all wickedness is removed, you need to keep free from demon power by keeping away from every kind of spiritism.
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With whom did the spirit medium of En-dor get in touch?
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The angelic sons of God noticed the daughters of men
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The materialized angels did not drown. They put aside their fleshly bodies and returned to heaven
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The Bible warns: ‘Keep free from all forms of spiritism’
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Those who became Christians in Ephesus burned their books on spiritism—a fine example for us today