Part 2—What Do the Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”?
In Part I of this three-part serial the reader was shown that in past and present centuries psychic or mediumistic occult practices have been seriously recognized and adopted by high military, civic and religious leaders of Christendom and heathendom, thereby startling some of the common people on their learning of such conduct by those leaders. History, both secular and Biblical, proves that even in most ancient times leaders of men seriously relied upon unseen spirit forces for comfort, advance information or guidance. Such spiritistic phenomena baffle modern scientists who, with their sensitive instruments, have carefully investigated. The rapidly spreading modern religion, Spiritualism, insists such unseen forces really are ‘immortal souls’ of men, women and children who lived and died of earth. Flatly contradicting such claim of spiritualists, the Bible consistently and uniformly teaches that the human soul dies.
1. What scriptures say in so many words that the human soul dies?
BUT where are the scriptures that say in so many words that the human soul dies? At Numbers 23:10 (NW) the prophet Balaam is inspired by Jehovah God to say: “Let my soul die the death of the upright ones, and let my end turn out afterward like theirs.” Other verses (NW) on soul death read: “You must deliver our souls from death.” “Our souls are to die instead of you people!” (Josh. 2:13, 14) “Zebulun was a people that scorned their souls to the point of death.” (Judg. 5:18) “His soul got to be impatient to the point of dying. . . . Samson proceeded to say: ‘Let my soul die with the Phi·lisʹtines.’” (Judg. 16:16, 30) “And he [the prophet Elijah] began to ask that his soul might die and to say: ‘It is enough! Now, O Jehovah, take my soul away, for I am no better than my forefathers.’” (1 Ki. 19:4) Also: “Their soul dieth in youth, and their life among the defiled.” (Job 36:14, Yg; Da; Ro; Le) “To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Ps. 33:19) “He spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence.” (Ps. 78:50) “Thou hast delivered my soul from death.” (Ps. 116:8) “He hath poured out his soul unto death.” (Isa. 53:12) “Will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?” (Ezek. 13:19) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”—Ezek. 18:4, 20.
2, 3. (a) Why are the terms “dead soul” and “deceased soul” accurate and Scriptural? (b) Is human-soul death consistently taught in the Christian Greek Scriptures (or “New Testament”), and how?
2 But did you ever hear of a dead or deceased soul? Here is where the Bible uses such an expression: “You must not make cuts in your flesh for a deceased soul.” (Lev. 19:28, NW) “For a deceased soul no one may defile himself among his people. And he should not come to any dead soul.” (Lev. 21:1, 11, NW; also Le 22:4) “All the days of his keeping separate to Jehovah he may not come toward any dead soul.” (Num. 6:6, NW; also Nu 5:2; 6:11; 9:6, 7, 10) “Anyone touching the corpse of any human soul must then be unclean seven days.”—Num. 19:11, also 13, NW; see also Haggai 2:13, where nephʹesh (“soul”) is generally translated “dead body.”
3 The Bible does not contradict itself. With all those verses plainly speaking of soul death, no wonder you do not find any that says that the human soul cannot die or has immortality. But someone might remark, All those Bible verses are from the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, but is the mortalness of the human soul taught in the Christian Greek Scriptures? For, in Matthew 10:28, did not Jesus say: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul”? Yes, but Jesus also said: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:34) “They did not love their souls even despite the danger of death [or, souls until death].” (Rev. 12:11, NW, margin) “And a third of the creatures that are in the sea which have souls died.” (Rev. 8:9, NW) “And every living soul died in the sea.” (Rev. 16:3) Also Jesus’ disciple James wrote: “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.” (Jas. 5:20) So Jesus and his disciples did believe in our soul’s mortalness.
4. Why, usually, do Christendom’s clergymen omit quoting the last half of Matthew 10:28?
4 The usual way that clergymen try to uphold the teaching of the immortalness and indestructibleness of the human soul is by quoting only the first half of Matthew 10:28. Why? Because in the last half of the verse Jesus goes on to say: “But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” That is to say, fear Almighty God who can destroy the human soul as well as the human body, in Gehenna. This is the Greek word mistranslated “hell,” it not being the same Greek word as haiʹdes and tarʹta·ros, which words the King James Version also translates as “hell.”
5. How, in Jesus’ case, was Jehovah’s prediction written by his prophet Isaiah (53:9) fulfilled, and with what symbolic significance?
5 Jesus at death went to Haʹdes or mankind’s common grave, but not to Gehenna, for his body was buried in the grave of Joseph the rich man of Arimathea. He was not pitched like a cursed criminal unworthy of a resurrection into Gehenna or the valley of Hinnom to the west and south of the walls of Jerusalem. (Acts 2:27-32, AS; NW) Had Jesus’ religious enemies gotten ahold of his dead body first, they might have hurled it over Jerusalem’s walls into Gehenna to be burned up there in the continual fires mixed with sulphur or to fall on a projecting ledge and be consumed in the warmth of that fire by worms or maggots that would not die till they had left only his inedible skeleton. Those religious enemies certainly did not want Jesus to be resurrected from Haʹdes, which was why they had Governor Pontius Pilate seal the stone-closed tomb and post a soldier guard there to prevent Jesus’ body from getting out. But, to symbolize that he was deserving of a resurrection from the dead, Jesus was fittingly laid in a memorial tomb; whereas people whose soul as well as body Almighty God destroys in Gehenna will never have a resurrection from the dead and hence will not live again as souls in God’s righteous new world. God destroys their soul in that he hopelessly destroys all opportunity for those in the Gehenna state to enjoy life anywhere again by any means. God does not apply the benefits of Jesus’ sacrificial death to them.—Matt. 27:57-66; 28:1-4, 11-15; Acts 4:1, 2; Isa. 53:9; Mark 9:43-48, NW; Yg; Mo.
6. Destructibility of the human soul was also clearly declared in what reported statements of Jesus, Peter and Paul?
6 Jesus taught that the human soul is mortal and therefore destructible, killable. He said: “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do a good deed or to do an injury, to save or to kill a soul?” (Mark 3:4 and Luke 6:9, NW) “Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to keep his soul safe for himself will lose it, but whoever loses it will preserve it alive.” (Luke 17:32, 33, NW; Ro, margin) “He that is fond of his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life.” (John 12:25, NW) The apostle Peter showed that Moses foretold Jesus, at Deuteronomy 18:15-19, and said: “Indeed, any soul that does not listen to that Prophet will be completely destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23, NW) And at Hebrews 10:39 (NW) we read: “Now we are not the kind that shrink back to destruction, but the kind that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.”
7. As further showing that the human soul can be destroyed by Almighty God, what other typical passages in the Hebrew Scriptures exactly harmonize with declarations Jesus, Peter and Paul made?
7 In talking of the soul that way, Jesus and his disciples were in accord with the Hebrew Scriptures, where we read how Israel’s judge Joshua acted as Jehovah’s executioner of the pagan inhabitants of the Promised Land, as follows: “And Joshua captured Mak·keʹdah . . . As for its king, he devoted him and every soul that was in it to destruction. . . . Jehovah gave [Libʹnah] also and its king into Israel’s hand and they went striking it and every soul that was in it with the edge of the sword. They did not let a survivor remain.” (Josh. 10:28, 30, 32, 35, 37, 39; 11:11, NW) Moses also said to the Israelite soldiers after they executed the enemy Midianites in war: “Everyone who has killed a soul and everyone who has touched someone slain, you should purify yourselves.” (Num. 31:19, NW) The wise man said: “Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” (Prov. 6:32) Other scriptures might be quoted, but enough have been quoted here to prove that both the ancient Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures agree that the human soul is subject to destruction at the hands of Almighty God and his executioners.
8. How can we Scripturally convince bereaved persons about the falsity of spiritualism’s proffered comfort?
8 What great fact now stands out beyond all contradiction? It is this: There is no survival of the human soul after death. That is why the apostle Paul said that, if there were no resurrection of the dead beginning with Jesus Christ, then “those who fell asleep in death in union with Christ perished. If in this life only we [Christians] have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. However, now Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:18-22, NW) There is a difference between “survival after death” and resurrection. In fact, it is because there is no survival after death that there must be a resurrection of the dead. Since there is no survival after death, there being no immortality of the human soul and there being no personality to the spirit in man, the dead in the graves are dead and, to live again in God’s new world, they need to be resurrected from the dead. Thus the very foundation of spiritualism must be false and there can be no such thing as communication between the living and the dead. Spiritualism therefore offers a false, misleading comfort to bereaved ones. It subjects them to a deception. It endangers them, for it denies the fall of man into sin, it denies death as the penalty for sin, it denies the need of Christ’s ransom sacrifice to remove mankind’s sin and gain God’s forgiveness of sins, it denies the need of God’s kingdom to destroy this wicked system of things and to resurrect the dead and aid them to attain to everlasting life under God’s kingdom in the earthly paradise of his righteous new world.
9. Admitting the reality of spiritualists’ experiences in communicating with unseen persons, why do such experiences not prove the human soul’s “survival after death”?
9 This is not saying that spiritualists do not get in touch with an unseen, spirit realm. This is not saying that they do not have authentic phenomena, such as messages received from the invisible, predictions come true of future things, disclosures of knowledge not gained by ordinary means, supernatural movements of objects, and the shaping of ectoplasm from the bodies of mediums into human forms, and other experiences, upon which they chiefly base their belief and teaching. Admittedly such experiences and observed phenomena are a proof of something. Of what? Of an invisible realm with intelligent spirit creatures, but decidedly not of “survival after death” or of communication between the dead and the living. In this respect spiritualism is a case of mistaken identity. By this we mean that spiritualists mistake the identity of the individuals in the spirit realm with whom they communicate by mediums and other means. They think these are human souls once alive on earth but now departed. For their own purposes the spirits do not reveal their true identity but assume an identity that is not theirs.
10. Who are the unseen persons pretending to be souls of dead humans that communicate with spiritualists?
10 Who, then, are these spirits who communicate with spiritualists? They cannot be immortal souls or spirits of humans who have died. So since they pretend to be the invisible, living souls of the human dead and thus work a fraud and a deception, they must be lying spirits. They must be demons or devils, who are responsible for what the Bible calls “lying divination” and “lying signs and wonders.”—Ezek. 13:6, 7, 9; 2 Thess. 2:9, NW.
11-13. The Bible report of rebellious King Saul’s visit to the spirit medium in En-dor reveals what facts?
11 But, objects the spiritualist, the Bible itself gives an account of communication between the dead and the living, between the faithful prophet Samuel and King Saul of Israel before the battle between the Israelites and the enemy Philistines.
12 In order that we may examine the objection of the spiritualist with all the facts before us, we here publish the entire Bible account as given in the New World Translation:
“Now Samuel himself had died and all Israel had proceeded to bewail him and bury him in Ra’mah his own city. As for Saul, he had removed the spirit mediums and the professional foretellers of events from the land.
“Subsequently the Phi·lisʹtines collected together and came and pitched camp in Shuʹnem. So Saul collected all Israel together and they pitched camp in Gil·boʹa. When Saul got to see the camp of the Phi·lisʹtines he became afraid and his heart began to tremble very much. Although Saul would inquire of Jehovah, Jehovah never answered him, either by dreams or by the Uʹrim or by the prophets. Finally Saul said to his servants: ‘Look for a woman who is a mistress of spirit mediumship for me and let me go to her and consult her.’ Then his servants said to him: ‘Look! there is a woman who is a mistress of spirit mediumship in En-dor.’
“So Saul disguised himself and clothed himself with other garments and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night. He now said: ‘Employ divination, please, for me by spirit mediumship and bring up for me the one whom I shall designate to you.’ However, the woman said to him: ‘Here you yourself well know what Saul did, how he cut off the spirit mediums and the professional foretellers of events from the land. Why, then, are you acting like a trapper against my soul to have me put to death?’ Immediately Saul swore to her by Jehovah, saying: ‘As Jehovah is alive, guilt for error will not befall you in this matter!’ At this the woman said: ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ To this he said: ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’ When the woman saw ‘Samuel’ she began crying out at the top of her voice, and the woman went on to say to Saul: ‘Why did you trick me when you yourself are Saul?’ But the king said to her: ‘Do not be afraid, but what did you see?’ And the woman went on to say to Saul: ‘A god I saw coming up out of the earth.’ At once he said to her: ‘What is his form?’ to which she said: ‘It is an old man coming up, and he has himself covered with a sleeveless coat.’ At that Saul recognized that it was ‘Samuel,’ and he proceeded to bow low with his face to the earth and to prostrate himself.
“And ‘Samuel’ began to say to Saul: ‘Why have you disturbed me by having me brought up?’ To this Saul said: ‘I am in very sore straits, as the Phi·lisʹtines are fighting against me and God himself has departed from me and has answered me no more, either by means of the prophets or by dreams, so that I am calling you to let me know what I shall do.’
“And ‘Samuel’ went on to say: ‘Why, then, do you inquire of me, when Jehovah himself has departed from you and proves to be your adversary? And Jehovah will do for himself just as he spoke by means of me and Jehovah will rip the kingdom away from your hand and give it to your fellow man David. As you did not obey the voice of Jehovah and you did not execute his burning anger against Amʹa·lek, that is why this is the thing that Jehovah will certainly do to you this day. And Jehovah will also give Israel with you into the hand of the Phi·lisʹtines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Even the camp of Israel Jehovah will give into the hand of the Phi·lisʹtines.’
“At that Saul quickly fell down his full length to the earth and became very much afraid because of ‘Samuel’s’ words. Also there happened to be no power in him, because he had not eaten food the whole day and the whole night. The woman now came to Saul and saw that he had been greatly terrified. So she said to him: ‘Here your maidservant has obeyed your voice and I proceeded to put my soul in my palm and obey the words that you spoke to me. And now, please, you, in turn, obey the voice of your maidservant, and let me set before you a piece of bread, and you eat, that power may come to be in you, because you will go on your way.’”—1 Sam. 28:3-22, NW.a
13 ‘There now,’ says the spiritualist, ‘the Bible says that it was Samuel that appeared after he died.’ But is that what the Bible does say? No! It shows that King Saul did not see anything at this séance. It was the spirit medium that saw something by her occult powers. Saul merely yielded himself mentally to her that the séance might be successful. ‘But,’ says the spiritualist, ‘what the medium saw and described King Saul himself identified as being Samuel.’ True, but Saul wanted to believe that it was Samuel and he was willing to be deceived by appearances, by resemblances.
14-16. (a) What identity problem do even skilled investigators admit as remaining unsolved? (b) How, in King Saul’s case, are sound Bible principles applicable for solving this problem?
14 Resemblances do not, however, establish exact identity. Other important things have to be taken in account. In his article “A Case for ESP, PK and PSI” published in the magazine Life in 1954, the well-known researcher into psychic things, Aldous Huxley, had this to say, on page 108:
“Another problem for the psi researchers of the future will be that of human survival after death. . . . Disquieting cases of mistaken identity turn up from time to time in the law courts. . . . Passports, social security cards and even fingerprints can be faked. And somewhere in the world practically everybody has his or her double. (Stalin and Hitler are said to have employed half a dozen or more.) If it is so difficult, even here and now, to prove scientifically that I am I and you are you, how much harder must it be to demonstrate that the person speaking through the mouth of a medium is in fact the person he says he is, and not a projection of information acquired by means of ESP [extrasensory perception] and dramatized, more or less convincingly, by a dissociated part of the medium’s subconscious mind.” And then, under a picture of former U.S. president Harry S. Truman alongside that of his theatrical stage doubler Irving Fisher, the article says: “WHO IS WHO? . . . Since physical identity can be counterfeited, Author Huxley points out, it is doubly difficult to assess claims that specific dead people have been heard from in seances through mediums.”
15 To author Aldous Huxley and other psychic researchers these are “old and still unsolved problems.” But if we accept the full Word of God, the Bible, this case of King Saul and the medium is no unsolved problem. King Saul had previously killed off, not Jehovah’s prophets, but the spirit mediums and professional foretellers of events from the land of Israel. Just as he tricked the spirit medium into practicing her unlawful business, so the spirit that caused the spirit medium to see a god coming out of the earth tricked her and also Saul by counterfeiting the dead Samuel’s former living appearance. Samuel at his death left behind the sleeveless coat he used to wear or was buried in. So where did the spirit get the sleeveless coat? The spirit counterfeited that coat as well as Samuel’s oldness. That invisible spirit working through the medium knew how Samuel dressed in life and what he had said to disobedient King Saul on former occasions and how he had refused to see King Saul any more till his own death and what he looked like at his death. (1 Sam. 15:35) So the spirit could easily counterfeit all that, and he did. Whether it was the next day, or “tomorrow,” that the Israelite army were delivered to the Philistines in defeat and Saul and his sons with him on the battlefield died, the Bible account does not plainly show. The spirit’s expression “you and your sons” meant not necessarily all of Saul’s sons but those in the camp with him; one of Saul’s sons, Ish-boʹsheth, did not die in that battle but ruled as Saul’s successor for a while. (1 Sam. 31:1-7; 1 Chron. 9:39; 10:2-6) The spirit knew that Jehovah was against Saul and that Saul had displeased Jehovah further by consulting a spirit medium and was condemned to death for that and would not be favored by help from Jehovah in battle. So the spirit could reasonably predict defeat for Saul and death to him and his sons.
16 Whether the spirit’s prediction came true or not, the spirit was a “lying spirit,” for it made a prediction from a counterfeit or fraudulent background by pretending to be Jehovah’s faithful Samuel and enacting the lie that the dead are not dead and that it is possible for the living to talk with the dead. Samuel was then a dead soul with the hope of a resurrection in God’s new world. He had refused to communicate with Saul any longer after Jehovah had definitely rejected him for disobeying Jehovah in the matter of executing all the Amalekites and their livestock. Samuel had also refused to have anything to do with spirit mediums. Certainly, then, no condemned spirit medium could force Samuel to do after death what he had refused to do during life. Furthermore, the lady medium could not raise the dead. The only one that can do this is “God, who makes the dead alive and calls the things that are not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17, NW) “Jehovah is a Killer and a Preserver of life, a Bringer down to Sheʹol [mankind’s common grave], and He brings up.” (1 Sam. 2:6, NW) He did not accommodate a condemned medium and bring back Samuel for her.
17, 18. What other right conclusions may we draw from Saul’s experience and spiritists’ vain attempt to use it for proving “survival after death”?
17 For rebelling against obeying Jehovah’s command King Saul was the same as one practicing spiritism, as Samuel said to him: “Rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as [using] uncanny power and teraphim. Since you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he accordingly rejects you from being king.” (1 Sam. 15:22, 23, NW) But now by consulting a spirit medium he was directly resorting to spiritism and deserved to die. By the medium he got in touch with a lying spirit but not Samuel. Consequently 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14 (NW) says: “Thus Saul died for his unfaithfulness with which he had acted faithlessly against Jehovah concerning the word of Jehovah that he had not kept and also for asking of a spirit medium to make inquiry. And he did not inquire of Jehovah. Consequently he put him to death and turned the kingship over to David the son of Jesʹse.”
18 The attempt by spiritualists to use Saul’s experience as a proof from the Bible that there is survival after death and that the departed ones can communicate from the realm of the dead with those living on earth by spirit mediums miserably fails therefore.
19-21. What testimony of renowned spiritists accurately identifies the questionable and deceptive communications they falsely claim to be from the souls of dead humans?
19 Even the spiritualists themselves admit that the spirits with whom they have contact lie and deceive. On page 162 of his book and under the heading “Intrusion by Undesired Spirits” Rishi confesses:
“In our endeavours to converse with our spirit-friends, we occasionally come across undesired entities, who interfere while others are communicating and even impersonate them. This is a great stumbling block in the way of some experimenters who are at times greatly harassed by annoying intrusions from the other world. For want of a good guide in the unseen regions they are much handicapped and feel helpless in the matter. It seems that these earnest persons are anxious to get rid of the undesired visitors, but no argument or prayers have any effect upon such denizens of the next world, whose intrusions are usually meant to harass those through whom they are communicating their thoughts.”
20 But the late British psychic researcher, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is even more blunt as to the inclination of the spirits to lie. On page 72 of his book The New Revelation Sir Doyle said this concerning the spirits themselves:
“We have, unhappily, to deal with absolute cold-blooded lying on the part of wicked or mischievous intelligences. Every one who has investigated the matter has, I suppose, met with examples of wilful deception which occasionally are mixed up with good and true communications.”
21 Expressing his fear as to the real identity of the spirits, an Egyptian spiritualist named Aly Abdel Galil Rady, professor of physics at the Faculty of Science in Ibrahim University, Cairo, has this to say on pages 277, 287-289 of his book The Invisible World, as translated from Arabic:
“The spirits who appear can be troublemakers, liars, and perhaps from demons who can skillfully act as the spirits of the dead humans and can speak with their voice, appear in their image and materialize in their form. . . . I can say, therefore, that all the opinions made known by the spirits at their apparitions are questionable. It is true that some of them are right but the majority are wrong. . . . We should not forget that science is full of deceptive phenomena such as the mirage to which the thirsty person runs thinking it is water. Why, then, do we not investigate about the truth regarding the spirits speaking to us. I presume they are demons. And neither I nor those spiritists are sure.”
22. For gaining a true understanding of spiritualism’s claims, what basic lie and what basic truth must we remember?
22 Thus out of the mouths or from the pens of prominent spiritists themselves comes the damaging evidence or testimony. It is useless to try to defend spiritualism with the weak argument that there are good spirits and bad spirits and the intention of spiritualism is to get in touch with the good spirits. Spiritualism is founded on a great untruth, the lie of survival after death and of the immortality of the human soul. Therefore all spirits that would be willing to communicate with spiritualists on the foundation of that lie and try to make that lie appear true must be bad spirits, demons that try to give the lie to God and his Word. The Christian apostle Paul writes: “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (Rom. 3:4, NW) That statement includes every man that is a spiritualist and that gets in touch with these proved lying spirits.
WAS THE TRANSFIGURATION A MATERIALIZATION?
23-25. Why was the transfiguration not a spiritistic materialization of Moses and Elijah, and what actually was it?
23 Still attempting to play all his cards in the game, the spiritualist will say: ‘But was not the transfiguration of Jesus on the high mountain a return of Moses and Elijah from the dead and did not Jesus therefore use his three apostles Peter, James and John as mediums in their sleepy condition to bring about the materialization of those dead prophets?’ To answer this, turn to the authentic record, as given at Luke 9:28-36 (NW): “He took Peter and John and James along and climbed up into a mountain to pray. And as he was praying the appearance of his face became different and his apparel became glitteringly bright. Also, look! two men were conversing with him, who were Moses and Elijah. These appeared with glory and began talking about his departure that he was destined to fulfill at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those with him were weighed down with sleep; but when they got fully awake they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. And as these were being separated from him Peter said to Jesus: ‘Instructor, it is fine for us to be here, so let us erect three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah,’ he not realizing what he was saying. But as he was saying these things a cloud formed and began to cover them protectingly. As they entered into the cloud, they became fearful. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: ‘This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.’ And as the voice occurred Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet and did not report to anyone in those days any of the things they saw.”
24 This was no materialization of the dead prophets Moses and Elijah by means of producing ectoplasm. There was no ectoplasm extruded from either Jesus or Peter or James or John. They were conscious and observed what was going on, for they were to be made witnesses of this transfiguration so as to make more firm the prophecies of the Bible, not the predictions of spirit messages. As Peter himself confesses, saying: “No, it was not by turning aside to follow artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, on whom I have set my approval.’ Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain. Consequently, we have the prophetic word made more firm, and you are doing well in paying attention to it.” (2 Pet. 1:16-19, NW) This could not be a spiritistic materialization of Moses and Elijah, for they were both dead souls, and the time for their resurrection from the dead has not even yet arrived.—Heb. 11:23-29, 32, 38-40.
25 This was a vision, like the vision that the apostle John had about sixty years after he witnessed the transfiguration and which vision was so real that John talked with those appearing in the vision. (Rev. 1:1, 2; 5:4, 5; 7:13, 14) Jesus himself pronounced it a prophetic vision, in which Moses and Elijah served as symbolisms of the offices that Jesus was to hold in order to do certain works. The apostle Matthew proves that the transfiguration was a vision when he writes: “And as they were descending from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is raised up from the dead.’” (Matt. 17:9, NW) The spiritualists are therefore authoritatively barred from using the transfiguration of Jesus in support of their teaching.
26, 27. Why is the expelling of demons by Jesus and his faithful disciples no proof of the claims of spiritualism?
26 Immediately after coming down from the mountain of transfiguration Jesus healed a demon-possessed, lunatic boy. Concerning this we read: “Then Jesus rebuked it, and the demon came out of him; and the boy was cured from that hour.” (Matt. 17:14-18, NW) This adds to the proof that the transfiguration had nothing to do with spiritism, which is carried on by the demons.
27 Jesus was not a spirit medium. He never yielded to the influence of demons or unclean spirits. His religious enemies accused him of being possessed by an unclean spirit, a demon. (John 7:20; 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20, 21) But Jesus himself cast out demons and he empowered his disciples also to cast out demons. (Matt. 10:1, 8; Luke 9:1; 10:17-20) His enemies said he cast out demons by the power of the “ruler of the demons,” Be·elʹze·bub. But Jesus said that this would mean that Satan was divided against himself so that his kingdom could not stand. Well, then, does that mean that when spirit mediums and priests of false religion exorcise demons God is using them to cast out demons? No, but Satan is using them to do so. In his use of these Satan is not divided against himself, because these spirit mediums and false priests are on his side and are upholding his kingdom by the wonderful thing they are performing, and they are giving seeming support to Satan’s religious lies. And so their expelling demons, even in Jesus’ name as a magical name, does not prove that such mediums and false priests are not “workers of lawlessness” against God. (Matt. 7:21-23, NW; Acts 19:11-16) But Jesus himself was not on Satan’s side. He was Satan’s greatest foe an earth and what he taught and preached was directly against Satan’s lies and kingdom. So Jesus’ casting out demons was a proof that he was doing it by Satan’s enemy, by the “finger of God,” and it gave support to God’s truth and kingdom. (Matt 12:22-30) His faithful disciples likewise expelled demons by God’s power, not by the Devil’s. Power to do so back there in the first century was a miraculous “gift” of the holy spirit. But since Christ’s twelve apostles died that gift has ceased among his faithful followers and is not possessed or exercised by them today.—1 Cor. 13:8-11.
28. Why are various reported acts of Jesus wrongly described as “spiritistic levitations”?
28 Jesus had nothing in common with the demons, and the demons themselves admitted that fact. One of them shouted out: “What have we to do with you, Jesus you Nazarene? Did you come to destroy us? I know exactly who you are, the Holy One of God.” Jesus “reproved it, saying: ‘Be silent, and come on out of him!’” Jesus would not let the demons testify concerning him, as we read: “He expelled many demons, but he would not let the demons speak, because they knew him to be Christ.” (Mark 1:23-25, 34, NW) Jesus’ walking once on the Sea of Galilee to reach the storm-tossed boat of his disciples was no act of spiritistic levitation. (Matt. 14:24-32) When Jesus was baptized and then filled with God’s holy spirit and spent forty days in the wilderness, Satan the Devil tried to induce Jesus to perform a levitation to mystify the Jews and win them over at the temple of Jerusalem. On a temple battlement the ruler of the demons said to Jesus: “If you are a son of God, hurl yourself down from here; for it is written: ‘He will give his angels a charge concerning you, to preserve you,’ and, ‘They will carry you on their hands that you may never strike your foot against a stone.’” But Jesus refused, quoting the scripture: “You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.” (Luke 4:1, 9-12, NW) His ascension from Mount Olivet forty days from his resurrection from the dead was no spiritistic levitation. It was his return to heaven and his entry into the presence of his heavenly Father with the value of his human sacrifice for the sake of sinful mankind.—Acts 1:9-12.
THE SCRIPTURES FALSELY ACCUSED
29, 30. Mediums and others who engaged in spiritism of any kind were how denounced in Jehovah’s instructions to ancient Israel?
29 The Scriptures are therefore falsely accused of offering support to the claims of spiritualists. For mankind’s protection and safe guidance into the truth the Scriptures expose spiritualism to be what it actually is, spiritism or demonism. Hence the law of Jehovah God to the Israelites forbade their having anything to do with spirit mediums who pretended to put the living in touch with the dead. It commanded: “Do not turn yourselves to the spirit mediums, and do not consult professional foretellers of events, so as to become unclean by them. I am Jehovah your God.” Those Israelites who resorted to spiritism of any kind were to be killed. “As for the soul who turns himself to the spirit mediums and the professional foretellers of events so as to have unfaithful intercourse with them, I shall certainly set my face against that soul and cut him off from among his people.” Spirit mediums were to be stoned to death. “As for a man or woman in whom there should prove to be a mediumistic spirit or spirit of prediction, they should be put to death without fail. They should pelt them to death with stones. Their own blood is upon them.”—Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27, NW.
30 “There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, 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, and on account of these detestable things Jehovah your God is driving them away before you. You should prove yourself faultless with Jehovah your God. For those nations whom you are dispossessing used to listen to those practicing magic and to those who divine, but, as for you, Jehovah your God has not given you anything like this.” Hence to indulge in such things would be certain to turn them away from the coming Messiah, the Greater Moses, who is Jesus Christ.—Deut. 18:10-19, NW.
31. Why were people of ancient Israel warned by Jehovah to ignore and reject certain prophesyings and predictions?
31 What, though, if spirit mediums or fortunetellers or astrologers or users of Ouija boards or planchettes make predictions and those predictions come true? Still this does not prove spiritism or spiritualism true, the right religion. Why not? Because this goes contrary to Jehovah God’s commandments and it turns those who rely on such spiritistic things away from God’s approved means of giving hidden knowledge and of prophesying concerning the future. It also works in support of the great lie concerning Jehovah’s Godship and concerning the dead, and so leads into error. God’s law commands: “In case a prophet or a dreamer of a dream should arise in your midst and he does give you a sign or a portent and the sign or the portent does come true of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us walk after other gods, whom you have not known, and let us serve them,’” what then? “You must not listen to the words of that prophet or to the dreamer of that dream, because Jehovah your God is testing you to know whether you are loving Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul. . . . And that prophet or that dreamer of the dream should be put to death, because he has spoken of revolt against Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt and has redeemed you from the house of slaves, to turn you from the way in which Jehovah your God has commanded you to walk, and you must clear out what is evil from your midst.” (Deut. 13:1-5, NW) A prediction that comes true but that is used to turn you from Jehovah the only living and true God is a false disguise to throw you off your guard and to mislead you away from the divine source of life and truth. It is meant to bring you under the power of the “father of the lie,” Satan the Devil, the “ruler of the demons.”—John 8:44, NW.
32. Why is man’s belief in both wicked and righteous invisible spirit creatures reasonable and Scriptural?
32 Jehovah God knows who these demons are. He knows their methods of operation and the destruction they cause to their victims. In his written Word he therefore warns his people and those who want salvation against these unseen wicked intelligences. To believe in the existence of demons is not superstition. It is not only Christian but also scientific to believe in the existence of demons and to believe in a spirit realm, for there is where the invisible Creator, God, who is spirit, dwells and he is certainly not alone in that vast, immeasurable spirit realm. Unknown time before he created our 4 1⁄2-billion-year-old visible universe Jehovah God made his first creation. It was a spiritual creation, namely, his beloved “only-begotten Son,” the “firstborn of all creation,” who in due time came to earth and became the “man Christ Jesus.” (John 3:16; Col. 1:15, NW; 1 Tim. 2:5) Then by him Jehovah made other intelligent creations also spiritual ones, namely, all the glorious, perfect, holy angels, and it was these spirit “sons of God” that “shouted for joy” at the creation of our earth for mankind’s everlasting home. (Ps. 104:4; 103:20; Job 38:4-7) Thus the spirit realm existed before ever our material universe came into being. The marvelously designed, visible material creation testifies to the existence, power and intelligence of the great Spirit Creator, Jehovah God. Materialistic scientists are without excuse for their unbelief toward him. “For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are understood by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.”—Rom. 1:20, NW.
33, 34. Why should our belief about a spirit realm and its inhabitants rightly be kept unmixed with spiritualism’s theory of “survival after death”?
33 Mankind has not had to wait upon the rise of spiritualism for proof that the spirit realm exists. What spiritualism has really tried to foist upon mankind is the belief that the spirit realm is inhabited by the spirits or so-called “immortal souls” of the human dead and that there is survival for mankind after death. Such a belief may have come from the Orient or the East, but it has not brought any enlightenment to mankind. Rather it has bedarkened their minds to the truth. The Occident or the West has come under such darkness and so has no light to give. The teaching of “survival after death” is not light, and Shaw Desmond is unfortunately mistaken when he, in his book entitled “We Do Not Die,” says: “Spiritually starved, Europe no longer looks to the East for light, for light no longer comes from the East but from the West. The East is still, though it will not always be indifferent to the light which it once gave to a darkened world, that light of the World, which in its ultimate analysis may be called the light of ‘Survival.’” Spiritualism, with its doctrine of “survival,” has only come into existence since the flood of Noah’s day in 2370 B.C.
34 The first man Adam knew the existence of the spirit realm and realized he was a product of it, and he taught his wife Eve so in the garden of Eden. Both Adam and Eve knew that the spirit realm existed, because Jehovah God talked with them out of the invisible, making his will known to them. They heard his voice, not by means of any spirit medium either, and they talked with him also. They knew they were not talking with any dead and “departed” person. Before Adam and Eve there were no dead humans. They talked, not with the dead, but with the living in the spirit realm, until they were driven from the paradise of Eden. Noah and his family of seven human souls survived the global flood, and they knew of the existence of the spirit realm. It was out of the invisible spirit realm that instructions came to Noah to build the ark of survival and to go into it just in time. It was out of the spirit realm that God spoke to them after the flood and blessed them and gave them instructions. Instead of discovering or explaining and proving the spirit realm, spiritualism has twisted the facts about it and misled men into the clutches of the demons.—Gen. 5:32 to 9:17.
WHO MADE THE DEMONS?
35-37. (a) How and when did lying spirits or demons originate? (b) Who was the first demon and how did he act in defiance of Almighty God?
35 Here now comes up a question with some readers. At Deuteronomy 32:4 (NW) Moses sings of Jehovah God, saying: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” That being so, he could not be the creator of demons. How, then, did demons come into existence? The very next verse of Moses’ song gives us the clue, saying: “They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted.” (Deut. 32:5, NW) That is to say, those now demons made themselves such, and this defect is their own and they are no longer God’s children. The Bible also calls them “unclean spirits.” (Matt. 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23, 26, 27; Luke 4:33, 36; Acts 5:16; 8:7) But Jehovah God created them as clean spirits, his heavenly sons, members of his spirit family. They were not created immortal, but mortal, yet with the opportunity to live everlastingly by continuing to be clean, holy, spirit sons of God. Otherwise, now that quite a number of these have become demons, they could not be destroyed from the universe.
36 The first one to make himself a demon became the “ruler of the demons,” for he had other angels or spirits to make themselves like him. (Matt. 12:24 and Mark 3:22, NW) Because he was first in opposing God, in slandering or lying about God, in using deceit and in swallowing up his victims like a dragon, he was branded with four special titles, Satan, the Devil, the original Serpent and the Dragon. (Rev. 12:9; 20:2, NW) This third title links him with the talking serpent in the paradise of Eden. “The serpent seduced Eve by its craftiness.” (2 Cor. 11:3, NW) It was Satan the Devil that obsessed that serpent and caused it to talk and seduce Eve, for a mere serpent could not talk and act out a seductive course of action itself. It was under invisible control. The invisible one that directed the serpent made himself Satan the Devil by the course of opposition and slander against God that he caused the serpent to take. This invisible spirit had been created a perfect, holy, spirit son of God. Being put in touch with the paradise garden of Eden and its human inhabitants, he saw an opportunity to make himself a mimic god and to capture control over mankind. (Ezek. 28:13-17) Rebelling in his own heart against his very Creator, he mapped out his plan of action. He did not himself materialize, but used a serpent in Eden. By it he talked, not to the man Adam, but to the woman Eve, to turn her into rebellion against God and to use her to work on Adam to do the same thing.
37 “So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent [and thus to Satan the Devil]: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden [the tree of the knowledge of good and bad], God has said, “You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it for fear you may die.’” At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.’”—Gen. 3:1-5, NW.
38, 39. What resulted from the serpent’s lying communication to Eve about her Maker, Jehovah?
38 By this statement Satan lied. He called God a liar, a deceiver, not almighty, so unable to carry out the punishment for the breaking of His law. Satan did not here promise Adam and Eve immortality after death, but said they would not die in the flesh as a result of eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. It in itself would not kill them and God would not or could not enforce the death penalty. Instead, they would be bound to be like God, not after death by a survival after death, but while alive in the flesh. They would be like God, not as to immortality, but as to knowing good and bad by their own increased knowledge to decide for themselves what is good and bad without following God’s ruling or decision. So, not with any idea of dying and entering the spirit world and knowing more there than she ever did before in the material paradise of Eden, but with the idea of continuing to live in the flesh with increased knowledge and with independent self-determination, Eve listened to the Serpent rather than to the true God. She ate. Then she used her influence to induce her husband Adam to eat. They did get their eyes opened, but to see their own naked shame. They did not feel like a God of superior knowledge, but they feared Jehovah God and tried to hide from him. Instead of looking forward to living endlessly, everlastingly, in the flesh in the earthly paradise, they received God’s sentence of dying without survival and were driven out of the Edenic paradise.
39 Not only were they sentenced to death, but the rebel spirit Satan the Devil the original Serpent was also sentenced to die, with his head crushed under the foot of the Seed of God’s chosen woman. This showed that holy angels, such as Satan had been up till his rebellion, are not immortal, indestructible, but their living forever is hinged upon their perfect obedience to God. Thus a human’s communicating with the spirit realm is no proof of the immortality of either spirit creatures or of human souls.—Gen. 3:15.
40. Which, if any, of the demons are immortal, and why?
40 The wicked spirit Satan the Devil lived on after Adam and Eve died. He has lived till now by God’s permission, looking to the settlement of the big question in dispute, Who rules the universe? Jehovah God will show that He runs the universe and dictates its laws and determines and decrees what is good and bad. To the Christian followers of the Seed of his woman God has said: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20, NW) Jesus Christ his glorified Son is the one whom God will use to crush Satan the original Serpent and his seed, for this faithful Son is the one whom the Serpent bruised at the heel when he became blood and flesh like the children of Abraham. In proof of this it is written: “Therefore, since the ‘young children’ are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might destroy the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil, and might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives. For he is really not assisting angels at all, but he is assisting Abraham’s seed.” (Heb. 2:14-16, NW) God healed the bruised heel of his woman’s Seed by resurrecting him from the dead, restoring him to the spirit realm, but rewarding him with the prize of incorruptibility and immortality. (1 Tim. 6:15, 16) But Satan the wicked spirit still remains mortal.
41. (a) What additional Bible testimony first identifies the chief demon by name? (b) How does the Bible warn humans who indulge in spiritistic practices?
41 In the Scriptures Satan the Devil is not named before the flood of Noah’s day. He is first named in the life account of Job, which appears to have been written by the prophet Moses centuries after the flood. Spirit mediums together with inquiring of the dead are mentioned as first existing after the flood, God’s law through Moses warning against these agents of wicked spirits: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead.” (Deut. 18:10, 11, NW; also Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27) After the flood these forms of demonism began with the city of Babylon founded by Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. (Gen. 10:8-10) To Babylon the prophet Isaiah said: “These two things shall come upon thee in a moment, in one day, loss of children and widowhood; they shall come upon thee in full measure for [or, in spite of] the multitude of thy sorceries, for the great abundance of thine enchantments. Stand now with thine enchantments and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured [from when?] from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to turn them to profit, if so be thou mayest cause terror. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the interpreters of the heavens, the observers of the stars, who predict according to the new moons what shall come upon thee, stand up, and save thee.” (Isa. 47:9, 12, 13, Da, margin) The last book of the Bible foretells why modern Babylon must yet fall like ancient Babylon, saying: “Because your merchants were the top-ranking men of the earth, for by your spiritistic practice all the nations were misled.”—Rev. 18:23, NW.
42-44. When and how was the first or chief demon first joined by other disobedient spirit persons?
42 When did the other demons under Satan the “ruler of the demons” come to exist? There is no Bible record that any of the holy angels rebelled with Satan at the garden of Eden or shortly afterward. But the Bible record does show when other spirit creatures did become disobedient to God and thus become demons, imitators of Satan or the “seed” of the Serpent. When was that? At least in the last hundred and twenty years before the flood of Noah’s day. The inspired record by Moses says: “Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking, and they went to taking wives for themselves of all whom they selected. After that Jehovah said: ‘My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephʹi·lim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of that world, the men of fame. Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man had become great in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.”—Gen. 6:1-5, NW.
43 Those “sons of God” who married the “daughters of men” were spirit sons of God such as had sung together and shouted for joy when God laid the foundations for creating the earth. (Job 38:4-7) “For who in the skies can be compared unto Jehovah? Who among the sons of God is like unto Jehovah?” (Ps. 89:6, AS, footnote 2)b So Moffatt translates Genesis 6:2, 4 as follows: “The angels noticed that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any one of them that they chose. (It was in these days that the Nephilim giants arose on earth, as well as afterwards whenever angels had intercourse with the daughters of men and had children born to them; these were the heroes who were famous in the days of old.)” Here in Genesis 6:4 the Alexandrine Manuscript of the Greek Septuagint Version also reads “angels of God” instead of “sons of God.”
44 This explanation of who these “sons of God” were has nothing to do with the Slavonic version of the spurious Book of Enoch.
45, 46. How did those disobedient spirit persons act among earth’s inhabitants, and what resulted?
45 To marry the daughters of men and have sex relations with them those “sons of God” had to materialize as humans, as men. To live with their wives and enjoy their company night and day and raise their offspring those “sons of God” or angels had to remain materialized in the flesh for as long as they took part in such married life. The evidence is that they continued in this materialized state without interruption until the Flood. During all this time they were neglecting their God-given duties in the spirit realm, in order to enjoy the satisfaction of the passions of the flesh. This was disobedience to God, not only in this respect, but also in the mixing of what is spiritual or angelic with what is human for breeding purposes. The Creator Jehovah God purposed that the human race should be purely human, not a hybrid race by an unequal yoking of angels and women. That was the reason why he made Adam’s wife Eve out of a rib from Adam’s side. As regards all earthly creatures, God fixed it for each family kind to remain inside its own family boundaries. (Deut. 22:9-11; Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25) Those disobedient sons of God were thus causing unnatural confusion and working contrary to God’s law respecting mankind. Jesus Christ gives us to understand that, in the spirit realm, “neither do they marry nor are they given in marriage” nor do they thus produce angelic children.—Matt. 22:30, NW.
46 The natural result was that the offspring of such unnatural marriages were freakish hybrids called “Nephʹi·lim.” The Israelites compared them to the giants of Canaan, in fact, calling the giants of Canaan “Nephʹi·lim.” (Num. 13:33, NW) Being sons of disobedience, they were wicked. Being hybrids without power to reproduce, they made a name for themselves, not by raising families, but by violent deeds, setting an example for men in general to fill the earth with violence and to have the inclination of the thoughts of their hearts only bad all the time. They were called “mighty ones” or Gibborim and were worldly, “of that world.”—Gen. 6:4, NW.
(To be concluded in our next issue)
a See also the book What Has Religion Done for Mankind? pages 165-170, for a discussion of this account.
b An American Translation renders the last part of this verse: “Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?” Moffatt renders it: “What angel can compare with the Eternal?”
[Picture on page 568]
SCRIPTURES EXPOSE SPIRITUALISM
New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures
New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures