There are dozens of stories where people claim to have had some supernatural experience with the dead. Some say that they have been in heaven and saw their dead loved ones there. Others say that they are able to speak to the dead here on earth. And millions of people watch videos on Youtube hoping to learn how they can contact the dead themselves. But once you see the truth of what the Bible says about this topic, you will want to stay far away from such ideas.
Are the dead in heaven now?
What opens the door for searching to contact the dead in the first place is the teaching that people go directly to heaven when they die. According to this teaching man has an immortal soul that cannot die. This is what is taught in most of the Christian churches today, making the idea of being able to contact the dead easier to accept.
Calling the dead from the graves
Jesus actually tells us that the dead are not yet in heaven. He speaks about a moment in time where the dead will come forth out of their graves, not down to earth from heaven.
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28-29
Job to is very clear about this.
“For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.” Job 21:30
We find the same principle at Lazarus’ resurrection. Jesus commands Lazarus to come forth, not to come back down from heaven. This is because the dead are not in heaven, but in the grave.
From heaven to earth
Can you imagine if Lazarus actually would have gone to heaven immediately after he died, and he would be in the heavenly paradise. And all of a sudden, his friend Jesus commands him out of heaven, back into his deteriorated body back on earth only to die later again?
Why would Jesus do that to Lazarus? That sounds more like bullying than a loving miracle doesn’t it?
The man after God’s own heart
The only man that the Bible calls a man after God’s own heart is king David (Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14). His life was not perfect, but we see that he was a godly man who we would expect to see in heaven one day. However, notice what Peter says about this man.
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. (…) For David did not ascend into the heavens…” Acts 2:29, 34
Peter could not have been more plain; David is dead, in his tomb, not in heaven. Those verses in themselves raise some serious issues for the teaching of going immediately to heaven when you die.
Hell in heaven
Imagine your loved ones being in heaven watching over us. All in heaven is happiness and bliss, perfect harmony and peace. Although, that is what it is supposed to be.
But tell me, when you see someone hurt themselves or others, do you feel happy and at peace? Most of us feel worried, or stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, and all of these emotions that one does not associate with heaven.
So now think that your loved ones up in heaven, watching over you, see every mistake you make, every sin you commit, every person you hurt, and see simply all the consequences of your sinfulness.
And not just yours, they’d be aware of the continuing evil in this world, see the destructive choices that humanity is making, the wars and bloodshed, betrayals and rapes, sex traffic and child labor. They would see innocent children, family members and good friends, go through abuse, divorces, mourning, hardships and anguish.
Does that sound like an enjoyable heaven to you? Looking down on us and seeing all that here would be awful! Heaven would not be heaven, heaven would be hell for those being there watching over us!
Escaping the evil
Instead, Isaiah tells us that it is a blessing for those who walk upright to die because they would escape all the evil. How would that be a blessing, how would that person have peace, if now they would be in heaven yet still see all the evil?
“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” Isaiah 57:1-2
We can be glad to know that the dead are not in heaven experiencing hell, but that they are dead, asleep as the Bible teaches, and like the KJV translation ends this verse, “rest in their beds”.
Tell the world
If you would die now, go to heaven and somehow would come back to earth, what would be one of the first things you would do? You would everyone what you saw!
Today we hear about people who spread these kinds of stories. They write books and even make TV-programs and Hollywood movies about them. But notice this interesting fact from a very faithful and reliable source.
There were twelve resurrections recorded in the Bible. These are people who the Bible says had died, and were resurrected back to life. How many of these people do you think said anything about what they experienced after they breathed their last?
Zero. None. Not a single of these individuals said a word about heaven or some supernatural experience. Why? Because they did not experience anything, they were dead.
When do the dead go to heaven?
The Bible is very clear about the timing when God’s people will get to go to heaven. Those in Christ will be resurrected and will receive eternal life when Jesus comes again (John 11:23-24, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55)
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:22-23
“…we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout… and the dead in Christ shall rise first ” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16
Some people will be resurrected and receive the gift of eternal life. Others, those who have rejected Christ, will be judged and destroyed. Read here why no one will suffer in hell forever.
The thief on the cross
So what about the thief on the cross? Didn’t Jesus promise him that they would be in heaven together that same day?
“And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:43
In the way that the verse reads, it certainly seems to say that they will both be in heaven that day. But something very small in this verse has made a very large impact.
In the original Greek, they did not use any punctuation, like comma’s. These were added by the Bible translators. In the way that it reads now, it contradicts a lot of other Bible verses. Not just that, it even contradicts Jesus’ own words.
“Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father” John 20:17
Jesus told Mary after His resurrection that He had not yet been with the Father. In other words, Jesus is saying that He had not yet been in heaven since He died. So how do we reconcile the verse from Luke with this and with all the others? The solution is simple.
“And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:43
We simply moved the comma that the Bible translators (not Bible writers!) put in the wrong place, and now it fits perfectly together with the rest of Scripture. Jesus told the thief that day as they were hanging on the cross, that one day he would be in paradise with Jesus.
The Bible tells us of a few people who are in heaven right now. Enoch and Elijah have been translated to heaven without seeing death (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5, 2 Kings 2:1; 11). They represent God’s people who are alive at Jesus’ coming and will be translated to heaven without seeing death.
Then both Moses (Jude 1:9, Matthew 17:3) as well as the saints who were resurrected with Jesus (Matthew 27:50-53, Ephesians 4:8) are said to be in heaven now. These represent God’s people who will be resurrected from their sleep at Jesus’ coming.
The Biblical state of the dead
We have now seen that the Bible does not teach that when a person dies they immediately go to heaven (or hell). The dead person is still in the grave.
“But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job 14:10-14
The Bible teaches that when you die it is a sleep. You are not conscious, don’t have any thoughts, memory, emotions or purpose. Read more here about death being a sleep. This Bible truth shuts the door 100% for us to be able to contact the dead.
A dead person will not rise from this dead/sleeping condition, nor be awoken out of it. They’ll stay in the grave until the appointed time when the heavens be no more. This is talking about Jesus’ second coming (2 Peter 3:10).
Warnings against spiritism
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:31
All throughout the Bible, God is very, very clear on His position on this topic, making this an all-caps warning: DO NOT CONTACT THE DEAD (Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Isaiah 8:19-20, 2 Kings 21:6, Leviticus 20:6, Jeremiah 27:9,10).
Spiritism is one of Satan’s most powerful tools to deceive mankind. The Bible is abundantly clear on the state of the dead. They are dead in their grave in a peaceful sleep. It is impossible for the dead to speak to us or to appear to us.
So who then are mediums talking to? Who speaks to people at seances or through the ouija board? Who appears just like someone’s loved one in a dream?
“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.” Revelation 16:14
The truth is, it is Satan and his angels. The dead are dead, but Satan and his angels as masterful deceivers are ready for role-playing. They can easily appear as a loved one. Without any effort can they tell you something that you thought only you and your diseased loved one knew. Demons can even appear as angels and ministers of light and righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Samuel appearing to Saul
What about when after he died, Samuel appeared to Saul in 1 Samuel 28? Does that not prove that God’s people are already in heaven? The question we need to ask is, was it really Samuel?
Saul went to the medium at En Dor, because he did not hear from God. God did not speak to him through dreams or the prophets (1 Samuel 28:6). Because God had turned His back on Saul, Saul resorted to spiritism.
In the last warning that Samuel gave Saul, he even told him that rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). It is certain that God would not raise the righteous dead in answer to Satanic incantations, the very thing that God forbade over and over again.
The Bible even tells us that Saul inquiring of the medium was part of his downfall and unfaithfulness to God (1 Chronicles 10:13). So there is no chance that God raised the actual prophet Samuel to speak to Saul.
This is a clear demonstration of the convincing deceptions that Satan is able to produce. The familiar spirit that this witch was using was a demon that was able to imitate Samuel in every detail. For deeper study read this in-depth article.
A popular accepted idea, not just in the church but even in the secular society, is that dead people can come back to their house or even haunt people. However, the Bible speaks directly against this false teaching.
“As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.” Job 7:9-10
Final end-time deception
The closer we come to Jesus’ second coming, the more Satan will deceive people through these unbiblical, supernatural experiences through spiritism.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” 1 Timothy 4:1
“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” Revelation 13:13-14
We are already clearly seeing today that people trust more in their own senses and experiences than the Word of God. Not only do people place their own experiences above the Bible, but even the claimed experiences of random online strangers! But when you do not build your life on God’s truth, you become an easy target for deception.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
Live God’s Word Today -application
You have now seen the truth why you should never try to contact the dead. Every form of spiritism is Satanic and Christians should have nothing to do with anything that promotes these kind of ideas.
My wife and I burned our Harry Potter stuff after we saw how it promoted spiritism, and it felt really good! Even though we used to really like Harry Potter, we chose that we wanted to obey God, and not have anything compromise our ability to live holy lives, fully dedicated to God and His truth.
“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” Acts 19:18-20
Are you willing to burn (or at least get rid of) everything you own that promotes any form of spiritism?