The Bible says that Satan is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan and his demons do not want us to believe God’s Word, the Bible. They try to make people believe that the dead are alive somewhere in the spirit realm. Let us see how they do that.
Many religions teach that every human has a soul that passes on to the spirit realm after the death of the physical body. They say that the body dies but the soul does not die. Moreover, they assert that the soul cannot die, that it is immortal.
But God’s Word does not teach that. The Bible shows that the soul is the person, not something inside a person. For example, in describing the creation of Adam, the Bible states: “And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) So Adam was not given a soul; he was a soul.
Since the Bible word “soul” means the person himself, it should not surprise us to learn that souls can and do die. The Scriptures say:
“The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.”—Ezekiel 18:4.
“And Samson proceeded to say: ‘Let my soul die with the Philistines.’”—Judges 16:30.
“Is it lawful on the sabbath to do a good deed or to do a bad deed, to save or to kill a soul?”—Mark 3:4.
If you read the Bible from cover to cover, you will never find the phrase “immortal soul.” The human soul is not a spirit. The teaching of the immortal soul is not a Bible teaching. It is a teaching of Satan and his demons. Jehovah hates all religious lies.—Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2.
Another way that Satan misleads people is through mediums. A medium is a person who is able to receive messages directly from the spirit world. A great many people, including mediums themselves, believe that these messages come from spirits of the dead. But as we have seen from the Bible, this is impossible.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.
From whom, then, do these messages come? The demons themselves! The demons are able to observe a person when he is alive; they know how the person talked, what he looked like, what he did, and what he knew. So it is easy for them to imitate people who have died.—1 Samuel 28:3-19.
Another way that Satan promotes the lie about the dead is through false stories. Such stories often turn people aside from Bible truth.—2 Timothy 4:4.
In Africa there are many tales about people who were seen alive after they died. Typically, such sightings are made far away from where the person lived. But ask yourself: ‘Does it seem reasonable that if a person had the power to come back from the dead, he would return to a place far away from his family and friends?’
Also, could it not be that the person seen merely resembled the person who had died? For example, two Christian ministers who were preaching in a country area noticed an old man who followed them for some hours. When they questioned him, they learned that the man thought one of the ministers was his brother who had died some years previously. Of course, he was wrong, but he refused to believe he was wrong. Imagine the story the old man later told his friends and neighbors!
Visions, Dreams, and Voices
No doubt you know about strange things people have seen, heard, or dreamed. Such supernatural experiences often frighten those having them. Marein, who lived in West Africa, regularly heard the voice of her late grandmother calling her at night. Terrified, Marein would scream, waking up her whole household. Eventually, she lost her sanity.
Now, if the dead were really alive, is it reasonable that they would terrify their loved ones? Of course not. The source of such hurtful messages is the demons.
But what about messages that seem to be helpful and comforting? For example, Gbassay, from Sierra Leone, was sick. She had a dream in which her late father appeared to her. He instructed her to go to a certain tree, take a leaf, mix it with water, and drink it. She was not to talk to anybody before doing so. She did this and got well.
Another woman said that her husband appeared to her one night after he died. She said he looked very nice and wore beautiful clothes.
Such messages and visions seem good and helpful. Are they from God? No, they are not. Jehovah is “the God of truth.” (Psalm 31:5) Never would he agree to tricking or deceiving us. Only the demons do that.
But are there good demons? No. Even though they may seem helpful at times, all of them are bad. When the Devil spoke with Eve, he seemed friendly. (Genesis 3:1) But what resulted to her after she listened to him and did what he said? She died.
You know that it is not uncommon for a bad person to be friendly to those he wants to deceive and cheat. “White teeth, black heart,” says the African proverb. And God’s Word says: “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14.
God no longer contacts people on earth by means of dreams, visions, or voices from the spirit world. He guides and instructs them through the Bible, which can make a person “completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:17.
Thus, when Jehovah warns us against the tricks of the Devil, he does so because he loves us. He knows the demons are dangerous enemies.