But why do Satan and his demons work so hard to deceive people? Because they want us to join in their rebellion. They want us to worship them. They want us to believe their lies and to practice things that Jehovah does not like. Many of these practices involve customs related to the dead.
The death of a loved one is an emotionally painful experience, and it is normal and proper to express grief. After the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus “gave way to tears.”—John 11:35.
There are many customs associated with death, and these vary widely throughout the world. Many do not conflict with Bible principles. Some practices, however, are based on the idea that the dead are alive and are able to see the living. Wakes, unrestrained mourning, and elaborate funeral ceremonies are all rooted in the fear of displeasing spirits of the dead. But since the dead are “conscious of nothing,” those practicing such things are promoting Satan’s falsehood.—Ecclesiastes 9:5.
Other customs or ceremonies arise from the belief that the dead need help from the living and will harm the living if they are not appeased. In some lands feasting and sacrifices are held either 40 days or one year after a person’s death. This is supposed to help the deceased to ‘cross over’ to the spirit realm. Another common practice is to offer food and drink to the dead.
These things are wrong because they promote Satan’s lies about the dead. Would Jehovah approve of our having anything to do with customs based on the teachings of demons? Never!—2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Servants of the true God do not have any share in practices that support Satan’s lies. Instead, they lovingly concentrate on helping the living and comforting them. They know that once a person has passed away, only Jehovah can help that one.—Job 14:14, 15.
Spiritism Condemned by God
Some people get in touch with the demons directly or through a human medium. This is called spiritism. Voodoo, witchcraft, magic, fortune-telling, and inquiring of the dead are all forms of spiritism.
The Bible condemns these things, saying: “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.
Why does Jehovah warn us so strongly against these practices?
For our own welfare, Jehovah warns us against all forms of spiritism. He loves and cares for people, and he knows that those who get involved with demons are bound to suffer.
One such person was Nilda, who was a spirit medium in Brazil. The demons made her life a misery. She relates: “The spirits . . . possessed me, ordering me about. I alternated between states of consciousness and unconsciousness, and I was interned with psychiatric problems. The demons persecuted me so much that my nerves were affected. I took sedatives and began to drink and smoke constantly. This went on for years.”
In time, with the help of Jehovah and his Witnesses on earth, Nilda broke free of demon influence and now lives a rich, wholesome life. She says: “I encourage all never, not for one instant, to become involved with the [wicked] spirits.”