Why You Should Avoid Spiritism
IF YOU have been taught that some forms of spiritism are ways to contact good spirits, it may surprise you to learn what the Bible says about spiritism. For instance, it states: “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; 20:6, 27.
The Bible, in fact, describes the one practicing spiritism as “something detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:11, 12) Why? A closer look at what the Bible says about one major feature of spiritism—claimed communication with the dead—will answer that question.
Are the Dead Alive?
Contrary to what many people think, God’s Word, the Bible, teaches that it is not possible for humans to communicate with loved ones who have died. Why not? Well, if anyone is to talk with the dead, the dead must actually be alive. There must be a part of them that survives death. Some claim that the soul lives on when the body dies. Is that true?
The Bible account of man’s creation says: “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) Does this not reveal that the person himself is a soul and that he does not have an immortal soul that lives on after the death of the body? In fact, the Scriptures say: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . There is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol,” mankind’s common grave.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
So according to the Bible, the soul is not something that survives the death of the body and that living humans can thereafter communicate with. Here are two examples of respected Bible scholars who have reached the conclusion that the soul dies. Canadian theologian Clark H. Pinnock observed: “This concept [that the human soul is immortal] has influenced theology for a long, long time but it is not biblical. The Bible does not teach the natural immortality of the soul.” Similarly, British scholar John R. W. Stott stated: “The immortality—and therefore indestructibility—of the soul is a Greek not a biblical concept.”
Nevertheless, people do receive messages and hear voices that seem to come from the dead. Who, then, are speaking?
Communication With Whom?
The Bible relates that an invisible spirit person used a serpent, much as a ventriloquist uses a dummy, to communicate with the first woman, Eve, and lead her to rebel against God. (Genesis 3:1-5) The Bible calls this spirit person, or angel, “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) That one, Satan, succeeded in enticing other angels into rebellion. (Jude 6) These wicked angels are called demons and are enemies of God.
The Bible shows that demons have the power to influence humans. (Luke 8:26-34) It is no wonder, then, that God’s Law says: “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. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) What are the risks of ignoring this law?
A real-life experience of King Saul of ancient Israel answers that question. Because of fear of his enemies, King Saul sought out a spirit medium. He asked her to contact the dead prophet Samuel. On hearing the spirit medium’s description of an old man, Saul assumed this apparition to be Samuel. And what message did Saul receive? Israel would be given into the hands of enemies, and Saul and his sons would be with “Samuel,” indicating that they would die. (1 Samuel 28:4-19) What was God’s reaction to Saul’s decision to consult a spirit medium? The Scriptures tell us: “Saul died for his unfaithfulness . . . and also for asking of a spirit medium to make inquiry.” (1 Chronicles 10:13) What a high price to pay!
Likewise today, those involved in spiritism put themselves at grave risk. The Bible warns that “those practicing spiritism” will suffer “the second [or, everlasting] death.” (Revelation 21:8; 22:15) Clearly, then, the wise and lifesaving course to take is to avoid spiritism in all its forms.
How to Resist Wicked Spirits
What if you have already become involved in spiritism? Then you will do well to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your family from being harmed by wicked spirits. What steps? To illustrate: How does a person protect his home and family against vermin? After removing them from his house, he rids his house of items that attract the vermin. He seals cracks and reinforces the walls to stop the vermin invasion, and if the vermin plague persists, he may ask for the help of local authorities to deal with it.
A similar approach can help you to resist wicked spirits and to break free from them. Consider the example of the first-century Christians in Ephesus who practiced spiritism before becoming Christians. After they made up their mind to break free from spiritism, they took three steps to protect themselves against the verminlike attacks of wicked spirits. What did they do?
The First Step
The Bible explains: “Quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” (Acts 19:19) By destroying their books on divination, those new Christians set an example for all who wish to resist wicked spirits today. Get rid of all objects related to spiritism. This would include all books, magazines, comic books, videos, posters, material from electronic sources, and music recordings that have spiritistic overtones, as well as amulets or other items worn for “protection.”—Deuteronomy 7:25, 26; 1 Corinthians 10:21.
One man in South America who had been steeped in spiritism for decades took this Scriptural advice to heart. “One day,” he recalls, “I gathered all my spiritistic belongings in front of my house, grabbed an ax, and chopped them to pieces.” Then he burned everything until nothing was left. After that he made good spiritual progress and before long became a zealous minister in one of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Yet, that first step is not enough. Why not? Well, even some years after those Christians in Ephesus had destroyed their books on magic, the apostle Paul wrote: “We have a wrestling . . . against the wicked spirit forces.” (Ephesians 6:12) The demons had not given up. They were still seeking to gain an advantage. What else did those Christians need to do?
The Second Step
Paul urged the first-century Ephesians: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, footnote) That advice is still valid today. Much like the person who is trying to keep vermin out of his home, the Christian must fortify his wall-like defenses in order to stay out of the reach of wicked spirits. What does this second step include?
“Above all things,” stresses Paul, “take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” (Ephesians 6:16) This shield is absolutely necessary. The firmer your faith, the stronger your resistance to wicked spirit forces will be.—Matthew 17:20.
How, then, can you fortify your protective defenses? By continuing your study of the Bible. In what way is Bible study related to faith? Well, just as the firmness of a wall depends much on the strength of its foundation, so the firmness of one’s faith depends greatly on the strength of its base. What is that base?
Accurate knowledge of God’s Word. The apostle Paul explains: “Faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) You are invited to request a free Bible study from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at a time and location convenient for you. Such a study will fortify your faith. (Romans 1: 11, 12; Colossians 2:6, 7) The result? Before long your faith will become a bulwark that will serve as a shield against the influence of wicked spirits.—Psalm 91:4; 1 John 5:5.
What is the third step that those Christians in Ephesus had to take?
The Third Step
Back in Ephesus those new believers had taken steps to resist wicked spirits, but those Christians were still living in a city infested with demonism. They needed further protection. So when the apostle Paul wrote to fellow believers, he told them what to do: “With every form of prayer and supplication . . . carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones.”—Ephesians 6:18.
Surely, praying intensely and constantly for Jehovah’s protection was, and still is, a decisive step that is necessary for protection against wicked spirits. And it is comforting to know that Jehovah will answer your heartfelt supplications by giving you his protection, which includes the support of his angels. (Psalm 34:7; 91:2, 3, 11, 14; 145:19) It is very important, therefore, to persist in praying to God, “Deliver us from the wicked one.”—Matthew 6:13; 1 John 5:18, 19.
Antônio, a former spirit medium in Brazil, came to appreciate the value of prayer. After he had accepted a Bible study and learned God’s name, Jehovah, he began to pray intensely to Jehovah God for help to break away from spiritism. Looking back, he says: “Praying to Jehovah has proved to be a refuge for me and many others who were enslaved by wicked spirits in the past.”—Proverbs 18:10.
You Can Succeed
It is vital that after coming to know Jehovah, you put full trust in him, submit to his authority, and obey his commands. If you do this, when you call out to him for help, using his personal name, he will give you protection. Antônio received such protection. Today he is a Christian elder in one of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in São Paulo and is grateful to have found the truth that set him free.—John 8:32.
Like Antônio and thousands of other former spiritists who now serve Jehovah God, you can be successful in breaking free from spiritism. Therefore, get rid of objects related to spiritism, strengthen your faith through Bible study, and pray for Jehovah’s protection. Take these steps—your life depends on it!
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According to the Bible, the living cannot communicate with the dead
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1. Get rid of all objects related to spiritism
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2. Continue to study the Bible
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3. Pray intensely and often