Spirit Voices - Part 2

Scripture: Leviticus 19:31, Ezekiel 18:4, Genesis 2:7
Modern spiritualism had its beginnings in 1848 with mysterious rappings in a house in New York. Was this experience something new? Actually, the idea of an immortal soul and communication with the dead is as old as the Bible. What do the Scriptures say about mediums, wizards, and spiritualism?
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Modern spiritism had its beginning in the year 1848. A farmer by the name of John Fox moved into a certain house in Hydesville, New York, with his wife and two daughters, Margaret aged 12, and Kate who was 9 years old.

After they had moved into this house they heard mysterious noises. At first they attributed them to natural causes, some loose boards, or maybe rats or mice at play. On the evening of March 1, 1948, the strange noises were more pronounced than ever before. They seemed to be distinct rappings and the younger girl, Kate, having an adventurous spirit, said, "Come on, old Split-foot, do as I do." She snapped her fingers and there came an answering rap. Then she snapped her fingers three times. This time there were three distinct taps.

Mother Fox was a witness and her curiosity was aroused, and she began asking questions of this phantom spirit. "How old is Margaret?" The mother and the two girls heard 12 raps. "How old is Kate?" And in response there were 9 raps. Then she said, "How many children do I have?" And there were seven raps. The Mother thought "This spirit can make mistakes," but then she thought to ask another question. "How many living children do I have?" and there were six raps. One of the children had passed away a few years before. Word spread through the community. People interested in the super-natural came from miles around. Within two or three years there were 30,000 spiritualist meetings all from this small beginning. Today spiritism has swept the world and entered into most of the churches in one form or another.

While 1848 marked the beginning of modern spiritism, actually it was a reappearance of something as old as history, of sin. The spiritualist manual says "Spiritualism is the science, philosophy, and religion of continuous life." The immortal soul idea is that a soul can't die. In the Bible someone who propounded this idea was to be put to death. But today many preachers are teaching it from the pulpit. How sad!

In Leviticus 19:31 it says, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God." Here it says we are not to familiarize ourselves with spirits who are wicked angels pretending they are dead loved ones. Neither are we to seek after spirit mediums (wizards) with their crystal balls for this is of the devil.

The reason that God said this was to give a warning against the deceptive lie that Satan had been presenting since the Garden of Eden. Satan's first lie in the Garden of Eden that is recorded is that the soul won't die. God said, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4. But Satan said, "Oh no, the soul won't die. Why, if you eat of the forbidden fruit you will become as gods."

Genesis 2:7 "And the serpent (Satan speaking through the serpent) said unto the woman, "Ye shall not surely die." God said, "You are not to touch the fruit of that tree lest you die." And the serpent said unto the woman "Ye shall not surely die." A voice speaking through a serpent contradicted the very thing that God had deliberately and specifically said. God said, "If you eat this thing you are going to die." Genesis 3:3. "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." "...the soul that sinneth, it shall die." The voice speaking through the serpent said,"You shall not surely die. Your soul won't die." That was the voice of Satan. But God said the soul that sins will die. Two voices opposed each other, and yet most of the world has accepted the voice of Satan and believe the soul doesn't die. Even thousands of ministers are preaching Satan's lie from the pulpit. No wonder Jesus said almost the whole world would be deceived by Satan's lies.

It was Jesus who said of the devil in John 8:44, "...he is a liar, and the father of it." You see how this points right back to the experience in the Garden of Eden. It was Satan speaking through the serpent who told the first lie that if a person sinned he wouldn't die, that the soul wouldn't die. This is the first lie recorded in God's Bible. And most people today even believe Satan's lie. Satan said you can disobey God and won't die. God said sinners will die. "The wages of sin is death."

Many people believe that a soul is something that God put into man. Or that a soul can live apart from the body. Lots of us have been brought up to believe that when God made man He put a living soul into us, but that is a paganistic idea and not biblical.

To better understand what a soul is and how man was made and what he is, let's turn back to the creation of the first man and note carefully what God did. Genesis 2:7. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living soul." Notice carefully that God did not put a soul into man. Rather, man became a living soul when the body and breath were put together. You must see this point or Satan will cause you to believe a lie in these last days of earth's history. Let me repeat, God did not put a soul into man. When we have the body and the breath together we have a living soul. When the body and breath separate we have a dead soul. It is just that simple.

When we are confronted with Bible truth that we have not understood before, we must be willing to revise our opinions. It is the only safe thing to do. If God shows us that what we thought was true isn't according to the Bible, then we must let God's Word be the deciding factor. So as we carefully examine our Bibles we find that the soul is the union of the body and breath. When this union is broken by death the soul ceases to exist. The Hebrew word for soul is "nephesh." (Hebrew was the original language of the Old Testament.) The word (soul) in the Bible is used for both humans and animals. In Genesis 1:20 where it speaks of moving or living creatures that God made it uses the word "nephesh." In other words, the animals that were created were also called living souls or creatures. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible in Genesis 2:7 says, "man became a living being." A living soul is a living person or being or thing or animal. The same word "nephesh" is used for all. In the hundreds of passages where the soul or the breath of life, or the spirit of life are mentioned in the Bible they are nowhere said to possess inherent immortality or to have an existence apart from the body. Souls live and souls die. It makes no difference whether it is an animal soul or a human soul, they all are subject to death.

God tells us that in the creation of man He formed the body of the dust of the ground, but there was no life until God breathed into the nostrils of Adam His (God's) own life-giving spirit or breath. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man BECAME a living soul (living person).

Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us what happens when the body made of the dust of the ground and breath which God breathed into it are separated. This tells what happens when God separates the two: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (breath) shall return unto God who gave it." The body goes back to the dust when a person dies and the breath goes back to God. Neither the breath nor the body are alive when they are separated. In Genesis 2:7 it said God gave the breath (spirit). In Ecclesiastes 12 it says the spirit (breath) goes back to God. It is the thing that God gave originally that returns to Him at death.

Notice how it reads in Job 27:3, "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils." The margin in the Bible explains that the spirit is the breath from God. The words are used interchangeably. They mean the same. The Bible teaches that the spirit which goes back to God when a man dies is the breath which God gave to him. The Bible also teaches that the spirit or breath returns to God regardless of whether the man has been a good man or the worst sinner. Even the spirit of animals goes back to God at death. We read in Ecclesiastes 3:19,20, "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath... all go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." Verse 21 goes on to state that the spirit of man and the spirit of animals goes to the same place and that no one ever could produce any facts to the contrary.

That which goes back to God is not anything living. It is not anything conscious apart from the body. It is simply the life-giving breath. It was not conscious before it was put in man. It is not conscious after it leaves. Notice how clear God makes this truth in Psalm 146:4, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."

When doctors first became aware of the possibility of restoring life by massaging the heart, it made honorable mention in most of the leading newspapers around the world. After the Russian doctors had brought back one man to life by massaging his heart a few minutes after he had died, Time magazine reported on the event. Then someone wrote in to the editor of Time asking a very challenging question. His letter was published in the letters to the editor. The question was this: After the man had died and in the few minutes between when he was brought back to life again where was his soul? Was it half way to Heaven only to have to return again? Did the soul say "Ooops! things are starting to stir down there, I'd better get back in a hurry?" The editors of Time magazine said they were unable to answer these questions. But you get the point, don't you. You begin to see how ridiculous the paganistic idea is that the soul doesn't die. You begin to see how confusing and impossible is Satan's idea that you don't really die when you die.

Supposing I cross the street and a man hits me with his automobile. He knocks me down, but though badly hurt, I am not dead. I am unconscious. I don't know anything or anybody. Let's carry our story further. Supposing while I am lying there in the street unconscious, not knowing anything, another man in a car comes by. He doesn't see me lying there in the street and now I am run over by a Cadillac and he kills me. Now do I know anything when I am dead or nothing? Do I know more now that I am dead than when I was unconscious? According to the paganistic idea that has crept into many churches that the soul doesn't die, when I was dead I would know everything. I would take right off to heaven or hell or maybe stick around disguised in a spirit form to talk to my living loved ones who hadn't died and weren't alive as I was since I had died. That is a confused tongue twister, isn't it. And that is Satan's first lie, that you don't really die.

But God says we do die. That we are living souls in this life and when we die we sleep until the resurrection morning at the second coming of Christ. But the Bible says that the dead know not anything while they wait for the resurrection morning. If you believe that you go right to heaven when you die, then why find fault with Hitler for the thousands of Jews that were murdered under his dictatorship. If he hurried them into Heaven, why should we object. Like the deacon in a Midwest church who murdered his wife and children. He was asked why he did it. Well, he said he just couldn't bear to have them suffering in this life so he just hurried them into Heaven. But no, the Bible doesn't say you go right to Heaven when you die. The Bible says that death is an enemy and that you wait until the resurrection morning. That is what the resurrection is for.

He wouldn't have to come again if the righteous were already in Heaven. But the righteous don't go right to Heaven when they die. They sleep until the resurrection morning. God has everything written down about every life in the record books in Heaven. But even if he didn't, you can be sure that God who never forgets will remember to call your loved ones from the grave at the resurrection of the just if that loved one was a faithful follower of Jesus. Then if your loved one was lost at sea and eaten by sharks, God will put the breath to the remaining particles and your loved one will be a living soul again. It doesn't matter whether they have been cremated, eaten by lions, pulled limb from limb, burned at the stake, or died quietly in a hospital bed with a dignified funeral. When God chooses to give the breath of life to them again, they will come forth. That is what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the DEAD IN CHRIST shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

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