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Mediums and Dead Relatives

  • Ina Manly Painter,
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The SciFi channel offers “Crossing Over” with John Edward as a medium, chirping and muttering exactly like God said in Isaiah 8:19 ("wizards that peep … and mutter"). Groping souls pay a ticket hoping to get messages from their dead relatives.

The television program is a slick presentation of wisdom and comfort — Satan’s brand. Not everyone who pays to sit in John Edward’s presence receives a personal “reading” from the dead, but he assures everyone that their deceased loved ones are in the room beside them. Boasting that he is a teacher, John Edward tells his audience they do not need a medium to “connect” since the dead “overlap” their energy on their own. You know — seeing someone living who looks almost identical to someone you know who has already “crossed over”! Before the program ends, Edward pronounces his benediction of blessing. He assures the television audience that they too can receive messages through his televised presence.

Scripture sternly warns us about consulting mediums and familiar spirits. They have nothing to offer except anguish. At first it does not appear that way. A tiny shred of truth masks poisonous lies. Once the victims are sucked in, they suffer continual torment.

The temptation to seek knowledge in dark places has the same enticing charm today as it did when the serpent deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1–6). She ignored God’s warning, looking for answers to life’s questions apart from God’s will for her life. When Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation, she lost the enjoyment of God’s provision, desiring only what God had prohibited. Because God’s words were no longer life to her, she did as she pleased, delving into the forbidden. Satan’s craftiness in ensnaring Eve was so successful that he has been using the same approach ever since.

A culture that abandons God for a force of energy and consciousness exchanges truth for a lie (Rom. 1:25). God is forgotten and His existence denied when the living seek benefits from the dead. These practices were the ruin of the Canaanites and the reason God judged them as He did. “For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord …” (Dt. 18:12 NKJ).

Our pluralistic society accepts all the gods. We tolerate Eastern religion, New Age, neo-pagan, and whatever else is out there. We are led down a path of darkness by the promise of something new and fascinating. If there is chance for pleasure, count us in! One need look no further than our children’s toys, our video collections, and our occult-influenced books and movies to know we are in grave danger. The pagan’s Karma and the Christian’s private messages from “god” are common in conversations. Syncretism, a little of this and a little of that, makes us feel that we have covered all the bases.

Spiritism in our day takes many forms. When my father died, a friend suggested, “Your dad will be pulling for you, putting in a good word.” She was trying to show compassion, but Scripture does not say the dead have power to assist the living. In this postmodern world God’s scriptural standard has little authority — almost anything goes.

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5 NAS). God could have said He is God and Christ is the mediator and left it at that. Instead, He gave us a specific number and a specific gender that we can understand — the number one and the man Christ Jesus.

God says that He is the one and only God. He shares His Godhead with no one. This one God (Eph. 4:6) is present with us (Ps. 46:1). We have no reason to think He is far away, up in the clouds somewhere, having left us without a mediator, an advocate to span the distance.

In every century Satan has contrived to malign the truth of Christ’s priestly representation of sinful man before a Holy God. Simple truths have been obscured, as if there were no high priest in heaven to bring God and man together. Scripture clearly says that Christ Jesus is the one and only mediator. He appeased the just wrath of God against our sins by sacrificing His life on the cross in our place and has forever secured our reconciliation with God. Because Christ is the one mediator, it is impossible for anyone else to mediate before God for us. Only Christ holds out His hand to us like a brother, having joined Himself to our nature, that we might not wander in uncertainty but approach God in Him for everything we need.

To say that Christ is our advocate is not to say that He is the advocate we choose or that it is impolite to depend upon someone other than Him. Everybody, except Adam and Christ, was born with a thoroughly rotten sin nature, in need of Christ’s advocacy and unable to approach God on their own. Christ is the only one person on whom we may rely and through whom we have access to God. Everyone — including mediums and wizards, earthly priests and religious leaders, and even saints — is just like us, sinful and unable to approach God except through Christ Jesus.

Today Christ’s sacrifice continues to be under attack, as it has been for centuries. These attacks come not only from the occult. There are Christians who believe they can appeal to angels, departed loved ones, or persons famous in Christian history to represent us before God. It is as if they think ordinary people need someone else’s merits to work for them.

Belief that the dead intercede for the living has become more and more acceptable. Many believe such things as black spiders crawling across their hands or doves feeding outside their windows communicate supernatural messages. We dishonor God’s glorious creation by believing in such things.

Because of God’s love, He became like us — the man Christ Jesus, paying for our sins in His death on the cross. In His life and death He satisfied the divine demands of the law. On our behalf He has provided eternal life with all its blessings. These blessings are not just for heaven someday but for life on earth every day.

Because He has already accomplished our redemption, not just making it possible, we have hope. This hope is real, not a hope-so or a someday-maybe concept. It is a guarantee. We are transported from being estranged from God, without hope, to being able to rush right into His presence as His children (Eph. 3:12; Heb. 4:16). Instead of looking to mediums and dead relatives to meet our needs, we are to fasten our hope on the living Christ. He is the one who will never leave us or turn us away empty-handed (Matt. 11:28–29; Heb. 13:5).

The idea that the glory of Christ’s priestly office can be transferred to a circumstance or person, to be used superstitiously as a good luck charm, is a blasphemous usurpation of power belonging to God alone. The dead cannot show us great places to shop, provide parking spaces, or help us to win championships. Trusting in anything or anyone, apart from Christ, is a delusion. There is neither life nor health in detouring from the clarity and direction of Scripture. If the truths of God set us free (Jn. 8:32), lies can only enslave us (Jn. 8:34).

  • Ina Manly Painter

Ina Manly Painter has a Master of Science Degree in Educational/Counseling Psychology. She and her husband, Harrison, live in Knoxville , TN , where they have been affiliated with Re/Max Preferred Properties as REALTORS, for many years. They have four children, Paige, and wife Christa, Laura, Jared, and Amanda and one grandson, Caleb. They can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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