Makestraightpaths.com examines the teachings of the religious group variously
known as “the Family,” “The Family International,” the “Children of God,” or the
“Family of Love,” and evaluates these teachings from a Christian perspective.
This page is one in a series examining the Family teachings about spirit helpers.
calling on the dead
One of the most
controversial Family teachings concerns their long-standing belief that
Christians may freely communicate with “spirit helpers.” To the Family,
spirit helpers are people who have died, or angels, or other
spiritual beings who are active in the ‘spirit world,’ an unseen
dimension that coexists with the visible material world. According to
the Family, these beings are unrestricted by human limitations and
actively assist Christians in their work for the Lord.
However the Bible
strictly forbids people from attempting to receive messages from the
9 "When you enter the
land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to
imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 "There shall not
be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass
through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices
witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one
who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up
the dead. 12 "For whoever does these things is detestable to the
Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will
drive them out before you. 13 "You shall be blameless before the
Lord your God. 14 "For those nations, which you shall dispossess,
listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for
you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
Other translations for
Deut 18:11 or casts
spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Deut 18:11 or one who
conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up
the dead. NKJV
Deut 18:11 or cast
spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the
spirits of the dead. NLT
The NET uses the word
"necromancer" with the footnote: "Heb 'a seeker of the dead.' This
is much the same as 'one who conjures up spirits.' "
Earlier in the book of
Deuteronomy, God had specifically commanded the Israelites not even to
inquire about the gods and practices of the pagan nations.
29 "When the Lord
your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to
dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30
beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are
destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods,
saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do
likewise?' 31 "You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God,
for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for
their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire
to their gods.
32 "Whatever I
command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor
take away from it.
Actually, God had
prohibited mediums or spiritists in the book of Leviticus.
Lev 19:31 'Do not
turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by
them. I am the Lord your God. NASU
alternate translation: Do not turn to ghosts or spirits).
An alternate translation
of the same verse is given in the NET Bible:
Lev 19:31 Do not turn to the spirits
of the dead and do not seek familiar spirits to become unclean by
them. I am the Lord your God. NET
(NET footnote: The
prohibition here concerns those who would seek special knowledge
through the spirits of the dead, whether the dead in general or dead
relatives in particular)
Lev 20:6 'As for the
person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot
after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut
him off from among his people. NASU
alternate translation: Do not turn to ghosts or spirits).
20:6 “‘The person who turns to the
spirits of the dead and familiar spirits to commit prostitution by
going after them, I will set my face against that person and cut him
off from the midst of his people. NET
Much later, the prophet
Isaiah warned Israel that these practices were still wrong in the sight
Isa 8:19 When men
tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter,
should not a people enquire of their God? Why consult the dead on
behalf of the living? NIV
Commenting on the passage
in Deuteronomy, David Guzik defines some terms:
Medium: The idea is of someone who "stands between" the physical
world and the psychic world; they channel knowledge from the psychic
world into the physical world.
Necromancy: the conjuring up or contacting of the dead.
Necromancer :One who investigates, looks into, and seeks information
from the dead.
David Guzik's commentaries
Such practices are an
"abomination" to the Lord:
a disgusting thing,
(Brown Driver &
Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)
Bob Deffinbaugh explains:
The point of these
first eight verses of Deuteronomy 18 is that the Israelites were to
support the Levites, through whom they were taught the Word and the
will of God. The Levites had no inheritance, and thus they had to be
supported by the other tribes in Israel. The function of the Levites
was not just to carry out tasks related to the temple, but to teach
the Law of God and to instruct the Israelites concerning the will of
God. The forbidden mediators of verses 9-14 were not necessary,
because God had provided the means by which His Word and His will
were to be conveyed to His people (cf. 2 Kings 1:1-4, 16). The
Levites were the usual means by which God communicated His Word and
His will to men, as they taught and applied the law. The prophets
were yet another means of instruction and interpretation. Israel did
not need to turn elsewhere for divine guidance. God had more than
adequately provided for the instruction and the guidance of His
people. Men turn to illegitimate sources of guidance because they
have rejected God.
prohibitions of our text seem to cover virtually every illicit form
of communication with “supernatural powers,” we are given very few
details—here or elsewhere in the Bible—as to how these pagan
practices were performed. For example, we know little about how
the Canaanites caused their children to “pass through the fire.”
This appears to be child sacrifice, and in our text, it seems
related to efforts to obtain divine guidance. There is a good reason
why the Bible tells us as little as it does about such practices:
It is neither
necessary nor profitable to spend a great deal of time studying that
which is an abomination to God.
means of achieving contact with divine powers are all an abomination
to God, as are all those who practice them.
These forbidden practices constituted
participation in the occult. These practices were not a valid
means of seeking God’s will or His help, but an illicit attempt to
enlist the help of unclean “supernatural” powers. This was not the
way to the divine God of Israel, but the means of making contact
with the demons. The occult rejects God and seeks to make contact
with the supernatural powers through an encounter with the dark
side—through those practices which seek to contact and make use of
the demonic forces of evil.
False Prophets Part II by Bob Deffinbaugh
There is no possible
misunderstanding or misinterpretation: the Bible unequivocally condemns
the practice of contacting the dead.
The only way that the
Family can get around these prohibitions is by declaring that as they
occur in the Old Testament, they no longer apply. This is faulty
reasoning at best, or intentional deception at worst: Can anyone
seriously claim that the prohibition against murder (Exodus 20:13) no
longer applies, simply because it occurs in the Old Testament? The book
of Deuteronomy says that contacting the dead is an "abomination" to the
Lord. Is the Family seriously claiming that with the coming of the New
Testament, this practice changed in the sight of God from being an
"abomination" to something pleasing and acceptable? Surely not.
God did not qualify His prohibition, by saying that the Israelites were
permitted to contact the spirits of their own dead, or the spirits of
the godly prophets. Contacting the dead is wrong.
These verses are so clear and so condemnatory that before
any Family member accepts the practice of hearing from the spirits of
the departed, they need to study these passages in order to understand the mind of God on this matter.
Family members: This is a practice that was condemned in the Old
Testament as an abomination to God. However, it is not too late to
obtain forgiveness if you stop, repent, and ask God to cleanse you, your
families, your homes and your church.
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