Where will I go when I die? This question grips the heart of humanity. Do we simply play our part and shuffle off the stage into obscurity and nothingness? What happens the moment we die? Do all dead people go to a better place? In the next several posts, I will attempt to help us understand what the Bible says about what happens the moment we die.
Looking To The Pastor When Loved-Ones Die
The pain of death is great and unbearable. Consequently, we make an attempt find any hope regarding the destination of our deceased family members and friends. Many times we look to the pastor to give comfort.
As a pastor, I find it a bit easier to do a funeral for a person who is a follower of Jesus. For, believers have hope in Jesus. Though still very painful, God comforts these families with the hope that their loved ones have gone to be with Jesus.
On the other hand, it is tough to do a funeral for a person who was not a follower of Jesus. Typically, the family is looking for the pastor to comfort them with the magic words: “She’s in a better place.” The family and friends desire assurance. I understand this. But, if they never surrendered their lives to Jesus, it is a guarantee that I can’t give. I know they want the comfort of knowing that all is well as their loved one exits through the mysterious veil of death. In cases like these, the family members believe that all dead people go to a better place. Why do we feel this way?
Why People Believe All Dead People Go to A Better Place
Even though the Bible is very clear as to what happens to people when they die, people still somehow conclude that all dead people go to a better place. Why is this? I think there may be a few reasons people continue to embrace this line of thinking.
- The Rise of Psychics
Psychics existed in the Bible, and they live today. The work of psychics is called channeling. Channeling is when psychics and mediums claim to be able to talk to the dead. A modern example of this is Theresa Caputo: The Long Island Medium. She claims, just like others, to be able to talk to the dead and bring messages from beyond to give to family members and friends. But, God consistently condemned any attempt to speak to the dead.
And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to theLord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that theLord your God will drive them out ahead of you. Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Why did God give this command to Israel? Because, consulting psychics would prevent Israel from being a peculiar people – people that God could use to bless all nations. How could Israel be a blessing when she consulted psychics and mediums like other nations? Moreover, these practices were forbidden because it divorced life from God’s standards of living? What do you mean?
- First, the future for Israel was determined by their commitment to God and his plan, not magical manipulation of the future.
- Next, using magic or psychics to attempt to identify or manipulate one’s future or circumstance was an attempt to run away from how God desired his people to live.
- Third, the use of psychics or mediums was a refusal to acknowledge the sovereignty of God.
- Finally, reliance on these practices indicated a failure to trust the Lord with one’s life.
Wait a minute, Marvin. Some of the things these psychics say seem to be spot on. People hear things that only their deceased family members could know. Therefore, they must be real, right? How should we interpret this seemingly compelling evidence? Well, in Leviticus 19:31, necromancers or those who consult the spirits of the dead, are people who summon dead. Because we know the dead cannot return to earth (Luke 16:19-31), we can conclude that these are demons who masquerade as the dead.
In the Old Testament, God calls these spirits “familiar spirits.” This suggests the familiarity some demons have with the deceased individuals. Thus, demons have an astonishing knowledge of the dead person’s life since they carefully observe individuals while they live. Therefore, these kinds of practices are not motivated by the Holy Spirit, but are the fruit of the sinful nature:
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
So, I believe the Spirit of God is not leading the person who seeks out psychics, horoscopes, mediums and witches. They cannot and will not please God. It is impossible for the Spirit and psychics to control us at the same time. Why? Because, the Spirit and the flesh are always warring to gain territory in our lives.
Why Do People Attempt to Contact the Dead?
Why do believers and unbelievers, alike, try to contact the dead, even though they may know it is wrong? I think there are three reasons why people attempt to make contact with the dead:
- People desire answers
The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead. Isaiah 19:3
When we pray to God, and we don’t receive an immediate answer, we lose heart and become impatient. Then, we begin looking for alternative answers. Sometimes, people find themselves consulting psychics.
- People are disobedient to God 1 Samuel 28:3-15
This is an interesting example. Saul consults the witch of Endor, and somehow she summons Samuel from the dead. In this one case, it doesn’t seem like Samuel’s spirit is a masquerading demon because Samuel rebukes Saul for his consultation.
- Satan deceives people
These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14;
Information from psychics, mediums, spiritists, or channelers is unreliable. So, those who turn to psychics for life after death knowledge are misled. Yes, there is life after death, but we cannot learn the details from demons, whose chief delight is to confuse and deceive.
Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. Isaiah 8:19-20
This may be difficult to hear, but no one has talked to your dead uncle, cousin, grandmother, father or mother. According to Scripture, there are spirits that impersonate the dead, attempting to deceive us. Consequently, to try to contact the dead is to invite fellowship with hosts of darkness pretending to be helpful angels of light.
As followers of Jesus, we should diligently seek him for all our answers to life. He is omniscient. Therefore, God knows everything about the past, present, and future. Therefore, instead of consulting demons who masquerade as psychics and mediums, let talk to our gracious and loving Father about our lives.
In the next post, I’ll discuss the second and third reasons people believe that all dead people go to a better place.
Before reading this post, what were your thoughts about contacting the dead through psychics?
What are some ways we can demonstrate that God knows your future?