Did the witch of Endor really summon Samuel from the dead (1 Samuel 28:7-20)?

Question: "Did the witch of Endor really summon Samuel from the dead (1 Samuel 28:7-20)?"

1 Samuel 28:7-20 records the only biblical account when someone was visited by someone who was deceased. Saul, having deprived himself of every legitimate means of spiritual input as a result of his own disobedience and rebellion, he walked in foolishness again by seeking out the very resource (a medium) he had previously removed from the land. By divine law, mediums and spiritists were banned from Israel (Deuteronomy 18:11), and Israel was not to be defiled by them (Leviticus 19:31). That the King would stoop to this indicates how far he had fallen from God’s grace.

The passage does not give us any reason to believe it was anyone other than Samuel, who is described by the medium as “an old man wearing a robe” (v. 14). Obviously age and clothing do not exist in the realm of the spirits of those who have died, but God miraculously gave Saul such appearances as would enable Saul perceive that the spirit was Samuel. The message Samuel gave Saul was completely accurate. God allowed the witch of Endor to summon the prophet Samuel in order to give King Saul the news of his soon coming defeat and death.

This does not mean that it is genuinely possible for witches or mediums to speak with the dead, only that God allowed it in this one exception. When a person dies, their soul is taken to heaven or hell, depending on whether they have placed their faith in Christ (Matthew 25:46). There is no reason to believe that a deceased person has any ability to leave heaven or hell in order to visit their still living family members. Any such claim is a demonic deception (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). God declared such practices to be abhorrent to Him and that those who did practice such things in Israel were to be put to death (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-12a). Satan would like nothing more than for people to dabble in the occultic world of spiritism and necromancy. God’s commandments regarding these things are designed to protect us from the schemes of our enemy, the Devil, who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Recommended Resource: The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena by Ron Rhodes.

Related Topics:

What is the Christian view of psychics?

What does the Bible say about astrology or the Zodiac?

What does the Bible say about praying to / speaking to the dead?

What does the Bible say about channeling?

What does the Bible say about magic, magicians, illusionists?

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Did the witch of Endor really summon Samuel from the dead (1 Samuel 28:7-20)?