1 Samuel 28:15 – Life Beyond Life?

During the reign of Saul, there was little he did that pleased the Lord.  One such act that could have been a positive for him in God’s eyes, but turned out poorly, revolved around witchcraft.  Multiple times Saul disobeyed the command of Yahweh.  The prophet in 1 Samuel 15:23 laid this out specifically for Saul:

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Disobedience to God is rebellion is sin is witchcraft.  It’s part and parcel of idolatry that is an abomination to the Lord.  Saul traveled down this path and had been exceedingly grievous to God.

Despite this, the one positive thing he did was expel practitioners of the occult arts from Israel, as noted in 1 Samuel 28:3:

“… And Saul had put out the mediums and necromancers out of the land.”

This was apparently in obedience to God’s command in Deuteronomy 18:10:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”

Too bad Saul didn’t stop there.  But, he had no restraint within himself.  Saul had lost much of his moral compass.  At a time of crisis with the Philistines threatening Israel, Saul became afraid.  This led him first to that which he should have done all along.  In 1 Samuel 28:6, we learn:

And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.

Immediately upon receiving no answer from Yahweh, he asked if any mediums remained in Israel.  He was told that there was still a witch at En-dor.

Mediums and others who engage in the occult know where their power comes from.  They connect with demonic spirits, and in so doing deceive those who come to them for spiritual guidance.  When a person seeks to hear from the dead, mediums practiced in their art know that the spirit which arises is not truly the one who is sought; rather the medium knows that it’s a demon impersonating the dead.

In Saul’s case, when the witch summoned Samuel, she was expecting the result she’d always gotten, i.e. a deceiving spirit.  Instead, she was shocked.  Why?

She knew the difference between the inhabitants of the demonic realm from the real spirit of a dead person.  We see this in 1 Samuel 28:12:

When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.”

How do we know this is actually Samuel appearing rather than a demonic apparition?  The Bible tells us plainly.  Saul knew it was Samuel, then the text in 1 Samuel 28:15 says:

Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?…”

Furthermore, in 1 Samuel 28:16-17, we have a confirmation:

And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

We have no doubt that this is indeed Samuel, risen from the depths of Sheol for the purpose of relating to Saul what is to come next for him.

Demonic spirits do not know the future.  God does.  Here in 1 Samuel 28:19, He imparts to Samuel a prophetic Word that seals Sauls fate:

And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

It causes Saul to faint in fear knowing that tomorrow he will die.

This incident shows us Biblically that life persists after death.  There is no soul sleep as some would argue or annihilation.  As discussed in the commentary about the rich man and Lazarus (http://garyritter.com/luke-1626-a-great-chasm/), the place of the dead is one where people live on.  If they don’t know the Lord, they are alive in torment; if they do, since the time of Jesus, they go immediately into His presence after death to await bodily resurrection.

There is life after life.  The question for everyone still alive, whose fate has not yet been sealed, is where they will go upon death and how they will spend eternity.

God gives us all the free will choice to make that determination for ourselves.  We can choose to reject God and thus choose eternal torment; or we can choose life more abundantly through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If there are any of you reading this who haven’t yet repented of your sins, asked God for forgiveness, and trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s not too late.  But this age is nearing its end.  Not much time remains.  Don’t think you can wait until the last minute.  Will that really be a sincere declaration of faith, or will it only be a desperate attempt to avoid the fires of hell?  God knows our heart.  He wants yours.  Words matter little.

Truly seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and you will have nothing to fear.  Rather, you’ll have a glorious eternity in the blessed hope of Jesus Christ.

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