Truth VS Experience

   Something is not true because you experience it.  Something is true because God's Word says it is true.  You must judge your experiences by the truth of God's Word and never judge or attempt to understand God's Word in light of your experiences.  Experiences can be deceitful and counterfeit.  Only by knowing and acting according to the truth of God's Word can you be assured that your experiences will glorify God.

   To understand this concept we will examine the record in God's Word regarding Saul and the woman of Endor.  Let us look first at the truth of the Word.


Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:6  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
   Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
   For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

   A familiar spirit is a devil spirit that hangs around to get "familiar" with people and circumstances and then impersonates a person after he/she dies and speaks through another person who has the familiar spirit living in him.  A counterfeit must be very very close to the original to be believed.  When a familiar spirit produces a person who was once alive, it must look, act, and sound like the original if the counterfeit is to be believed by someone who is very knowledgeable of the person being imitated.  The familiar spirit will use information that "only the person who has died could know" to convince those consulting it.
   The Word of God is clear regarding God's view of such practices.  God says it is an abomination (it is disgusting! yuk!) to listen to a person with a familiar spirit.  God says anyone who consults with a person who has a familiar spirit should be cut off from among God's people, not found among the believers, and that believers are not to regard or listen to what familiar spirits have to say.  A person who allowed a familiar spirit to live within him was to be "put to death."
   God's Word is clear that these counterfeit experiences are deceitful and are to be avoided.  Believers are not to get mixed up with the practice of talking to the dead.  What else does God's Word say regarding communicating with those who have died?

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6,10 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

   The dead have no:

   The Word of God is the Will of God. What God says in His Word is true. He says what He means and means what He says. God's Word declares that the dead exist in a state of gravedom or unconsciousness in which they have no knowledge or wisdom. Their memory is forgotten. (This does not mean we have forgotten them - it means they have no memory). They earn no rewards. They do no work. They do not "invent things" (there is no device). They have no emotions - love, hate, or jealousy.

When someone says they have heard from someone who has died they are directly contradicting God's Word.


   The dead have nothing to do with the living. They are DEAD!  This is the truth of God's Word.  Therefore, any experience that relates to communication with the dead has to be a deceitful counterfeit promoted by a devil spirit (known as a familiar spirit) imitating a person who has died.  That is why the Word of God says such experience is not to be regarded or sought after and is disgusting to God.


   Now, lets look at King Saul.  Saul had disobeyed God and the man of God, Samuel, told Saul that God was sorry that He had ever made Saul the king.  Samuel had anointed David to be the new king and did not speak to or visit Saul again.  Saul was "out of favor" with God and Samuel and was following after devil spirits.  After Samuel died Saul tried to talk to God:

I Samuel 28:3
   Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city.  And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and wizards, out of the land.

   Samuel, the man of God, was dead.  Saul had put those with familiar spirits out of the land but he had not killed them as the law required.  He put them out of the land but he also had servants that kept track of where they were (just in case he needed them.)

I Samuel 28:6
   And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

   Because of his disobedience, Saul eventually got into so much trouble that he asked God to help.  However, God had rejected Saul and refused to give him HIS Word.  God was not talking.  Therefore Saul decided to try and talk to Samuel who was dead!  Now, the Word of God is clear.  You cannot talk to the dead and they cannot talk to you.  But experiences with communication with the "so called" dead were, and ARE, available via familiar spirits.  The experience is counterfeit and deceitful and disgusting to God; but it is available and Saul's servants knew just where to find a woman with a familiar spirit.

I Samuel 28:7
   Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go and inquire of her.  And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

   Saul knew God's Word regarding familiar spirits, yet he put the opportunity for this experience above the truth of God's Word.  God would not talk to him, but a woman with a familiar spirit would.  However, being the king of Israel and the one who expelled those with familiar spirits from the land, he knew that he would have to go in disguise.

I Samuel 28:8-11
   And Saul disguised himself and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night:  and he said I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
   And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
   And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
   Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee?  And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

   Saul promised this woman (who deserved death according to the law of God) that nothing would happen to her.  And he promised it in God's name.  Now this woman was not very smart.  The Word of God says that Saul was a head taller than anyone in the kingdom.  Even in disguise, it would be difficult to not recognize Saul.  Then Saul, knowing that the dead are dead and cannot communicate with the living, asked the woman to use the familiar spirit to produce Samuel.  God would not talk to him, and Samuel refused to talk to him when he was alive - how could Saul believe that the experience he was about to have would really be Samuel giving him God's Word? ? ?  If he were relying upon a knowledge of the truth, he would not and could not believe it.  But Saul was looking for experience - not truth.

I Samuel 28:12
   And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.

   As the spirit possessing this woman took control she suddenly got real smart.  The devil spirit had no trouble recognizing Saul.  And with this declaration, the spirit (and the false experience) got Saul's attention.  The spirit imitated Samuel and held a conversation with Saul.  The spirit reiterated the Word of God that Saul knew by heart - that God was departed from him.  Devil spirits use the truth of God's Word and twist it to convince those who value the experience more than the truth.  This spirit never told Saul any positive thing; nor did it tell him anything that had not already been revealed to him (with the notable exception that it told Saul about his death.)  Death is of the devil (Hebrews 2:14) anyway, and the spirit was setting Saul up to die.   It led him to continue to feel sorry for himself and convinced Saul that he was going to go into battle and die.

   I am sure that Saul was overwhelmed by the accuracy and bad news he received from this experience.  It was not God's Will for Saul to continue in his disobedience and die.  Yet this experience convinced Saul that there was no hope for reconciliation with God.  He went forward into battle and he was killed as the devil spirit predicted.  By inquiring of a familiar spirit, Saul brought himself to a spiritual low that resulted in his death and the death of his sons.

I Samuel 31:2-4, 6
   And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons.
   And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
   Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me though, and abuse me.  But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.  Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. . .
   So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.

   Experientially, Saul died from being wounded by the enemy archers and by falling upon his sword.  But the truth of God's Word is that Saul died because he sought an experience with a familiar spirit over the truth of God's Word.

I Chronicles 10:13
   So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit to inquire of it.

  Something is not true because you experience it.  Something is true because God's Word says it is true.  God's Word is truth not our experiences.

September, 1998
Michael Cortright