“Do not turn to spirit-mediums or sorcerers; don’t seek them out, to be defiled by them; I am Adonai your God.”-Leviticus 19:31
In Yeshua’s day, there were two hot topics that were furiously debated.
One was the idea of a place where the spirits of the dead went to after death.
The other was the idea of a bodily resurrection.
One of the religious groups at the time, the Sadducees declared that there was no bodily resurrection while a group called the Pharisees took the opposite viewpoint that there was a bodily resurrection.
In our day and age, when Christians think of bodily resurrection, they have this idea that one’s spirit is either in Hell or with God, and then later on their physical body is resurrected and sent to Heaven where they will spend the rest of eternity (playing harps I guess).
However, for the Jews in Yeshua’s time and actually centuries before, the resurrection of the dead was just a METAPHOR for the restoration of the nation of Israel that had been subjugated due to its apostasy.
They did not have this idea of a dead person coming back to life in some “spiritual body” with flesh and bones.
For a good portion of the Jews in that era, the resurrection meant that after Israel was disciplined and purified by the Lord, Israel would be made the dominant nation on earth as God’s Kingdom.
At that time, perhaps the righteous members of Israel who had already died were brought back to an earthly physical life in the restored and purified kingdom of God.
But it was never believed that their spirits had been residing with the Lord in some heaven up in the skies.
The concept that Yeshua brought forth and was later expanded on by Paul that believers were living eternally in the presence of God in heaven in some higher spiritual plane was new and revolutionary.
The Jews also believed in a “world to come”.
They called it OLAM HABBAH (in Hebrew).
But their view of the world to come more resembled what Christian folks call the “1000 year reign of Christ” which was to take place physically on earth.
For many of the Jewish sects, salvation was all about Israel becoming a preeminent world power.
It was all about Israel finally taking its rightful place as a godly kingdom that would govern the whole earth according to God’s Torah.
Basically, the entire world would convert to Judaism and be perfectly and fully in compliance with Torah.
When many of the Jews during Yeshua’s time accepted Yeshua as the Messiah they thought that a new golden age for Israel was at hand.
The idea that mere men who by nature are impure and sinful could be allowed into God’s heaven was considered anywhere from ridiculous to bordering on blasphemy.
This idea was rejected by the majority of highly educated Jews.
It was more the common folk who were open to the idea.
That’s why it were the peasants or the least educated of the Jews who flocked to Yeshua in droves.
Among the educated, it was really only a handful who accepted the ideas about the afterlife Yeshua promoted.
The majority shunned Him.
Connecting this back to Leviticus 19:31, the bottom line is this: whether ghosts exist or not, we are NOT to attempt to make contact with them.
Nor are we to visit or pay money to a sorcerer or any other medium who makes his or her living by contacting the dead.
The takeaway I’m getting from this prohibition by God is that the issue isn’t so much whether the spirits of the deceased can actually be contacted or not.
The issue is more that it is UNCLEAN and UNHOLY to be dabbling in any such activities connected with the dead.
Remember, to a HOLY God, death is an abomination!
In the Scriptures, it is only the heathen who try to make contact with dead beings.
Attempting to commune with dead spirits is akin to idolatry.
It is like worshipping false gods.
They are not real and even the Scriptures will call them LO ELOHIM (non-gods).
What sorcerers and spirit mediums are really consorting with are demons who are pretending to be the spirits of the deceased.
At Satan’s bidding, they can then influence and deceive the person making contact with a so-called spirit of the dead.
And there is no doubt that it is possible to make contact and communicate with a demon.
Both the Old and New Testaments provide examples of this occurring.