Jesus, Demons, Mediums, and the Afterlife
This explanation is given for Christians who have concerns about what the church says about mediums and the afterlife. Some in the church hold that any contact with those on the next plane of life must be demonic. Mediums, they assert, speak with demons, and speaking to mediums is forbidden by Biblical mandates. They believe the deceased are in a sort of "cold storage" until Jesus' second coming and are not accessible. In cold storage, they are without life until the judgment day, when those who swore allegiance to Jesus will be resurrected into physical bodies and live in a heaven on earth; those who did not swear allegiance to Jesus will be thrown into the fiery pit of hell.
This explanation shows why those assertions simply aren't true.
Jesus and the Afterlife
These teachings the church asserts did not come from Jesus.
Where did these ideas come from, then? They were entirely the fabrications of the church after 30 CE. Allowing ordinary people to commune with their loved ones who had passed away, without the intercession of the church, would have given ordinary people direct access to the afterlife and to God. That would have diminished the church's control, and of course, the church would have none of that. And so, the church demonized contact with those in the next plane of life because they weren't the ones administering it.
- At no time did Jesus say that people who passed out of this life would go into cold storage until a resurrection. It would be remarkable that such an important detail would not have been presented by Jesus during his teaching if it were true. Where is the cold storage and what are people's conditions there? The gospels have no mention of them.
- At no time did Jesus speak of a far-distant heaven at all. He said the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven) is here; it is within us. The idea of a heaven distant in time, a purgatory, and limbos were entirely created by the church.
- At no time did Jesus say people weren't living on another plane of life immediately after passing away.
- At no time did Jesus say people should not communicate with their deceased loved ones on the next plane of life. He never mentions mediums, even once.
- At no time did Jesus say that if people spoke to loved ones who had passed away, it was really demons speaking.
However, we do have evidence that Jesus knew there is an afterlife into which people go immediately after passing away:
In other words, there is no evidence that Jesus believed that his followers would go into cold storage after passing away and enter a heaven at some far-distant time, and early Christians closest to Jesus' time believed people were guided in the afterlife upon death. On the other hand, there is direct, clear evidence that Jesus believed that those who passed away would immediately enter the next plane of life and have etheric bodies. He spoke with Moses and Elijah as they materialized, and he allowed Peter, John, and James to witness it. Finally, he assured his disciples that even though he was not going to be in a physical body, he would be with them, would give them guidance, and even might appear to them.
- While on the cross, one account has Jesus saying to the thief beside him that the thief would be with him that day in paradise. There was to be no delay for the thief or Jesus; they would be together in paradise the moment they passed away.
- Another account has a description of Jesus taking Peter, John, and James with him to a mountain to pray. There, two men appeared, "in glorious splendor," and talked with Jesus. The three disciples recognized the two men as Moses and Elijah. In other words, Moses and Elijah had etheric ("glorified") bodies and were very much alive, not in cold storage, and Jesus spoke to them, undoubtedly listening to their wisdom and counsel. At the time, Moses' body had been disintegrating where he died (on the mountain overlooking the promised land) for 1,200 years, and Elijah's was moldering in the ground for 800 years, so they weren't appearing in those piles of dry bones and dust.
Jesus promised that his disciples and we would be able to do all the things he did and greater things (John 1:50), meaning we are able to commune with those in the next plane of life just as he did, sometimes even when they appear in glorified bodies.
- Another account was added to Jesus' teachings by the writer of Luke, and Biblical scholars agree that it probably did not come from Jesus; it was added by first-century Christians. However, it shows that first-century Christians did not believe that the deceased went into cold storage. In fact, they believed that people who pass away are immediately met and guided by those on the other side. In Luke 16:22, the writer describes a begger dying. The writer reports that upon death, angels on the other side of life "carried him to Abraham's side." There, the begger was very much alive and with Abraham who was very much alive. Their physical bodies were moldering on Earth somewhere. But they were alive on the other side, having etheric or spiritual bodies, engaging in a conversation. If the early Christians had had a notion of cold storage for millennia, that passage would not have been written or would not have remained in the text as it was circulated.
- Still another account reports that Jesus told his disciples that his Father's house has plenty of room and he would go to prepare a place for them. He then said he was going to come back for them (not in life, obviously, but when they died) and take them there. There is no statement such as "For a few millennia, you'll be in cold storage, but after the judgment you'll have a room with your name on it." He was making a clear reference to greeting them when they passed away and entered the next plane of life.
- Jesus spoke later in that account of going to be with the Father, God, and being available for the disciples to communicate with. He said they could ask him to do things and he would do them on the other side of life. In other words, Jesus had a very clear conception that his life would continue and that he would be available to communicate with the disciples, although people would not be able to see him. That is a perfect description of the next plane of life where people are able to walk among us and see us, but we can't see them.
- In a remarkable description of being on the next plane of life, communicating with the disciples, and appearing to them at times, Jesus is reported to have said this:
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:18-21
These remarkable words aren't concepts known among the first-century Jews. The writers who recorded Jesus' words undoubtedly had no idea what they were writing—they just wrote down what he was reported to have said. Jesus' description shows insights into the afterlife that could only have come from guidance from God and those on higher planes of being. They are testimony to his knowledge that he would be living on the next plane of life and if the disciples just had faith and were open to him from the other side, he would be able to guide them and even appear to them.
Focusing on the New Testament, the Church Is Coming to Accept the Afterlife
Canon (Dr.) Michael Perry was ordained in the Church of England in 1958. In 1970, he became a Canon of Durham Cathedral and Archdeacon in Durham City diocese. He has served as President of the Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies (CFPSS) since 1998 and as Editor of its journal, The Christian Parapsychologist, since 1978. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research.
In an interview with Michael Tymn, he said,
Compared, for instance, with the Tibetan Buddhists or the ancient Egyptians, the writers of the Old Testament were remarkably uninterested in any future life beyond this physical earth. Their God Jahweh (known to us as Jehovah) was concerned with his people here and now, and they believed that his rule did not extend beyond earth. Their near contemporaries had a much more lively interest in psychic communication. So it was felt that anyone who ‘dabbled’ in the psychic was being disloyal to the God of Israel. Hence the biblical prohibitions on such activity. Jahweh was the God of the living, and why should you seek the living amongst the dead?
For many years, the Roman Catholic Church has been carrying out scientific experiments with their own mediums. Their conclusion after the experiments was written by one of the most competent theologians of the Vatican, Father Gino Concetti. In the Osservatore Romano, the daily paper of the Holy See, Concetti wrote that, "According to the modern catechism the Church has decided not to forbid anymore to dialogue with the deceased . . . this is as a sequel of new discoveries within the domain of the paranormal."
That is why there are Christians who believe that parapsychology is forbidden. But if they do, they are still locked in an Old Testament understanding of God.
Christians know that the Resurrection of Jesus turned the whole Old Testament scenario upside down. The Resurrection showed us that God is the God of earth and hell and heaven, and his rule knows no bounds. The Communion of Saints is a communion which is not bounded by earthly, physical, parameters. We are not being disloyal to the Christian God by dealing with departed souls. We need to do so responsibly, and to God’s glory; and it is the business of the CFPSS to show how such responsible Christian commerce with unseen worlds may be enterprised.
("An Interview with Canon (Dr.) Michael Perry," Michael E. Tymn, The Searchlight ARPR Bulletin, June 2004. Retrieved from http://www.lightlink.com/arpr/tymn/Dr_Michael_perry.htm May 17, 2007).
Those on the Next Plane of Life Have Great Reverence for Jesus
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. Jesus in Mark 3:24-26
The most compelling reason we know those in the afterlife are our loved ones, not demons, and want to communicate to help us grow spiritually, is the fact that they all speak with great reverence about Jesus. They have harsh words for the church, but only because it doesn't represent Jesus' spiritual teachings as well as they would wish.
Many who come through in seances are theologians, ministers, priests, brothers, deans, and bishops. They all acknowledge the primacy of Jesus' teachings for humanity, and encourage us to follow his teachings and model. They explain that they are choosing to communicate through mediums in order to help humanity grow spiritually to realize Jesus' model. They emphasize the need for peace, brotherhood, and universal, unconditional love among all men, without regard for race or creed.
The Gospel of John includes a story of teachers of the law coming from Jerusalem to the Galilee to see for themselves what Jesus was doing because he was creating such a stir. When they witnessed his miracles, they were so convinced of their authenticity that they exclaimed, "He is possessed by Beelzebub [Satan]! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons." Jesus replied, "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come." (John 3: 23-26)
What Jesus was saying about his own work was that if the works are against evil and are for good, they couldn't possibly come from an evil source. Evil cannot speak against or eradicate evil, and evil cannot do good. Those on the next plane of life more strongly support Jesus and Jesus' teachings than do most churches on this Earthly plane. No evil force or being could hold adoration for Jesus and the desire to help humankind become like Jesus and still accomplish the evil goals of separating man from God and man from other men.
Those in the afterlife are real people, devoted more than ever to God, to Jesus, and to helping humankind grow to become peaceful, loving, and spiritual.
Messages from the Afterlife Are Always Loving
All of the connections with our loved ones living on the next plane of life are always filled with love and messages that help the experiencer live a fuller, more spiritual life. They speak of the importance of loving and forgiving one another and avoiding self-absorption, cruelty, violence, and material obsession, what we would call "evil." They talk about the Divine and the reality of the benificient Creator of the universe. There is never a word spoken that divides people from one another, incites anger or violence, or promotes anything we would associate with evil. Everything they say draws people together in love.
In other words, all messages we receive from those on the next plane of life are in line with the teachings of Jesus, the Buddha, and the other spiritual luminaries, and none are what we would associate with the actions or intents of the mythological demons or the mythological devil.
Other References to Demons
There are other references to demons in the New Testament, but none have to do with contact of a deceased loved one. They all were the ancient belief that disease and psychological problems were caused by demons, an archaic belief no one accepts today. Acts 16:16-18 describes a girl "possessed by an evil spirit" that enabled her to be a fortune teller. That has nothing to do with communicating with deceased loved ones, but also doesn't indicate that a demon speaks through any human being; the fortune teller was just able to see future events.
There are no statements in the Bible suggesting that demons disguise themselves as loved ones speaking from the afterlife. That is a fabrication of the church that insists it have control over all spiritual matters.
The Old Testament and Mediums
The people who attempt to demonize the afterlife cite Old Testament mandates against mediums. There are several passages that deal with mediums and speaking to the dead:
What is perhaps most interesting about the passages is that they all provide testimony that people who pass away live on the next plane of life, not in cold storage. Even the Jewish writers in the first millennium BCE knew that. There's no question in their minds that the dead are available to communicate. The people were just admonished to seek counsel from God, not from their deceased loved ones.
- Leviticus 19:31
- Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
- Leviticus 20:6
- I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
- Leviticus 20:27
- A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.
- Deuteronomy 18:11
- Let no one be found among you who . . . is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
- 1 Samuel 28:9
- But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?"
(Whole Chapter: 1 Samuel 28 In context: 1 Samuel 28:8-10)
- 2 Kings 21:6
- He . . . consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
- 2 Kings 23:24
- Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD.
- 1 Chronicles 10:13
- Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD ; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance.
- 2 Chronicles 33:6
- He . . . consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD , provoking him to anger.
- Isaiah 8:19
- When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
- Isaiah 19:3
- The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists.
Just as in the New Testament, there is no mention here of the odd concept that a medium speaks to demons. The passages state clearly that mediums speak to real people who have left the body, but are very much alive in the afterlife.
And Jesus communed with Moses and Elijah in materialized bodies before Peter, John, and James. Clearly he didn't see anything wrong with doing so. He certainly wouldn't have disobeyed the Old Testament and allowed the disciples to witness it, unless, of course, he was saying the new laws replaced the old, as he several times did.
However, what is most important is the clear context of what the writers were saying. People were "consulting the dead" instead of God. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord, not because he went to a medium; he "consulted a medium for guidance" instead of consulting God; that's what angered God. The Old Testament Yahweh wasn't a God to be trifled with; he certainly did his share of killing people who got on his bad side. We don't believe in that God any more; God doesn't kill people who aren't faithful. It's a good thing because that would mean 24% of Americans, 73% of the French, and 93% of the members of the National Academy of Science would be wiped out.
At the times these passages refer to, religions existed that were based on spiritism or mediumistic activities. That is what the writers were railing against, not speaking to a loved one who had passed away. The writers were putting mediums and spiritists in the same list with idols and household gods, as the representatives of these other religions.
The Old Testament passages that the church appeals to have no relevance for people who are seeking to follow Yeshua's teachings today. They aren't consulting mediums instead of God for guidance and today's God wouldn't kill them if they did. The church cites these Bible passages because they suit their purpose—demonizing communication with people in the afterlife that the church can't control.
Besides that, there are 612 other Mitzvahs of Torah. The Mitzvahs are the rules an orthodox Jew must follow based on passages in the Old Testament. We have to assume that those who choose the Mitzvah against mediums as their banner must strive to adhere to the other 612 as well. They don't eat pork, don't work from sundown on Friday until after nightfall on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), don't travel beyond the city limits on Sabbath, read the Sh'ma twice daily, wear Tephilin of the head and hand, cancel monetary claims in the Sabbatical year (every seven years), eat matzah on the first night of Pesach, fast on Yom Kippur, whip transgressors of certain commandments, behead transgressors of certain commandments, don't shave their beard, don't pronounce the name of G_d, don't curse a ruler, and on and on through the rest of the total of 613 Mitzvahs.
The Leviticus admonitions also include these rules: If you curse your father or mother, commit adultery, or have a homosexual relationship, you must be put to death. If you have sex with your partner when the female is having her period you have to be banished from your family and community. If a man marries his brother’s wife, they are to have no children. You are to eat no pork.
Of course most people today don't obey the Leviticus rules or the 613 Mitzvahs of Torah; they would agree that the Old Testament Mitzvahs are not relevant for Christians today. However, in spite of that, they continue to cite the passages that support their unfounded contention that grieving people must not talk to their deceased loved ones. In so doing, they block people's growth in understanding the afterlife and keep them from learning that their loved ones are alive and well, that they've just stepped into another room for a few years, and all will soon be joined in a wonderful reunion.
The words of Jesus and writers in both the Jewish and Christian canons show that our loved ones are close by and accessible to us, just not within our sight. And Jesus simply did not prohibit people from communicating with their deceased loved ones. Demons aren't pretending to be someone's loved one; Jesus didn't say anything like that, and besides, that would be a house divided against itself because those on the other side have great reverence for Jesus and seek to help people follow his teachings. The passages in the Old Testament had a clear context that doesn't apply to today's followers of Jesus, who are not orthodox Jews following the 613 Mitzvahs of the Torah.
In other words, there is nothing about communicating with a deceased loved one that is prohibited by Christian theology.
More about Jesus, judgment, and hell
(referring to Jesus as Yeshua, his real, Aramaic name)
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