Is it permissable for Christians to accept prophecies communicated by psychics? Some claim that Christianity states that “psychics” and “mediums” are evil and that we shouldn’t listen to anything they say.
In examining the bible verses that discuss psychics, there's no evidence that Christianity says this at all.
The verses that critics use to say that Christians forbidden to speak with psychics are Leviticus 19:31 and Deuteronomy 18:10-13. Although relevant, Leviticus and and Deuteronomy are Old Testament books that presuppose Christianity but are not part of the Christian Gospels.
Examining the Leviticus verse:
Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
But, Leviticus 19:31 in the original Hebrew is:
Turn ye not unto the ghosts, nor unto familiar spirits; seek them not out, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
To understand what this means, it's important to have a clear definition of what the term defile means.
The dictionary description of defile is:
de•file 1 tr.v. - To make filthy or dirty; pollute:
The admonition given in Leviticus 19:31 is to not use necromancers or sorcerers to defile ourselves to achieve evil ends. That means we should not use psychics to communicate with the dead for nefarious purposes or to obtain an advantage over other people. God also did not want the Israelites to use necromancers
to create false gods and idols. Leviticus was one of the first set of admonitions delivered by Moses to the Israelites. Those admonitions were updated later by the verses in Deuteronomy 18:10-13.
Examining the Deuteronomy verses:
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
To fully understand the meaning of Deuteronomy 18:10-13, it's important to examine those verses in context of the other verses in Deuteronomy 18 that surround them.
Deuteronomy 18: 9-22 from the original Hebrew is:
||When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations
||There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer,
|| or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer.
||Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the LORD thy God.
||For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
||A prophet will the LORD thy God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
||according to all that thou didst desire of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying: 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.'
||And the LORD said unto me: 'They have well said that which they have spoken.
||I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
||And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.
||But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
||And if thou say in thy heart: 'How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?'
||When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him.
To evaluate Deuteronomy 18:10-13 without examining them in the context of the other verses in Deuteronomy 18 creates a misrepresentation of what's actually being said. In particular, Deuteronomy 18:18-22 frequently uses the term prophet in a very positive way. The dictionary definition
of prophet is:
1. A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.
2. A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression.
3. A predictor; a soothsayer.
The dictionary definition of soothsayer as defined in description #3 is:
One who claims to be able to foretell events or predict the future; a seer.
This is also the definition for a clairvoyant, which is one of the classifications for psyhcics. The dictionary description of clairvoyance is:
The ability to see into the world beyond the perception of the normal senses, especially with the ability to predict future events
These definitions make it clear that when a psychic speaks in the name of the LORD or of things that are according to God's will, then they are serving as prophets, which is clearly acceptable throughout all of Scripture. But, if the psychic speaks with the dead to conjur information that is not aligned with God's will then we are told to avoid it.
In specific, the bible prohibits necromancy which means to speak with the "dead" through sorcery or any other means.
The dictionary definition of necromancy is:
1. The practice of communicating with the dead in order to predict the future.
2. Black magic; sorcery.
But What or Who is Dead?
Christianity is about Eternal Life. Those that shed our mortal coil do not die, but are actually born into our primary existence or eternal life in Heaven aka the Other Side. They are more alive than we are. Those in heaven have eternal existence. We earthly inhabitants do not. When psychics speak to those on the other side, they are speaking to the living, not the dead.
What did Moses and others mean by ghosts and the dead. Many believe that ghosts are spirits who have not been allowed to pass into heaven and remain here – stuck outside the realm of heaven. Consultation with those spirits is, understandably, not a good idea. They are stranded outside of heaven for a reason, although they still can be communicated with by those having the ability. What Moses was saying is to not speak with “dead” spirits who cannot give you guidance to reach heaven.
God does not want us to talk to ghosts or spirits that could “defile” us. The only ghosts or spirits that could do that are the ones that could or would lead us away from the path to heaven.
Anyone who claims to speak God's words or teach in his name and is not a prophet and in the Bible terms is a false prophet.
One test given in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy contains a warning of those who prophecy events which do not come to pass and said they should be put to death. Elsewhere a false prophet may be someone who is purposely trying to deceive, is delusional, under the influence of Satan or is speaking from his own spirit.
In the words of the Bible, a prophet is someone that we now classify as
"psychic" because of their ability to foretell things, only speak about things that reflect the word of God, and are "living eternal life" in heaven.
A necromancer, on the other hand, is someone with psychic ability who communicates with the "dead" or those who are not living eternal life in heaven.
The Bible does not prohibit speaking to psychics but only those who speak to the dead. The spirits, angels, and souls in Heaven are living eternal life
and definitely not dead.