10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you (Deuteronomy 18:10–12, NKJV).
Israel was strictly warned not to “learn to follow the abominations of those nations” they dispossessed in the land of Canaan (Deut. 18:9). These abominations included those claiming to have messages from the dead for the living. Many still listen to these purveyors of false knowledge and hope. There are crucial lessons for us here (Rom. 15:4). (1) Seeking messages from the dead was forbidden as sin. These false and futile efforts were faithless and associated with paganism and idolatry. To trust in their false messages forfeited Israel’s blamelessness before God (Deut. 18:13). (2) God spoke to Israel through His appointed prophets (Deut. 18:14-22; Heb. 1:1). The living God sent Israel His “servants the prophets” to “the law and the testimony” instead of mediums and wizards, but most refused to hear and obey Him (Jer. 7:25-26; Isa. 8:19-20). (3) Jesus Christ is the Prophet we all must listen to and obey (Deut. 18:18; Acts 3:22-23). God’s prophets to Israel were shadows of the Prophet Jesus, whose word is from the Father and contains eternal life (Heb. 1:2; John 12:49-50). Seeking messages from the dead is a dead end. The gospel message from the living Son of God gives sure comfort and solid hope now and beyond the grave (John 6:68-69).