We may have often heard the incorrect phrase, “Your loved one is an angel now,” after they’ve passed. And people may argue that angels are loved ones who visit us here on earth.
But what does the Bible say about this? Does Scripture have anything to say about dead ones appearing to us in dreams, in person, or showing us signs?
In this article, we’ll dive into one case in particular where someone who had passed appeared to another person and the repercussions of those actions. We’ll also touch on what Scripture says about loved ones and communication after they pass if it has anything to say about that.
Do We See Communication with the Dead in the Bible?
Only one story, in particular, stands out with someone attempting to communicate with a dead judge — and the story doesn’t end well.
King Saul (1 Samuel 28), terrified by the size of the Philistine army he’d have to face soon, consults God for help. When God doesn’t appear to answer, he takes matters into his own hands and meets with a medium to try and communicate with his recently passed friend, Samuel.
The witch appears to bring up Samuel, or someone acting as the former judge, and the Samuel who appears is not super pleased that an apparition of himself has been brought back.
Along with a number of past transgressions, Saul trusted someone to communicate with the dead, something Scripture explicitly warns against (Deuteronomy 18:11), and he loses the battle to the Philistines. Because of this, his sons and Saul lose their lives.
Does the Bible Talk about it Elsewhere?
The Bible makes it clear that humans shouldn’t communicate with those who have passed. Furthermore, we can find nowhere in Scripture where loved ones appear as angels.
As far as loved ones speaking to us after death, Scripture makes it clear that the opposite is true. Let’s take a look at the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
In the parable, a wealthy man passes away and discovers the horrors of hell (Luke 16). He begs Abraham, whom he sees in heaven, to let him give a word of warning to his relatives to repent and turn to God. Abraham responds the following:
Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Abraham, in this parable, makes it clear that those who have passed cannot manifest in some way and warn us.
After all, God has given us his Word, the convictions of the Holy Spirit, and communicates to us in a variety of ways. This parable shows us that even if God allowed for those who have passed to communicate with us, because of our sinful nature, we would likely not listen to them.
Why Does This Matter?
When a loved one passes away, as one of mine recently has, we miss them deeply. We long to hear from them and hope they are looking down on us from heaven.
But we often can forget that if they had a saving relationship with Jesus, and we do as well, that we will indeed see them again.
Scripture makes it clear that we cannot seek the help of necromancers or mediums (Leviticus 19:31; Isaiah 8:19). As much as it hurts to lose loved ones and not hear their voice, we can rest assured if they had a saving faith, we will see them again.
Furthermore, we know that God communicates to us in a variety of ways. We don’t need loved ones who passed to guide us in the right direction. We have an all-powerful, all-good, all-present, and all-knowing God to steer us toward the path of righteousness.
We also have the Holy Spirit (John 14) who plays the role of comforter.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God understands the pain we’re enduring when we lose someone close to us and provides us peace, comfort, and encouragement during these seasons.
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Hope Bolinger is a multi-published novelist and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her on her website.