Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 345

Ancient and Modern Spiritualism

The Scripture account of Saul’s visit to the woman of Endor puzzles many students of the Bible. Some say that Samuel was actually present, but the Bible gives evidence for the opposite conclusion.

If Samuel was in heaven, he must have been called from there either by God or by Satan. No one can believe for a moment that Satan had power to call the prophet from heaven to honor the magic spells of a lawless woman. Nor can we conclude that God summoned him to the witch’s cave, for the Lord had already refused to communicate with Saul by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets.

The message itself shows where it came from. Its purpose was not to lead Saul to repent, but to urge him on to ruin. This is not the work of God, but of Satan. In addition, Scripture cites the act of Saul in consulting a sorceress as one reason why he was rejected by God: “Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13, 14). Saul did not communicate with Samuel, God’s prophet, but with Satan. Satan could not present the real Samuel, but a counterfeit that served his purpose of trickery.

In ancient times sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief that one could talk with the dead. Those who practiced these arts claimed to obtain a knowledge of future events through departed spirits. “When they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).

The gods of the heathen were believed to be the spirits of departed heroes who had risen to the level of gods, so the religion of the heathen was a worship of the dead. Speaking of the apostasy of the Israelites, the psalmist says, “They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead” (Psalm 106:28), that is, offered to the dead.

In nearly every system of heathenism, the dead were believed to

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