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What did the Witch of Endor really see?

Many Bibles label 1 Samuel 28, “Saul and the Witch/Medium of Endor.” This can improperly suggest that a seance is being sanctioned by the scriptures and may prejudice an understanding of the unusual events which follow. To counter this first false impression, the chapter must be read carefully and diligently compared with what is presented in the remainder of scripture concerning the dead. State of the dead The Bible teaches plainly that the dead are unconscious in the grave: “The dead know nothing, and they have no more reward (while dead); but the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished…” (Eccl. 9:5,6 RSV). Only some of the dead will ever awake from the sleep of death and then only at the time of Christ’s return (the exception being a few miraculously raised and those who appeared briefly at the time of Jesus’ resurrection). Words from the prophet Daniel make this very clear: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). Thus there is no possibility that a medium/witch could summon up the dead or obtain a message from them.

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