I Samuel Chapter 28

"Saul's Sin; Familiar Spirits"
"Familiar Spirits, Woman Sought [7-14]."
"Answer From Familiar Spirit ]15-20]."
"Familiar Spirits, Woman Spared [21-25]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

David put himself in a tight spot with the Philistines when he fought against the enemies of Israel, and told king Achish lies to cover up his covert operation. David is now going to be put on a spot for those acts, and will see how God brought David out of it. This lesson is important to us because we also will be put into situations in our life, and if we have the faith and believe in the power of Christ, the Father will also provide a way out for you also.

I Samuel 28:1 "And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, "Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men."

King Achish thought that David had an axe to grind against the Israelites, for David had told him in the prior chapter that the spoils of war that David brought him were from his own people, the Israelites. The day has come when David will have to make a stand to fight against Israel, or not. The plot that David made without the consent of the Lord, was now turning against him. Even David's best laid plans are causing David to turn on his own people. How is God going to release David from this situation?

I Samuel 28:2 "And David said to Achish, "Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do." And Achish said to David, "Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever."

David was in a real mess here; for Israel is about to go to war against it's enemy, and David is now being assigned by the enemy's king to protect the king's own life. King Achish knew how the Israelites could fight, and he needed a band of men around him that could stand against such an assault. There was no way that David can take this position without even his family back home knowing the disgrace that this would have on them. Do you see how David's lie is getting him in trouble, to where even though David thought he was doing right, those little lies that were so innocent now has trapped David into a situation to where on God can get him out of it. This is a real mess. It would be very ungodly for David to kill his own brethren, and all was happening because David was running from the evil spirit that possessed Saul.

I Samuel 28:3 "Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land."

This verse now switches to another subject, but the focus is still on the war that is about to take place between the armies of Israel and the Philistines. Samuel had been dead for quite a while at this time, and Saul had no prophet of God that he could run to for advice. It is important that we understand exactly what "familiar spirits" are. In the Strong's Hebrew Dictionary it comes from #3049, "yidde-oniy, yid-deh-o-nee'; from 3045, prop. a knowing one; spec. a conjurer; (by impl.) a ghosts: wizzard." Evil spirits that have possessed those that have died from a prior time.. These evil spirits then, "are those evil spirits that play the role of that dead person, and appear, speak, and take on the illusion of that dead person", hence the word "necromancy". Though that dead person's soul and spirit had been removed at death and returned to be with the Father; The evil spirit takes on the appearance in all manner of being that person, yet the advise that is given by that evil spirit is destructive, because it is from Satan.

"Familiar spirits" today are very much alive, and the wizards of old have taken on new names, as they present their evil spirits in the form of reincarnation. "Reincarnation" is not biblical, and it is an abomination to God to practice any form of this Satanic worship. God has said that it is given to every man that he should die but once, in the flesh, and then be judged for those things that he has done in the flesh. Thus these evil spirit were present when that soul that has passed on, was living. That soul of the dead may have been living hundreds of years ago, and those evil spirits knew exactly what had happened during the time that that soul was living.

Hebrews 9:27, 28 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin, unto salvation."

The "medium" that these evil spirits speak through are called "wizards, fortune tellers, palm readers," and by many other names, and they are not of God but of Satan. These evil spirits can give all the facts that had actually happened, in living detail, yes even using the same wording of the individual. Remember from Mark 3:11; "And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, `Thou art the Son of God.' " Even though the people standing before Jesus had no idea who Jesus was, these evil spirits knew exactly who Jesus was.

Mark 3:12 "And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known."

To a man or woman of God, these evil spirits are of no threat, for those demonics know that in the name of Jesus Christ, we have power over all of them. We have the power to order them out of our lives and homes, and back to their place of holding. Jesus kept those evil spirits silent, and from revealing His identity because his time had not yet come that he should go to the cross. The time of the crucifixion had to correspond to with all the biblical prophecy that God revealed to the prophets, to David in Psalms 22, to Isaiah in chapters 22 and 53, and Daniel 9:24-27 and all the other prophets of old. Daniel even pinpointed the year and the day that Christ would go to the cross in Daniel 9.

Evil spirits know and can speak to deceive those that chase after them, however there is not one of them behind every bush. They certainly exist, and anytime you think they don't, they will cause you trouble sometime in your life. Evil spirits are just as real today as they were to Saul, when he went to the witch of Endor to call up what seemed to him to be the spirit of Samuel. Evil spirits like to be called up when you call for them, and they will present themselves to you to be someone of comfort and a friend. However if you call yourself a Christian, you are suppose to anoint yourself and your home and drive them away from yourself and your home.

Saul had driven all the wizards from the land, however now when he wanted to consult with the spirit world, there were not to be found.

I Samuel 28:4 "And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa."

The armies of Israel and the Philistines are now facing each other across the valley, and the battle has not yet begun.

I Samuel 28:5 "And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled."

Saul stood on that hillside and looked over that vast army of the Philistines, he knew that he was in trouble. Remember that David was also numbered with the Philistines.

I Samuel 28:6 "And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets."

Remember that Saul was possessed with evil spirits and God had deserted Saul. The help of David was not there, nor was Samuel the prophet there to give him advice. When Saul had rent Samuel's mantle, when Samuel was still alive, God departed from Saul for the rest of his earthly life. Prayer is a wonderful thing, for it allows us to take our burdens and troubles to the Lord and request His help in the matter. If you get to the point where your prayers are not answered, you need to see if you are living up to the requirement of God's Word that are necessary in order to have your prayers answered. Your prayers will always be heard, however, He just may not answer them.

I Samuel 28:7 "Then said Saul unto his servants, "Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her." And his servants said to him. "Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor." "

This woman was a witch that did not leave Israel when Saul gave the order them to leave or be killed. The word "woman" in the Hebrew text reads "medium", and she "possesses as mistress" to these evil spirits. The word "hath" in the Hebrew text is "owneth", for she owned her own familiar spirit.

I Samuel 28:8 "And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, "I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee."

Saul was trying to deceive the very one that is going to deceive him. Saul took off his raiment, all the cloths that would identify him as the king. This is where familiar spirits get their name, in that they bring up or call up the identity of the dead. This of course, was not Samuel, but an evil spirit playing the role of Samuel; looking like Samuel, talking as Samuel sounded, but it was not Samuel. This "familiar spirit" was an evil spirit of Satan, playing the role of Samuel before Saul. For a soul to be absent from this physical body, is to be present with the Lord. The spirit which is the intellect of the soul, returns instantly to be with the Father at death.

All souls are either on one side of paradise or the other, as Jesus taught in Luke 16 concerning Lazarus and the rich man. Jesus gave us an exact picture in a parable to have understanding of what paradise is like for those that did not overcome, as well as those that do overcome. For there is a great gulf that stands between the two places. No one can cross that gulf during the time of the flesh age.

I Samuel 28:9 "And the woman said unto him, "Behold, thou know what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land; wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?"

This deals not only with the calling up of these familiar spirits, but also with those that would give out drugs to alter the workings of the mind, to make the mind open to the works of evil spirit. This wicked witch of Endor was very suspicious of Saul and the men with him.

I Samuel 28:10 "And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, "As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing."

Notice that Saul is swearing by the "Lord", and in that "Lord" is the upper case, he is swearing by the Father, YHVH.

I Samuel 28:11 "Then said the woman, "Whom shall I bring up unto thee?" And he said unto her, "Bring me up Samuel."

Remember what the word "Samuel" means in the Hebrew tongue; "asked of God" The humor in this, if there is such a thing, was that Saul is going to this witch to call up one of Satan's evil spirits, so that he can ask of the devil for the right to approach God. Can you see how a mind can get twisted to the point of everything getting turned up side down and back side front. The reason that Saul threw the witches and wizards out of the land in the place was to cut off the works of the devil. Now that Samuel is gone, Saul is approaching the devil's spirits for advice. Can you see how much of a hold that this evil spirit has over the mind of Saul?

I Samuel 28:12 "And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, "Why hast thou deceived me: for thou art Saul."

This evil spirit is out to protect the medium that is at it's calling. It was this evil spirit that revealed to the witch of Endor that this man before her, was truly Saul. She now knows that she was trapped, and she knew that to be a witch in Israel means your death. Saul had not identified himself yet, and it was this supernatural entity that made Saul's identity known.

I Samuel 28:13 "And the king said unto her, "Be not afraid: for what sawest thou?" And the woman said unto Saul, "I saw gods ascending out of the earth."

Even though Saul knows that it was an evil spirit that she saw, he still wants to know what it was that she saw. Notice that she saw evil thing ascending out of the earth, not from heaven above. Saul wants the identity of man, yet she is seeing a "spirit manifestation" ["gods"] appearing before her.

I Samuel 28:14 "And he said unto her, "What form is he of?" And she said, "An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle." And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself."

That mantle that this spirit was wearing represented the same mantle that Saul and rent from off Samuel. If you were in Saul place, and you saw this spirit standing before you that looked like Samuel, spoke like Samuel and even wore the mantle of a prophet, would you think also that is was Samuel come to you? This is what "Saul perceived" [thought]. Even tough it was an evil spirit of Satan, in Saul mind it was Samuel. Saul was deceived, and thus acted on the very message that Satan gave him through this evil [familiar] spirit.

If you are in Christ, with the Spirit of Christ, you are able to know the difference between the two. Tough God did not send this evil spirit, He allowed Satan to send this spirit to play the role of Samuel before Saul. This is the same methods and form that reincarnation uses to trick those that fall for such deception. Today many people are chasing images all over the world, and when someone says that they have seen the spirit of Mary, or some prophet, many people go bananas to see and willfully respond to the orders that that evil spirit has given. Many times the message seems so right, and it seems to be the right thing to do, yet it still is of Satan, given by Satan to deceive you and gain your confidence. That is how Satan works, 95% truth, with a little lie mixed in. That is how Satan tried to trick Jesus when he tried to tempt Him. By changing a word here and taking the whole thing out of context to make the whole thing to be a lie.

We are to be able to discern that which is of God from that which is of Satan. For in these last days, that is exactly what Satan, the fallen angels, the Kenites and also the preacher that just do not know any better will do. That is how Satan and his preachers will come in the last days, "disguised as an angel of light", and "disguised as the ministers of light."

II Corinthians 11:13 "'For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."

"Transforming" in the Greek tongue is "metaschematizo." It means "to disguise yourself to be something that you are not." These false ministers present themselves to be ministers of God's Word yet they form their words deceitfully and present their own traditions as being the Word of God. "False apostles" in the Greek is "Pseudapostolos.", # 5570 in the Strong's Greek dictionary. "A spurious apostle, i.e. pretended preacher, false preacher."

II Corinthians 11:14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

Many people are deceived by this verse into thinking that somehow Satan will be transformed in a holy angel. The word "transformed" as used in the Greek text is the same as in verse thirteen, and in the following verse. Satan will come "disguised" into something that he is not, to play the role of Antichrist, the "spurious Christ", to deceive all those that have no desire in studying and preparing themselves through the Word of God.

II Corinthians 11:15 "Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

In the latter days if Satan presents himself as Jesus Christ, with all his supernatural powers, and the preachers today present the first Christ to come as the true Christ through their traditions and doctrines, then it should be no great surprise when the things that they say and do all point to the worship of Satan as the true Christ. If they or you fall for their dogma and traditions, you will worship of Satan. By doing so, believing him to be Christ, you will be judged by the works that you do for that spurious messiah [the Antichrist]. Evil spirits played tricks and deceived in Saul day and the will do far more in our day to deceive you. Saul actually bowed to a familiar spirit, an evil spirit, thinking in his mind he was doing right, and so will you if you allow yourself to deceived by the false angel of light, who is Satan.

I Samuel 28:15 "And Samuel said to Saul, "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, "I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do." 

This lets you know right off that this image presented by this familiar spirit is not Samuel. You don't "bring up" a prophet of God. Samuel would have to be brought down. If you ever bring yourself to this position to where you had to seek advice from the dead, you are not of God, nor a Christian. When you hear someone say that they would like to speak to some great person of the past, it is not Christian, but that act is an abomination to the Lord God. We must be on guard, for this relates to our character, and character has much to do with our Christian life. Saul is void of character as is many of our leaders today. God simply will not listen to him any more than God would listen to any one today doing the same as Saul did.

God just doesn't work that way, He has His Word and the advice from God comes to us by our studying His Word and being led through it by His Holy Spirit. It is ignorant to think that you can be heard by the dead and departed, and receive any light from them.

I Samuel 28:16 "Then said Samuel, "Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?"

Do you think this is Samuel that is answering Saul? It is easy for an unthinking mind to think that Samuel is talking here, but it isn't Samuel, but one of Satan's spirits. God expects you to be intelligent enough to know when He is speaking, and when some evil spirit of Satan is speaking.

I Samuel 28:17 "And the Lord hath done to him, as He spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour , even to David:"

This is true information that this familiar spirit is giving to Saul, but many times these evil spirits will disguise themselves with the truth, and in this case it was given by Satan for the soul purpose of causing problems between David and Saul. Even though it was just whispered behind Saul's back before, here the familiar spirit is saying exactly what is truth for the sake of causing trouble. Saul at this time did't even know that David was anointed to be king, outside of a few rumors.

I Samuel 28:18 "Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day."

The evil spirit giving this message to Saul, and this evil familiar spirit is going back to bring up Saul's first sin. Remember when Saul was suppose to take Amalek and all his people and kill every last one of them. Saul did not do this, but allowed Amalek to buy him off with gold and wealth. He came to Samuel telling him that he had done the thing that the Lord commanded him, yet Samuel said, what is that sound of sheep and cattle that I hear. Samuel knew that Saul was lying to him, and here this evil spirit that was present during that lie, is bringing that event back and confronting Saul with it. No it is not the Lord reminding Saul of this lie, but the familiar spirit that is doing it to him. To have God's Word be fulfilled, Samuel the priest had to go and kill Amalek. Though God is not doing the reminding of Saul, He is allowing the familiar spirit to do so.

I Samuel 28:19 "Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."

This evil spirit is telling Saul that he is going to lose the battle tomorrow. The familiar spirit is telling Saul that he is going to die in battle, and probably his sons with him.

I Samuel 28:20 "Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night."

Saul was real bad about forgetting to eat. Remember during one battle he even instructed his troops not to eat all day, and when the battle came they about lost the battle. Remember Jonathan had not heard of such a stupid order, and dipped his hand into the honey and had eaten of it.

However, the words that we must caution ourselves on, is that when it says that Samuel spoke, it was not Samuel but an evil spirit. This whole conversation is something that was drummed up by a soothesayer, and had nothing to do with God. It may have been similar to the words that Samuel would have said, only words were added to create a defeated attitude in Saul's mind.

As Christians we are to be on guard always and discerner of spirits. We should be suspicious of those things that do not go along with what the Word of God says.

I Samuel 28:21 "And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, "Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me."

This witch of Endor was reminding Saul here of his promise to help her, for though all the other wizards and soothesayers had been killed or driven out, and she was tricked into showing herself to Saul as being one of them.

I Samuel 28:22 "Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way."

Now this wicked witch is wanting to give her king a little advice. Saul looked beat from the message that was given him, and she at least wanted to feed Saul before he left her.

I Samuel 28:23 "But he refused, and said, "I will not eat." But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed."

Stop and think for a moment of the symbolism that is present here. When the Scriptures write of bread, the first thing that comes to attention is the bread of Life. This is the second time in Saul's life when Saul needed the bread of life, he refused it. We also see that the inner bread of Life that God gave us through his Son, was even available in the likeness to the manna that fell at this time. Saul refused nourishment from God.

We get our spiritual nourishment today by studying God's Word, and each of our days should be guided by the nourishment that we receive there. It is only through that nourishment that God's blessings will fall upon each of us. It is also from God's nourishment that we live and have peace of mind in our generation. It is only through His Word that you develope true character and that is what counts before our heavenly Father, if you want His blessings.

I Samuel 28:24 "And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:"

I Samuel 28:25 "And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night."

Saul has received his information from this familiar spirit, and he perceived it to be from Samuel. It was a crushing blow to his mind, to where he couldn't even eat. Remember that while all this was happening, David was in the camp of the enemy, the Philistines. He had been assigned to protect the king, and his men were the king's own personal bodyguards.

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