The Bible gives some seemingly “contradictory” statements on spirits. On the one hand, there are clear warnings to avoid seeking out mediums and necromancers who communicate with the dead (Leviticus 19:31, 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:10-11) and even goes as far as saying such persons should be put to death (Leviticus 20:27).
Some teach that these warnings are because we do not seek advice about the future from anyone other than God.
Throughout the Bible, God has clearly sent messenger Angels and prophets with instructions or warnings to people about the future. In this regard, God has also advised us to be discerning and to “test the spirits.”
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
– 1 John 4:41
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,”
– 1 John 4:2
The Bible gives us this simple test for knowing a spirit is of and from God.
Further, the Bible teaches us this about the future…
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
– Joel 2:28
There is more that follows, that speaks of a time when God will “pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:29).
Scholars theorize this verse speaks to the days of the Messiah (Jesus first coming) or the end times (before Jesus second coming).
This passage in Joel refers to a time when people will receive prophetic revelation. People are going to have supernatural knowledge given to them by the Holy Spirit.
Taking the verses above, can we assume that, just as Jesus’ New Testament teachings overrode some of the “eye for an eye” and kosher eating requirements in the Old Testament laws of Deuteronomy and Leviticus that were intended for the Jews, not the Gentiles. We must ask: do laws regarding prophecy and psychic intuition and abilities from those same two books also no longer apply to Gentiles? Are these supernatural abilities some people possess – not the work of demons – but the work of the Holy Spirit?
Why would God ask us to “test the spirits” if he did not know that we would be receiving messages from spirits?
We know that many people are natural-born psychics. While such people are often viewed in a demonic light, it may be that such abilities are a gift of God. After all, they are born this way – they do not go out and do something to make themselves psychic.
Think about Jesus and John the Baptist. The Pharisees accused both of being demon-possessed. In fact, they claimed Jesus was possessed by Satan who gave him the ability to cast out demons. Some people thought Jesus was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:20-22). Some people and religious leaders confused Jesus’ spiritual, supernatural, and paranormal gifts with the demonic.
Are many people using the same judgment on psychics and the supernaturally gifted today?
On the one hand, it would be a good tactic for Satan to make people afraid and disregard any supernatural messages God was trying to give us so that we would not receive the news. Perhaps this is why the Bible tells us to “test the spirits.” The Bible never tells us to “avoid the spirits.” Instead, it tells us we need to test to be discerning because in the last days, some people will “follow deceiving spirits and