Introduction: Have you thought a person was a friend, only
to find that person an enemy? Being able to identify friend
and foe is important in a battle. Ephesians 6:12 tells us
that we are in a wrestling match with “spiritual forces of
evil in the heavenly places.” When I hear friends or family
speak of departed family members that are visiting them or
sending them messages through “birds,” my meter for
measuring danger immediately rises. These departed relatives
are certainly friends, and trustworthy, right? What if they
are not departed friends or family, but rather demons? Let’s
dive into the Bible and see what we can learn about
discerning friend from foe!

I. Your Soul?

A. Read Matthew 10:28. What does our Lord teach with
regard to whether humans have an independent soul?
(Jesus tells us that our body and our soul are two
different things.)

1. What, exactly, do you think is the soul?

B. Read Genesis 3:3-5. What does Satan say about
death? (He told Eve that she would not die –
contrary to what God had told her.)

1. Add Matthew 10:28 to Satan’s lie in Eden. What
is Jesus saying? (That both our body and our
soul are mortal. They can both be destroyed.)

C. Read Romans 8:16. What does this teach us about
whether humans have a spirit? (It reveals that our
spirit communicates with the Holy Spirit. If you
have not read Romans 8:1-15 for a while, do so
now. The general theme of those verses is that our
flesh, our body, is hopeless. But the Holy Spirit
works through our mind, our spirit, to live as
sons and daughters of God.)

1. I’ve read many popular books about the human
mind. One of the great problems for
evolutionists is the idea that developing a
higher sense of right and wrong is unnecessary
for natural selection. Why would we need a
spirit? How would you evolve a spirit?

2. In one book I read it claimed that people
intrinsically know that they have an identity
separate from their body. Is that true for
you? (As we just learned, the Bible calls
consciousness that is identified separately
from our body our spirit or our soul.)

3. If you only knew from the Bible the small bit
that we have just reviewed, what would you
conclude about the wisdom of getting advice
and direction from dead friends and relatives?
(Supernatural advice for Christians comes from
our spirit communicating with the Holy Spirit.
There is great danger in doing anything else,
as we turn to next.)

II. Evil Spirits

A. Read Isaiah 8:18-20. What does this teach us about
seeking advice from the dead? (Why do that when
you can, as Isaiah does, get advice from God?)

B. Read Deuteronomy 18:9-12. What does this teach us
about God’s attitude about consulting with people
who are dead, but appear to be alive? (God not
only calls this an abomination, but the text says
that you are an abomination in God’s eyes if you
do this.)

C. Let’s look at a story in the Bible that
illustrates the problem. Read 1 Samuel 28:3. What
do we learn about King Saul’s principal advisor?
(Samuel has died. The text also notes that the
king has banned those who claim to be able to
communicate with the dead.)

D. Read 1 Samuel 28:5-7. What does the context
suggest motivates Saul to violate his own rules?
(Saul is afraid and desperate.)

E. Read 1 Samuel 28:8-9. How did Saul remove the
mediums and necromancers from the land? (The death

F. Read 1 Samuel 28:11-13. Would it be consistent
with what you know of Samuel’s life for him to
appear to be a god? (He was God’s messenger, he
did not claim to be God.)

G. Read 1 Samuel 28:14. Did Saul see Samuel? (No.
This is the medium’s report.)

1. What do you think about the detail of the
description of Samuel? (An old man wearing a
robe? Surely, Saul wanted this to be Samuel
because this is not a sufficient description.)

H. Read 1 Samuel 28:15-16. Many commentators believe
that this is Samuel. What about this discussion
reinforces the conclusion this is an evil spirit
and not Samuel? (In 1 Samuel 28:6 God refuses to
respond to Saul using approved means of
communication – and that included prophets. Why
would God change His mind and use a means that was
an abomination to Him? Note that “Samuel” responds
that Saul is now the enemy. Why would God respond
to His enemy?)

I. Read 1 Chronicles 10:13-14. Of all the sins of
King Saul, this mentions only two – one being
consulting a medium. If this was really Samuel
speaking, why would this be considered a great

J. Look again at 1 Chronicles 10:14. How can it say
that Saul did not seek guidance from God, when he
is going to such great lengths to hear from God?
(What verse 14 must mean is that Saul was not
getting guidance from God. It was a sin to consult
the medium, and the message of the medium was not
from God, it was from an evil spirit.)

1. Can evil spirits speak? Can demons speak?
(Read Matthew 8:28-31. They can speak to us.)

K. Read 1 Samuel 28:19-20. Why is it in Satan’s best
interest to tell King Saul that he and his sons
will die in the battle the next day? (Satan hates
us. He hated God’s people. The best way to be sure
Saul would lose the next day is to completely
destroy his ability to fight. Saul now believes
that God told him he would lose. He was finished.)

1. What lesson does this teach us about
consulting the dead? (You may get vicious
advice intended to harm you.)

III. Evil Spirits and the Future

A. Read Revelation 16:13-15. What role do evil
spirits play in end-time events? (They perform
great signs. They convince world leaders to oppose

1. Why is verse 15 here? (It is a warning to
“stay awake” when it comes to the work of evil

B. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. What is the topic
being discussed here? (The Second Coming of Jesus
and misinformation from spirits and other humans.)

C. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Who must appear before
Jesus’ Second Coming? (A rebel who claims that he
is God.)

D. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11. How much power does
this rebel have? (“All power and false signs and

1. Let’s read this prophecy about delusion into
the story of King Saul. Could he be deceived?
Did he want to be deceived? (The prophecy
describes exactly Saul’s situation. He wanted
to be deceived in that he desperately wanted
to speak with God.)

E. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:12. What motivates those
who are deceived? (They did not believe the

F. Read 1 Samuel 15:23-26. Why was King Saul
rejected? (He had not obeyed God. He had rebelled
against God. Notice that rebellion is placed in
the same category as divination (witchcraft).)

G. Read 1 Samuel 15:35. What does this say about
Samuel seeing Saul? (He never saw him again. This
is further proof that God refused to communicate
with Saul and He did not do so through the

H. Let’s return to 2 Thessalonians.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. Should we be concerned about
spiritualism now? (Yes. The “mystery of
lawlessness” was working during the time of the
Thessalonians and it is at work now.)

I. Friend, if you are communicating with the dead,
you are communicating with an evil spirit. It is a
foe and not a friend. Consider what this did to
King Saul. If you want help, then ask the Holy
Spirit to guide your mind! God has promised the
Holy Spirit. Why not claim that promise right now?

IV. Next week: The Impending Conflict.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.