Introduction: When I write a final exam for a law school
class I put into the problem fact statements that have no
legal relevance. It helps prepare students for client
interviews. The client comes in with a story about why they
think they have a legal claim. It is the lawyer’s job to
sift through the story and determine what facts make a
difference and which do not. Our series of studies so far
have largely dealt with death, dying, and heaven. There are
many “facts” floating around in books, movies, television,
and testimony that need to be properly evaluated. Let’s dive
into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about
evaluating these “facts!”

I. Keeping the Right Focus

A. Read Ephesians 6:10-12. Who is our spiritual
enemy? (It is Satan and his fallen angels.)

1. Consider that. What should be the focus of
your attention in life? (We should not be
focused on fighting other people, we should be
focused on “the schemes of the devil.” We need
to look beyond the person and consider the
spiritual question.)

B. Read 2 Corinthians 11:10-12. What appears to be
the problem that Paul is discussing? (He has
competitors who also claim to do good work.)

C. Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. When we discussed the
need to consider the spiritual and not the human,
does this text add something important to our
discussion? (Indeed! This tells us that the
“human” might in fact be a fallen angel appearing
to be a human. It also tells us that humans can be
active agents of Satan. This means that we need to
consider both human and spiritual challenges, but
the universal concern is the spiritual message.)

1. What does it mean in verse 15 when it says,
“their end will correspond to their deeds?”
(We should be able to determine these false
teachers by their deeds. In any event, they
will ultimately be judged by God.)

D. Read Luke 9:46-48. Is it human nature among the
followers of God to be in competition with each
other? (These are the future leaders of the early
church and they are competitors.)

1. Does Jesus say that this competition is wrong?
(No. He refers to “the one who is great.” But,
Jesus says service is the road to greatness.)

a. What does the reference to a child say
about the nature of the service? (No
doubt the stories of the day dealt with
heroes who did great deeds. Jesus teaches
that service in small causes is important
to Him.)

E. Read Luke 9:49-50. So far we have learned that the
spiritual should be our focus, but that humans may
be agents for Satan or actual fallen angels. We
have also learned to be careful about competition
among leaders. What does this discussion about
competitors “outside” the church teach us about
sorting out facts? (Just because a spiritual
leader is outside our group (our denomination) is
no indication of whether they are doing evil. In
sorting out right from wrong we need to look at
the nature of the work. It does not have to be
high profile work, and it does not have to
perfectly accord with our work. Only work opposing
us is a problem. Our objection might reflect mere
competition and not spiritual evil.)

II. Getting It Right

A. Read 1 Samuel 28:3. Who was Samuel? (He was a
prophet of God who regularly advised King Saul.
See 1 Samuel 15:1.)

1. What are “mediums and the necromancers?” (Read
Deuteronomy 18:11, Leviticus 20:27, and
Leviticus 20:6. These are people who
supposedly communicate with the dead. This is
an area of serious sin.)

B. Read 1 Samuel 28:5-6. What problem does Saul face?
(An opposing army that scares him, and God’s
refusal to give him guidance.)

C. Read 1 Samuel 28:7. How do you reconcile Saul’s
campaign against the mediums and necromancers and
his current desire to talk to one? (Saul is

D. Read 1 Samuel 28:8-9. Is this medium worried about
the death penalty? Do you think she suspects that
this is Saul or one of his agents?

E. Read 1 Samuel 28:10-12. Why would the sight of
Samuel make the medium think this was Saul?
(First, it was known that Samuel advised the king.
Second, this “ghost” was not their imagination, it
was something which appears to communicate to the
medium the truth about Saul.)

F. Read 1 Samuel 28:15. What do you think of Saul’s
answer to Samuel’s question? (Saul admits that God
will not talk to him.)

1. Who does Saul think he is talking to? When
Samuel advised him, Samuel was communicating
messages from God! (This makes no sense unless
Saul thinks that he can outwit God by speaking
to Samuel in this way.)

G. Read 1 Samuel 28:16-18. Is this the truth – has
God turned away from Saul and given his kingdom to
someone else? (Yes. Read 1 Samuel 15:26-28.)

1. Is this information that Saul (and many
others) already knew? (Of course.)

2. So who is Saul speaking to? (It is not God.
God is not speaking to Saul in any way. See 1
Samuel 28:15. Thus this cannot be Samuel.)

H. Read 1 Samuel 28:13-14. We skipped over these
verses earlier. What “god” comes up out of the
earth? (This is Satan or a fallen angel assuming
the appearance of Samuel. Would a dead Samuel be
wearing a robe? Would he defy God and speak to

I. Read 1 Samuel 28:19-20. Can Satan predict the
future? If not, does this prove Samuel is speaking
the words of God?(Saul and whatever came up from
the ground knew that God would not speak to Saul.
They also both knew that God had taken the kingdom
from Saul and given it to David. That meant that
Saul and his sons would have to die – and that is
what is later reported in 1 Samuel 31:6. Plus we
see the terrible psychological harm done by these
words. You would not have to be a prophet of God
to know how this was going to turn out.)

J. Re-read 2 Corinthians 11:14-15. How does this text
apply to the story we just discussed? (This shows
that Satan or one of his fallen angels disguised
himself as Samuel.)

1. Let’s apply these conclusions to the facts
that are alleged today. What should we
conclude about people who tell us that their
dead ancestors come to them? Or appear as
birds or butterflies to give a message of
encouragement? (We can conclude that what they
see is real – but is not their dead relative.
Instead, this is demonic. Concluding your
relative is an insect or bird is letting your
imagination run wild.)

2. What about people with “near death
experiences” who tell of seeing a light,
traveling to heaven, and speaking with a dead
relative or with Jesus? (As we have seen with
Saul, these people might well have seen
something, but it was not their dead relative.
Consider also that these people are often
deprived of oxygen, and therefore their mind
might not be operating properly.)

3. What did we agree at the beginning of this
study was the most important issue to
consider? (The spiritual question.)

a. When Saul spoke to the god that came out
of the ground, did that god tell Saul
many things that were true? (It was
almost all true.)

b. What was Satan’s purpose in this
conversation if he told Saul the truth?
(The purpose was to harm Saul. He wanted
Saul to suffer. He wanted to discourage
Saul. He wanted to harm God’s people. All
that happened.)

K. Let’s come back to where we started. What are the
important and relevant facts for those who claim
to have spoken with those who are dead? (They are
likely telling the truth, but they do not
understand that it is not the dead they are
speaking with, it is demons. Demons who want to do
them harm.)

L. Friend, the idea that the dead are all around and
able to give us special insight is a lie. This is
nothing but Satan and his servants working to harm
the followers of God. Some of it is real (a real
thing is seen), some of it speaks the truth. But
looking at it from a spiritual point of view, the
goal of Satan is to harm you and your family. Will
you determine today to reject and avoid these
modern mediums and necromancers?

III. Next week: The Biblical World View.

Copr. 2022, 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
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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.