What the Bible Says About Familiar Spirits

What are Familiar Spirits? Are they of Satan? Is Conjuring them Witchcraft? What does the Bible say about Familiar Spirit?

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by Janet Grace

Familiar Spirits: What are They? What do they Do?

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I AM the LORD your GOD.” Leviticus 19:31 King James Bible

A familiar spirit is a demon that is summoned by a medium with the intention that the spirit summoned will obey his or her commands. Often, familiar spirits are believed to be the spirits of people who have died (Duet. 18:11). However, Biblically this is not the case. Such appearances are in actuality demonic forces imitating people in order to deceive.

We know that people cannot come back from the dead from what Jesus said in Luke 16:19-31 when He gave us the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Jesus said in verse 26 “and besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.” So, we can see that people cannot come back from the dead. However, we cannot leave this topic without addressing 1 Samuel 28 that deals with Saul and the medium who, apparently, actually contacted the departed Spirit of Samuel. Commentators are split on whether or not this was actually Samuel, but the text seems to imply it was. So why the exception? We are not sure, but it might have been allowed for the purpose of rebuking Saul for his sin–something that does not happen with familiar spirits when they manifest. Perhaps it is a teaching tool to show us the difference between those who are really of God (Samuel) and those who are not (familiar spirits).

The two words, “familiar spirit,” in the King James Bible are translated into the English from the single Hebrew word obe אֹוב.

• Lev. 19:31, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.”
• 1 Chron. 10:13, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it.”
• 2 Chron. 33:6, “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” • Lev. 19:31, “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.”
• 1 Chron. 10:13, “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it.”
• 2 Chron. 33:6, ” He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.

“Question: “What are familiar spirits?”Answer: The word familiar is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a “household servant,” and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them. These are familiar spirits.

Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; and Deuteronomy 18:9-14 refer to “mediums and familiar spirits” and forbids being involved with them, as they are an abomination to the Lord. A medium is one who acts as a liaison to supposedly contact or communicate with the dead on behalf of the living. In reality mediums are contacting demons who convince the mediums that they are “familiar” and can be trusted and believed. The practices associated with mediums and familiar spirits were banned in Israel, and the punishment for practicing such things was death.

Familiar spirits and spirit guides are under the control of their master, Satan. They influence people to spread lies and deceit in order to thwart the kingdom of God. To knowingly open oneself to the work of demons is an evil thing: “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in [a] fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12a). Some avenues through which demons or “familiar spirits” can gain entrance into a person’s life are divination, transcendental meditation, visualization, necromancy, witchcraft, drugs, and alcohol, sin filled occult movies and sinful acts. These are all activities that believers are exhorted to avoid. Instead, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, with love, with joy, and with the fullness of life that comes from personally knowing The LORD Jesus Christ. We are also to be on guard, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set My Face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I AM The LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:6-7 {KJV}

“And when I see the Blood, I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13b King James Bible
Recommended Resources: Angels: Elect & Evil by C. Fred Dickson and Logos Bible Software.

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Author of several enlightening and influential books on subjects ranging from false prophets, end times, the original lie of Satan to mankind, evangelism, last day / end times victory, and the daily walk of an authentic disciple. Todd’s books can be found on BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and on SafeGuardYourSoul.com. His websites include SafeGuardYourSoul.com, GreatCommissionAdventure.com. A former Marine, contracted to NASA, youth pastor, TV show host, Bible College class president, and member of numerous churches throughout the south, by the saving grace of Jesus Christ Todd has and continues to learn to set aside all that involves the philosophies and whims of mere men to follow the King of the kingdom as a simple servant. His sincerity and ability to speak on a variety of topics from a broad and edifying perspective, and with a humble candor, is refreshing. Todd has an obvious understanding that he is nothing without Jesus and yet, by the working of divine grace, his Gospel tracts, articles, Moments with My Master email devotional, and books have taught, encouraged, and inspired thousands. Todd Tomasella is the author of several Christian, non-fiction books, hundreds of articles, devotionals, audios, tracts, videos, Bible school curriculum, and study guides. No matter the format utilized, the divine mandate is simply getting people into God's Word for themselves (Nehemiah 8:8; Habakkuk 2:2; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17). Let’s Grow Together! Sign up here to begin receiving the Moments with Our Master email devotional that is sure to help you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:2; 3:18). It’s sent out 1-2 times weekly for the edification and equipping of the body of Christ. Sign Up HERE: info@safeguardyoursoul.com

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