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Dr Grant C. Richison


 I. Three states:

Birth to Death.

Between death and resurrection.

Resurrection to the eternal state.

II. The Bible has little to say about the intermediate state, evidently because it is not the ultimate

III.The intermediate state is one of conscious existence (for both the believer and the lost).

Rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19f 

2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23 

Thief, Luke 23:43

Revelation 14:13

IV. The resurrection makes the consciousness, holiness and happiness permanent in the body

V. The intermediate state is preeminently a state of special training for the worship of God.

VI. The soul and spirit are without a body in the intermediate state.

VII. The believer will be rewarded in the intermediate state (2 Co 5:10)

VIII. The state of the lost in the intermediate state—Sheol/hades.

 Conscious state, Lu 16:23-24

 Though both Sheol and Hades are sometimes translated grave, they never indicate a burial place, but rather, the state of the human spirit after death.

No second probation (1 Pe 3:18-20; He 9:27; 2 Co 6:2)

Not soul sleep:

These verses refer to the dead as sleeping from the human point of view.

The body does sleep until the resurrection (2 Co 5:1-3)

IX. Spiritism is anti-biblical.

Definition: the belief that the spirits of the dead can and do communicate with the living, usually through a medium.

Spiritism is a snare and delusion because:

-the spirits of the dead cannot return (Job 10:21; 7:9, 10; 2 Sa 12:23)

Nowhere in the Bible is there anything to indicate that the dead return to the earth, either in the spirit or in the physical bodies, except by a miracle.

Samuel and Saul (resuscitations)

Elijah and Elisha

Our Lord

Mt 27:52,53

-The attempt to communicate with the dead is forbidden (Dt 18:9-12; Ex 22:18; Lev 19:39; 20:6; 20:27; 1 Chr 10:13; Isa 8:19)

Saul and the witch of Endor (1 Sa 28:3-25; cf. 1 Chr 10:13,14).

Necromancy among the nations of antiquity:

Not only allowed but abetted and widely practiced by national entities: Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans

The diviner stood in the service of the states and was consulted before important decisions were made or were waged.

Certain classes of pagan prognosticators were categorized as illegitimate.

This was not because their occultism clashed with heathenism, but rather because they were supposed to be in league with the gods of other hostile nations.

Necromancy and witchcraft:

Modern idea: a woman who had formed a pact with the devil or wicked spirits, as a result became able to cast many kinds of spells and cause untold mischief to both people and things.

“Witch” occurs twice in KJV but would be better translated sorcerer, the whole field of divinatory occultism (Ex 22:2218; Dt 12:10)

The sorcerer of Bible times was merely a fortune teller or a divining woman.

The idea of a woman who can transform herself and others into animals, raise and allay tempests, cast spells, destroy lives, blight harvests, upset nature, etc. is not biblical.

But her occultism involved a reflection of Jehovah in that it was a bold intrusion upon the task of the genuine prophets of God.

These superstitious ideas are found from ancient times in heathen thought:


-Horned demon of Libya

-Phallic Baal of Peor in Moab

It remained for the Middle Ages to mix pagan superstition with Christian demonological concepts, and imps, hobgoblins and witches were the result.

-Pact with the devil

-Enrolled in the “Black Book”

-Bound to the obedient to the devil in everything

Witches were burned in Britain and colonies (witches sabbaths).

The distinguishing feature of modern spiritism is purported intercourse with the spirits of the dead.

Identification with ancient necromancy.

Although much that passes for present day spiritistic manifestation is pure chicanery, nevertheless, real communications from the spirit world are times received.

Modern spiritism is nothing more or less than ancient sorcery revived, with particular emphasis on communication with the supposed spirits of the dead (which are really deceiving, impersonating demons) so that the phenomenon is basically demonism.