Dead Cult of, Familiar Spirits


Linguistic considerations:

“The Hebrew nouns commonly associated with necromancy are ,עפר ,אוב and אוב .ידעני is usually paired with verbs that indicate inquiry for information and seems to indicate a conscious, yet unidentifiable, being, though it can refer to either the medium or ghost. The LXX translation of אוב is “ventriloquist,” to denote chirping or muttering, though this may not be an accurate representation of the word either, as it does not harmonize all of the word’s aspects. ידעני is often paired with אוב, though not always. Many commentators have also associated ידענים with chirping or muttering sounds either emitted from the ghost or the medium. עפר is thought to carry the sense of loose earth or dust. The latter often connotes mourning and self-abasement; however, when seen in conjunction with the words previously discussed, the context signifies the grave and netherworld. Furthermore, the inhabitants of the ancient underworld were thought to dwell in fields of dust, thereby becoming persons of dust themselves.” (Brown, 2015 page 29).

There was an Egyptian word ab that meant “to sink into [the ground]”. It can also mean “to face or meet someone” and thirdly, it can mean “a bird with a loud harsh voice”. One must keep in mind that Moses wrote Genesis as a person very knowledgeable of Middle Egyptian, a language that he was taught when he arrived in 1518 BCE in the court of Hatshepsut and writing Genesis in 1460 BCE in Midian and Leviticus in 1448 BCE and later, he used many Hebraised Egyptian loanwords, as one can see clearly in his epic of Job when one is confronted with hapax legomena. The difficult part is to find the exact Egyptian phonetics and precise word that Moses had in mind since the dictionary offers a multiplicity of options and sometimes many of them are equally interesting as candidate. The Late Egyptian word wb3 has the consonants in a different order but meant “to open; to be enlightened” which is connected to the Hebrew word ידעני. In the case of similar sounds in Late Egyptian wpì means “to open, reveal, disclose, to explain”. The consonants of the Hebrew is in a different order though.


Cult of the Dead as general human construct based on perception of life after death

The Cult of the Dead is a human phenomenon and construct in which they wish to turn the clock of death back by “running after the dead” in order to bring them back to the present and come to grips psychologically with finality. All nations of the Levant, and nations of all continents in later histories all the way to modern times participate in rituals of the Cult of the Dead. The state of the Dead epistemology put glasses on readers of the Bible and they then seek to interpret texts of the Bible that fits their own preconceived ideology. The consensus of all sinful human beings, without a thorough understanding of the Word of God, is to accept that humans still live after death. That leads to the creation of the Cult of the Dead practices globally. Satan in the snake form to Eve in Genesis 3 said that even though God said that the sinner will die, it is not so. They will not die. Sinners operate with this Satanic axiom.


Biblical revelation and Necromancy or Talking to the Dead


When Keil and Delitzsch commented on this verse in 1864 they listed all the texts that are going to be mentioned and said: “True fear of God, however, awakens confidence in the Lord and His guidance, and excludes all superstitious and idolatrous ways and methods of discovering the future. This thought prepares the way for the warning against turning to familiar spirits, or seeking after wizards” (Keil and Delitzsch 1864, Vol. I: 425).

The concept of ghost or soul of the departed (see Keil and Delitzsch Vol. I: 425), is a modern one and not that of the biblical text and its times (see BDB 1996 from 1906 page 15 last comment in brackets).

Contrary to the Mormon view presented by A. Brown 2016 citing H. E. Mendez 2009: 4 that Leviticus 19:31 is not condemning the practice of necromancy itself, only the seeking after it, the corpus of biblical texts dealing with the subject definitely disassociate completely in the absolute from any dealings or practice of necromancy.

Satan’s insistence against God’s edict that sinners will die, rephrasing it that they will not, is in line with the modern concepts of the Dead Cult. The Bible is a consistent revelation of God and does not contain conflicting ideas or a God with inconsistency in Himself. Therefore, if Moses denounce the Dead Cult in Leviticus 19:31 it will be that way throughout Scripture. Scholars who try to squeeze out necromancy in a positive light do so with their own hidden agendas that is not supported by Scriptures.

Two scholars lamented that the archaeological evidence does not give clarity how widespread necromancy was in Israel (P. Johnston 2002 and B. B. Schmidt 1996; see A. Brown 2016: 29 at footnote 20). The issue is not quantity of the phenomenon but the quality of spirituality displayed according to the “blueprints” provided by Revelation. Honesty to the Word was always the issue. For example, at Hazor cuneiform liver models were discovered and they were used in necromancy practices. The Scriptural text is clear in the upswing and downswing of spirituality when Israel ran after outside nations’ downgrading practices including spiritism, witchcraft and necromancy.

In Leviticus 20:27 someone involved with this cult should be killed to indicate God’s absolute prohibition and separation from such activities. As Brown also indicated, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 kept to the same prohibition and that is because God demands total surrender to Him.   

Saul’s encounter with the witch of 1 Samuel 28 is sometimes used by those who believe that after death souls still lives on. Nothing can be further from the truth. Samuel was dead (1 Samuel 28:3). When she saw someone coming up she did not say that she saw a human being coming up out of the earth but a “divine being” (1 Samuel 28:13). Saul admitted that “God has departed from me and answers me no more, either through prophets or through dreams therefore I have called you” (1 Samuel 28:15). What a total inconsistency in the domain of God. That it is possible to be God’s agent but when God rejects a person that someone else can serve as a vicarius filii dei or vicarius dei = substitute of God to still serve a rejected human. Since the Lord rejected Saul Satan said to Saul in 1 Samuel 28:19 “therefore, tomorrow you and your sons will be with me”. With him and against the Lord? Then the entity who came up was not with God in the first place. The logic is clear. It can only be Satan and his demons. Scholars miss these nuances in their commentaries on Samuel.

Ellen White sums it up exactly as my own research has it as well: “When Saul inquired for Samuel, the Lord did not cause Samuel to appear to Saul. He saw nothing. Satan was not allowed to disturb the rest of Samuel in the grave, and bring him up in reality to the witch of Endor. God does not give Satan power to resurrect the dead. But Satan’s angels assume the form of dead friends, and speak and act like them, that through professed dead friends, he can the better carry on his work of deception. Satan knew Samuel well, and he knew how to represent him before the witch of Endor, and to utter correctly the fate of Saul and his sons” (Vol. 4a Spiritual Gifts 1864: 84.2).

1 Chronicles 10:13–14 makes no secret of the fact that Saul lost his kingship because of this sinful act of his “because he asked counsel of a medium making enquiry”.

Isaiah’s message in Isaiah 8:19–20 is 100% in line with that of Moses and Samuel. There is no room for the Cult of the Dead practices for any believer in the Revelation of God as revealed in the pages of the biblical text.

The doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul is extra-biblical in the 12th book of The Republic by Plato which he wrote after he travelled to Egypt to see their mystery religions and became affected by them. Neo-Platonism in the Christian Church brought with it many ideas from paganism of which this doctrine was one. However, it serves the Cult of the Dead very well. The president of the USA’s wife talked regularly in séance with Leanor Rooseveldt and thus the cult is existing while this is written.

Isaiah 19:3 was a promise of the destruction of Egypt’s religion of consulting the Cult of the Dead.

About Isaiah 29:4, A. Brown wrote that it “is a compelling passage concerning necromancy in Isaiah, especially when viewed within the parameters of Latter-day Saint interpretation”. The text reads: “And brought down you shalt speak out of the ground, and your speech shall be low out of the dust; and your voice shall be as of a ghost out of the ground, and your speech shall chirp out of the dust” = וְשָׁפַלְתְּ מֵאֶרֶץ תְּדַבֵּרִי וּמֵעָפָר תִּשַּׁח אִמְרָתֵךְ וְהָיָה כְּאוֹב מֵאֶרֶץ קוֹלֵךְ וּמֵעָפָר אִמְרָתֵךְ תְּצַפְצֵף. These are the actual sounds that Satan makes in séance and Spiritism. They are real and not just imaginations.

Isaiah let Satan speaks seemingly in Isaiah 29: 2-3. Satan explains his agenda with the “lion of God” temple or sanctuary of God on earth: he will bring distress there and there shall be lamenting and mourning (v. 2a-b). We know it is Satan because he says “she shall be like an Ariel [lion of God] to me” (v. 2c).

For the suffering city to switch around and become a lion to the afflicter means that God took control to punish Satan and his proxies. This phrase is the reason for identifying Satan here. It is not God who will wage war against Ariel and Satan says that he will “camp against” the city and encircles it with the Assyrian armies in Sennacherib’s day in 701 BCE and again in 689 BCE.

With siege-works and battle towers Satan will be placed against Jerusalem in the days of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE (v. 3b-c).

The remnant of God shall be brought low (v. 4a). From earth they will speak to God (v. 4b). From the dust shall come low their words. And it shall be like a ghost from the earth will their voice speak out of the dust, their speech shall whisper (v. 4a-f). Spiritism is a reality of the bad and not the good. It is connected to Satan. But when the remnant speaks in the dust, it will be at the Resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ (Daniel 12:1-2). Isaiah says that though they died and were brought low, yet will they awaken from their sleep and speak from the dust where the Creative God will recreate them according to a sanctified and perfect DNA.

The multitude of enemies of the remnant, shall become like dust at the Second Coming (v. 5a). The ruthless ones shall become like chaff that the wind blows (v. 5b). “And it shall happen instantly, suddenly” (v. 5c). The New Testament says also that it will be suddenly.

To explain this passage which is confusing to A. Brown, she suggests the opinion of Jonathan Stökl’s words: “it is easier to assume that idioms from the polytheistic past are still being used in a monotheistic environment.” There is this false perception by consensus of scholars that Israelite religion started out polytheistic and later became monotheistic. They are almost on the right track but wrong. The Trinity Doctrine is throughout the Old Testament and is the most thorny issue in Judaism so that they alter the Old Testament consonants to bypass these cases: Genesis 1, Amos 1-2, Psalm 110 etc. God never revealed Himself to Adam or successor or the remnant first through polytheism and then later through monotheism.


Egypt and the Cult of the Dead

Egyptian Cult of the Dead was the subject of the study of C. Manassa (2012). “The akh-power [Egyptian word 3ḫ] of a deceased individual enables him or her to interact with the world of the divine, participating in the daily solar cycle, and to return to the world of the living. The cult of the dead harnesses the akh-powers of the deceased, transforming the effectiveness latent in the otherworld into immanent effects within this world.”

Textual evidence in Egypt:

Tomb-texts: Many texts in the Fifth Dynasty in which long private tomb inscriptions could be found (Manassa 2012).


Ceremonial Cult rooms: In the late pre-dynastic period elite tombs at Hierakonpolis had subterranean chambers and a ceremonial complex for the Cult of the Dead. It was constructed of costly wood and adorned with colorful panels (R. Friedman). At Abydos such structures were large (O’Connor, see Manassa 2012).


Cult participation by way-station system: Deceased king could continue after his death to participate in festivals (Serrano). In the Middle Kingdom cenotaphs or small shrines at Abydos lined the processional route so that the dead can participate all along the way.


Burying of cult figurines near grave sites: A living king could allow subjects to bury shabti figures near cult places or sacred animals (Pumpenmeier).


Communication to the dead in the Cult of the Dead: Festivals were the setting of the communication with the dead in the Cult of the Dead (see Book of Traversing Eternity, Smith: 395–436).


Bipartite Construction to allow Cult of the Dead process: A Theban Tomb of the 18th dynasty illustrates the Cult of the Dead very well (Kamp-Seyfried. See Manassa 2012). All tombs had a bipartite construction so that one room is under the earth but another above and well decorated. If they are too poor to have a second above ground “chapel” for the Dead then there were ceramic offering platters or soul-houses (Leclère). High-level administrators and military officers of the 18th dynasty had a T-shaped chapel with painted scenes and lengthy texts (Hartwig, see Manassa 2012).


Beautiful Festival of the Valley Cult of the Dead Text: The festival of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley (Hartwig:98–103) was in the 2nd month of Shomu. The bark of Amun traveled from the Karnak temple to the West Bank and resting in the temples of Deir el-Bahri (Smith 178-192; see Manassa 2012). It also went to the other temples constructed in the New Kingdom. This festival was a celebration of the rebirth of the dead. They banquet in the tomb with king, commoners, with processions and relatives. “During these festivals and on other occasions, the living could communicate directly with deceased spirits.” This is very relevant even in modern times since the wife of a recent president regularly communicated with Eleanor Rooseveldt the wife of a president during the Second World War.


Letters of the Dead: Letters of the Dead is another genre from the Old and New Kingdoms. They were written on papyri, linen, ceramic vessels (Wente 210-219; see Manassa 2012). In the Middle Kingdom they disappeared but the following texts from the New Kingdom: “The Story of Khonsuem-hab and the Ghost,” “The Magician Merire (P. Van-dier),” and the Setne-Khaemwaset Cycle) “indicate that belief in interactions between the living and the dead continued to be an active part of Egyptian theology” (Manassa 2012). The Late Period Egypt texts also explains the Cult of the Dead: “lamentations” for Osiris attributed to Isis and Nephthys,” is almost love poetry (Smith 74-75).


Ancestor Cult of the Dead in households:

“The cult of the dead was not a mechanical set of rituals, but an emotionally charged interaction between the living and the departed. Cults of the dead could also exist outside of strictly mortuary contexts, and some evidence exists for ancestor cults within households” (Fitzenreiter; see Manassa 2012).


Deceased individuals cult: the cult of the Old Kingdom viziers Mehu and Kagemni were limited to a few worshippers at Saqqara(Fischer, see Manassa 2012); Imhotep, architect of Egypt’s first stone monument, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, later enjoyed veneration at temples throughout Egypt (Aufrère; Manassa 2012). In the 6th dynasty at Elephantine island a citizen Heqaib made an offering chapel on the west bank and it became a religious complex and worshippers dedicated stelae, statutes and other objects there (von Pilgrim; see Manassa 2012). At Thebes Amenhotep III gave Amenhotep, a vizier, a mortuary temple on the west bank and it had a cult until the Roman period (Wildung; see Manassa). Authors of literary compositions are used in magical incantations of the Cult of the Dead (Fischer-Elfert; see Manassa 2012). The Dendur temple is an example of the deification of individuals, dedicated to two drowned Nubian princes (Koenig; see Manassa).


Pharaohs and their places of worship in the Cult of the Dead: Pharaohs were worshipped at various places in the Cult of the Dead: Amenhotep I and Ahmose-Nefertari at Luxor. Mother and son oracle pronouncements were found with in Theban tombs (Hollender; see Manassa 2012). In Nubia Senwosret III was a god and had a cult. Ramesses II was deified in Egypt and Nubia (Habachi; see Manassa 2012).


Animals sacred to deities had a Cult of the Dead: Burial places of animals sacred to deities also had a cult (Kessler; see Manassa 2012).

“Private individuals could purchase a mummified animal, such as an ibis, cat, or baboon, thus fulfilling the role of Horus, the rightful heir, to a Osirian animal; such practices, which abounded in Late Period Egypt, enabled a single person to participate multiple times in a cult of the dead, independent of his or her family members.” (Manassa 2012).


Ellen White’s view on the Dead Cult

Ellen White received through the Holy Spirit visions in sometimes very awkward circumstances but she did not in her scope for the church spelled out a license to seek for supernatural communications in public or private. In Great Controversy 556.2 she said in 1888: “The work of dealing with familiar spirits was pronounced an abomination. . . .” In 1890 she wrote in Patriarchs and Prophets 685.4 she wrote: “1890;:“The ‘familiar spirits’ were not the spirits of the dead, but evil”. In 1890 in Patriarchs and Prophets 689.1 she reiterated what Leviticus 19:31 is saying through the Lord and by the hand of Moses after 1448 BCE: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards.”

She commented on Isaiah 8:22 on June 24, 1915 in Review and Herald “Hope for the Heathen” saying: “The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah.” The darkness of Isaiah 8:22 that Isaiah saw was: “Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice.”

In January 15 of 1914 in Review and Herald paragraph 11, she denounced the role of seeking healing from spiritism: “The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to cure the diseased. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called “sympathetic remedies,” or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few, even in this Christian age, who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified Christian physicians. The mother, watching by the sick bed of her child, exclaims, “I can do no more! Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?” She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hand of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power, which it seems impossible to break. One can place all the works of Ellen White on this issue within the confounds of the Scripture and there is no conflict with the counsel, commands, and strong declarations of abomination that goes with consulting the dead.

The view of the Seventh-day Adventist church on the rejection of the Immortality of the Soul is in line with the counsel of God against consulting the so-called dead which turn out to be Satan and his demons.


Seventh-day Adventist position on the Immortality of the Soul unrelated to contemporary Dead Cults

From the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church dating to 1953, one can cite their position in line with the pioneers since the inception of the church: “[Doctrine] 9: “That God ‘only hath immortality.’ 1 Tim. 6:15. Mortal man possesses a nature inherently sinful and dying. Eternal life is the gift of God through faith in

Christ. Rom. 6:23. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. Immortality is bestowed upon the righteous at the second coming of Christ, when the righteous dead are raised from the grave and the living righteous translated to meet the Lord. Then it is that those accounted faithful "put on immortality.’ 1 Cor. 15:51-55. [Doctrine] 10. “That the condition of man in death is one of unconsciousness. That all men, good and evil alike, remain in the grave from death to the resurrection. Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146 :3, 4; John 5:28, 29” (Fundamental beliefs of SDA's in 1953; Downloaded on the 2nd of December 2018 from



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