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Communicating with Heavenly Messengers!
(Edited and compiled by Apollos from the writings of David Brandt Berg.)

       © May 1996, by The Family, Zurich, Switzerland -- ML #3048, GN 678 -- GP

       [EDITED: "Caption of cover picture:"] Jesus conferring with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, as described in the Gospels (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36).


       The Spirit World       3

       The "Veil"       4

       The Great "Cloud of Witnesses"       6

       "Ministering Spirits" -- God's Holy Ghosts       8

       God's Great "Lending Library" of Departed Saints       9

       The Gift of Prophecy       10

         Channels for God's Communications       13

         "Adding to the Book"?       13

         God's Agents in Prophecy       14

       Biblical Appearances of Holy Ghosts       15

         Saint John's Revelations       15

         Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration       18

         The John the Baptist / Elijah Connection       19

         Saul and the Witch at Endor       21

       What about the Bible's Warnings against "Familiar Spirits"?       24

       Rejection of the Concept of Holy Ghosts by Many Churches       26

       "Try the Spirits"       29

       Conclusion:       32

       Item twelve of the Family's official "Statement of Faith" says,

       We believe that in addition to angelic ministering spirits, God on occasion also uses the spirits of departed saints to minister and deliver messages to His people. [EDITED: "1"]

       This belief was advanced by David Berg, the founder of The Family, as a truth revealed in the Bible, and as a reality he believed God wanted His people to know more about and benefit from. Basing his views on instances recorded in Scripture where departed saints ministered to God's children, David taught that the good spirits of Godly people who have passed on are sometimes allowed to assist, influence, and communicate with their loved ones and other Christians left behind.
       Some preachers and teachers of various persuasions and denominations have expressed alarm at such a notion. Some have gone so far as to decry any form of "communicating with the dead" (as they term it) as heretical. We believe our stance on this issue is confirmed by the authority of Scripture. In this article we will examine numerous excerpts from David Berg's writings (commonly known as the "Mo Letters"), as well as passages from the Bible related to this matter. [EDITED: "2"]
       Before delving into the specifics of communicating with those who have passed from this life to the next, an understanding of the Family's beliefs regarding the more general themes of death, the afterlife and the spiritual realm is essential. As you will see in the following quotations from David's Letters, he not only taught that life goes on for those who depart from this current earthly existence, but that those who have accepted Christ as their Savior continue to learn, grow and actively serve God in the heavenly or spiritual realm.

              If you think just because people have gone on to be with the Lord that their job is over, we can prove from the Bible that their job is far from complete! ... According to all we read in the Bible and we've experienced, we have a {\ul \i long} way to go, and the spirit world is a heaven-of-a-lot busier than this hell on earth!
       Heaven is not the {\ul \i end}: it's only the {\ul \i beginning}! ... My idea of Heaven is not floating around on a cloud strumming a harp by some gift of God! That would be my idea of {\ul \i death}! Total inactivity, cessation of movement, total rest is total death! And it doesn't seem to be {\ul \i God's} idea of Heaven either! His universe is full of {\ul \i movement}, and He'll {\ul \i never} stop!
       All these people who look forward to death as the end are going to get a big surprise! Death from this life is just {\ul \i graduation} from this grade. ... In the spirit you're no longer weighted with the flesh and burdened with the problems of the physical life. You've graduated from this grade of this earthly life.
       You'll be given the power to do a lot more than you're doing now. And you're going to do it -- even more! "Their works do follow them!" (Revelation 14:13b). They haven't finished them: They're still going to be working at them! You got good grades in the {\ul \i last} grade and have arrived in the {\ul \i next} grade.
       That's my idea and I believe it's {\ul \i God's} and His {\ul \i Bible's} idea, and we're a long way from the end! In fact, according to the Bible, for us there isn't going to {\ul \i be} an End! -- {\ul \i Eternity} has no end! [EDITED: "3"]

The Spirit World

       The spiritual realm is an eternal, invisible dimension which exists concurrently with the physical world.

              The next world is already {\ul \i here}, you know, we're {\ul \i in} it! We just can't see it! The other world, the spirit world is surrounding us! [EDITED: "4"]

              The world of the spirit is also here, and is coexistent with this present world. It's {\ul \i here}, not just there! It's also there, but it's also here!
       When the Bible talks about Heaven and the heavenly it's usually talking about the world of the spirit; it doesn't necessarily mean some place a thousand miles high or way off somewhere in space.* ... There's another heaven in the world of the spirit that's right {\ul \i here}, and you're living and moving in it without even realizing it. [EDITED: "Speaking of God, the Bible says,"] "In whom we live and move and have our being," meaning in the Spirit, in God (Acts 17:28). So we live and move in the spirit world as well as in the temporal world. [EDITED: "5"] *[EDITED: "However, there are numerous references throughout the Bible to the Heavenly City, New Jerusalem, the 1,500-mile-high supernatural city of God that He has prepared for His people, which will come down from God to settle on the earth, as described in Revelation chapters 21 and 22."]
       Right here you're surrounded with the realm of the spirit and "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1). This room is full of them -- isn't that wonderful? They're observing what we do and enjoying our fellowship, although there's a gulf fixed between, in a sense, and we can't rend that veil except in the spirit, [EDITED: "which is when"] the Lord can show us things and we can take a little peek in. [EDITED: "6"]

The "Veil"

       Under normal circumstances, a veil or gulf exists between the spirit world and the earthly plane in which we presently exist. However, God, on occasion, opens or lifts this veil in order to reveal things or give special assistance to His children.

       Just think of all the angels and the holy spirits that are interested in us, that are all around [EDITED: "us"]. ... But they have to operate under certain rules and they can't put in too many personal appearances or speak out loud unless on some very rare occasions they are allowed to. ... Most of the time we just have to believe without seeing anything -- except we certainly can see how the Lord has worked. [EDITED: "7"]

       God has laid down certain restrictions and limitations on what [EDITED: "those"] in the spirit world can do for those who are yet in the material, physical world and earthly life. He wants you to believe in things unseen because of His Word and to have faith in Him and Heaven and salvation purely through {\ul \i faith} and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 10:17). For if you could see all that is around you in the spirit world, it would be too easy to believe. -- And it also might {\ul \i frighten} you as you see how the Enemy [EDITED: "the Devil"] is operating, as well as the angels of God and the holy spirits of God!
       You are usually spared these scenes and the sights and sounds of the spirit world unless you particularly need them for some reason on some particular or special occasion, when you desperately need to see or to hear something to encourage your faith or to guide you or counsel you or direct you or warn you.
       Normally ghosts are not allowed to appear. ... Those are the rules of the game, unless it's some kind of an emergency. They're restricted from appearing or speaking audibly or touching or making any kind of {\ul \i physical} manifestation unless it is some kind of extreme emergency. You'll find in most cases, ghosts, angels or spirits have not appeared to people unless it was really something very drastic. In other words, when nothing else could stop them, when nothing else could get through to them but an audible voice or a personal appearance or touch or feeling. [EDITED: "8"]

       So [EDITED: "the spirits"] are to remain unseen and unheard and even unfelt, except in spiritual manifestations, such as dreams and visions and the still small voices with which [EDITED: "they"] speak within your mind and heart, so you will continue to depend entirely on His Word and faith in Him without any other proofs except His constant, faithful, never-ending care, provision and protection. [EDITED: "9"]

       William Branham [EDITED: "a well-known American Christian faith healer and prophet of God, 1906-1965"] used to symbolize it by saying, "These spiritual experiences that I have, these visions and revelations, they're sort of like when I was a little boy. I wanted to see what was going on at the ball game and I couldn't afford to pay my way in, so I used to climb the fence and cling to the top of the fence and peek in.
       "That's sort of how the Lord does with me, only I don't do it in my own energy anymore. Now it's like when my big brother used to lift me up and hold me so I could peek over -- the Lord sort of lifts me up and lets me peek in. Then once in awhile I'd find a knothole in the fence where I could see through a little hole, see what was going on with just one eye, but not very clearly." [EDITED: "10"]

       Regarding the barrier the Lord has placed between the physical realm and the spiritual, the Apostle Paul wrote that our perception of the unseen world is presently somewhat obscured. Paul wrote,

              For {\ul \i now} we see through a glass, darkly; but {\ul \i then} [EDITED: "when we leave this life"] face to face: now I know in {\ul \i part}; then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

       Commenting on this Scripture, David wrote,

       These spiritual revelations ... the things that I get and you get and the Lord gives to all of His children in some way at some time -- dreams, visions or some revelation -- you've probably all had something at some time, some spiritual experience or something, but even then you only "see as through a glass darkly."
       They didn't have very good glass in Paul's day. You know, it was pretty murky. We don't really know what he's talking about nowadays because the glass we have is so good, so clear. But have you ever seen those real old-fashioned windows with the big globs in them and wavy wrinkles, and everything you see through it is sort of distorted? That's what Paul was talking about, "seeing through a glass darkly," somewhat distorted. [EDITED: "11"]

       These [EDITED: "gifts of the Spirit"] are all going to be in complete, full, total operation in the next world without any hindrances or "seeing through a glass darkly" (1 Corinthians 13:12). ... We're going to be full-grown and mature and we'll have all these gifts -- all of'm! -- and the wisdom how to use'm! In full power! -- Not just partially, not just seeing through a knothole, or a piece of dark glass, like Paul suggests.
       He didn't say that your sight's going to be changed; He didn't say that you're not going to see some of the same things; He just said you're going to see it {\ul \i clearer}. You're going to see things as they really are, not kind of like I have dreams and visions now in which I don't get everything perfectly clear and I feel like I'm almost looking through a fog sometimes and not everything is always exactly in focus. Sometimes they're extremely vivid and clear, but everything is going to be {\ul \i perfectly} clear {\ul \i then} and we'll see and know "even as also we are known." [EDITED: "12"]

The Great "Cloud of Witnesses"

       The eleventh chapter of the New Testament Book of Hebrews is an inspiring account of the faith and exploits of many of the most outstanding men and women of God who appear in the Old Testament. Immediately following this listing of heroes and heroines of faith, we are told in the first verse of the next chapter,

              Seeing we also are {\ul \i compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses}, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

       Regarding this passage of Scripture, David wrote,

       The original [EDITED: "manuscript of the New Testament"] was not divided into chapters, so you've got to keep in mind the chapter before this in order to know what "great cloud of witnesses" he's talking about. -- All the saints [EDITED: "13"] who have already gone on to be with the Lord! And they're not only watching us, they're praying for us! [EDITED: "14"]

       Immediately after having listed [EDITED: "those in"] God's great Hall of Fame and many of the great saints already gone to be with the Lord, he [EDITED: "St. Paul"] says: "Seeing therefore we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses!" That ought to thrill your hearts to know that they're watching and they're cheering for you and rootin' for and prayin' for you! [EDITED: "15"]

       They're all praying for us and they're all watching us, and every now and then God sends one of them down to give us a hand if we need some extra help! They are like our cheering section on the heavenly bleachers cheering for the team, and when you win a battle they really cheer and rejoice! When you win a soul, all the angels in Heaven rejoice, praise God! [EDITED: "16"]
       Think how wonderful it is that there are {\ul \i millions} up there, all watching and praying for you, and lots of them coming down to help you! {\ul \i This} is really where the action is! This is where the big test is going on. Once you get over There, well, there is more in store for you, but this is the primary test. -- This is what the whole universe is watching, the big game! [EDITED: "17"]

       They're all watching! They're all rootin' for you! ... Imagine how much they must jump up and down and shout when you do the right thing! Every time you win, every time you make a goal, every time you win a soul. I imagine they yell and holler as much as the football crowd does! Why not? They're still {\ul \i human}! [EDITED: "18"]

       A striking example of this "cloud" of spiritual helpers that encompasses God's children is found in the Old Testament story of when the prophet Elisha awoke one morning to find that the king of Syria had sent "a great army" to capture him. Upon seeing thousands of enemy soldiers surrounding the city in which they dwelt, Elisha's servant panicked, until the Lord removed the veil between the spiritual and physical realms and opened his eyes to behold the far more powerful heavenly host that was at that same moment surrounding them:

              And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for {\ul \i they that be with us are more than they that be with them}. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray Thee, {\ul \i open his eyes}, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was {\ul \i full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha} (2 Kings 6:15-17).

       In one of his recorded prayers, David made reference to this biblical example:

       The Lord told us one time to thank Him for His angels that guarded and protected us! ... Thank You, Lord, for Thy many counselors and the multitudes Thou hast given us at our disposal and our command. Open their eyes as You did the young man to see the multitudes of Thy host! ... Thank You for these who work with us within the veil and the Fifth Dimension! [EDITED: "19"] [EDITED: "David often referred to the unseen spiritual realm as the "fifth dimension," as compared with the four dimensions of our present earthly world: height, breadth, depth and time."]

       Another reference to many of these heavenly "witnesses" can be found in the following Scripture passage, where a roll is called of the inhabitants of God's great Heavenly City, New Jerusalem:

              But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of {\ul \i angels}, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the {\ul \i spirits of just men made perfect}, And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:22-24a).

"Ministering Spirits" -- God's Holy Ghosts

       The good spirits or "holy ghosts" who compose the "cloud of witnesses" around God's children are not merely witnessing or observing our activities, but they are assigned by the Lord to actively assist and minister to those of us who are still alive here on earth.

       "What do you mean? -- You believe in ghosts?" Yes, I believe in ghosts! I especially believe in the {\ul \i Holy} Ghost and {\ul \i all} [EDITED: "God's"] holy ghosts, and all His departed saints and the good spirits of the Lord, that we are "encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses!" [EDITED: "20"]

       He's got millions of angels and billions of good, saved spirits, holy spirits, holy ghosts! Every departed saint that's gone to be with the Lord -- including those still working down here -- is a holy ghost! [EDITED: "21"]

       The good spirits not only go to Heaven to be with the Lord, but are also operating in the spirit world {\ul \i here}, helping us! That we know through personal experience. [EDITED: "22"]

       Apparently they are on {\ul \i assignment}. They don't just drift around in space with no place to go, nothing to do, and not knowing what their specific duties are. ... They're all so {\ul \i busy}! There are a lot of places where they're working, not only in this world but in the world of the spirit. [EDITED: "23"]

       Look how that perpetuates the wisdom and the talents and the gifts that God has given each individual! Those marvelous talents and abilities are not lost and gone forever way off in some heavenly places. ... They [EDITED: "are used to"] {\ul \i continue} to minister. [EDITED: "24"]

       Oh, we go up to Heaven for a little while if we die now; we go up to be with the Lord in heavenly places ... [but {\ul \i afterwards}] an awful lot of us stay right here in a heavenly sphere in another dimension right here on this earth, only in the {\ul \i spirit world}, and stay here and help others, as many helpers are helping us right now.
       These departed saints are obviously still extremely active agents or angels of God, messengers. [EDITED: "25"]

God's Great "Lending Library" of Departed Saints

       David envisioned these spirits as a vast array of gifted personalities from all ages whom the Lord calls on and assigns to assist His children as special needs arise.

              It's like a lending library of God's saints who are, you might say, arranged on heavenly shelves, and you can just pull down any one you need any time -- or the Librarian can. God's the Librarian, or His Spirit is. He can hand you any one that you need at any time. Can you imagine! Think how many spirit-books He's collected by this time!
       We've got the benefit now of such a tremendous collection of departed saints, men of God, great men of wisdom, administrators, kings, prophets, psalmists and what have you! Look what a collection God's got by this time! -- Of all these that have gone on to be with Him! Why, He's got people available for anything you want to know, for anything that needs to be done.
       He [EDITED: "the Lord"] can call on anybody to give you whatever you need; you just need to want it and receive it and have the faith to give it. ... "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). [EDITED: "26"]

       We have at our disposal the wisdom of the ages and the sages, the wisdom of all the kings and all the prophets that have ever lived. ... What a collection He's got by this time! ... All those that have ever lived are at our disposal. What a great company!
       What a {\ul \i great} cloud of witnesses! You know what a cloud is composed of? It is composed of billions of tiny little particles of moisture, water, the water of life, symbol of the Spirit and Word of God! [EDITED: "27"]

The Gift of Prophecy

       When the Lord speaks and gives a message through one of His children, either directly or by means of one of His agents (such as an angel or a departed saint), we refer to such inspired utterances as prophecy. Throughout the Bible the Lord spoke to His people this way, inspiring His prophets to give His words and messages to those for whom they were intended. However, before going further, it's important to understand how the biblical usage of the word "prophecy" (and its derivatives) differs from its most commonly associated modern meaning.

       In its article on the role played by the biblical prophets, The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia says,
       The prophets were first of all {\ul \i forthtellers} and {\ul \i spokesmen} for God. ... All who act in the capacity of proclaiming the Word of God are His spokesmen. It is in this sense that the New Testament believer may prophesy when directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. [EDITED: "28"]

              The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words adds,

       The basic word for "prophet" in the Old Testament is "nabi," which means "spokesman" or "speaker." Essentially a prophet is a person authorized to speak for another, as Moses and the Old Testament prophets were authorized to speak for God. ... God called individuals from every walk of life to bring His message to His people. Nor was the message of the prophets primarily predictive. God's messengers spoke whatever word was needed by the Lord's people at their moment in history. [EDITED: "29"]

       David also made it clear in his teachings that "to prophesy" did not necessarily mean to predict the future, although this was not ruled out. But "to prophesy" meant simply to receive and then deliver a message inspired directly by the Lord, or given indirectly through a spiritual messenger.

       Most people think of "prophecy" as predicting the future, but the word "prophecy" is taken from a Greek word which actually means {\ul \i forthtelling}. Not {\ul \i fore}telling, but {\ul \i forth}telling. [EDITED: "30"]

       You don't have to be a fore-teller, all you have to be is a forthteller to be a prophet of God! That's what the word really means, you're forth-telling the Word of God. [EDITED: "31"]

       The literal word [EDITED: "for "prophesy""] in the Greek means "to forthtell," not always foretell. Prophets do a lot of foretelling, a lot of forecasting, a lot of predicting, that's true under the inspiration of God's Spirit. But the literal meaning ... means "to forthtell the Words of God," to simply give God's Word, whatever it may be, whenever it may be, at any time, at any place, to any people, whenever it is God's will. [EDITED: "32"]

       In both the Old and New Testaments, God tells us that in the days prior to Jesus' Second Coming, a period known in Scripture as the Time of the End, or the Last Days, that He is going to pour out His Spirit in a special way, anointing many of His servants to prophesy. He says,

              And it shall come to pass in the Last Days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and {\ul \i your sons and your daughters shall prophesy}, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and {\ul \i they shall prophesy} (Acts 2:17-18; see also Joel 2:28-29).

       When we ask the Lord to fill us with His Holy Spirit, we can then receive what the Bible calls the "gifts of the Spirit." These are special spiritual gifts from our heavenly Father to strengthen and assist us in many different ways. The gift of prophecy is included among the nine gifts listed in the New Testament book of First Corinthians:

              For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

       The Bible also tells us that the gift of prophecy in particular should be desired and sought after by God's people. In other Bible passages we are encouraged to desire this spiritual gift, and to let God speak to us and through us via prophecy.

              Follow after charity [EDITED: "love"], and {\ul \i desire} spiritual gifts, but {\ul \i rather that ye may prophesy}. ... I would that ye all spake with tongues [EDITED: "another spiritual gift, usually manifested during prayer, when someone speaks in a language he or she does not know"], but {\ul \i rather that ye prophesied}: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the Church may receive edifying. ... Wherefore, brethren, {\ul \i covet to prophesy}, and forbid not to speak with tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1,5,39).

              Despise not prophesyings (1 Thessalonians 5:20).

       David embraced this scriptural advice and frequently stressed to the Family the importance of hearing from the Lord via prophecy and direct revelation:

       Prophecy, of course, is a very important gift. ... In fact, Paul practically puts it at the top of the list in the 14th chapter [EDITED: "of 1 Corinthians"]. He said, "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but {\ul \i rather} that ye {\ul \i prophesied}." [EDITED: "33"]

       His Word tells us, "{\ul \i covet earnestly the best gifts}" (1 Corinthians 12:31). The most common gifts are listed in I Corinthians chapter 12: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, other tongues and interpretation. These are all gifts from a loving heavenly Father to His simple little children to help communicate understanding of Himself and His will, a mere sample of glorious realities to come! [EDITED: "34"]

       Prophecy is a special gift of the Spirit, one of the nine gifts of the Spirit. [EDITED: "35"] ... It's the Word of God coming right through your mouth! [EDITED: "36"]

       Many of David's inspirational Letters dwelt on this subject, as he encouraged Family members to make personal contact with God in order to receive messages of instruction, guidance or encouragement directly from Him fresh every day:

       The Lord wants you to draw on the Word -- not only the recorded [EDITED: "written"] Word, but the {\ul \i living} Word.
       Hearing from the Lord is our spiritual nourishment -- and you've got to be able to hear from the Lord! ... The power is always on, the message is always there. God's Spirit is like a broadcasting station, broadcasting all the time. All you have to do is throw the switch and tune in. You have to have the vacuum and sincerely open your mouth and He'll fill it! [EDITED: "37"]

       The hand of faith turns the knob which makes the contact and throws the switch and turns on what little power you have, and the hand of hope turns with expectancy, feeling for the frequency upon which God is broadcasting, and suddenly His great broadcasting station booms in with tremendous positive volume and power and certainty -- and the messages come through loud and clear. [EDITED: "38"]

              Channels for God's Communications

       Realizing that those who receive spiritual messages, visions and revelations are commonly viewed not as "prophets" but "channels" or "mediums" by much of the world, David once told a group of Family members who were about to pray and hear from the Lord in prophecy,

       You're all {\ul \i mediums} (channels) and you're all now going to talk to the spirits, including the one Great Spirit! So you're mediums, you talk to ghosts and spirits! You hear voices, still small voices. -- Maybe not out loud, but in your heart and your mind, right? In the world's way of describing things, you're all mystics because you believe in the mystical, the supernatural, the spiritual. [EDITED: "So in that sense"] we're all mystics, we're all mediums! [EDITED: "39"]

       According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a medium is "A person thought to have the power to communicate with the spirits of the dead or with agents of another world or dimension." So in a sense, anyone who communicates with "agents of another dimension," which would include anyone with the gift of prophecy, could be considered a "medium." David took this a step further when he wrote,

       {\ul \i Everyone} who has {\ul \i Jesus} in his heart is a medium -- someone whom a [EDITED: "good"] spiritual power can possess and use to communicate things which normally under their own power they could not do! [EDITED: "40"]

              "Adding to the Book"?

       Due to a misinterpretation of a verse in the last chapter of the Bible's final book, The Revelation of Saint John, a number of churches believe that God stopped speaking directly to His people almost 2,000 years ago when this last book of the New Testament was completed. The verse in question says,

              For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto {\ul \i these} things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book (Revelation 22:18).

       We in The Family do not take this to mean that God was never going to speak to His people again! We believe that this verse simply states that the Lord didn't want people adding things to the prophecies given in the Book of Revelation. Many other passages in the New Testament, including a number of those quoted above, make it clear that the gift of prophecy was encouraged and utilized by the early Christians. In fact, Jesus Himself told His religious enemies,

              Wherefore, behold, {\ul \i I [EDITED: "will"] send unto you prophets}, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city (Matthew 23:34).

       On numerous occasions David addressed the incongruity between this popular misinterpretation and what the Bible actually says:

       The Church was to continue beyond this book [EDITED: "the Bible"] which closed its doors about 90 A.D. with the final natural death of dear old John the Apostle, the Revelator. ... But he was {\ul \i not} the last prophet of God! Because God's Word says that in the Church there are to be prophets and there are to be those who have the gift of prophecy. [EDITED: "41"]

       God has spoken since then! God has added words since then to tell us things! And down through the ages, after this book was written, after John, God still had {\ul \i many} prophets and prophetesses who continued to prophesy and speak with tongues and interpretation and prophecies throughout the whole 2,000 years of Church history since the days of John and since this book was finished! God's prophets and prophetesses have been continuing to prophesy in these Last Days according to the Word of God, throughout the Church of Jesus Christ, throughout the Family of God, throughout all Christendom, all those that love Jesus, all Christians everywhere, millions of them! [EDITED: "42"]

       A God who can't talk and can't do anything anymore would be a {\ul \i dead} God -- which may explain why so many people's {\ul \i religion} seems to be so dead today! But thank God, our God is a {\ul \i live} God and He still loves His children and He is still working and still speaking to us today!
       Just as He spoke to His prophets thousands of years ago, giving them revelations and information that God's people then needed for {\ul \i their} day, so He is {\ul \i still} alive and speaking today, giving His Words and revelations to guide His children {\ul \i now}! He says, "I am the Lord, I change not!" (Malachi 3:6). [EDITED: "43"]

              God's Agents in Prophecy

       David found through his study of the Bible as well as his personal experience that when the Lord gives messages to His prophets or prophetesses, He frequently does so via a spiritual agent, either an angel or departed saint.

       I know from personal experience that some of these revelations do come in this fashion. And why not? They did in the Bible in several cases where angelic messengers were sent to convey a message to some prophet of God, or a man or woman of God, even occasionally the angel or spirit of some former man of God, such as Samuel, Moses, Elijah, etc. Search the Scriptures and see if these things be so! [EDITED: "44"]

       In almost every case of the [EDITED: "biblical"] prophets there was some spiritual agent or an angel or someone helping him most of the time. Time and again when the prophets revealed something, they said the angel of the Lord or someone else was there showing them. So it must have been the angel who was communicating those visions, and the prophet was able to see what God was showing the angel to show to the prophet to pass on to the people. (See Ezekiel 40:1-4; Daniel 7:16; 8:15; 9:21-23; 10:all; 12:5-7; Zechariah 1:9; 2:3; Matthew 1:20; 2:13; Luke 1:11-20; Revelation 1:1; 19:10; 22:8-9, etc.!) [EDITED: "45"]

       Most of [EDITED: "the religious teachers"] give absolutely no credit to the good spirits of the departed "dead" as being agents and messengers. And yet, it's there [EDITED: "in the Bible"] as plain as day! It makes it all very simple if we realize God uses angels, departed human spirits, etc., as His agents or messengers. [EDITED: "46"]

Biblical Appearances of Holy Ghosts

       There are numerous instances recorded in Scripture where spiritual encounters and communications with angels or departed saints clearly took place. The Family's official "Statement of Faith" says,

       Scriptural evidence of this [EDITED: "God using the spirits of departed saints to communicate with those still living on earth"] is found in the account of the spirits of the departed prophets, Moses and Elijah, appearing and conferring with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration; the appearance of the departed prophet Samuel's spirit to King Saul; and Saint John's account in the Book of Revelation of his conversation with a heavenly messenger sent by God to reveal to him mysteries of the future. [EDITED: "47"]

       We will now examine these and other examples from the Scriptures.

              Saint John's Revelations

       One of the most striking examples in the New Testament of departed saints or "holy ghosts" ministering to a living Christian can be found in the mysterious Book of Revelation, written by the Apostle John, often referred to as John the Revelator. In chapter 19, after receiving a glorious revelation of the future from a heavenly being, John writes,

              And he saith unto me, "Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he saith unto me, "These are the true sayings of God." And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, "See thou do it not: I am thy {\ul \i fellowservant, and of thy brethren} that {\ul \i have the testimony of Jesus}: worship {\ul \i God}: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:9-10).

       A similar passage from chapter 22 says,

              And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel [EDITED: "48"] which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, "See thou do it not: for I am thy {\ul \i fellowservant}, and {\ul \i of thy brethren the prophets}, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God" (Revelation 22:8-9).

       Regarding this passage, David commented:

       Who was revealing a lot of things to John when he was [EDITED: "taken in spirit to"] Heaven? He thought it was an angel, he fell down and worshipped him, and what did the guy say? "I'm one of your fellowservants the prophets! I'm just another {\ul \i prophet}, don't worship me! I'm just explaining it to you, that's all, because you don't understand yet. But I've already been told and I know and I understand and I'm telling you about it!" [EDITED: "49"]

       He was another {\ul \i Christian}, and it sounds like maybe he was a prophet, one of the prophets like John. And John thought it was so wonderful and he was so wonderful telling him all these things, he fell down to worship him and thought it was some kind of an angel. But he said, "Don't worship me, I'm just a guy like {\ul \i you}!" -- Which goes again to show you there are lots of people like that up there, all the good spirits. [EDITED: "50"]

       The Book of Revelation contains a number of other passages where Saint John records messages he heard from departed saints. For example, in chapter six, John writes,

              I saw under the altar {\ul \i the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held}: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their {\ul \i fellowservants also and their brethren}, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled (Revelation 6:9-11).

       It is interesting that in this passage John sees and hears the so-called "dead," and identifies these "souls" as "fellowservants" and "brethren" -- the same terms applied to the messenger that he fell down to worship in the previously quoted text. It's also noteworthy that these spirits who had already left this life still expressed concern about "them that dwell on the earth."
       In chapter seven, John describes more astounding sights and sounds he partook of during a spiritual trip to Heaven:

              After this I beheld, and, lo, a {\ul \i great multitude}, which no man could number, of all {\ul \i nations}, and {\ul \i kindreds}, and {\ul \i people}, and {\ul \i tongues}, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And {\ul \i cried with a loud voice}, saying, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about {\ul \i the elders} and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, "Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." And {\ul \i one of the elders answered, saying unto me}, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?" And I [EDITED: "John"] said unto him, "Sir, thou knowest." And he said to me, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-14).

       Here John beholds an innumerable multitude of people in Heaven, and he then carries on a two-way conversation with one of them, an "elder," [EDITED: "51"] who clearly appears to be a departed saint. In chapter five, verse nine, these same "elders" proclaim to Jesus, "Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation," showing that indeed these elders are departed brethren, or saints.

              Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration

       Another outstanding appearance of two very renowned departed saints is recounted in three of the four Gospels, in the description of Moses' and Elijah's meeting with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. These two prophets had left this life hundreds of years earlier, but held what was no doubt an important conference with the Lord shortly before He died for the sins of the world.

       [EDITED: "Jesus"] took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were {\ul \i Moses and Elias }[EDITED: "52"]: Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw His glory, and the {\ul \i two men} that stood with Him. And it came to pass, as they departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for {\ul \i Moses}, and one for {\ul \i Elias}:" not knowing what he said (Luke 9:28-33).

       These two former prophets, Moses and Elijah, had departed from this life many centuries previously, yet God sent them to counsel and confer with His Son! So God can and does use His human servants who have already passed on from this life to minister to and help those of us who are still here! [EDITED: "53"]

       In a prophecy received by David's son, Aaron Berg, in 1970, the Lord said,

       Think you that this is a strange thing that I should minister to My servants through My servants who have gone before? For even as Moses and Elijah ministered to My Son on the Mount of Transfiguration, are they not as the angels of God sent forth to minister unto thee?
       Even as My servant John was told through the one who showed him great glad tidings of God and mysteries, and told him not to fall down, "for I am also thy fellowservant," so I can use Mine who have gone on before. Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not! {\ul \i Thou art compassed about with a very great cloud of witnesses}! [EDITED: "54"]

              The John the Baptist / Elijah Connection

       Another mysterious but revealing example of behind-the-scenes spiritual assistance from former prophets and ministers of God concerns the herald and forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. Before John was even conceived, an angel appeared to his aged father, a Jewish priest named Zachariah, startling him with the announcement that he and his barren wife would have a son named John, who would prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah:

              But the angel said unto him, "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he [EDITED: "John"] shall go before Him {\ul \i in the spirit and power of Elias}, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:13-17). [EDITED: "55"]

       Some 30 years after John's birth, Jesus told a large crowd something even more astounding about John the Baptist:

              And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, ... "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For {\ul \i this is he}, of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send {\ul \i My messenger} before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.' Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. ... And if ye will receive it, {\ul \i this is Elias}, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:7-15).

       Later, in the same Gospel, Jesus sheds more light on this mystery:

              And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then say the scribes that {\ul \i Elias} must first come?" And Jesus answered and said unto them, "Elias truly {\ul \i shall} first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that {\ul \i Elias is come }{\ul \i already}, and {\ul \i they knew him not}, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them." Then the {\ul \i disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the Baptist} (Matthew 17:10-13).

       We now read that the angel Gabriel said that John would accomplish all these predicted things "in the spirit and power of Elijah," and we also have Jesus saying that John was Elijah. How can this be? How could a prophet in the first century be operating in the spirit and power of a prophet from the ninth century B.C.? And what did Jesus mean when He said "if you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah?" Is this a case of reincarnation, where John literally was Elijah? Clearly not. For when the Jewish religious leaders specifically asked John if he was Elijah the prophet, notice how he replied:

              And they [EDITED: "priests sent by the Jewish elders in Jerusalem"] asked him [EDITED: "John"], "What then? Art thou Elias?" And he saith, "I am not." "Art thou that prophet?" And he answered, "No" (John 1:21).

       So what is going on here? David explained it like this:

       John the Baptist was predicted as "Elijah which was for to come" (Matthew 11:14), that he would have the spirit and power of Elijah, and now we understand that he actually had the {\ul \i spirit and power of Elijah himself}! [EDITED: "56"]

       So what do you begin to fathom from this business about Jesus saying that John the Baptist came in the spirit and the power of Elijah? (Family member: Maybe Elijah was an actual {\ul \i spirit helper} of John, but it doesn't mean that he was necessarily Elijah.) John himself denied being Elijah, personally (John 1:19-21). But Jesus is trying to show people {\ul \i the operations of the Spirit}, and that is, John was operating under the {\ul \i influence}, obviously, in the spirit and the power of Elijah, in doing what he did in preparing their hearts in those days before Jesus' first coming. [EDITED: "57"]

       John came in the {\ul \i spirit and the power of Elijah}! I believe Elijah was {\ul \i with} him, and he was anointed with Elijah's spirit and power. [EDITED: "58"]

              Saul and the Witch at Endor -- Calling Up the Departed Prophet Samuel

       In the Bible's book of First Samuel, we find an account of the disgraced king of Israel, Saul, seeking posthumous counsel from the prophet Samuel, who had died some years earlier. Saul sought after Samuel via the forbidden means of a necromancer, a medium who dealt with familiar spirits. [EDITED: "59"] Although Saul had lost God's blessing due to his disobedience, the Lord allowed Samuel to actually appear from the dead and deliver His somber final message to the backslidden king, who was to meet his death the following day.

              Then said Saul unto his servants, "Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her."
       And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor."
       And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, "I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee."
       And the woman said unto him, "Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?"
       And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, "As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing."
       Then said the woman, "Whom shall I bring up unto thee?"
       And he said, "Bring me up Samuel."
       And {\ul \i when the woman saw Samuel}, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, "Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul."
       And the king said unto her, "Be not afraid: for what sawest thou?"
       And the woman said unto Saul, "I saw gods ascending out of the earth."
       And he said unto her, "What form is he of?"
       And she said, "An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle."
       And {\ul \i Saul perceived that it was Samuel}, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
       And {\ul \i Samuel} said to Saul, "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?"
       And Saul answered, "I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do."
       Then said Samuel, "Wherefore then dost thou ask of {\ul \i me}, seeing the {\ul \i Lord} is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? ... Moreover the {\ul \i Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me}: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."
       Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of {\ul \i Samuel}: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night (1 Samuel 28:7-20).

       This strange account of a disobedient king using a medium to hear from a deceased prophet has generated a good deal of debate among Bible scholars and theologians, particularly those who claim that the spirits of the departed have no dealings with those who are still alive. However, it is clear from the above passage that the prophet Samuel did indeed speak to Saul from beyond the grave.

              The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says,

       Modern orthodox commentators are almost unanimous in the opinion that {\ul \i the departed prophet did really appear and announce the coming destruction of Saul and his army}. They hold, however, that Samuel was brought up {\ul \i not} by the magical arts of the witch, but through a miracle wrought by the omnipotence of {\ul \i God}. [EDITED: "60"]

              The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia adds,

       In this instance God sovereignly permitted the actual spirit of Samuel to speak in order to deliver a solemn rebuke to the apostate king. Normally the alleged [EDITED: "familiar"] spirit would speak somewhat favorably; in this unique case the inquirer [EDITED: "Saul"] was condemned to die on the morrow. [EDITED: "61"]

       David had the following to say about this strange story:

       There was a witch in Endor, a fortune-teller, or a spiritualistic medium. ... Saul sought this witch for information regarding the results of the impending battle. He came to her late one night. He wanted to know whether he was going to win the battle or not.
       Why did he have to go to the witch at Endor? He was out of touch with {\ul \i God}! He couldn't get through to the Lord anymore, and dear old Samuel, the prophet that he used to go to for advice, was dead. Too often [EDITED: "Saul"] failed to seek advice, and when he failed to seek advice from God, God eventually left him! Now when he wanted advice, he had to get it from the Devil instead! -- A very sad, sad picture of poor Saul!
       Saul requested that she bring forth the spirit of Samuel, which according to God's Word, she is said to have done. Maybe she didn't have too much to do with it! The {\ul \i Lord} had something to do with it! According to the Bible story, she seemed to be almost as surprised as Saul was that Samuel actually showed up!
       The spirits of the departed ones are anything but dead or sleeping! This was actually {\ul \i Samuel's} spirit, and he was voicing the Words of God when he told Saul these things. This is no fairy tale: This is the spirit of a departed dead person being called back to talk!
       Samuel had to return from Paradise to revisit the earth here and give Saul this message. He didn't particularly like the idea either, from what he said: "Why disquietest thou me?" (1 Samuel 28:15). "I've been in this beautiful place of Paradise and I have to come back to this awful world of yours, and have to talk to {\ul \i you} one more time! After all the times that you wouldn't listen to me before; now after I'm dead, you want to listen to me!" He had compassion on him, though, and he came back! [EDITED: "62"]

What about the Bible's Warnings against "Familiar Spirits"?

       Being an avid reader and student of the Bible all his life, David was well aware of the scriptural injunction against communicating with evil "familiar spirits." He firmly agreed with all such biblical admonitions. Indeed, the Bible texts against dealing with evil spirits are somber, and not to be dismissed lightly. Here are the most commonly quoted passages where God Himself warns against this practice:

              Regard not them that have {\ul \i familiar spirits}, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:31)

              When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one ... that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

              And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter{\b \i : }{\ul \i should not a people seek unto their God}? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony{\b \i : }if they {\ul \i speak not according to this Word}, it is because there is {\ul \i no light in them} (Isaiah 8:19-20).

       God clearly wants His people to seek and follow Him and His divine guidance, not the mutterings and utterings of anyone whose spiritual powers, gifts or message are at variance with the teachings of His Word. To commune with evil familiar spirits such as those invoked by witches, wizards, sorcerers, etc., is extremely hazardous to one's spiritual well-being. The arch-deceiver Satan can appear as "an angel of light," which is why God's Word exhorts us to "try [EDITED: "test"] the spirits." Any spirit which is not of God is to be resisted and rebuked in Jesus' name. As God's Word says, "Neither give place to the Devil" (Ephesians 4:27) and "Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
       So we respectfully believe and heed the Bible's warnings against dealings with evil familiar spirits, witchcraft and sorcery. However, we do not subscribe to the belief that these passages mean that any communication with the spirits of those who have left this life is strictly forbidden by God and is therefore of the Devil. Such an interpretation makes no allowance for good spirits, the spirits of those who loved the Lord in this life and have gone on to be with Him in the next.

       This narrow approach was summed up by the well-known American televangelist Pat Robertson:

       The Bible is clear in its teaching that we should not attempt to communicate with the dead. Leviticus 19:31 says, "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Isaiah 8:19 adds this: "And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?"
       When we die, we either go to Heaven or Hell. We will join those loved ones who have gone to the same place we have. Until then, the living are forbidden to attempt contact with the dead. So-called ghosts, or spirits who speak through mediums, are really demons masquerading as the spirits of dead human beings. [EDITED: "63"]

       To proponents of this hard-line interpretation, we ask, if the living are forbidden any and all contact with the "dead," then what about the examples in the Bible where living saints encountered and communicated with saints who had left this life? Similarly, if one believes that God's rule is "no contact" between those in the physical realm and those in the spiritual, then what about the innumerable individuals who sincerely claim to have seen, heard or otherwise sensed the presence of a loved one who has passed on from this life? To dismiss all such encounters as either fraudulent or demonic goes against reason and the nature of God and the operations of His spiritual world as revealed in the Bible.
       In January 1996, David's wife Maria prayed and asked the Lord for clarification on the above Old Testament verses. She also asked Him for wisdom in knowing how to respond to those who might even accuse The Family of being heretics for what they term "communing with the dead." The following prophecy, which was received at that time, shed considerable light on the issue:

       The word that I [EDITED: "Jesus"] spoke in old times was true, for I did not wish for My children to seek out those with familiar spirits, because they were not of Me. ... Even {\ul \i today} I do not wish for My children to seek out those who have familiar spirits, for they are not of Me; they are a {\ul \i counterfeit} of the Truth.
       Just because I warned My people not to go to those who had a familiar spirit does not mean that I will not allow those that have passed over to This Side to speak to My children, to speak of {\ul \i Me}. For did I not stand on the mount and confer with the "dead"? Was I not transfigured? Did I not speak with those [EDITED: "Moses and Elijah"] who had gone on before? But I say to you, I did {\ul \i not} commune with the {\ul \i dead}, for these were {\ul \i alive}, alive in the {\ul \i Spirit}!
       When I walked the earth, did I not say that I had many things to say unto you but you were not able to bear them yet? ... The time now is right for you to speak of {\ul \i these} things. For there is so much counterfeit in the world today that I wish to reveal the {\ul \i true}.
       Whether your brethren, those of the churches, believe and receive or not, means nothing, for they have not believed nor received much of the message that I have poured forth through you. ... But that does not make the message that I have given to you any less the truth. Therefore receive My Truth and use My Truth to preach the Gospel. Use it to stand against the tide of the counterfeit. [EDITED: "64"]

       In this prophecy the Lord makes it clear that His admonitions against seeking out those with familiar spirits hold as true today as ever. But He adds that those who have passed into the next life to be with Him are not barred from ministering to and communicating with His children who remain on earth, just as Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Those who are now with the Lord are anything but "dead," but are enjoying a far better life than they did in their previous earthly life: As the Apostle Paul said, "to depart [EDITED: "from this life"] and be with Christ is far better" (Philippians 1:23). When speaking of saints who had passed on from this life, Jesus said of His Father, "He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him" (Luke 20:38).
       Also, the Lord is encouraging us to proclaim this message, to speak these things to the world. Despite the fact that the Devil's counterfeit messages are becoming increasingly heard and known in the world, Jesus wants us to receive and publish His message about how He is allowing His people who have passed on to speak to His children on earth. Despite the rejection of this message by many churches, He encourages us to use this as a means to fulfill our main calling and commission of preaching the good news of the Gospel to all who will receive it.

Rejection of the Concept of Holy Ghosts by Many Churches

       Throughout his writings David explained that after much study, prayer and personal experience, he was convinced that the Old Testament warnings against communing with evil spirits did not mean that we are to shun and utterly reject spiritual communication with all spiritual personages. In fact, he concluded that many Christians were taking these admonitions from the Bible to an extreme, beyond what God intended, and that in so doing, they were forfeiting a means of communicating with God Himself through the "ministering spirits" He had ordained to help and benefit His people.

       In years gone by, I found that many Christians, pastors and Bible teachers were afraid of the subject because they felt it bordered on spiritualism or spiritism, and that talking about the personal appearances of angels or of saints long dead sounded to them too much like having to do with familiar spirits, dealing with {\ul \i evil} spirits and devils, which God's Word condemns, along with witchcraft and wizardry. But may God forgive us for condemning the {\ul \i entire} spirit world and being afraid of the knowledge of it, just because the Devil uses it, along with his demons. That would be like some narrow-minded churches which refuse to use music just because the Devil uses it! If we stopped using everything the Devil uses, there wouldn't be much left!
       True, witchcraft, wizardry, and dealing with evil familiar spirits, demons and devils {\ul \i are} condemned by God; but this does {\ul \i not} mean that we are supposed to blind ourselves, ignore, and shut ourselves off completely in ignorance to {\ul \i God's} own marvelous spiritual world in which He Himself dwells with His Son Jesus, His Holy Spirit, all His ministering spirits, the angels -- two thirds of the spirit world (see Revelation 12:4) -- and all the millions of the spirits of the departed saints! ... His glorious universe of {\ul \i good} spirits in which God Himself and all these others operate, and who constitute by far the vast {\ul \i majority}! [EDITED: "65"]

       The churches are afraid of the familiar {\ul \i evil} spirits, against which we are warned, but they seem to have forgotten that there are many {\ul \i good} spirits, including the Holy Spirit, the seven spirits of God of Revelation 4:5, and the seven stars or angels or spirits of the seven churches of Revelation 1:20, the four spirits of the heavens of Zechariah 6:5, and the many other celestial messengers, angels or spirits of God mentioned in the Bible, which are obviously all {\ul \i good} spirits. "Are they not all {\ul \i ministering spirits}, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).
       Indeed they {\ul \i are}! -- And to deny that they are good spirits is to deny all the angels and the spirits of God, including the Holy Spirit, as well as all the spirits of the dear departed saints of God, including those who appeared or spoke to men of God throughout the Bible, like the souls under the altar in Heaven in Revelation 6:9-11, and even your own personal spirit, saved by the grace of God, which shall join a Heaven-full of millions of the saved spirits of all the saints of God when you die or go to be with Jesus when He comes!
       These are they of whom Paul speaks in Hebrews 12:1 as a "great cloud of witnesses" which compass us about -- here and now! ... And in Hebrews 12:22-23, He speaks of an innumerable company of angels and "the spirits of just men made perfect." [EDITED: "66"]

       While it is clear that communing with {\ul \i evil} spirits is forbidden by God and is to be shunned by His people, it is also clear that the {\ul \i Godly} spirits of departed {\ul \i saints} are an entirely different "kettle of fish!" We consider the spirits of the departed saints to be our heavenly "teammates," who are striving together with us to spread God's light and Love in this spiritually darkened world. So yes, beware of and shun the Enemy's evil spirits, but don't fear or reject the Lord's {\ul \i heavenly} hosts who seek to assist and minister to you.
       The Old Testament was pretty hard on familiar spirits, maybe because in those days people didn't have the Holy Spirit to be able to {\ul \i discern} the difference between the good [EDITED: "spirits"] and the bad ones. But now that we have the Holy Spirit, God's Word exhorts us to {\ul \i discern} the difference and {\ul \i try} [EDITED: "test"] the spirits (1 John 4:1). [EDITED: "67"]

       Spiritualists are those who have contact with familiar spirits, and although the Bible does warn against familiar spirits, it means, of course, {\ul \i evil} spirits. That's why the Apostle says be sure you can tell the {\ul \i difference}, "discerning of spirits" [EDITED: "see 1 Corinthians 12:10"], because there are some good and some bad. Thank God for the {\ul \i good} ones we've got who help us. [EDITED: "68"]

       [EDITED: "Some religious detractors"] call us spiritists! They say that we dabble in spiritism and that we commune with "familiar spirits." They use that term particularly because the Bible forbids you to commune with familiar spirits. Of course, it all depends on your discernment of spirits and what {\ul \i kind} of spirits they are! Just like there are all kinds of {\ul \i people}, there are all kinds of {\ul \i spirits}! All of the departed saints are spirits -- {\ul \i good} spirits! If you're going to condemn all spirits, then you'd even have to condemn the spirit of Samuel who was called back from the dead by, of all things, a {\ul \i medium}! -- To give poor Saul advice. [EDITED: "69"]

       If you talk about holy {\ul \i spirits} [EDITED: "some religious people"] will curse you right on the spot! "Don't you know you shouldn't have anything to do with familiar spirits!" Well, of course the Lord [EDITED: "in the biblical passages condemning witchcraft and necromancy"] is talking there about {\ul \i evil} spirits. But you know good and well there are {\ul \i both}! [EDITED: "70"]

       I don't know what they think ever happened to all the {\ul \i angels} of {\ul \i God} and all of the {\ul \i departed spirits} of the {\ul \i saints}! What in the world do they think happened to {\ul \i them} anyhow? They say, "Oh well, of course they're not allowed to have {\ul \i contact}, blah, blah!" Well, there're plenty of examples right in the {\ul \i Bible} where people who were not angels of God but were {\ul \i former} {\ul \i prophets} and men of God had contact with saints of God. [EDITED: "71"]

       They accuse us of being spiritists, they accuse us of having familiar spirits and dealing with demons and devils, because [EDITED: "they say"] we shouldn't have to have anybody to talk to us, anybody between us and God except Jesus. Well, there's only {\ul \i one} {\ul \i Mediator} between God and Man. One Mediator, [EDITED: "meaning"] an advocate, like a lawyer or a defense lawyer, a defense attorney, someone who can mediate between God and us, and who can settle the problem between us, which was {\ul \i sin}, and that was only {\ul \i Jesus}. But there are {\ul \i oodles} of {\ul \i communicators}, not mediators, but communicators, beginning with the angels, and ... many of the saints of God. ... It's right here in the Bible! [EDITED: "72"]

"Try the Spirits"

       If we, God's children, are going to be communicating and interacting with spirits, the question arises, how can we be sure that the spiritual entities we are in touch with are good spirits? After all, we know that Satan is an arch-deceiver, sometimes appearing as an "angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). So is there a sound means by which we can ascertain if a spirit is of God or not? Thankfully, the answer is a definite yes. God has not left us without a means of discerning spirits. Saint John tells us,

              Beloved, {\ul \i believe not every spirit}, but {\ul \i try the spirits whether they are of God}: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

       On this subject David wrote,

       Thank God for the spiritual, but pray to God it is the {\ul \i right} spirit! [EDITED: "73"]

       "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but {\ul \i try} the spirits whether they are of God!" -- So some of them {\ul \i are} of God! "Because many false prophets are gone out into the world." So therefore if some spirits are {\ul \i false} prophets, others are {\ul \i true} prophets, right? [EDITED: "74"]

       Beloved, {\ul \i try} the spirits to see whether they be of God or not, because there are spirits which {\ul \i are} of God who are ministering spirits to {\ul \i help} us, and then others who are just to annoy and trouble us, and we need to know the difference! [EDITED: "75"]

       If we're not supposed to have anything to do with spirits at all, how are we going to "try" them? And yet that's what [EDITED: "many of"] the churches teach today: "Oh, spiritism! -- That's of the Devil! It's {\ul \i all} of the Devil and it's all demonic and it's all devils and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!" Well, then why did John caution us to "Try the spirits, whether {\ul \i they} are of God." [EDITED: "76"]

       This passage from First John chapter four continues:

              Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world (1 John 4:2-3).

       These verses make it clear that there are many spirits that are "of God." And it gives us a criterion with which to gauge whether a spirit is of God or not: "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God."
       In January 1996, when David's wife, Maria, sought the Lord for understanding and clarification regarding this rather mysterious passage, He answered, saying,

       (Prophecy:) The Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life. They must be discerned by My Spirit, that you may have full understanding. For there are many false prophets which have gone out into the world, and you must first try the spirit of these prophets to first see if their spirit believes and has received Me. For he that has not received Me will not speak the Truth.
       Those that claim to receive messages from the Spirit, but who do not believe in Me, do not speak by the Spirit of God. For them to be {\ul \i true} prophets ... they must first believe on Me and have received Me as their Savior. ... Those who do not confess Me and who speak words of prophecy receive these things not from the Spirit of God.
       For those that know Me and confess Me and receive Me, those that are My children, when they come before Me and become silent, and listen, and wish to hear My voice and wish to receive those things that I have to say unto them, they too must try the spirits. ... If I send one [EDITED: "a ministering spirit"] to speak through them, if I send My message via a messenger, then this messenger will be one who believes and who has received Me.
       Hereby know you the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, for when you come before Me in prayer and you seek to hear My voice, and you seek to hear the whispers of those from This Side, know that those that speak unto you must confess and believe that I am the Son of God, and thus must have received Me, received this Truth. [EDITED: "77"]

       Another means to test a message received from a spiritual source is whether it is in accordance with God's written Word, which is the standard by which we measure truth and error.

              To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).

       Remember that not all voices are of God and you must "try the spirits" to make sure that what you're hearing is of the Lord. If it is not according to His Word ... these things are not of the Lord. [EDITED: "78"]

       Be sure that direct revelation does not counteract nor contradict, but is in line with the Word of God! You have to measure it! Try the spirits! Make sure it is according to His Word, direct revelation from God Himself. [EDITED: "79"]

       True prophecy won't teach anything contrary, but it sure can fill in a lot of gaps! The Bible is still going to be the standard of measurement. [EDITED: "80"]

       Another excellent means of "trying the spirits" has to do with the "fruit" or effect that results from the message received by the prophet who is communicating with the spirit. If it has come from God, it will bear good fruit, good results. When teaching His followers about how to discern between true and false prophets, Jesus said,

              Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. ... Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:15-20).

       If it [EDITED: "a spiritual voice or message"] causes you to be discontent or bitter, dissatisfied or unhappy or critical of others -- these things are not of the Lord and you must rebuke the Enemy in Jesus' name when he tempts you with these negative thoughts. [EDITED: "81"]


       We hope that this discourse on spiritual communication with the Lord and His heavenly hosts has given you a better understanding of our beliefs on this subject. We also hope it has encouraged your faith that God and His agents are still delivering their messages to His people today! As David said,

       Thank God, He's not a silent God who shut up when the Bible was finished 2,000 years ago! He's a {\ul \i living} God, a {\ul \i talking} God, and He {\ul \i still} speaks and has been speaking ever since then -- talking to His people and His prophets and His children down through the ages, ever since the days of Jesus and His Apostles and the Early Church. [EDITED: "82"]

       The age-old means of God's heavenly communication with all of His people has always been by oral and mental messages and dreams and visions and heavenly pictures and messages and thoughts, projected directly by His spirits and His angelic messengers in moods of meditation and prayer and trance, that wonderful borderline of the spirit where the soul has one foot in Heaven! So that we [EDITED: "God's prophets"] are God's lightning rods to ground His heavenly bolts to earthly man and shock them into the realization of heavenly things! [EDITED: "83"]

       He still has prophets today, His messenger boys, who relay to the people what the Lord has said and shown to them. And just as the Bible prophets received dreams and visions, revelations and thrilling messages from the Lord and His angels and ministering spirits, so His prophets today do the same! [EDITED: "84"]


       If you have not yet personally experienced God's power and heavenly touch in your own life, you can receive Him and His free gift of eternal life by simply asking His Son, Jesus, into your life. He loves you and says, "Behold, I stand at the door [EDITED: "of your heart"] and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to you" (Revelation 3:20).
       And if you would like more information on prayer, the spirit world, Heaven, the Endtime, or a multitude of other subjects, please write us today at the address below. God bless you!


       [EDITED: "1"] "Statement of Faith," Point 12: "Spirits of Departed Saints"; 4/92
       [EDITED: "2"] Unless indicated otherwise, all italicized paragraphs in this document are direct quotations from David Berg's writings or quotations from the Holy Bible (and include references giving the book, chapter and verse of the given Bible text). David's Letters are quoted extensively because they are the basis of the Family's understanding and interpretation of Scripture.
       [EDITED: "3"] "Old Bottles," ML #242:18,21,19,20,22; 7/73
       [EDITED: "4"] "We've Got a Lot to Learn!" ML#2054:59; 6/85
       [EDITED: "5"] "The Talisman!" ML #1369:115,105,106; 1/79
       [EDITED: "6"] "The Easter Story!" ML #972:299; 4/80
       [EDITED: "7"] "Show'm Jesus!" ML #2074:34; 1/86
       [EDITED: "8"] "Heaven's Children Jewels!" ML #2131:57; compiled 1/86
       [EDITED: "9"] "Grandpa Goes to Earth!" Chapter 21, Heaven's Children! ML #2119:41-43; 12/85
       [EDITED: "10"] "The Easter Story!" ML #972:300,301; 4/80
       [EDITED: "11"] "The Easter Story!" ML #972:302-303; 4/80
       [EDITED: "12"] "Here and Now for There and Then!" ML #1092:23,25; 11/81
       [EDITED: "13"] The word "saint" is used in the New Testament for those who believed in and followed Jesus. The Nelson's Bible Dictionary describes saints as "People who have been separated from the world and consecrated to the worship and service of God."
       [EDITED: "14"] "Run the Race!--A Bible Study on Hebrews 12:1!" ML #1374:2; 5/78
       [EDITED: "15"] "The Greatest of These Is--Love!--Not Pride," ML #1371:38; 1969
       [EDITED: "16"] In Luke 15:10, Jesus said, "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
       [EDITED: "17"] "Run the Race!--A Bible Study on Hebrews 12:1!" ML #1374:3,4; 5/78
       [EDITED: "18"] "Death in Your Arms!" ML #680:69,70; 12/76
       [EDITED: "19"] "Personal Replies," ML #107:52; 9/71
       [EDITED: "20"] "Revelation of the Future!--Part 8 of 'The Garden of Eden!' Series," ML #1176:4; 4/81
       [EDITED: "21"] "Millennial Encouragement!" ML #1891:24; 1/85
       [EDITED: "22"] "Salvation in the Spirit World!" ML #1476:7; 4/83
       [EDITED: "23"] "More Holy Ghosts!" ML #621:21,39; 1/74
       [EDITED: "24"] "Holy Ghosts!" ML #620:25,26; 1/74
       [EDITED: "25"] "Satan's Saints!--Vs. the Third World!" ML #1423:3; 2/83
       [EDITED: "26"] "Holy Ghosts!" ML #620:66-68; 1/74
       [EDITED: "27"] "More Holy Ghosts!" ML #621:2,6,7; 1/74
       [EDITED: "28"] The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia (Moody Press, Chicago, 1975)
       [EDITED: "29"] The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Lawrence Richards [Zondervan, 1985)
       [EDITED: "30"] "Victory Party in Heaven!" ML #2215:41; 7/85
       [EDITED: "31"] "Dad's Jewels!" ML #1361:55; compiled 12/82
       [EDITED: "32"] "The Message of the Crucifixion!" ML #1768:17; 4/84
       [EDITED: "33"] "The Chinese Demon!--Spirit Gifts and Problems!" ML #1436:33; 4/75
       [EDITED: "34"] "New Life!--New Love!" ML #731:29; compiled 6/78
       [EDITED: "35"] "New Year's Prayers!--Basic Bible and Endtime Review!" ML #1884:128; 1/85
       [EDITED: "36"] "Ezekiel 39--Verses 1-4!" ML #2152:5; 3/85
       [EDITED: "37"] "Faith," ML #73:9,1,14; 5/71
       [EDITED: "38"] "The Key of David," ML #78:13; 6/71
       [EDITED: "39"] "Only a First Chance!" ML #2141:21; 2/85
       [EDITED: "40"] The MOP, 123:61; 2/84
       [EDITED: "41"] "David-Daniel!" ML #1501:13,14; 4/81
       [EDITED: "42"] "Thy Kingdom Come!--Part 31 of 'The Garden of Eden!' Series," ML #1199:43; 5/81
       [EDITED: "43"] "The Prophet!" ML #1976:6,7; 1985
       [EDITED: "44"] "Snowman," ML #195:37; 1/72
       [EDITED: "45"] "More Holy Ghosts!" ML #621:60; 1/74
       [EDITED: "46"] "Holy Ghosts!" ML #620:11; 1/74
       [EDITED: "47"] "Statement of Faith," Point 12: "Spirits of Departed Saints"; 4/92
       [EDITED: "48"] Although in Revelation 22 John refers to this spiritual being as an "angel," note that the messenger tells him "I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets." The word "angel" here is translated from the Greek "aggelos," which Strong's Greek/Hebrew Dictionary renders "a messenger, by implication, a pastor." It is also noteworthy that Strong's defines the word "fellowservant"(Greek: "sundoulos") as "a co-slave, i.e., servitor or ministrant of the same master." This word "fellowservant" appears in eight other places in the New Testament, each time referring to human laborers or ministers, not angels.
       [EDITED: "49"] "The Judgments!" ML #2175:93; 4/85
       [EDITED: "50"] "Victory Party in Heaven!" ML #2215:36; 7/85
       [EDITED: "51"] Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says, "The word 'elder' is nowhere applied to angels."
       [EDITED: "52"] "Elias" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Elijah."
       [EDITED: "53"] "Take a Trip Out of This World!--And into the Fifth Dimension!--And See the Spirit World!" Treasures, p. 640; 7/87
       [EDITED: "54"] "Abrahim: The Gypsies' Story!" ML #298:45-47; 4/70
       [EDITED: "55"] Note: The angel's message to Zachariah showed that John would fulfill a prophecy received by the prophet Malachi some 400 years earlier: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6).The prophet Elijah's earthly ministry ended in the ninth century B.C. But God told Malachi that Elijah would be sent to this world again, before the "day of the Lord," and that he would accomplish all of these things that we just read the angel Gabriel told Zachariah that his son John would do. The key to understanding this passage is the angel's promise that John would perform his ministry in the spirit and power of Elijah.)
       [EDITED: "56"] "The David Prophecies!--Of the Bible!" ML #1642:2; 9/83
       [EDITED: "57"] "Dad's Birthday 1993!" ML #2856:45; 2/93
       [EDITED: "58"] "Jesus Only?" ML #1305:37; 8/78
       [EDITED: "59"] "Familiar spirit" is an expression occurring 16 times in the King James Version of the Bible, referring to a spirit of divination or to its medium or conjurer, translated from the Hebrew word 'ob.'
       [EDITED: "60"] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Moody Press, Chicago, 1962)
       [EDITED: "61"] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Moody Press, Chicago, 1975)
       [EDITED: "62"] "David's Training and Exile!, Chapter 20--1 Samuel 17-31, 'The Bible in Pictures'," ML #1158:34-35; 1962
       [EDITED: "63"] Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Pat Robertson (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984)
       [EDITED: "64"] Prophecy regarding familiar spirits; 1/96
       [EDITED: "65"] "He Stands in the Gap!" ML #73A:7,8; 5/71
       [EDITED: "66"] "Snowman," ML #195:38-41; 12/72
       [EDITED: "67"] "Time Travel!--You Can Do It Now!" ML #1278:17,18; 8/82
       [EDITED: "68"] "Our Heavenly City!" ML #1546:81; 6/83
       [EDITED: "69"] "Thank God We're Different!" ML #2769:3; 10/91
       [EDITED: "70"] "Show'm Jesus!" ML #2074:37; 1/86
       [EDITED: "71"] "Time Travel!--You Can Do It Now!" ML #1278:20; 8/82
       [EDITED: "72"] "Daniel 8!--Part 3.--Time of the End!" ML #1489:71; 4/81
       [EDITED: "73"] "Listen!" ML #998:22; 2/76
       [EDITED: "74"] "Holy Ghosts!" ML #620:20; 1/74
       [EDITED: "75"] "Supernatural Portugal!" ML #1415:23; 7/77
       [EDITED: "76"] "Time Travel!--You Can Do It Now!" ML #1278:18; 8/82
       [EDITED: "77"] Prophecy regarding "Trying the Spirits"; 1/96
       [EDITED: "78"] "Letter to a Laborer," ML #325:6; 1/75
       [EDITED: "79"] "The Seven Ways to Know God's Will!" ML #829:41; 1968
       [EDITED: "80"] "The Monster!" ML #175:20; 7/72
       [EDITED: "81"] "Letter to a Laborer," ML #325:6; 1/75
       [EDITED: "82"] "David-Daniel!" ML #1501:3; 4/81
       [EDITED: "83"] "Heavenly Re-Education!" ML #2261:30; 8/86
       [EDITED: "84"] "The Prophet!" ML #1976:8; 1985

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