Christians speaking to the dead

trueseek1's picture

Had never thought of it this way, until I found a book on the shelf expounding on one of the well known passages of the Holy Scriptures: The Transfiguration passage. Jesus has a live visit from Moses and Elijah and in the presence of the other fallible men, a couple of apostles, he enters into conversation with these two "dead saints". The author also highlighted another instance when God rose the dead and they went into the cities to show themselves as alive in Christ. I had read these passages many times before, and heard countless evangelical sermons on them, but in all my previous readings of the last couple of hundred years of evangelical commentaries, I had never heard of the reality that these visitations represented. Does anyone know how did the faithful early Church fathers who honored God, in the nonheretical Church, view these passages?

Also, the author differentiated clearly between using a medium to reach the dead as Saul did to talk to Samuel, and both these passages, with the understanding that Christ revealed clearly that it is not sinful to have a conversation with a live saint, but evil if one tries to use mediums as the ungodly do.

Thanks for all insights on these passages.

michael_legna's picture

The saints pray and it is effectual

Dan Fugett said -
But Elijah isnt dead.

Moses is dead, Abraham is dead - but then the point is they are still spiritually alive because God is not God of the dead but of the living.

Mat 22:28-34 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

Remember the Sadducees did not believe in the after life, sp Jesus is setting them straight that all those they felt were dead and in the grave and knew nothing were really very much alive in heaven with God.

This is true of the saints and martyrs who know they still wait for the end of the world for the resurrection as we see in Rev -

Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Rev 6:10 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?
Rev 6:11 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 fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

And these saints pray to God as we see in the following verses:

Rev 5:8-9 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

The prayers are the prayers of the saints - which saints? The same ones which are singing the new song - the same ones who admit they were redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

Dan Fugett said -
Also, Jesus is God so He can do what He wants so I dont see that as any support for praying "to" the dead.

Yes, but we are to follow Christ aren't we? Would He show us something we were not too do?

Remember praying to the saints is not offering worship to them - it is merely asking them to pray for and with us. Since they are alive in heaven with God and there is a communion of saints in the sense that the thin line between life and death is nothing to God then we can certainly have them pray for us as we would have a Christian here on earth pray for us

Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

- and since the saints in heaven are surely righteous just think how effective their prayers are.