Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The "Ghost" of Samuel Youth Bible Study on 1 Samuel 28


Lesson 7: The “Ghost” of Samuel

 

Discussion Starter: Have any of you ever seen a ghost?

 

Do you think ghosts are real?

 

Bible Study: We’ve been reading about how David fled from King Saul and has been living in the desert and then in the country of the Philistines.

 

Read 1 Samuel 28:1-20.

 

Is this really the spirit of Samuel coming back from the dead, or is it a trick of the medium?

 

In this case, we have to assume that it really was Samuel being summoned because we are given no indication that the event was inauthentic in any way. The key here is that Samuel had to be summoned. He wasn’t wandering the earth or haunting his old residence.

 

Where was Samuel being summoned from? He surely wasn’t in Hell and he wasn’t in Heaven yet. So where was he?

 

Read Psalm 6:5.

 

David isn’t imagining singing in any Heavenly choir when he dies. He thinks that he will never again praise God once he has passed on.

 

Read Isaiah 38:10-11, 18-19.

 

The words that have been translated in these verses as “death”, “grave”, and “pit” all come from the Hebrew word, Sheol.

 

Samuel was being summoned from Sheol, or death, the place where all Old Testament persons had to wait until Christ died for them. And Samuel is only summoned for a brief period of time. He is still bound in death after this and unable to communicate or to leave death without being summoned again.

 

When we die, we don’t go to Sheol. We go to Heaven or Hell. What is the difference between us and Samuel? Why did he go to Sheol and we go to Heaven or Hell when we die?

 

The difference is that Samuel and everyone else in the Old Testament were living before Christ came and we are living after Christ came. Death is the punishment for sin. Because Jesus had not yet come in the Old Testament, Samuel had to stay dead for his punishment. But for us, we have been forgiven. Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins on Himself. So when we die, our punishment, our penalty, has already been taken care of. We can’t stay dead because Jesus has already died for us.

 

It’s kind of like baseball. In the game of baseball, you can’t have two runners on the same base. Either one has to move forward or the other has to go back. They can’t occupy the same base. It’s the same way with us and Jesus. Jesus has already occupied our place in death, so when we get there, death makes our spirits move on. We can’t stay there. We have to either go to Heaven or to Hell, based on the decision we have made.

 

So our souls are free to move past death and go on to Heaven. Even though our bodies die, we’re not really dead. Our spirits live on through death and don’t have to stay in death like the spirits of the people of the Old Testament did.

 

That’s us. But now we have to go back and ask, Well, what happened to the people of the Old Testament who died before Jesus came? Do their spirits ever get to move on past death like ours do? Does Samuel ever get to live again?

 

And the answer to that question is Yes. In fact, their spirits have already moved on.

 

Read Matthew 27:52-53.

 

Everyone who lived before Christ were stuck in death. Once He died and was resurrected, they were free to move past death. Jesus had come to occupy their place and they had to move on. You see, Jesus’ death wasn’t just for us. He wasn’t defeating death just for us. He was dying for Adam and for Cain and Abel and for Noah and for everyone who had died before He came.

 

Read 1 Peter 3:18-20.

 

Jesus went and preached to the people who were dead, all those people who had died in the Flood. His Spirit spoke to their spirits and told them the good news, told them the message of why He had come, and gave them the opportunity to place their trust in Him for salvation. Jesus preached to the dead so that their spirits could live again.

 

The second mention of ghosts in the Bible is found in a story told by Jesus.

 

Read Luke 16:19-31.

 

In this parable, Jesus is clearly portraying Lazarus and Abraham as being in Heaven and the rich man as being in a fiery Hell. Thus, Jesus is projecting the story forward to the time when He has already died and freed Abraham and all other Old Testament persons from Sheol. The story takes place in the time when people’s spirits do not remain in death, but are “carried” directly to Heaven or Hell. And when the rich man begs for Lazarus to return (as a ghost) and to speak to his family, his request is denied. Not because it is impossible, but because it is impractical. The sending of people back from the dead is simply not done in Heaven. It is ineffective in persuading people to repent.

 

So Samuel was able to be summoned because he was in Sheol at the time. Presumably, anyone could be summoned when they were in Sheol. But could Samuel be summoned after Christ died and Samuel was moved to Heaven? Could Abraham or Lazarus be summoned? I think not. People who are in Heaven or Hell, as in the parable, will not leave those places again until the time of Christ’s second coming and the final resurrection.

 

So what about ghosts that we see today? If people are carried directly to Heaven or Hell now and they do not return to appear as ghosts to us, what are the ‘ghosts’ that people experience?

 

I believe that the ghosts we see today are not people at all, but demons disguising themselves as our loved ones and the random dead. The reason they do this is to cast doubt on the reality of Heaven and Hell. If the demons can make us believe that people become ghosts and wander the earth for a time, then it takes away some of the urgency of our eternal fate. It makes it seem like Heaven and Hell aren’t so immediate. We don’t have to worry about it quite as much. We can finish what we were doing on earth first. We can avenge our murderer. We can say good-bye to our families first.

 

Whereas these are all nice and comforting thoughts, they aren’t the reality. We don’t have any more time after we die. We can’t change our minds or repent or do things differently. We only have one life to do what needs to be done and we only get one life to make our decision for eternity. When we die, that’s it. Time’s up and Heaven and Hell are all that’s left. So we better live like we understand that. Demons appearing as ghosts only seek to distract us from this fact. Any ghost that we see today is a false apparition.


 

King David, the MIGHTY Runt

 

Lesson 7: The “Ghost” of Samuel

Discussion Starter: Have any of you ever seen a ghost?

 

 

Do you think ghosts are real?

 

 

Bible Study: We’ve been reading about how David fled from King Saul and has been living in the desert and then in the country of the Philistines.

 

 

Read 1 Samuel 28:1-20.

 

 

Is this really the spirit of Samuel coming back from the dead, or is it a trick of the medium?

 

 

Where was Samuel being summoned from? Was he in Heaven, Hell, or somewhere else?

 

 

Read Psalm 6:5.

 

 

What does this verse say happens after we die?

 

 

Read Isaiah 38:10-11, 18-19.

 

 

What does this passage say happens after we die?

 

 

The words that have been translated in these verses as “death”, “grave”, and “pit” all come from the Hebrew word, ______________.

 

Samuel was being summoned from Sheol, or death, the place where all Old Testament persons had to wait until Christ died for them. And Samuel is only summoned for a brief period of time. He is still bound in death after this and unable to communicate or to leave death without being summoned again.

 

When we die, we don’t go to Sheol. We go to Heaven or Hell. What is the difference between us and Samuel? Why did he go to Sheol and we go to Heaven or Hell when we die?

 

The difference is that Samuel and everyone else in the Old Testament were living ______________ Christ came and we are living _______________ Christ came. Death is the punishment for sin. Because Jesus had not yet come in the Old Testament, Samuel had to stay dead for his punishment. But for us, we have been forgiven. Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins on Himself. So when we die, our punishment, our penalty, has already been taken care of. We can’t stay dead because Jesus has already died for us.

 

It’s kind of like baseball. In the game of baseball, you can’t have two runners on the same base. Either one has to move forward or the other has to go back. They can’t occupy the same base. It’s the same way with us and Jesus. Jesus has already occupied our place in death, so when we get there, death makes our spirits move on. We can’t stay there. We have to either go to Heaven or to Hell, based on the decision we have made.

 

So our souls are free to move past death and go on to Heaven. Even though our bodies die, we’re not really dead. Our spirits live on through death and don’t have to stay in death like the spirits of the people of the Old Testament did.

 

That’s us. But now we have to go back and ask, Well, what happened to the people of the Old Testament who died before Jesus came? Do their spirits ever get to move on past death like ours do? Does Samuel ever get to live again?

 

 

Read Matthew 27:52-53.

 

 

What happened in these verses?

 

 

Read 1 Peter 3:18-20.

 

 

What happened in these verses?

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