Physical Mediumship in the Bible
authored by Colin Fry
[article provided with the permission of the Noah's Ark Society]
It should come as no surprise to the reader that the established Christian Church has, for the greater part, found reason to object to Spiritualist beliefs, by finding what it considers to be Biblical statements and injunctions which it interprets to be condemnations of Spiritualist activities. This should not be of any concern to Spiritualism as the Christian church has been able to find 'support' for all and any type of bigotry and practice for the last two millennia, e.g., slavery, racism, etc.
I therefore consider that it would be interesting to comment on the fact of there being many references to physical mediumship/phenomena in the Bible. There are of course numerous allusions to mental mediumship, but in the following, I will confine myself to physical mediumship.
Of course, any Biblical reference has to be considered in the cultural and chronological environment in which it was written; because of this, there is a great deal which cannot possibly apply to the present time and the following may therefore be of the same category. Nonetheless, as the Bible is used so forcefully to condemn Spiritualism, whereas it is also one of the greatest sources of inspiration for so many people, I regard it to be appropriate to review what the Bible includes in respect of physical mediumship.
Numbers, Chapter 11, verse 31.
Psalm 78, verse 24.
Ezekiel, Chapter 2, verse 9.
Independent Spirit Voice.
There are many instances of this: the following are three selected at random:
Exodus, Chapter 19, verse 3.
Matthew, Chapter 17, verse 5.
Mark, Chapter 1, verse 11.
Again, there are numerous occasions of this related. The one that I find the most interesting is: Daniel, Chapter 5, verse 5.
I also find it noteworthy that while this phenomenon is usually classed as a psychic ability, it is sometimes associated with religious ecstasy, e.g., 1 Kings, Chapter 18, verse 12.
Genesis, Chapter 32, verse 29.
Job, Chapter 26, verse 4.
Mark, Chapter 5, verse 9.
Miscellaneous Physical Phenomena.
There are frequent references to these and there are two examples which I believe are notable:
Exodus, Chapter 4, verse 3.
Acts, Chapter 12, verse 7.
The most fascinating is of course what the Church has called 'the
Transfiguration'; in this the dead Moses and Elijah appear to, and communicate with Jesus - Matthew, Chapter 17, verses 1-8.
There are also:
John, Chapter 20, verse 19.
Acts, Chapter 2, verses 1 to 4.
1 Kings, Chapter 19, verses 5 to 7.
Acts, Chapter 26, verse 16.
The established church has failed to offer any coherent explanation for why Jesus, after his death, is sometimes reported as being non-physical (1 Peter, Chapter 3, verse 18 (RSV) but also physical (Luke, Chapter 24, verse 39). I consider it to be obvious that rather than the church's teaching of a bodily resurrected Jesus, the post-crucifixion appearances were simply materializations which explains why Jesus is sometimes referred to as both physical and non-physical, and perhaps why his disciples failed to recognise him on a number of occasions until they heard his voice (e.g. Luke, Chapter 24, verse 35; John, Chapter 20, verses 11 to 16, and Chapter 21, verse 4).
Genesis, Chapter 15, verse 12.
Daniel, Chapter 8, verse 18.
Acts, Chapter 10, verse 10, and Chapter 22, verse 17.
Revelation makes a number of references to the use of trumpets, which may be related to trumpet mediumship. I leave it to the reader to reach a decision of this: Revelation, Chapter 1, verse 10, and Chapter 4, verse 1.
I became aware of much of the above from the recently published The Genuine Jesus, compiled by Alan Ross (originally compiled by Austin D. Wallace in 1951).
The account which I believe shows that the phenomenon of materialisation has remained unchanged since Biblical times, and also demonstrates that the same rules still apply, is the account of Mary Magdalene seeing Jesus after his death in a materialised form. Relevant in this account is the fact that Jesus instructs Mary 'Do not touch me' (John, Chapter 20, verse 17).
I have deliberately not included the actual text wording in the above so the reader may investigate and arrive at his/her own conclusions. I have found them to be not only interesting but significant as they reveal that as long as humankind has been on this earth, the phenomenology of spirit communication, through physical mediumship, has occurred. In saying this, it is worth considering that while a review of ancient records is undoubtedly interesting, we should work to create a link between this world and the spirit world in the here and now.
Finally, it is worth noting that in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15, verses 22-26, Paul says 'the last enemy that will be abolished is death', but the sting of death, i.e., its ability to bereave and separate loved ones, will not be removed until Christ's second coming: however as this was expected by the first century Christians in their own lifetimes (e.g. 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, verse 29, and 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 4, verses 16 to 17) it is clearly now long long overdue thus providing modern Christians with an insurmountable dilemma.
In stark contrast, modern Spiritualism can and does remove the sting of death every day throughout this world by reuniting those who have been separated by death and reassuring them of life continuing.