Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 060 Communication With Passed Loved Ones
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #060 – Communication With Passed Loved Ones
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Today we are going to discuss a topic that will most likely catch the attention of every listener. I pray that God will take each of my words captive for His truth.
Two questions are routinely asked after people hear that I have lost a child.
1. How I kept joy after such a depth of pain and grief?
2. Have I received signs from my daughter after her death?
I’ve never tackled the topic of life after death or receiving signs from loved ones. Honestly, it is an enormous and very important subject and I’ve had to pray for God’s great discernment and guidance.
For those who have experienced loss, I am deeply sorry for your pain and heartache. Grief is extremely personal and demanding. Heartbreak can alter a person at the core. Loss takes our breath away. Mourning changes our present, as well as future, steals dreams, and rewrites plans without our consent.
No one will experience loss the same; sorrow is as unique as fingerprints.
I offer my sympathy, hope, and prayers to you. Through my journey of losses, I have found that even at the deepest and most distressful level, God was waiting there. He carried me, ministering to me in supernatural ways that tenderly express His love and personal care before and after my loved ones left.
God placed the ability to love and grieve within us; He understands the immense pain and heartache we suffer once those we love are gone.
Losing someone we love is complex and agonizing; bereavement is intense. It can be very tempting to seek any connection we can continue. Sometimes, after the loss of a loved one, people look for any sign of communication from the one they are grieving. It makes many feel comforted to imagine their precious one watching over them or that they have become a guardian angel tasked to protect them. Believers must strive to understand what God’s word has to say about this topic.
Just because we can be comforted by what we wish to be true does not mean our perceptions are true.
Although I cannot profess to know all of the answers, I am going to carefully seek what we can glean from God’s word because we don’t know exactly what happens to loved ones after death. The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us everything. It is certain, however, that we do not become angels. Many times people will attempt to offer comfort to those grieving by stating that their loved one will now watch over them as a protective angel. The Bible, however, clearly states that humans and angels are different beings.
Psalm 8:4-8 says, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.”
1 Corinthians 6:2-3a says, “Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels?”
Another topic associated with death that the Bible offers clear instruction on is to not look for contact from dead loved ones. There is no information that tells us they are willing or able to message us. God’s word is also clear that we are not to attempt to communicate with the dead through any means.
Although we cannot correspond and we don’t know all details about loved ones after they die, scripture does contain interesting clues in several verses and parables throughout the Bible.
One of the most informative Bible passages to read regarding the life of loved ones after death is found within Luke 16:19-31, which contains the story of Lazarus and the rich man.
This is what it says:
“Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”
It is believed that Jesus actually spoke these words to expose the way the Pharisees were living with a religion based on status, laws, wealth, and appearance, not a true and lasting faith. The Pharisees believed that wealth was a sign of the righteousness of a person. When Jesus spoke this story, it startled those listening because the poor and diseased beggar receives the reward and comfort, while the rich man is thrown into hell with eternal separation. Jesus’s story teaches about wealth versus poverty and compassion for the poor and needy. The Lord was not speaking to specifically instruct or teach what the afterlife would be like, yet I believe this passage offers details that carry meaningful hints.
The Bible clearly teaches that everyone will go to one of two places after we leave this earth. Each of us will either experience a joyful eternal life of fellowship with God or we will brutally suffer through affliction and live in agony forever in hell. As we study the passage in Luke, we read that Jesus tells us the two men are eternally separated by an extensive, insurmountable gulf. The rich man is bound forever in hell while Lazarus has immediately been carried to heaven.
In the story, the rich man can see Lazarus. He cries for mercy and asks if the poor man can assist him, but is rejected and told that there is a great chasm with no way for anyone to pass in either direction.
Next, the rich man pleads to have Lazarus sent to his father’s house to testify so that the rich man’s brothers may be warned and not end up in the place of torment. He is told that Moses and the prophets have already issued warnings and that his brothers have not heeded them, thus they would not pay attention to one raised from the dead."
Now when we study verse 26, we see that the great abyss is fixed. No one passes from one side to the other. This passage of scripture demonstrates that although we yearn to continue some type of communication with the deceased, death separates us.
At least for now.
Some could argue that the rich man and his family did not know or follow God during life, so that could be why they were not allowed to communicate. Perhaps if the rich man had obediently known and followed God in his lifetime, he would be able to warn relatives about their eternity and convince them to change their ways.
Scripture never says or addresses this point specifically. However, with many strong scriptural warnings throughout the Bible that clearly instruct and forbid us against attempts to communicate with the dead, it is highly likely that if our loving Heavenly Father desired us to receive communication from loved ones, He would provide clear information telling us how in the Bible. Yet, God does not offer that instruction. What is offered in the Bible is the truth that none of us are given a second chance at what our eternal future holds after death. Listen to these reminders from Hebrews and Romans.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
Romans 14:11-13 says, “For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
Another area in which to completely steer clear of is those who proclaim to be able to speak to the dead or who encourage you to take part in seances, Quija board sessions, or other items and activities of this nature. God’s word warns that if someone claims to communicate with the dead they are not. In fact, they may be associating with evil spirits.
Leviticus 19:31 says, “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the Lord your God.”
2 Corinthians 11:14b says, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
1 Chronicles 10:13 says, “So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord's command, and he even consulted a medium.”
1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”
1 Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”
There is no place in scripture that states loved ones, even when present with the Lord, can communicate with those they left behind.
Non-believers are cast into hell and eternal torment, where they will await their final judgement. We read in 2 Peter 2:4, “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment.”
Revelation 20:12-15 says, “I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
What we do know through scripture is that our loved ones remember us. This knowledge does not reveal whether they can see us, and the passage we read from Luke does not say whether the rich man could see his family. Yet, what a comfort to know that loved ones remember us and we will remember them.
We also learn in Mark 9:2-6, that the disciples were even able to recognize Moses and Elijah, even though they had never met. The passage says, “After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His clothes became radiantly white, brighter than any launderer on earth could bleach them. And Elijah and Moses appeared before them, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For they were all so terrified that Peter did not know what else to say.”
Peter, James, and John had known enough about Moses and Elijah to recognize who they were. I find this extremely interesting! How many people will we automatically know in Heaven? Isn’t that thought exciting?
I believe the best lesson we can learn from the verses and passages we have discussed today is to ensure that we do not look for assurance in the wrong places.
Life should be centered around God, just as death should be.
Any assurances about life and death should be found in Him alone. Eternal life found through Jesus Christ should be the comfort we seek and the treasure we hold dear.
John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Many people have earthly experiences in which they feel that their loved one is connecting with them. I am not making this podcast to credit or discredit them. Their walk is individual and they are accountable to God, not me. I appreciate knowing they feel peace and joy from what they believe comes from their loved one.
However, I want to emphasize that everything we need to know or understand is found in God’s Holy Word. As we read and study what He has divinely left for us to search, we find nothing that encourages us to place hope and faith in our loved ones, but rather everything points to Him as the only one who can fill that role for us.
Perhaps our reasoning is distorted when we believe loved ones are reaching out to us. I believe our Heavenly Father knows the exact times and ways we need reassurance, love, faith, and light in our hearts and He absolutely delights in giving us those pure and good gifts. God knows how to reach us in intimate, unique ways that prove we are not forgotten and that He understands the pain we are experiencing.
Rather than claiming that those we grieve carry the ability to minister to us, we should acknowledge that God is there, as He always has been, and always will be.
James 1:17 says, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
Our Heavenly Father gave us the ability to connect with others and to love incredibly deeply. As strong as our connections are, they are shallow compared to what He feels for us. We only love because He first loved us. God placed the ability to care, feel, and love into us when He formed us.
Varied are the ways He proves His love for us.
Each one of us is blessed to have the hope that one day we will be reunited with those we love. If we submit to Jesus now as we live our life on earth, we have the certainty that we will be with Him eternally and have the ultimate reunion with our loved ones who made the same choice to follow Jesus.
Because humans often look for sensory experiences, it is easy to be persuaded to search for reassurance with something we can understand, touch, or hold. Sometimes it is doubt or guilt that can cause us to try to connect with those passed on. Most of the time it is simply grief. We miss those we knew and loved, shared life and dreams with. Flesh is weak. As we battle grief, we may yearn for instant connection instead of relying on faith and the hope and trust of the unseen.
I pray we each recognize that God is in the details of every moment of our life.
As we seek God in the ordinary, He proves Himself in the extraordinary.
Although we believe our loved ones will remember us when we see them again, I don’t think our loved ones are pining over us, but rather, they are enjoying the only One who ever fills spaces within us with exactly what we need. All of life and death is about Him.
God is calling us to mature our thought process and live with an eternal perspective that seeks Him through each detail of life. Perhaps this verse from Luke 24:5, is the best example. “The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?”
We are the dead ones, while our loved ones soar with eternal life. Why would they be found among us?
Loved ones who chose to follow Christ are alive in ways we can only imagine. As God’s word makes so clear in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Gracious and loving Heavenly Father, how we long for You. Thank you for the people You so lovingly place in our life with purpose. Comfort us as we grieve for them, carry us when we are overwhelmed with the intensity of pain born of separation. We know You understand. Fill us with the hope of Your promise of resurrection. May we long for You as we do our loved ones and seek to follow You in this life we have been granted for such a short time. We know all of our days are numbered, but we have the hope and promise of eternity with You and a blessed reunion with those we grieve. May we please You in the ways we live without them and may we draw nearer to You as we recognize the gifts You place before us in the midst of our pain and grief. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. I pray you find the peace and hope only Jesus can deliver through the words in each episode. Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Jesus through an eternal perspective and encourage you to raise or influence children to choose Christ over culture.
My latest resource, “Scattering Seeds: Planting Character and Faith in Your Child” has released! This free eBook is an excellent encouragement and support for mothers or grandmothers of young children. I encourage you to visit my website to access and download it soon.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.