1 Sam 28:7-19 The Woman with the Familiar Spirit CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
A familiar spirit by definition is a spirit that has a supernatural relationship with people.
When a person had a familiar spirit, the spirit could reveal things to him supernaturally that he could not know naturally. The problem, though, is that the familiar spirits were not the Holy Spirit and so God prohibited Israel from making inquiry from someone who had a familiar spirit. These spirits were unholy. See Lev 19:31, 20:6,20:27. The Holy Spirit would reveal things to people supernaturally when God wanted them to know something like the interpretation of a dream or a prophecy [Gen 41:38-39, 2 Sam 23:2, 2 Pet 1:21].
These spirits were capable of revealing anything that they knew supernaturally, Acts 16:16-17. Obviously, they could not know the secrets of God, Deut 29:29. But then someone who knew the Lord wouldn’t need a familiar spirit because anything that God had revealed he could know. That’s why we have the Bible, 1 Cor 2:10-16. And anything that God didn’t want him to know, he shouldn’t inquire of a familiar spirit to find out. Lots of people today pray and say, “the Lord told me” or “the Lord said” and they are not hearing the voice of God but rather they are conversant with a familiar spirit.
This woman could discern things supernaturally by this familiar spirit for she discovered who Saul was even though he was disguised [compare 1 Ki 14:2-6].
She was also a necromancer because she could commune with the dead [Deut 18:10-11].
Now when she was asked to bring up Samuel, he really came up. He had been in Abraham’s bosom [Lk 16:19-31], which is in the earth. Therefore he ascended out of the earth. Notice that he still looked like he did when he was alive, just as the rich man was able to recognize Lazarus visibly. And this is not just an apparition but it is really Samuel [1 Sam 15:35].
Notice also that Samuel spoke the truth concerning every detail that he gave to Saul, including the prophecy of Saul’s death andIsrael’s defeat. Yet the question of whether Saul ended up saved or lost was not answered when Samuel said, “tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” Saul could have ended up in Abraham’s bosom or in hell, since people in each were visible to each other in the heart of the earth. According to 2 Sam 7:15, Saul could have died lost [Lev 20:6], since the Lord had taken his mercy from him.