What are “familiar spirits” and what do they do?
A “familiar spirit” is a demon. It is defined as “a spirit or demon that serves or prompts an individual” (Merriam Webster’s 7th New Collegiate Dictionary). Demons serve or prompt people to do evil, and to go against the commands of God. There are several references in the Bible to “familiar spirits,” and they are all in a bad sense.
The word “familiar” seems to be added to the word “spirit” because the person in mind seems to have had contact with that spirit or demon previously; hence that person is “familiar” with that demon.
Leviticus 20:27 says, “A man also or woman that hath A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”
I Samuel 28:7-9 says, “Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath A FAMILIAR SPIRIT at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have FAMILIAR SPIRITS, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” The woman seemed to be readily known to have contact with a demon, thus a “familiar spirit” to her.
I Chronicles 10:13 says, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, to inquire of it.”
II Chronicles 33:6 says, “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” He dealt with a “familiar spirit,” that is, he had contact with that demon in a somewhat of a regular manner.
Isaiah 29:3,4 says, “And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”
God forbids man to have contact with the unseen realm, the spirit realm. All of our contact for information is to be sought from the Lord through prayer and His Word, the Bible. Isaiah 8:19,20 says,
“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have FAMILIAR SPIRITS, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: SHOULD NOT A PEOPLE SEEK UNTO THEIR GOD? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Herein lies great danger today because of the emphasis on “spirit guides” and “angels.” Many people claim to have regular contact with “spirit beings” or “spirit guides” (which they say are angels). These people range from “religious” movie stars to wives of the leaders of old, established (once considered fundamental) radio ministries. Thus, these people are actually dealing with “familiar spirits.” Spirit beings with which they are “familiar” because of repeated contact. The Bible forbids all such contact with the unseen spirit realm.
“Good angels” are “God’s angels.” “Evil angels” are “Satan’s angels” or “demons.” There are several references to them. Matthew 25:41 says, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS.” Revelation 12:7-9 says, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and THE DRAGON FOUGHT AND HIS ANGELS, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM.”
We are not to pray and ask angels to lead and guide us. We are to pray to God and to read His Word for direction. Jeremiah 33:2,3 says, “THUS SAITH THE LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; CALL UNTO ME, AND I WILL ANSWER THEE, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Romans 12:1,2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” That “renewing of the mind” is from the reading and study of God’s Word, the Bible. Psalm 27:11 says, “TEACH ME THY WAY, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Psalm 139:23,24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and LEAD ME in the way everlasting.”
The emphasis right now in the “religious” realm is upon angels. People are looking to angels to protect them. That is wrong. We are to look to God to protect us, and He may do so with angels. Psalm 91:9-12 says, “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER THEE, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
People are referring to these “spirit guides” coming to them in bright clothing, etc., and so maintain that these are angels of God. The Bible warns us about such things. II Corinthians 11:13-15 says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. THEREFORE IT IS NO GREAT THING IF HIS MINISTERS ALSO BE TRANSFORMED AS THE MINISTERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Beware of “familiar spirits.” People are having contact with them all around this world, and the Lord tells us to have no part in it. Are you familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross for your sins, His burial, and His resurrection the third day? I John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”