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The prophet Samuel did not appear to Saul but only an apparition of him. The Bible teaches that the dead don’t come back to converse with the living. After death a person: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not (Job 14:1, 2). The Bible refers to death as sleep. “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; … Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11, 14; Also Matthew 27:52; 2 Samuel 7:12 ;1 Thessalonians 4:14).
No one (medium, witch, psychic…etc.) can bring back the dead. Only Jesus has the keys of death “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18).
Two things happened at creation: (1) God formed man from the dust, or earth, and (2) He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus man became a living soul. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). What takes place at death is the opposite from what happened during Creation. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
At death, the body returns to dust and the spirit, or breath, returns to God who gave it. The Bible clearly teaches that the “spirit” that returns to God is simply the breath of life, which God breathed into man in the beginning (James 2:26, margin; Job 27:3, margin; Job 33:4). The words breath and spirit mean the same thing. “You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth” (Psalms 104:29, 30).
The dead, both righteous and unrighteous, are in their graves sleeping and waiting to hear Jesus‘ voice calling them forth from the grave to reward or punishment “all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29 also Revelation 22:12; Matthew 16:27; Luke 14:14).
The widely believed teaching of the undying, immortal soul is not found in the Bible. The teaching is man-made. We are souls, and souls do die (Ezekiel 18:4). Man is mortal. Only God is immortal. “The King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality” (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). The righteous will be given immortality at the resurrection “We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, … and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
So, the witch of Endor did not call up Samuel. Rather, she prepared the way for an evil angel who posed as Samuel. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24; Revelation 16:14).