This is a sensitive subject, for there are people who have lost a loved one and in the grieving process they do visit the grave of the deceased and talk to them, and some people continue to do this indefinitely. The fact is there is not one example in the Bible of one talking to dead people in graveyards, so there is no “specific” instruction on this subject. We might ask, “Does that mean it’s okay since God doesn’t tell us it’s wrong?” Though the Bible doesn’t mention talking to a dead person in a cemetery, God does condemn trying to “consult the dead.” In Deuteronomy 18:10-12 we read, “There shall not be found among you….one who conjures spells, or a medium, or spiritist, or ONE WHO CALLS UP THE DEAD. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord” (NKJV). This passage is clear, no one should be trying to contact a dead person with the purpose of hearing from them; it is an abomination to the Lord. Now one may be thinking, “I know it’s wrong to try to contact a loved one that has died so they can communicate with us, but what’s wrong with simply talking to them at their gravesite?” I can think of two reasons why we shouldn’t.

  1. They can’t hear us or return to us. In Luke 16:19-31 the Lord Jesus told of two men (a rich man and a beggar) who died. In verses 22-23 we learn that the beggar “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” and the rich man was “in torments in Hades.” In verse 24 we see the rich man crying out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham replied in verse 26, “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” The rich man then thought of his five brothers who were still on earth and he appeals to Abraham again with these words, “I beg you there, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment” (verse 27). Verses 29-31 are most revealing: “Abraham said top him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said to him, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead’.” The rich man was convinced that if Lazarus could return to warn his brothers they would listen to him and avoid going to “this place of torment.” But Abraham said they must listen to God’s Word and if they don’t give ear to that they wouldn’t be persuaded by one returning from the dead. This whole passage teaches us that once a person dies their eternal destiny is fixed; they can’t leave that place at all, which includes going to earth to communicate with those that are still on earth. Since they can’t hear us or communicate with us, what purpose does it serve to try to communicate with them?
  2. We need to live in reality and not in a world of fantasy. It can be truly traumatic losing a loved one, but we must accept the truth that they are gone. If we continue to “talk to them” as if they can hear us, we will only prolong the agony of grief and eventually slip out of reality into a world of make-believe. But there is deep comfort for the believer in Jesus Christ if their loved one was also a believer, for in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-14 we read: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” When we lose a loved one who believed in Jesus Christ, WE WILL SEE THEM AGAIN! So, even though we will still have sorrow (for we miss them!), God promises us that we will be reunited with them. Until that grand reunion takes place, we can take comfort knowing that they are “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” (2nd Corinthians 5:8). We can treasure the memories we have of them; we can praise God that they are in His presence; and we can long for the time when we join them in glory where we will be able to “talk to them throughout the endless ages of eternity!” (243.9) (DO)