Thank you, my dear friend, for this very good question. I must confess that while I can’t point to any direct Scriptural references that would directly address your question, I can think of a few verses that might serve as examples that there is no communication with the dead from the living on earth. I fully realize that it is a natural tendency for us to want to speak to our loved ones when at the cemetery, but of course, we must be aware that while their earthly tabernacle is in the grave, their spirit is with the Lord if they were saved through faith in the Lord Jesus in life.

But now, let’s look to God’s Word for more insight into this question. In Hebrews 12:1, we read about a “great cloud of witnesses”, and I have heard some Christians claim that these are those of heaven who are “cheering us on”, as at an athletic event, and thus aware of what we are doing and saying on the earth. But, I believe that this cloud of witnesses refers instead to the Old Testament saints described and enumerated in Hebrews 11, who walked in faith in their lives on earth, trusting in the promise of the coming Messiah-they believed in the fulfillment of the promises of God. I believe that the lives of faith of these OT saints would therefore be examples for us to follow as we run our earthly race with perseverance. Thus, these OT saints would Not be spectators of our lives, but rather examples to us.

Now, looking at a couple other examples that the dead do not hear the living, I’d suggest the story of King Saul in his last battle, as described in 1 Samuel 28:3-25. Saul was in a very bad way before the Philistines, and he desperately wanted advice from Samuel; but Samuel was dead. The LORD was no longer responding to Saul, so Saul went to a woman with a familiar spirit in Endor to see if she could communicate with Samuel. In this one case, God actually allowed Samuel to be brought up to hear Saul’s concern and to respond, but this bringing up of Samuel had nothing to do with this woman who was actually the most surprised and shocked of all to see Samuel. . You’ll note here, though, that Samuel had to ask why Saul had disturbed him.

As another example, we might consider the situation of Lazarus and the rich man in the parable of the Lord Jesus found in Luke 16:19-31. Here, after the rich man and Lazarus had both died, with the rich man in hell and Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, we see no evidence that there was any direct communication, in either direction, between the rich man and his family on the earth.

Now, I have heard some say that 1 Corinthians 13:12 may pertain to our knowledge of and recognition of others when in heaven, but I believe that this verse refers mainly to the truth and purposes of God’s, which are revealed to us in the Scriptures, which we understand only in part when on the earth. Assuredly, though, our knowledge and understanding of the purposes of God will be expanded when we are in heaven, so I include the verse here for your prayerful consideration: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”. There are some who interpret this last phrase to mean we’ll know everything when in heaven, and indeed, I believe this to be true, but only as it relates to the Word and purposes of God, or in other words, His Word.

But finally, I can think of one verse which describes the voice which the dead in Christ will absolutely hear when the Lord Jesus returns for His own. We read the words of the Lord Jesus in John 5:25, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”  I must ask you now, my dear friend, will you hear this voice? If you have repented of your sins and have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then indeed you will hear the voice of your Savior and will be caught up to be forever with the Lord when He comes. We read in Romans 10:9, “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”.  (SF)  (499.1)