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Oh Jared, I am aware of both sides of the narrative, and am starting to enjoy this exercise. I would very much like to see more of these discussions as more participate as well. :P
My clarifications and following reflections are my response to dialogue, express, share my perspectives as iron sharpens iron. I know you were not intentionally linking purgatory to my example of the “waiting [room]”.
Now, with regards to Balaam, the witch of En-dor, and the three ladies mentioned in the Genealogy found in Matthew’s Gospel. Those are happy exceptions, in my view, where we may be able to catch a glimpse of God’s Hand in spite of the will & sin of man. (I would not dare to box God in and/or assume what God can or cannot do.) However, I still view Balaam is an exception, since God does not regularly use false prophets to prophesy, therefore it is not a norm. and by definition, an exception. Maybe this is semantics, but it matters.
While acknowledging that microcosms do exist in the Bible, and they do reveal how God operates, … without taking away from how God is Sovereign, I have to say that Balaam is not the best example of Biblical Prophecies, nor the Blessings & Covenants of God. … Obviously the way the Old Testament should be parsed, interpreted and understood is vastly different from how to handle the New Testament. It is a good reminder of the author’s intent when reading the Old Testament. … Jared, why did you bring up Balaam? lol.
If we were to look at Balaam as a (arche)type, and the Witch of Endor as a type of Balaam. Perhaps, … the spirit summoned would be the Prophet Samuel’s just as the prophecies of old Balaam were true?
What about in 1 Sam 28:12, when the witch cried out in a loud voice, … is that a parallel to the demon-possessed slave girl, following Paul in Acts 16, … and the Demon-Possessed Man with Legion in Mark 5? Either Saul has a horrible disguise or the demon recognized Saul and exclaimed!
Either way… moving on. Yes, God can and does use unbelieving nations as instruments of his judgement, as we can see today, and if God is using the witch of En-dor to discourage Saul and demoralize him and his army, we’ll find out one day. That said, … the fact that God would not communicate to Saul via one of his prophets may be evidence enough that perhaps God would still remain silent even if he went to a demon-possessed witch. Oh, on the other hand, … .
Opening too many Pandora boxes can be dangerous. So I’ll just rest here and ponder why I currently tend to focus on the principles instead of the exceptions. You are right, the author left it open in the case of the witch of En-dor and while I just happen to take the other side, the author was not concerned to answer these questions in this text, and yet it is questions like these which prompt us to venture deeper into God’s revelation. I hoped we have answered the original questions, and discovered a few good ones along the way. Happy Thanksgiving!