Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Should Christians regard halloween?

        One of the most significant days of the year, for unbelievers, is approaching and it seems as though a lot of Christians tend to take advantage of this day to pass out tracts and share the gospel of Christ's sacrifice, or decide to join in on the fun even if they decide not to pass out tracks or anything.  However,  is this really something that the true Christian should be doing?  Let's look at what the Bible says, but before examining what the Bible says about participating in this day, let's remind ourselves of the origins and very real existence of what halloween celebrates; witches, witchcraft,  and the occult.  Here is a brief look at the origins.

      The Halloween customs the world observes on October 31st had their beginnings long ago. The origins and traditions can be traced back thousands of years to the days of the ancient Celts and their priests, the Druids of ancient Gaul and Britain. We know little of the Druids, but of certain is that they had an elaborate religious and political organization. Some were soothsayers, magicians, sorcerers, and barbs (composers and reciters of heroes and their deeds). Their religion worshipped numerous gods and natural objects, such as trees, wells, etc., in which magical practices were involved.
        The Druids believed that witches, demons, and spirits of the dead roamed the earth on the eve of November 1st. Bonfires (literally "bone-fires") were lit to drive away the bad spirits. The great bonfires served another purpose as well -- on this night, unspeakable sacrifices were offered by the Druid priests to their Lord of Death (Saman). The celebration was called "The Feast of Samhain" (pronounced SAH-WEEN). The Druids would carefully watch the writhing of the victims in the fire (sometimes animals, sometimes humans). From their death agonies, they would foretell the future (divination) of the village. The local householders then each took a portion of the fire to their own hearths for good luck and good crops in the new year.
         To protect themselves from the mean tricks of these spirits (like killing livestock), the Druids offered them good things to eat (sometimes food, sometimes female children). The Druids also disguised themselves in order that the spirits would think the Druids belonged to their own evil company, and therefore, not bring any harm to the Druids. They also carried "jack-ó-lanterns," a turnip or potato with a fearful, demonic face carved into it, to intimidate the demons around them. And, thus, this "tradition" is carried over today as Halloween and is celebrated by dressing up in costumes, playing trick or treat, wearing masks, and carrying jack-ó-lanterns.
        Much later, the Roman Catholic Church set aside the first day of November to honor all the saints who had no special days of their own. This was known as All Saints' Day, and was preceded by All Hallows' Eve (derived from the word "hallowed" or "holy evening"). Eventually, the two festivals (the old pagan customs and the Roman Catholic feast day) were combined, and All Hallows' Eve was shortened to Hallowe'en. Professing Christians were now provided a convenient "alternative" to the aforementioned pagan ceremonies.
           Despite half-hearted attempts by the Catholic Church to destroy the pagan religious practices associated with Hallowe'en, they have survived. During the Middle Ages, such practices found an outlet in the practice of witchcraft, which was and is devoted to communing with the spirits of the dead and to the worship of Satan himself. While almost every major holiday has been tainted with some form of paganism, none are so deeply immersed in the occult as is Hallowe'en.

            To this day, one of the special "sabbaths" for Satan-worship continues to be October 31st -- HALLOWE'EN!   (Sourced from Biblical Discernment Ministries)

            A wiccan (modern day witch) website describes this day as "A night of magic and chaos." This website also states that "It's generally celebrated on October 31st,  but some prefer November 1st, being the festival of Samhain, 1 of the 2 spirit nights each year, the other, Beltane.  And it's a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended and the thin veil between the worlds (physical and spiritual) is lifted, and communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easier at this time.  It's a time to study the dark mysteries and honor the dark mother and dark father, symbolized by the crone."
          A lot of these traditions are still obviously present in todays practice of halloween, and clearly it is a day that is still dedicated to witches, witchcraft, and the occult.  

           I used to live about an hour north of Salem, Massachusetts, where the famous witch trials were held.  Today, there are big parades held during this day every year that celebrate witchcraft and other occult traditions.  Even though I lived an hour north, I remember a lot of ex-coworkers that were and most likely still are very into this celebration.   When I was younger, I was a bag boy and the cashier was a dedicated wiccan (she was only 16 or so years old) and it was quite normal for me to see palm reading shops and psychic businesses along the main roads.  When I moved to PA, I thought that "...halloween is probably not celebrated much.  I mean, I was in the direct radius of where the witch trials were."  I was mistaken.  Halloween and the occult is probably more regarded. My first encounter was with a boy who attended my church.  I soon found out that he was heavily involved with all things paranormal and the spirit world.  Soon afterwards, I was getting a haircut and the lady was bragging about her halloween decorations and that for the next year, she wanted to buy a coffin to display in her yard! I have also talked with multiple people, christians also, who find these things to be fascinating.  My experiences from when I was younger not only drilled it deeper why the Bible takes this evil seriously,  but also how serious it is for people involve themselves in these things.
            Time to explore and examine what the Bible says about all this.  Most references are found in the old testament, however, there are some key passages in the new testament.   In Exodus 7:11 "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."  Pharaoh ordered that people involved in these things perform their magic and enchantments.   In 1 Samuel 28: 7-14, the witch of Endor contacts the dead. Deuteronomy 32:16-17 tells us that demonic involvement was intentional.  Even involvement in the occult and witchcraft were grounds for excommunication, according to the law.  Leviticus 17:7-9 says "And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations. 8. And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9  And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people."  This sentiment is repeated later in Leviticus 19:31, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God."  Exodus 22:18 is very convincing in the tolerance of witches, in which the law demanded, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."  The Lord took these things very seriously, and still does.
        According to Leviticus 19, there is a very real consequence for, even being involved in such things: defilement.  The Hebrew word translated "defiled" is a word that means contamination, in regards to being sexually, religiously, or ceremoniously.   This defilement would affect the spiritual or ceremonial aspect in our lives.  In essence, being involved with the occult or witchcraft,  will very likely hinder our own personal witness endeavors to those that are involved in these practices. In other words, a believer that is involved, whether it be embracing all the traditional practices or just 1, will have a much harder time explaining what the Bible says about separation from these things, (because he/she compromises and does not separate themselves) then if a believer who has completely separated themselves from these practices.
            Finally, in Deuteronomy 18:12 "For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee." The act of how the Lord drove out these abominations, is not too clear in this passage.
            There is only 1 instance I can think of in the old testament in which it is clear how the Lord drove out an evil spirit, and this was through music.  In 1 Samuel 16:23 "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." (To learn more about music and it's Biblical role, visit here .)
         There are a few chapters in the new testament dedicated to the subject of Christian liberty, or a Christian involving themselves with something that offends neither them nor God.  According to the Bible, regarding these things is an abomination unto the LORD.   In the new testament, these abominations, along with all fleshly abominations, have been driven out or, more specifically, crucified at the cross of Christ.         
         Witchcraft is a very real existence,  even today.  Paul indicates this for us in Galatians 5 when he states witchcraft as a work of the flesh.  Another clear passage is found in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. "Abstain from all appearance of evil."  Because this is a day dedicated to evil and the dark mysteries of the spirit world,  this should be a very clear command.  Paul also writes to the believers at Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21

          "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."  According to this passage, it is a contradiction for a believer to participate, or to even be involved with such things.

        Finally, Ephesians 6:12 is clear in the premise of the Christian's battle grounds and halloween is considered by wiccans to be 1 of their 2 high and holy days during the year. 

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

It is no coincidence that Ephesians 6:12 states the Christian battle to be spiritual.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in HIGH places."

          The verses to follow in 13-17 describe for us the armour in which to defend against this  spiritual wickedness.  Only by the Grace of God will His children be able to stand firm on His truth.  I pray that this post helps to bring Christians to a concrete conviction on these matters. 

1 Corinthians 10:12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

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