Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I hesitated to post this but after prayerful consideration, I decided to do it. I am not one to create conflict or opposition, i usually do everythin in my powerto avoid it. But I cannot apologize if this article offends anyone as I truly believe this is important for us to understand as christians. This was an article I read from the
Heart of the Matter website listed above. What do you all think?

Halloween for Christians?
Oct 23rd, 2008 | By Robin | www.heartofthematteronline.com
It’s that time of year again. Vampires, ghouls, ghosts and skeletons will be haunting our doorways. American retailers celebrate a 5 billion dollar a year candy, card and costume business ($1.5 billion in Canada).

But, Halloween is not just a time for cornstalks, pumpkins, apples and cute and not-so-cute costumes. There is much, much more. Before deciding to celebrate or not celebrate any holiday, it is important to understand the history of that holiday.

Before we look at the history and what the Bible says about pagan holidays answer these questions:

How would you feel if your spouse kept photos of his or her former girlfriend of boyfriend?

How would you feel if he or she celebrated an anniversary of special times with another after marrying you?

Our God is a jealous God demanding exclusive devotion (Exodus 20:5). Do you think He cares if you encourage your children to partake in a holiday that honors Satan, the god of this world?

Halloween’s History
Halloween’s roots come from the ancient Celts, a tribe living about 2,000 years ago in the areas that are now Ireland, Great Britain and northern France.

The Celts were first described as a fierce, warlike, terrifying people, many of whom would have strings of human heads tied on their bridles. Halloween was their main holiday, called Samhain. It was a festival that honored the Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. The Celts related this with human death; they believed the Samhain allowed souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for that evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, the priest and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires.

The Druids built a huge New Year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacrificed. They burned animals, crops, and even human beings as sacrifices. Then each family re-lit their hearth fire from the New Year’s fire. The lighted jack-o’-lanterns used today are symbols of fires and torches. During the celebration people wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes by examining the remains of the sacrifices.

These pagan Celts believed that evil spirits lurked about as the sun god grew pale and the Samhain grew stronger. The Celts believed the evil spirits would come to your house and you would have to treat them or they would trick you.

The Romans conquered the Celts in A.D. 43 and ruled what is now Great Britain for about 400 years. During this period, two Roman autumn festivals were combined with the Celtic festival of Samhain. Both pagan rituals, one of them, called Feraila, was held in late October to honor the dead. The other festival honored Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit and trees. Apples became associated with Halloween because of this festival.

Regional Halloween customs developed among various groups of Celts. In Ireland, for example, people begged for food in a parade that honored Muck Olla, their sun god. The leader of the parade wore a white robe and the head of an animal. In England, families sat by the fire and told stories while they ate treats such as apples and nuts.

Halloween in the United States
In the United States, many early American settlers brought with them various customs such as the above. However, because of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800’s when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs. They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.

All Saints Day, a day the seventh century church set aside for remembering early Christians who died for their beliefs, was first celebrated in the month of May. By the year 900 the date was combined with the pagan rituals to be celebrated November 1. Another name for All Saints Day was All Hallows. October 31 was known as All Hallows Eve which was shortened to Halloween.

The church made a grave mistake trying to combine pagan worship with Christianity. This is not scriptural! Because of that unwise decision, Halloween remains a holiday in America today.

Scriptures warn us that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and fourth generations. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me. Exodus 20:5.

Those who disregard God’s warning and make contact with occult spirits risk terrible repercussions in the form of misery, sickness, insanity and even early death.

Why do people living in this age, especially Christians, desire to be a part of any pagan worship? This pagan belief, even celebrated by Christian churches, celebrates the union of gods and a goddess in the universe that supposedly control the seasons, bring fertility to crops and animals, and bestow magical powers on their followers.

What Does the Bible Say About Halloween?
Although the Bible doesn’t specifically mention Halloween by name, it makes it very clear that the origins and practices of Halloween (adapting pagan customs or borrowing the ways of those who worship a false god and using them to worship the true God) are detestable to God. Deuteronomy 12:29-32. The Bible clearly teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Joshua 24:14
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium, or spiritist or who consults the dead. Deuteronomy 18:9-11

Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God. Our Lord Jesus would not go to a party to honor the feast of the Samhain. Moses did not come down from Mount Sinai and combine the Israelites Passover holiday with the idol worship that was going on. Allowing children to dress as witches and sorcerers or hanging evil decorations in our windows is imitating that which is evil.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.

The verse says, “come out from among them, says the Lord.” Does that mean come out from among them–but don’t deprive your children from all that fun and candy — celebrate the same pagan ritual in your church building? The Bible is very clear about Christians being involved in such celebrations. Ephesians 5:8-11 says,

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Halloween is more than childish fun.Witches have eight special holidays during the year. Halloween is their day above all days. Witchcraft is not child’s play. It is an abomination to the Lord. Johanna Michaleson, former occultist and author of The Beautiful Side of Evil said, “For a true Christian to participate in the ancient trappings of Halloween is as incongruous as for a committed Satanist coming from blood sacrifices on Christmas Eve to set up a nativity scene in his living room singing Silent Night, Holy Night with sincere devotion to baby Jesus!”

One thing Halloween should not be for the Christian is a time of fear. It should be a time to rejoice in the fact that The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8). This is a time of spiritual warfare. October 31 should be spent in prayer for the community and children; a time of worship by singing praise to the Lord. This can be a good time to teach our children to sacrifice by not sharing in the rituals because you love the Lord. Whatever your family decides to do on this day, ask yourself, “Does it glorify the Lord?”
…they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Leviticus 17:7.

Halloween and Purim?
Someone recently mentioned they thought Halloween came from the holiday Purim. It is true children dress up during Purim to reenact the story of Esther but it has nothing to do with Halloween. Halloween is centuries older and Purim costumes are Bible characters. Purim is observed on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar (February-March). It is a celebration of the deliverance of the Persian Jews over one of the most dastardly plots in history to exterminate the Jewish people. The book of Esther tells the story.


The Messer's said...

I applaud you Carly! I do not celebrate Halloween due to what it does represent. I will have my lights off, etc. this Friday. As a Christian, I must put God first. I cannot celebrate something that does not put him first.

Sam, Sarah, Claudia, Camile, Maya, and Gabriel said...

alright, Carly...it's AH-WN. ;) just kidding...but, you asked what we think, so here's my spiel.

I have celebrated on Halloween for 26 years, and I will celebrate on Halloween until the day I die. Some of my most special memories with my dad are on Halloween--him taking my sister and me trick-or-treating until the last dog died! He would continually say, "okay, one more...just one more." We'd walk up to the house, get our candy, and be ready to go, and he'd say, "okay, just one more..." That went on for what seemed HOURS, but by golly, we had GROCERY SACKS overflowing with candy!! And guess what? Yes, we got tired, but those were some of the best family nights we ever had! Nothing but pure fun and memory making.

For me, Halloween has nothing to do with a "belief" in anything evil or demonic. For me, Halloween does not threaten or berate my relationship with Jesus Christ. For me, it's simply a time of family, food, and FUN. Passing out candy to children doesn't have to mean that you're celebrating witches and devils--passing out scripture mints or something of that sort can actually be a strong statement of what you DO represent--a child of God. Instead of turning out my lights and ignoring those precious children who may never hear the word "Christ" mentioned in their own home, I use it as an opportunity to MAYBE have the chance of simply telling them that Jesus loves them...and that's only if I'm not out getting candy for myself or bobbing for apples at my grandma's house! ;)

I honestly cannot believe that the awesome God I serve would frown upon kids dressing up as ladybugs, frogs, or The Incredible Hulk. He knows their hearts, and he knows my heart...and that's really all that matters.

Rene' said...

Hi Carly,
I agree with your friend Sam, sarah...

MaryEllen said...

I do too. I think that modern day halloween represents nothing other than kids getting dressed up, and walking around their neighborhoods to get free candy. I don't think there is any other meaning behind it for the majority of people that celebrate it. But that's just my opinion!

Jenn said...

hey carly,
i struggle with this one too... i would love to be able to just not "celebrate" this friday, but it is everywhere we look {neighborhood signs, grocery store walmart, and we got "booed" last night, etc.} my kids are dressing up like superheros {we are just making them up} and we are going to pass out little "treats" with the story of the "jack-o-lantern" with them {you know about Jesus scooping out the junk inside and putting in His light...} as much as i would love to just shut this one out, i have to look at it as an opportunity to share Jesus. i mean how often do you have kids coming to your door seeking something that you have? i think we can teach our children about why we don't "celebrate" the way everyone else does without being shut-out christians. i respect the decisions that everyone else makes about what to do on this day i just hope that everyone takes the time to talk to their kids about how we as Christians need to act!
good for you for speaking out!
love, jenn

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing this article. We don't celebrate Halloween either, for the same reasons mentioned in your post. We do lots of other fall activities during October, but we don't dress up or go trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Love, Lisa

emily said...

just had to weigh in...
i think it's how you choose to celebrate it.
if you look at it as a fun time for kids to dress up and get candy, then it's fine.
if you start bringing the devil into it, then it's weird.

just my 2 cents...
how are you?!