Vantage Point: Halloween – Calling Evil Good

Vantage Point: Halloween – Calling Evil Good

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article by Dan Dowd

Why does it matter what a young person like you chooses to do on October 31?

effigy burned

Source: sxc.hu/BeverlyLR

This coming week many in the western world and in the greater Christian communities will be celebrating Halloween. Do you know the origins of this holiday? Is this a celebration that Christian young people should be involved in? Allow me to give you a brief history of Halloween, and then I’ll review some of what God has to say in His Word about these types of observances.

A violent past

The festival of All Hallows Eve originated with the ancient Celts in Ireland in the fifth century B.C. On the night of October 31, Celtic households would extinguish the fires on the hearths to deliberately make their home cold and undesirable to disembodied spirits. They would then gather outside the village, where a Druid priest kindled a huge bonfire to simultaneously honor the sun god for the past summer’s harvest and to frighten away furtive spirits.

The Celts settled on the date of October 31 for the festival of Halloween, because it was the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice when the constellation Pleiades culminated at midnight. They called this festival Samhain (pronounced “sow-ween”), and held this date as the official end of summer and the beginning of winter and the beginning of the new year (“Samhain,” Reference.com).

The Celts believed that during Samhain the physical and spiritual worlds interacted like no other time of the year and that the border between this world and the supernatural world cracked open, granting free passage to sinister fairies from the land of the dead. The Celts believed that on that date that all persons who had died in the previous year assembled to choose the body of the person or animals they would inhabit for the next twelve months, before they could pass peacefully into the afterlife. They thought “souls” of the dead would visit the living. People offered sacrifices of animals and plants to those of the spirit world for a bountiful harvest.

To frighten roving souls, Celtic family members dressed themselves as demons, hobgoblins and witches. They paraded first inside, then outside the fireless house, always as noisy and destructive as possible. Finally they clamored along the street to the bonfire outside town. A villager deemed by appearance or mannerism to be already possessed, could be sacrificed in the fire as a lesson to other spirits contemplating human possession.

Trophies for Christ or demon worship?

Now let’s take a look at some of what God has inspired to be recorded regarding observances such as Halloween. First of all, you will not find direct condemnation of holidays such as Halloween in Scripture. This is a modern name given to false worship that has changed in form over the centuries. The Bible does, however, condemn the premise of such worship (Deuteronomy 12:1-4 [1] These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
[2] Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
[3] And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
[4] Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.
See All…, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 [10] There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
[11] Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
[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.
See All…).

How many times do people say that Halloween is not kept as it was done in ancient times and now it is just for fun? Or, “Now we do it to honor Christ!” Or, “But it is just a socially accepted holiday!” That type of reasoning is simply a matter of deciding what is right in one’s own eyes.

Christ Himself warned against this type of reasoning in the book of Mark, “…‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…,” (Mark 7:6-8 [6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
[7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
[8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
See All…).

Synchronistic teaching – inserting pagan customs and observances into Christianity – is honoring God with our lips but having a heart far from Him. This is no different than the human justification of hurting someone and then telling them we love them. It would be like having a dinner party for someone and then serving all of the foods they dislike.

Halloween celebrates, or at a minimum seeks to placate, evil. The divinations, the inquiring of spirits, the bonfires and even honoring the “lord of the dead,” all focus on worship of what God calls evil. God warned ancient Israel repeatedly not to take up the ways of the pagans around them. He knew that subtle ungodly practices would gradually displace right, Godly understanding.

“Those who call evil good…”

You might ask why would God be against something as harmless as Halloween, especially since it allows children to have fun and enjoy a little entertainment? Can’t we let them have a little harmless fun? The sad fact is that Halloween is anything but harmless. It focuses one’s attention on witchcraft and demonism, which flies in the face of the Almighty God!

Halloween was originally based on observances of the heavens. That of itself is not wrong, in fact we observe the heavens to counting moons and watch seasons in order to properly keep the Holy festivals of God has ordained (Leviticus 23). The problem with attributing power to times and the movements of planets and stars (as in astrology) is that this type of veneration looks to the creation as gods rather than honoring the true God that made it all.

When parents not only allow but also encourage their children to celebrate witches and goblins (and even do so themselves), they are teaching them that it’s acceptable to deal in demonism. We are told by God in scripture to “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”(1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 [21] Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
[22] Abstain from all appearance of evil.
See All…).

Modern celebrations of Halloween may appear on the surface to be quite harmless, but the spiritual implications of dabbling with the spirit world are extremely serious. Fortune-telling, Ouija boards, astrology, voodoo, clairvoyance, black magic and the like can all be related to occult, satanic forces or the worship of natural phenomena and are forbidden in Scripture. There is nothing harmonious in putting paganism into our worship before God.

“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?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 [14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
See All…). 

True worship

Jesus Christ tells us that “the first and greatest commandment” is to love our Creator “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” (Matthew 22:37-38 [37] Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
[38] This is the first and great commandment.
See All…). God alone is the giver of life and all good things. To give recognition to false gods, and to imitate practices that honored them, is unacceptable and idolatrous.

Celebrating evil is not harmless fun. God gives us an understanding of the salvation He will offer to all of mankind in His time. Why don’t you order or read online our study guide, Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? and discover the days God sets apart that are worth celebrating.

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About eddielouis

Retired USN BS Degree
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