October 16, 2007

What is Halloween?

  Taken from www.jeremiahproject.com

History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the
Celtics. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual
world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it
- such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in
battle, or by imitating the gods in showing cleverness and cunning.
Their two main feasts were Beltane at the beginning of summer
(May 1), and Samhain at the end of summer (Nov. 1). They
believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two
worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were
active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished.

The Celtic priests who carried out the rituals in the open air
were called Druids, members of pagan orders in Britain, Ireland
and Gaul, who generally performed their rituals by offering
sacrifices, usually of animals, but sometimes of humans, in order
to placate the gods; ensuring that the sun would return after the
winter; and frightening away evil spirits. To the Celtics, the
bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druid in his
fight with dark powers. The term bonfire comes from the words
"bone fire," literally meaning the bones of sacrificed animals,
sometimes human, were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze.
All fires except those of the Druids were extinguished on Samhain
and householders were levied a fee to relight their holy fire which
burned at their altars. During the Festival of Samhain, fires would
be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would
be offered to the gods on the fires. This practice of burning
humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy was sometimes
burned instead.

Samhain was the supreme night of demonic jubilation. Spirits
of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the
countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly
lived. Frightened villagers tried to appease these wandering spirits
by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. This is the origin of our
present day "trick-or-treat." They began the tradition of placing
plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had
to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the
ghostly wanderers. If not placated, villagers feared that the spirits
would kill their flocks or destroy their property.

The problem was... if the souls of dead loved ones could
return that night, so could anything else,human or not, nice or not-
so-nice. The only thing the superstitious people knew to do to
protect themselves on such an occasion was to masquerade as one
of the demonic hoard, and hopefully blend in unnoticed among
them. Wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face
with soot were originally ways of hiding oneself from the spirits of
the dead who might be roaming around. This is the origin of
Halloween masquerading as devils, imps, ogres, and other
demonic creatures.

Trick or Treat has been thought to have come from a
European custom called "souling". Beggars would go from village
to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of
bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would
receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of
the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that
the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer,
even by strangers could guarantee a soul's passage to heaven.

In many parts of Britain and Ireland this night used to be
known as 'Mischief Night', which meant that people were free to
go around the village playing pranks and getting up to any kind of
mischief without fear of being punished. Many of the different
customs were taken to the United States by Irish and Scottish
immigrants in the nineteenth century, and they developed into
'trick or treat'.

When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying
to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas
which reflected a more Christian world-view. Halloween has since
become a confusing mixture of traditions and practices from pagan
cultures and Christian tradition. The Romans observed the holiday
of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed.
Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up
prayers for them, and made oblations to them. The festival was
celebrated on February 21, the end of the Roman year. In the 7th
century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace
the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. In
834, Gregory III moved All Saint's Day from May 13 to Nov. 1
and for Christians, this became an opportunity for remembering
before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the
Christian community. Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows' Eve
('hallow' means 'saint'). Sadly, though, many of the customs
survived and were blended in with Christianity.

Numerous folk customs connected with the pagan
observances for the dead have survived to the present. The
various activities traditional to Halloween are mostly associated
with the idea of obtaining good fortune and foretelling the future.
The idea behind ducking, dooking or bobbing for apples seems to
have been that snatching a bite from the apple enables the person
to grasp good fortune. Samhain is a time for getting rid of
weakness, as pagans once slaughtered weak animals which were
unlikely to survive the winter. A common ritual calls for writing
down weaknesses on a piece of paper or parchment, and tossing it
into the fire. There used to be a custom of placing a stone in the
hot ashes of the bonfire. If in the morning a person found that the
stone had been removed or had cracked, it was a sign of bad
fortune. Nuts have been used for divination: whether they burned
quietly or exploded indicated good or bad luck. Peeling an apple
and throwing the peel over one's shoulder was supposed to reveal
the initial of one's future spouse. One way of looking for omens of
death was for peope to visit churchyards, because the spirits of
those who were going to die during the coming year were thought
to walk around the churchyard during this night.

The Jack-o-lantern is the festival light for Halloween and is
the ancient symbol of a damned soul. Originally the Irish would
carve out turnips or beets as lanterns as representations of the
souls of the dead or goblins freed from the dead. When the Irish
emigrated to America they could not find many turnips to carve
into Jack O'Lanterns but they did find an abundance of pumpkins.
Pumpkins seemed to be a suitable substitute for the turnips and
pumpkins have been an essential part of Halloween celebrations
ever since. Pumpkins were cut with faces representing demons
and was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits. It was
said that if a demon or such were to encounter something as
fiendish looking as themselves that they'd run away in terror,thus
sparing the houses dwellers from the ravages of dark entities.
They would have been carried around the village boundaries or
left outside the home to burn through the night. Bats, owls and
other nocturanal animals, also popular symbols of Halloween,
were originally feared because people believed that these creatures
could communicate with the spirits of the dead. Black cats has
religious origins as well. During the Middle Ages it was believed
that witches could turn themselves into black cats. Thus when
such a cat was seen, it was considered to be a witch in disguise.

Witches and witchcraft are dominant themes of the holiday.
Witches generally believe themselves to be followers of an ancient
religion, which goes back far beyond Christianity, and which is
properly called 'wicca'. Witches are really just one side of a
modern revival of paganism - the following of pre-Christian nature
religions, the attempt to return to worshipping ancient Norse,
Greek or Celtic gods and goddesses. The apostle Paul said
Witchcraft is one of the acts of the sinful nature and those who
practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:16-21;
see also Revelation 22:15).

"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices
his son or daughter in the fire, 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. Anyone who does
these things is detestable to the LORD, and because
of these detestable practices the LORD your God
will drive out those nations before you. You must be
blameless before the LORD your God. The nations
you will dispossess listen to those who practice
sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD
your God has not permitted you to do so."
[Deuteronomy 18:10-14]

Should Christians adopt such practices?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2]

Can we borrow the pagan customs and superstitions of ancient
peoples and "Christianize" them?

"Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of
evil. [1 Thesalonians 5:21-22]

Who can deny that virtually all of the symbols of Halloween
are evil? Witches, monsters, ogres, vampires, ghosts, ghouls,
goblins, devils and demons all portray evil.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness, but rather reprove them." [Ephesians 5:11]

The sort of practices celebrated on Halloween are what defiled the ancient
nations [see Leviticus 18:24-30]. The Israelites were warned
against such practices when they entered the Promised Land,
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth
thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those
nations." [Deuteronomy 18:9]

Is Halloween just another innocent holiday that doesn't harm
anyone? Is it really just childish fun? Should the church be
compromised by accommodating itself to the culture? Vandalism
and wanton disregard for the property of others is common on
Halloween night. Even normally well-behaved children are driven
by unseen forces to destructive behavior. Police officials
everywhere report a great increase in such activities on Halloween.
Worse yet are the horrifying accounts of poisoned candy and
fruits booby-trapped with razor blades and needles. Such threats
are so real that many hospitals offer free X-rays of Halloween
treats in order to prevent children from being harmed. Who but
Satan could inspire such monstrous actions?

As an alternative to the celebration of evil and death,
Christians should rather do what Christians are supposed to do
every day and that is shine the light of Jesus Christ. We should
emphasize the Christian influences and strive to make Hallow's
Eve a celebration of the acts of God through his people the saints.
We should make it a day when acts of charity instead of
vandalism and hatred abound. A day that emphasizes the light of
Christ instead of the darkness of evil. A day when people meditate
on the acts of Godly people instead of ghosts and goblins.

When America and the world celebrates the Festival of
Samhain and the powers of darkness by masquerading as evil
creatures or decorating our homes, schools, businesses and
churches with occult symbols, Satanic power is glorified. While
you may have participated "all in fun," be assured, Halloween is
serious business for Satanists and witches. Those who oppose
Christ are known to organize on Halloween to observe satanic
rituals, to cast spells, to oppose churches and families, to perform
sacrilegious acts, and to even offer blood sacrifices to Satan.

As evil prevails, Americans have embraced an evil day of
Satan, with the pranks of 'would be' hoodlums, combined with
'demon faces' on pumpkins, clothing of 'death' being worn, and
calling it fun. When Christians participate in Halloween, it sends a
message to children that witchcraft, demonism, Satanism, and the
occult are something fun, entertaining and harmless.

Many years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote that one of Satan's most
deceptive tactics is to convince people that he doesn't exist.
Apparently he has done a good job in his deception. Sadly, many
people think of the devil as no more than a symbol of evil: like
Santa Claus, he is just a fictional symbol. Many people today also
do not think of witches as real people who practice magic, but
simply as imaginary figures who represent the supernatural world
and everything that is 'spooky.' Recognizing this pagan holiday
gives the false impression that what is actually lethal is innocuous.
Some children develop a fascination with the supernatural which
leads them later into more sinister occult practices. It's the spiritual
equivalent of painting a loaded gun to look like a toy and giving it
to child to play with.

It is the kind of celebration that encourages kids like the 16-
year-old in Pearl, Mississippi who stabbed his mother to death in
her sleep and then opened fire at his high school, killing two
students and wounding seven. Authorities found this student along
with at least six others involved in a small, avowedly satanic clique
that calls itself "Kroth."

How some people can defend this kind of activity as just
another innocent holiday that doesn't harm anyone is beyond me.
"Light has come into the world, but men loved
darkness instead of light because their deeds were
evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will
not come into the light for fear that his deeds will
be exposed." [John 3:19-20]

Central to Satan's goals is the widespread acceptance of the
supernatural, including the occult, on the part of North Americans,
accompanied by a great revival of spiritism all over the world.
Over the last 30 years, the occult has moved into the mainstream
of America - in television, movies, magazines, business, and
various aspects of daily life. Movies, books, magazines and
encyclopedias of the supernatural have abounded. Turn on your
TV and hear from the ever-present "Psychic Friends" hotline, or
see lead characters in TV shows meet their "spirit guide." Entire
bookstores devoted to the occult have become common.
Universities regularly offer courses on witchcraft and magic -
usually the so-called "white" variety. Myriads of mystical Eastern
religions, bizarre and often demonic, have invaded North America
and found in most cases an amazing responsiveness.

Increasingly the curriculum in many public schools is
becoming a primer in occultism. Impressions, a curriculum used in
many school districts instructs teachers and students in how to
cast spells. One teacher's manual reads, "Tell the children that a
magician has cast a spell on some children. Have them work in
pairs to write the magic spell the magician used. Have each pair
write another spell to reverse the first spell. Have them chant their
spells." About 16,000 school districts use the Pumsey the Dragon
curriculum, by Jill Anderson. Many of the relaxation techniques
used are identical to those used in hypnosis. Another curriculum
called Duso the Dolphin employs relaxation techniques and sends
hypnotized youngsters off on guided fantasies to a place called

Recently, a California skateboard manufacturer used a
package enclosure similar in appearance to a gospel tract to
encourage purchasers to sell their souls to the devil. The brochure
titled, "Let's Make a Deal" has a smiley-faced devil who explains
to Flame Boy what happened in heaven after he was banished:
"First off, they set up a bunch of dumb rules, and then they
imposed a really strict dress code. I'l wager that people must be
quite bored up there, but hey, that's what they get for being good."
He contrasts this with, "Flame Boy, even a dimwit like you can
see that hell is by far the best place to retire. Just look at all the
fun to be had." Children are asked to sign and return a contract,
by which they give possession of their souls to the devil for

Satanism has become a phenomena that crosses the city limit
into the rural areas of our nation. It is reported there are some
6000 witches, and approximately 10 million people are involved in
the occult. However, it is very difficult to establish how many
actually participate. These individuals are involved in a wide
variety of activities from simply casting spells to human sacrifice.
The news wires carry story after story about young children being
kidnapped, only to be found later as victims of some bizarre
ritualistic crime.

As satantic involvement among our youth increases, we begin
to see the primary goal of such activity. According to Scripture (2
Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9), Satan's goal is to deceive man by blinding
him to the truth of the gospel and to receive worship for himself
(Matt. 4:9; Isa. 14:12-14). It has become clear that the primary
goal is to alter an individual's values and turn him against himself,
his beliefs, family, God and society.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as
a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
[1 Peter 5:8]

Young satanists believe the strong will rule with Satan. Once
an individual becomes involved, they often make a pact with
Satan. They commit themselves to a future date when they will
take their own lives by suicide. They believe if they submit
themselves to Satan in death, they will come back in another life
as a stronger being and rule with him forever. According to recent
statistics, fourteen young people a day take their own lives.

What's wrong with Halloween? It does not have even one
single redeeming virtue. It is custom born out of pagan
superstition. It is a demon-inspired, devil-glorifying, occult festival.
It is an evening holy unto evil, death, and divination. The
Scriptures tells us to "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
[1Thess. 5:22] Wake up Christian! This is the night of evil and
those who love the Lord Jesus Christ should have nothing to do
with it.

We are all accountable for our choices and decisions.
Ignorance is no excuse. The choice is up to you. Have you been
involved in this satanic holiday? Do you struggle with giving it up
because "it's just fun" and an innocent opportunity for children to
dress up and collect candy? Don't take my word for it. Let God
show you what he would have you do. You might begin by
praying the following:

Father in heaven I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ to
confess that I'm a sinner. I'm sorry! Please forgive me. I
believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is Your Son and
that You raised him from the dead. I believe that Jesus Christ
died for my sins that I may be saved. Each and everyday
Father I turn my will and my life over to Your care, and may
Your Holy Spirit lead and guide me in all the things I think ,
do and say. I'm Yours and You are mine. Father, please use
me that I might help others come to know and love Your Son
Jesus Christ. Thank you for saving me. Amen


Anonymous said...

My husband and I were in a long discussion years ago with the head of the Wiccan church at a large university. He was a very intelligent, well dressed man who was married with a child at home, and a pentagram around his neck. We witnessed to him to no avail (but only God knows his heart and what was going on after our conversation). You know what? One thing he said was, "Do you celebrate Halloween?" We said no. He then explained, "You know, we Wiccans would never, ever, let our children celebrate Easter or Christmas... and we're amazed by and actually laugh at Christians who let their children celebrate our High Holy Day!"

We had never thought of it that way until that moment!

So, if Pagan children can deny themselves two "fun" holidays for the one they worship, why can't Christian children "cope" with denying themselves only one?? And what of the Jehovah's Witness child who denies ALL holidays for their god??

Let's teach our children how to say *NO!* to evil!!


Anneatheart said...

Thanks so much for your comment Heather- wow! I feel such sadness for the child growing up in that home. What a dark place it must be.

Makes sense though- why is such a 'holiday' considered ok by Christians? Why is it no big deal to see gore and demons and ghosts on this day? I've been shopping around for fall party decor, and can't believe some of the grotesque and disgusting things that are being sold for 'decor'. Why would anyone even want that stuff in their house? We don't watch scary movies, read scary books etc. at all- no tolerance there.