Righteousness ! It is time the church lived what it stands for!
Stop Celebrating pagan holidays and start celebrating the feasts of the Lord!
Halloween has never been a Christian Holiday! Churches in the US and around the world need to stop pretending like it is!
When we open our churches on Halloween and have "Halloween Alternative Parties" or "Harvest Festivals" and call it out reach are we really reaching out to a world of hurting people to share the gospel or are we conforming to the world by what we are doing? From what I have seen throughout my lifetime is the church conforming to the world.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 NIV
May 13, 609 Pope Boniface IV started the first all saints day to replace the pagan celebration of the day of the dead. At this time he was also given the Pantheon (a Roman building dedicated to pagan gods) in which the pope then in turn dedicated the building to Mary and martyrs. In the year 837 Pope Gregory IV set aside all saints day to be November 1st to coincide with the druid holiday on Samhain which was the druid new year where they believe the veil between the spirit world and the physical world was the thinnest. It is stated that the pope was fascinated by the druids and even brought them into the church. There was also a Roman holiday to celebrate the goddess of the fruit trees in late October which was blended together in this celebration.
It is so important that Christians be aware of what they are celebrating during Halloween. God has impressed it upon my heart to share some of what I have learned and what the Lord has taught me through the years. When I was a child I celebrated in church and on the streets during Halloween. None of the churches that I ever went to a "Halloween Alternative Party" or "Harvest Festival" ever taught me what was being celebrated let alone how celebrating such a thing could harm me. All they taught were that Christians could dress up, bob for apples, ask for treats and gorge themselves one night a year. Below I have written some very important questions that all Christians should be asking as they prepare to celebrate during Halloween. These many of these questions could be applied to any pagan celebration that has been brought into the church.
What is Halloween?
Halloween is the eve before all saints day which used to be called all hallows eve. Its origins stem from Roman, Celtic, and druidic pagan faiths. The Celtic people believed that dead souls or fairies would roam the earth on this night causing havoc. Other early European faiths believed that souls would wander the earth until they were prayed into heaven. Romans would celebrate the goddess of fruit trees during this time. Druids believed that there was more power for the year ahead if they sacrificed with fire during this time. Halloween and All Saints day were brought together by the melding of the different religions. The Catholic church appeased the different religions by skewing their celebrations to be more acceptable to the Christians of that time.
This is what God's word has to say about blending with other religions.
"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 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 18:9-14 NIV
This means we are not to blend with other religions taking on their practices and holidays. God's words to the Israelites were very clear! There is no room for false gods, idol worship, or unholy sacrifices.
Why do people dress up?
People began to dress up on this night for a variety of reasons depending on the region they came from. Celtic people dressed up to fool the fairies (demons) who would torment them on this night. They thought if they dressed like them the would be safe. Druids dressed up in ceremonial clothing to perform ritual sacrifice with fire. The druids would dress up to fool evil spirits into thinking they were one of them as well. In England peasant children would dress up like beggars and prisoners in rags in remembrance of a man who was put to death for trying to blow up British government offices. Although the English version of why people dress up seems more innocent then the other reasons it is still rooted in a seed of rebellion.
Some churches feel that by having children dress up as their favorite Bible hero on this night that it is ok. This is simply not true! We should never take practices from other pagan religions and add them into Christianity. True Christianity should embrace the Bible God's Holy Word! Christianity should seek to spread the gospel with out placating to society. It is bad enough that children are encouraged to dress up for alternative parties at church but it is even worse when the church just ignores the holiday or embraces the holiday letting children cross dress, dress as demons, dress as mythical creatures, or dress in violent costumes.
This is what God's word has to say about dressing to scare evil away.
"A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this." Deuteronomy 22:5 NIV
In Joshua chapter 7 there is a story of Achan who disobeyed the Lord and took gold, silver and other pagan objects when all the gold and silver was to be put in the Lord's treasury and all other items destroyed. One item the he took that should have been destroyed was a pagan item of clothing. It is described as a beautiful robe from Babylonia. Clothing such as this was not to be worn by the Hebrew people. So it makes sense that clothing of witches, warlocks and druids should not be worn by us today.
"Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22 NIV
Where does the Pumpkin fit in?
There are several different stories on how the pumpkin became a symbol of Halloween night. One store is an Irish folk tale about a man name Jack who made a bargain with satan. This folk tale states that the evil man tricked satan and kept him captive. To make this storey short when the man died he was not welcome in heaven or hell. He pleaded with satan to help light his way as he wandered the earth for eternity. So satan through him a fiery coal and the man put it in a potato or turnip with holes in it to let the light out. This legend states that the Irish people would light candles in potatoes or turnips to guide Jack.
Another such legend is told about the people hollowing out turnips and placing lights in them along their path ways to ward off evil spirits and to guide their dead loved ones home.
The vegetable changed to pumpkin only after the tradition came to the USA in the early 1920's. That's right...Halloween has been celebrated in the USA for less then 100 years!! It was not excepted by the early churches in the US. In fact it was an abomination. So what happened?
This is what God's word has to say about idols and talisman such as this.
"Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 26:1 NIV
"Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless." 1 Samuel 12:21 NIV
"All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the LORD had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that provoked the LORD to anger. They worshiped idols, though the LORD had said, "You shall not do this." The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets."
But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do.
They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. hey sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD , provoking him to anger.
So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence." 2 Kings 17:7-18
The Lord destroyed his chosen nation over and over again because they turned from him and sought after the ways of others. He destroyed their idols and cast them into exile. We are only kidding ourselves if we think that God would not cast us away if we do this too. Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us. But when we turn to idols...even if it is not intentional we are running away from him and out of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
What about party games like bobbing for apple and other Halloween games?
These games which seem fun and innocent actually have their roots in evil and in druidic, Roman, and Celtic pagan worship backgrounds. They are not games. They are the very acts of sorcery and idol worship which opens up Christians around the world to demonic attack and possession. Yes, I said possession. Christians can be possessed! When any one does an act in violation of God's word they open themselves up to attack!
Bobbing for apples may seem like a great harvest festival game but don't be deceived. It has been said to be a way of foretelling future...divination! There is a legend that the first person to get the apple out will be married first. This was done in the Roman world as an act of worship to the pagan goddess Pomona known as the goddess of Fruit Trees whose symbol is the apple. By dunking or bobbing for the apple it is an act of bowing down to the goddess. Other cultures believed that by peeling the apple you could find out your future husbands name or find out how long you will live. Don't deceive yourself. People believe this to be true and still do this today. Other people unknowing worship this goddess by playing what they think is a game. This idol worship should not be done in churches!
Witchcraft and spells are becoming increasingly popular among young people in this nation...even in the churches. Children are consulting psychics, fortune tellers, and mediums. They are also turning to what they call white witchcraft which is nothing more then a pretty name put on an ugly sin. Children are repeating spells that they have learned from books such as Harry Potter (a series of books which has made the occult way too popular but that is another subject).
This is what God's word has to say about this type of game.
"I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells." Micah 5:12 NIV
"Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 26:1 NIV
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess." Numbers 33:51-53
What do these verses mean to us today and what do they have to do with the party games that children are play? Well it is quite simple. Do not bow to idols = Do not bob for apples. Do not cast spells = Don't repeat any spell in any party game even if it say it is just for fun and not real. You never know for sure the exact origins of these incantations. All spells are evil. God despises sorcery. It is like saying to God that you don't need him because you can say some special words and it will be alright. In the verse from Numbers you see God's directions to the Israelites to destroy the idols and places of worship for pagan religions in their land. For us to copy the pagan religions and celebrate these pagan rituals is disobedience and rebellion. Not only that it is turning away from the one true God.
What about having Harvest festivals in church?
Well to say it simply there are many harvest festivals that come from pagan origins. Halloween was the harvest festival time for Romans that celebrated the pagan goddess of Ponoma the goddess of the harvest. This eventually merged with the Celtic beliefs and was merged with the other forms of idol worship such as necromancy the worshiping of the dead when the Romans conquered the Celtic people. It was believed that until this time the Druids would sacrifice people at this time of year. The Romans outlawed this practice, although many people believe that such acts are still going on today. We are to fear nothing above the Lord our God. Having a harvest festival on Halloween night is just like saying you are going to try to clean up this pagan holiday just like the Romans tried to do. It won't happen. Instead it opens up you and your congregation to attack in the spirit.
There is a Biblical Harvest Festival that I would encourage you to incorporate in to you Church though. It is one of the 7 Biblical feasts that Jesus took part in while he walked the earth and it is a commanded remembrance celebration for Israel. It is the feast of Sukkot which falls in the Biblical month of Tishri which would be in September or October of our calendar. There is also another feast in the Bible that has to do with harvest as well. It is called Shavuot or the feast of weeks in which the first day of this feast is dedicated to the first fruits of the harvest. This falls in the Biblical month of Sivan which is in May or June of our calendar. Since many churches do harvest festivals in the fall I would like to concentrate on Sukkot.
What does God's word say about Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles on of the Biblical Harvest Festivals)?
The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. " 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire-the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD .) " 'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' "
So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD . Leviticus 23:33-44 NIV
This year Sukkot is celebrated from Sundown on October 10th to October 18th. One of the main reasons for the Feast of Sukkot was for the Israelites to remember that the Lord provided for them in the wilderness at that the Lord was with them. For Messianic Jewish believers it takes on an even stronger meaning for it was during this time that Yeshua (Jesus) was born and so fullfiled this feast by dwelling with them. Many messianic believers believe that Yeshua was actually born in a Sukkah (the booths set up for the celebration of this feast). So why should Christians celebrate this feast? We have been grafted in to the faith of the ancient Hebrews. We should celebrate all that the Lord has done. You can find the largest evidence of this in the book of Romans Chapter 11 where it states
"Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!" Romans 11:11-24
Since God has grafted us into to the Olive Tree of the Israelites should we not observe the Feasts of the Lord which he has stated should go on for all generations? I believe we need to reach down into the roots of our faith and observe the same holidays that our Lord and Savior Jesus did! We can learn a lot about the Lord and his character by doing this. If you would like more information about having a Sukkot feast or teaching in your church please email me! I would be glad to send you ideas and information about how to incorporate the feasts of the Lord rather then celebrating the pagan festivals.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, here is a quick PS:
As you know most churches celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. Historically this would be time time when the Wise men from the East came to honor him. It is more historically accurate that Jesus was born some time in September or the Begin of October.
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