Cult and Fringe Christianity Studies
"Hallowe'en long antedates Christianity. History shows that the main celebrations of Hallowe'en were purely Druidical [ancient Britain]. The Druids believed in the calling together of certain wicked souls on Hallowe'en by Saman, lord of death. Upon the Druidic ceremonies were grafted some of the characteristics of the Roman festival in honor of Pomona [pagan Italian goddess of fruits and gardens] held about November 1st, in which nuts and apples, representing the winter store of fruits, played an important part."
I did not find this quote in my Encyclopedia Brittannica (which is an older version, 1979, perhaps the reason), but mine stated:
"..It [Halloween] was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the process of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.." (Volume IV, page 862)
This study comes from three sources:
Halloween What It Is From A Christian Perspective
A Christian Perspective on Halloween: Hallowed or Harmful?
Ten Reasons Christians Should Not Celebrate Halloween
What You Should Know About Halloween
Why do many churches oppose Halloween?
Finally, this document is not designed to teach hatred of Druids, Pagans, Wicca, Catholics, Protestants, or any other group of people. The study does ask you, if you are a Christian, to consider the fact that you are strangers to this world:
1 Peter 2:11-12 "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
Your eternal home and allegiance is to God, not to man. While we spend this time on earth we are to honor our Lord, lead others to Him, and prepare for the day when we will finally stand with Him in Heaven. A popular item among Christians today is a little bracelet that had WWJD on it. Well, what would Jesus do? Would He dress up as a goblin or a ghost and go door to door yelling "Trick or Treat"? Would He, as an Orthodox Jew, smile at references of Witches and Familiars? Do you remember Jesus, even once, worshipping the dead? How is the Gospel promoted by the House of Horror? You may not like these questions, but as a Christian you should certainly ask them of yourself, and answer them honestly.
Romans 13:12-14 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
There is a spiritual conflict going on all around us, Christians! We should be spreading the Gospel message, encouraging one another in spiritual growth, and not following after the world. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Remember, too, as Strangers in this world there are many deceivers out there who do not have your welfare in mind. There are many out there that say, "It's fine, it's just a little harmless fun". God's Word warns us who are His children:
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
Which brings up the point: If the Bible doesn't support
it, how can we condone it? It's time all believers stopped living on
the edge of the old sinful life, and started living the new life that
is their birthright in Christ. If the historical presentation of this
study differs from what you were told, then are you released from making
a Godly choice? Is the Scripture null and void because you disagree
with this author? It's your choice, believer. Be careful what
you choose! Now, on with the study.
What Is Happy About Halloween?
The celebration of "Hallow's Eve" honored the pagan gods, particularly the lord of the dead. The celebration was held on the last day of October, the Eve of the Celtic New Year. On Hallow's Eve the lord of the dead was supposed to call all of the wicked dead back from the prison of hell, and place them in lower animal bodies (dogs, cats, wolves, bats, etc.). The Celts felt that if they pleased this god with their worship, then he in turn would protect them from these resurrected demons.
Judaism and Christianity ignored Hallow's Eve because of it's Satanic overtones. The worship of Hallow's Eve nearly died out until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (100 AD). He built a Temple of the Dead to appease the druids. The Temple gave the people a reason to start backing the festival again.
Rome went through a series of battles until Rome itself fell under barbarian conquerors. By 607 AD the Roman emperor Phocas recaptured the city. From the time Rome first fell until 607 AD, the Church of Christ had moved into Catholicism. Phocas wanted to insure the Rome remained a part of the Roman empire, so he gave the city to Pope Boniface IV. Boniface reconsecrated the Temple of the Dead, dedicating it to Mary, the "Mother of God".
It was a long standing policy of the Catholic Church to avoid making religious waves among the pagans. The Catholics began to wrongly equate physical growth with spiritual growth, so they would modify Church doctrine in an attempt to make it more pleasing to the pagan. "Certainly", the bishops reasoned, "If the pagan joins the Church, they will be converted to Christ in time". Actually their tactic had the reverse effect, and the Church doctrine became more and more muddied by pagan influence. When the city of Rome was given to Boniface IV, he decided to allow worship of the lord of the dead to continue as long as the pagans joined the Church. The legacy of Boniface is that many Catholic Christians, even today, light candles and pray for the dead, just as the druids did nearly 1400 years ago. The Catholics, rather than praying to the lord of the dead, pray to Mary, the Mother of God. This practice, fermented out of the religions of the druids, finds no support in the Holy Bible. The druids day of worship, Hallow's Eve, was modified to be called All Saints Day.
For two centuries the yearly celebration of the dead was called "All Saints Day", and was held on the last day of October. In 834 AD the celebration was moved to November 1st, though it still retained the name of All Saints Day. As I said before, Catholics still pray to Mary (just as the druids prayed to the lord of the dead) for the souls of the dead. Their reasoning is that, since Mary was Jesus' mother, surely she'll convince Jesus to let these unrepentant souls into Heaven. The Bible, however, makes it plain that you can only be saved if you accept Jesus as Savior while you are in this life:
Acts 4:10-12 "Be it known unto
you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,
even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone
which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of
the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Why The Children Shout
The most effective ploy that Satan ever uses is to try and deceive as much of Christianity as is possible using the same trick in different ways. The Catholic Church, by allowing pagan ritual and worship, followed pagan god worship under the guise of All Saints Day. But what about the Reformed Protestant Church?
Ancient druidism had another practice that, up to now, we haven't discussed. The druids demanded human sacrifice in order to show "proper respect" for the lord of the dead. In order to accomplish this, the druids went from castle to castle and demanded women so that they could be sacrificed. The women were then taken to sacrificial altars and killed (one of the most prominent areas we know of today for human sacrifice was Stonehenge in England). If the sacrifice was willingly given, the druids left a hollow gourd outside of the castle walls filled with burning human fat. This burning fat was supposed to protect the castle from demonic attack. If the druids were refused the sacrifice, they drew a hexagram on the door or wall of the castle and left. Before dawn someone in the castle would be found dead from fear.
This practice of going "door to door" eventually found
it's way into society as a form of Halloween ritual. The earliest settlers
in America encouraged their children to go door to door shouting "Trick
or Treat", little knowing that they were mimicking ritualized murder
of days gone by. The children were given fruit, much like the druids
were given human sacrifices. If the children were refused a treat, they
were allowed to play a little "trick" on the household. Parents put
candles inside of pumpkin gourds (just as the druids put human fat inside
of hollow gourds) to commemorate Halloween. By making it all seem like
harmless fun, Satan drew both Catholic and Protestant, believer and
unbeliever into the web of druidic paganism.
What's Wrong With A Little
Most people, even Christian believers, defend Halloween as only "A little innocent fun for the kids". It may be innocent, but is it fun to mimic (however unknowingly) devil worship, female sacrifice, and witchcraft? Once the Christian household allows paganism into it's midst, then how much harder is it for Satan to get us involved in real druidism? The Ouija board, seemingly harmless, is no less than a familiar spirit:
Leviticus 20:6-7 "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God."
Deuteronomy 18:10-13 "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. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 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. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God."
The question that the Christian must ask his or her self is this: "Do I want to play Satan's game? Do I want to participate in a festival that originates from human sacrifice and demon worship? What do I want my children to learn?" Take a hard look at these questions and the evidence presented: your spiritual condition (as well as that of your children) may well depend on your answer.
Are there alternatives to Halloween? Absolutely! Many
Churches have begun promoting "Fall Festivals" on Halloween night. The
festivals are held at Church, children are offered Christian activities
and adults have valuable time in which to fellowship with each other.
Other Christians use Halloween night as a time to take their children
out to eat, to skate, to a clean movie, or just to spend quality time
with them. You do not need to deprive your children of fun in order
to avoid Satan's traps. Christians may even use Halloween as an opportunity
to witness to the "visitors". Rather than decorating your yard with
ghosts and ghouls, focus on the Christian theme of love and salvation
through Jesus. If you feel compelled to give out "treats" to the children,
give out salvation tracts as well while telling the children about your
Savior. Reclaim the night for Jesus!
What follows is an article from New Wine magazine. All
copyrights belong to New Wine Magazine and the author John Stanko:
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Every October 31, Christian parents face a number of questions about Halloween, such as, "Should we allow our children to be out trick or treating?" and Should we answer the door and give out candy or tracts? " Without a sufficient knowledge of Halloween's history and what the Bible says, it is difficult for a Christian to adequately answer these and other questions about participation in Halloween.
The celebration of what we know as Halloween dates back to before the time of Christ. In the Celtic countries of Britain, Germany, and France, the Druids (the priests and teachers of the Celts) set aside October 31 to honor Samhain, the lord of the dead. At this time of year the crops were harvested and it was a time of general decay. The day honoring Samhain highlighted the gloom and cold of the coming season. The Celts believed that Samhain assembled all the souls of the dead on October 31, the eve of the Celtic new year. This freed them to return to their homes, where their families were to entertain them. If they didn't find an acceptable welcome the spirits would cast spells or cause other problems for the living (the first form of trick or treat) To prepare for the arrival of these spirits the Druids built huge bonfires, sacrificing animals, crops, and even humans. This fire was also used for divinations (they studied the remains of the sacrificed animals). During this ritual, many people wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined the festival to Samhain with their own festival honoring Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees, making apples and nuts an important part of the rituals.
Despite the prevalence of Christianity this pagan rite continued. The Irish held parades to honor Muck Olla, one of their gods. A leader wearing a white robe and an animal head marched at the head of the parade. Those who followed him asked for food to help celebrate the October 31 festival, punishing farmers who refused to cooperate (another form of trick or treat). Bonfires raged throughout Wales, Scotland, England on October 31. In the year 834 Pope Boniface IV moved the church feast of All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows' Day) from May to November 1 to counter this growing pagan rite. October 31 naturally was called All Hallows' Evening - eventually abbreviated Halloween.
In medieval times satanic witches took Halloween as an opportunity to mock the saints of the church commemorated on All Saints' Day. The witches supposedly flew on broomsticks accompanied by black cats (also believed to be a type of witch). In later years the poor in England went door to door for food on November 2, All Souls' Day. Beggars received "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the dead of that household. In America however, because of the strong religious convictions of the early settlers, Halloween celebrations were banned. In the early 1800's, as more immigrants of Celtic origin arrived, Halloween celebrations were instituted
Despite the contemporary decline in trick or treating (perhaps because of dangers such as poisoned candy) Halloween lives on. School parties, the media, and peer pressure all serve to make Halloween a fun and necessary time in children's eyes. Christian parents face extreme difficulty in deciding what their family should do about the annual celebration.
Considering Halloween's origins, it should not be difficult to establish a Scriptural position on the holiday. Deuteronomy 18.9-12 states: "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. 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. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 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."
As Christians seek to make a firm decision regarding participation in Halloween, it is important to keep in mind that believers are called to:
Another Perspective On Halloween
Question: "What is your perspective of Halloween?"
Answer: There are a number of reasons why I think it is unwise for Christian parents to permit their children to go door to door collecting candy on Halloween. First of all, dressing up like witches, ghosts, or goblins is incompatible with a Christian's testimony.
Furthermore, many of the customs of Halloween are associated with the worst kinds of pagan beliefs and ceremonies; they are usually centered on sinister things such as demons, witchcraft, and superstition.
If we as Christian parents simply disregard the unchristian aspects of such practices as mere fantasy or superstition and then encourage our children to participate in them, we run the risk of communicating the message that the spiritual battle waged by the rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:10) is not to be taken seriously.
Halloween has its origins in an ancient Celtic harvest celebration. The superstitious Celts believed that demons, ghosts, and hobgoblins roamed free in the dark and barren days of winter, and the end of October was the onset of that season. Their celebrations grew out of their superstitions, and they have been passed down to the present day, along with other pagan and satanic beliefs.
Another reason I don't advise parents to permit their children to celebrate Halloween by dressing up and going door to door is the issue of safety. The possibility of a child's being struck by an automobile, kidnaped, poisoned, or otherwise injured is greater on Halloween than on any other night of the year.
Still, I think it is wise for parents to give their children a creative alternative to celebrating Halloween. They shouldn't feel like they've missed something because they are Christians.
Our family likes to spend Halloween together. We plan special activities that are more fun for the kids than begging candy. In the past, we have all gone out together for ice cream, or we might stay home and have a special evening together doing something just for them.
That way when the children face the inevitable pressure of talking with their friends about what they did on Halloween, they can share their faith in positive terms, rather than having to speak of what they can't do because of their parents' Christian faith.