By David M. Kowalke, Jr. | TRINICY.org
Photo by Vlad Chețan
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
As Halloween is upon us once again, culturally we slip into the assumption that it is an innocuous ‘holiday’, designed for children, but adopted, more and more, by adults. Is that so? Is it innocent of evil reference? Is it evil period? Why is it so popular? Where did it come from? Should it be celebrated? If so, how? Is it really a “hill to die on”?
DIGGING UP THE ROOTS
While most westerners are familiar with Halloween and its traditions, many are not aware of the days from which it derives its name. In and around the tenth and eleventh centuries, there had developed a belief (though not a biblical one), that some people were assured of heaven because of their good works and faith.
Some of these were declared to be “Saints” and their ‘extra’ and, therefore, unneeded, good deeds were available to and could be purchased by those who were short of that which was required to secure salvation, including through penance and indulgences.
These saints were honored, venerated, and prayed to, and a holy day was set aside for this purpose called “All Saints’ Day” on the first of November. Later, a day was named to pray for all those faithful departed, and to emulate the good lives of the Saints for salvation. This was called “All Souls’ Day” on the second of November.
What about Halloween? “Hallow” means “holy.” The suffix “ween” was an abbreviation for the word “evening,” therefore referring to the evening before the day set aside for homage to the Saints. It was considered a night when Christians should pray for protection from the evil in the world. They would dress up in costumes of the Saints and act out the spiritual battle that takes place in the unseen world for the souls of men.
Here is the problem. These traditions are not Biblical and, therefore, were not given to believers. While there most definitely is a spirit world, Satan, angels, and fallen angels called “demons," “saints” should not be those declared to be so because of their good deeds. The Bible uses the word, “hagios” translated as “saint” or “holy one.” It describes and is the name for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as the promised God-man who paid for mankind’s sin by His substitutionary sacrifice and His shed blood on the cross, rising in three days to prove that the payment was sufficient. All believers are “saints” or “holy ones” - not based on their good deeds or merit, but based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross! I am not a saint because of my holy behavior, but because of my right standing in Christ, having been “set aside,” or “made holy,” for His purposes!
LUTHER NAILED IT!
Five hundred years later, a German monk named Martin Luther, after facing his unbearable sense of guilt and sin before a holy God, discovered in the book of Romans that “the just (or righteous) shall live by faith,” not by good works. He was so profoundly impacted by this discovery that he ultimately wrote out 95 reasons to teach that salvation is only purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and not by the coins dropped in the priests’ coffers to supposedly purchase the good deeds of the "saints."
These 95 reasons, or “theses,” were, as was the common practice, nailed to his home church’s door in Wittenberg.
When? On the 31st of October, 1517! This date has been adopted by many and has been renamed - no longer “Halloween” but Reformation Day! Many have adopted Reformation Sunday as a day to celebrate that we are no longer bound to fables and evil forces but to Christ, our Savior and Deliverer!
Martin Luther went on to translate the Bible into the German language, so that the common man, not just the educated priest, could see for himself that “the just shall live by faith”! Sola Scriptura! Only the Bible! Sola Fide! Only by Faith! Thus the winds of Reformation swept the country, the continent, and the world!
WITCHES, WICCA, WHATEVER!
Are there witches, those who practice the occult (that which is hidden)? Yes. What is Wicca? Dressed-up paganism. Is little Johnny ‘cute’ when he comes to the door dressed up in horns and a tail with a pitchfork saying, “Trick or Treat?!” Probably. However, beware! There is one prowling around seeking whom he may devour. This one should be terrifying to those who are not sealed with the Spirit of God.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should Halloween be accepted as a cultural event? Should Halloween be repurposed as Reformation Day? Should we just let it go? Should we join the party? What will you do this Halloween or the next?
When Martin Luther was told to recant and deny the Gospel of grace through faith, he stood before the council and said that he could not speak against the Scriptures, which were so clear. He said, “Here I stand! I can do no other!”
Where do you stand?
"Vigil" by Ruxandra Ionce
“Vigil is supposed to be an allegorical interpretation of Christian endurance, resilience and strength. The ruins in the background represent the church history and the great cultures build on Christian foundations- despite their monumental beauty and grandeur they unfortunately come to pass but the lion represents the real Christian- strong, powerful, obedient and vigilant. He is immovable, steadfast and humble- recognising that everything is given from above for a purpose. The door in the back can be interpreted in a number of ways - one way being a gesture towards continuity: the church still continues to exist and is always open despite division, despite secularism, and despite persecution.”
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