Daily Devotional

For Oct 31, 2014 ← Return

Festival of the Dead

Average reading time is about 2 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  Halloween is observed by many on October 31st each year, on the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday honoring the dead and dates back over 2,000 years. The name Halloween referred to “All Hallows’ Eve,” the evening before All Saints’ Day on November 1st. This was a holiday created by Roman Catholics in an attempt to convert pagans. The Catholic Church honored dead saints on this designated day. This was to mirror the pagan traditions traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain, and Northern Europe.

Roots of Halloween lay in the feast of Samhain, which was held annually on October 31st to honor the dead. Samhain signifies “summer’s end,” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed by superstition. The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil spirits and ensure next year’s crops would be plentiful. They also dressed up in disguises to confuse the vengeful spirits. These customs gradually evolved into trick-or-treating.

Today, Halloween focuses on symbols of jack-o’-lanterns, costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating. Costume imagery is often tied to horror stories, death, evil, the occult, and mythical monsters. Candy sales average about two billion dollars annually, making it—next to Christmas—the most commercially successful holiday for stores and dentists.

So the question is, “Should a Bible Christian fear the spirits of the dead?” The Bible is very clear about what happens when a person dies. They do not come back to haunt you as a disembodied spirit or ghost. When people die, they truly are dead! “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalm 6:5). “But the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

Christians do not need to fear the spirits of the dead, for they do not exist. People who die are in their graves, awaiting the resurrection—either to life eternal or to eternal destruction. Satan and his host of evil angels are behind all so-called appearances of dead people. But Christ promises us that His powers are greater than those of the devil. In Jesus we have no fear.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23

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