Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

HALLOWE'EN -- Trick? Or Treat?

Millions of people observe Hallowe'en as a time to have fun, kick up their heels, go to costume parties, dress up as ghosts, mass murderers, goblins, ghouls, witches, warlocks, demons, and send their children "trick or treating." But WHY? What is behind this major holiday, whose commercial importance grows year by year? Is it all so innocent as millions assume? What does the Word of the Living God say about it?

by HOIM Staff

According to the comic strip "Cathy," in the Sunday, October 29, 1995 Pasadena Star-News, in the past ten years Hallowe'en has tripled in size, and one out of every three adult men and women will dress up in full Hallowe'en costumes this year. Hallowe'en parties now rank third, right behind New Year's Eve and the Superbowl, and Hallowe'en is second only to Christmas for home decorations. "Cathy" asks, "What's going on here?? Can a generation raised on therapy find no better way to cope with stress than to put on a Batman suit??" She goes on, "Are we so repressed that we need to create a $400 million holiday to act out our fantasies??"

Good questions! Where did Hallowe'en come from, anyway? Why do so many people enjoy it, and dressing up in bizarre, ghoulish, and grotesque costumes? Is it all just innocent fun and games, and nothing to worry about? Or is there an occult, sinister, dark side to Hallowe'en that few people today suspect, or know anything about?

In the November issue of a religious magazine called The Plain Truth (I call it the "Plain Trash"), there is an article on Hallowe'en in a section called "Questions." The question they attempt to answer is: "How should a Christian view Halloween?" Notice how they tippy-toe around this question in their answer. First of all, they admit:

"Halloween, or All Hallows' Eve, falls on Oct.31. It immediately precedes All Saints' Day on Nov.1. All Saints' Day celebrates the memory of Christian martyrs who suffered and died for the sake of the gospel [sounds like they are endorsing its observance, doesn't it?]. . . the Roman Catholic Church did not order the UNIVERSAL OBSERVANCE of All Saints' Day on Nov.1 until the ninth century.

"In ancient Britain and Ireland, Oct.31 marked the eve of the new year and the pagan Celtic festival of Sambain (sic, it should be "Samhain"). . .

"At Sambain (sic), the souls of the dead were thought to come back and visit their homes. Bonfires were lit to scare evil spirits. Sinister figures -- witches, ghosts, goblins, and demons -- supposedly roamed about" (p. 10).

It almost sounds as if they are admitting that the origin of Hallowe'en is distinctly PAGAN. But they also seem to be admitting that it is a "Christian holiday," now, and assert, "The pagan practices gradually swayed the celebration of All Hallows Eve." Is it all right, therefore, for Christians to observe it? Or should all people steer far clear of this pagan celebration? The article concludes, in a weak-kneed, insipid, compromising stance, giving no advice whatsoever and never answers the original question! Rather, the magazine says:

"Because of the pagan elements that long ago became attached to the evening, many devout Christians choose to avoid trick or treating and other Halloween customs. Christian parents often steer their children away from taking part is what they see as a celebration of darkness and mischief" (emphasis mine, throughout).

How quaint. How sweet. The implication, of course, is that the decision is yours to make -- that YEHOVAH God's Word says nothing really about it one way or the other. The article concludes, "A dedicated Christian will not knowingly celebrate evil. With this in mind, many Christians avoid participation in the dark practices associated with the celebration of Halloween" (ibid.).

Really? Is that all there is to it? The idea seems to be that you can celebrate it if you wish, so long as you avoid any purely "evil" or "dark practices" connected with it, whatever they may be. The message I receive from this is that you can go ahead, and have fun, but just "remember Christ" and don't do anything that would constitute a "dark practice." I suppose that means, don't murder, rape or kill somebody, dismember, or hurt anybody.

I found the Pasadena Star-News article far more informative and helpful, in exposing the true origin of this popular holiday. In an article "Unmasking Halloween traditions," Christopher Nyerges writes:

"The roots of Halloween go back to the Celts. To the ancient Celts, there were six significant fire ceremonies during the year. The greatest of these were Beltane, the first of May, and Samhain, the last day of October.

"The feast of Samhain (meaning `summer's end'), marked both their Feast of the Dead and the Celtic New Year. This time of the year, half-way between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, was a time of decay and death on the earth.

"Samhain ushered in the darkest and most barren time of the year, a time fraught with ghosts, witches, demons, and fairies.

"Fire rites, during which HUMAN AND ANIMAL SACRIFICES were made, were performed in the belief that they'd protect the crops and flocks from demonic influence" (Saturday, October 28, 1995).

The Celts believed that on the Feast of Samhain, the spirits of their ancestors would rise up from the cold fields and graves and come into the warm homes and cottages of the people, and had to be greeted with decorations and festivities, parties and acceptance, in order to get "protection" for the household from evil spirits during the coming winter months. Offerings were made to protect the household from malicious spirits or demons. Says Christopher Nyerges:

"Thus, in its origin, the Feast of Samhain was a rite designed to protect humans from the `evil' activities of the dis-incarnate. It was, if you will, a BARGAIN WITH THE DEAD so they'd stay away and cause no trouble during the next year."

The World Book Encyclopedia describes the origin of this holiday in these words:

"The Celtic Festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, and northern France. Their new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening.

"On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires. The Druids built a huge, new year's BONFIRE of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and possibly even human beings as SACRIFICES. Then each family relit its hearth fire from the new year's fire. During the celebration, people sometimes WORE COSTUMES made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed" (article "Halloween," p. 25).

This Celtic holiday entered the Roman Empire after the Romans conquered the Celts in A.D. 43 and ruled Great Britain for about 400 years. During this time two Roman festivals of the autumn were combined with the Celtic Festival of Samhain. One of them, Feralia, was held in late October to honor the dead. The other honored Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruits and trees. Apples probably became connected with Halloween because of this festival.

Says the Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh edition, of Hallowe'en:

"Hallowe'en and its formerly attendant ceremonies long antedate Christianity. The two chief characteristics of ancient Hallowe'en were the lighting of bonfires and the belief that of all nights in the year this is the one during which ghosts and witches are most likely to wander abroad. Now on or about the first of November the Druids held their great autumnal festival and lighted fires in honor of the SUN-GOD in thanksgiving for the harvest. Further, it was a Druid belief that on the eve of this festival, Saman, LORD OF DEATH, called together the wicked souls that within the past twelve months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. Thus it is clear that the main celebrations of Hallowe'en were purely Druidical, and this is further proved by the fact that in parts of Ireland the 31st of October was, and even still is, known as Oidhche Shamhna, `Vigil of Samhan.' On the Druid ceremonies were GRAFTED some of the characteristics of the Roman festival in honor of Pomona held about the end of November, in which nuts and apples, as representing the winter store of fruits, played an important part. Thus the roasting of nuts and the sport known as `apple-ducking' -- attempting to seize with the teeth an apple floating in a tub of water -- were once the universal occupation of the young folk in medieval England on the 31st of October. The custom of lighting Hallowe'en fires survived until recent years in the highlands of Scotland and Wales. In the dying embers it was usual to place as many small stones as there were persons around, and next morning a search was made. If any of the pebbles were displaced it was regarded as certain that the person represented would die within the next twelve months" ("Hallowe'en", p.857-858).

But what happened? How did this ancient Druid, Celtic festival in honor of the "Lord of the Dead," and celebrated in worship of the "Sun-god," ever creep into the practice of the "Christian Church"?

Hallowe'en Enters "Christianity"

Many ancient pagan practices became incorporated into the practices of the early Church, including virtually every pagan festival known to the Romans and the inhabitants of the Roman Empire. Hallowe'en was no exception. The World Book Encyclopedia relates:

"Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800's, the church established All Saints' Day on November 1. THE PEOPLE MADE THE OLD PAGAN CUSTOMS PART OF THIS CHRISTIAN HOLY DAY. THE CHURCH BEGAN TO HONOR THE DEAD ON NOVEMBER 2. This day became known as All Souls' Day."

Writes Christopher Nyerges, in Unmasking Halloween Traditions:

"In the 700s, the Roman Catholic Church authorities accepted the fact that they had failed in their attempts to eliminate the Samhain observations, which were considered `PAGAN.' Thus, as has often occurred when New Religion clashed with Old Religion, the names of the holy days were changed. Nov.1 became All Saints' Day, and the day before became the Hallowed Eve, or Holy Eve, which we today call Halloween. THIS WAY, THE OLD RELIGION PRACTICE OF SAMHAIN COULD CONTINUE, BUT NOW IT WAS A CHRISTIAN [sic] HOLY DAY. As a result, the members of the Catholic Church increased, everyone way happy and things went on as usual."

How blatant! How plain! How clever and odious! The Church could not conquer or stamp out the paganism in the hearts and traditions of the people, so it did the opposite -- it embraced, and took to its bosom, the paganism of old, and "baptized" it, and then called these pagan practices "CHRISTIAN"!

But what does YEHOVAH God, and Yeshua the Messiah, our Saviour, say about this sort of thing? Is it all right in YEHOVAH's sight if any of His people worship Him with the practices of ancient pagan religions? Is it acceptable with YEHOVAH God if we follow pagan-derived practices and call them "Christian"?

The Messiah never observed Hallowe'en. None of the apostles observed it. None of the early churches in the first century observed it. It did not even become an official "Catholic" holy (sic) day until the NINTH CENTURY -- over 800 years after the time of the Messiah!

The fact that Hallowe'en is making a huge successful comeback, today, and is observed by MILLIONS around the world, shows that paganism is itself making a tremendous leap forward under the guise of the modern "Christian" religion. Should any true Christian, or believer in the Messiah Yeshua, observe the popular holiday?

What the Word of YEHOVAH God Says

Yeshua the Messiah very plainly said that man should not live by bread only, but by every word of YEHOVAH God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4). All Scripture is given by YEHOVAH God's inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, correction, reproof, and guidance in our lives (II Timothy 3:16-17). YEHOVAH's Word is truth -- truth to live by (John 17:17).

What then does YEHOVAH God's Word say about adopting and "baptizing" pagan practices and calling them "Christian" and following them?

Is it all right to combine PAGAN religion -- the "old religion"-- with YEHOVAH God's truth? YEHOVAH's Word says: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2).

YEHOVAH God thunders in His Word: "Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations [pagan nations] from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; take heed to thyself that thou BE NOT SNARED BY FOLLOWING THEM...and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

"THOU SHALT NOT DO SO UNTO THE LORD THY GOD: for EVERY ABOMINATION to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the FIRE to their gods.

"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it" (Deuteronomy 12:28-32).

The prophet Jeremiah plainly tells us in straight language which brooks no compromise or misinterpretation: "Thus saith the LORD, learn NOT the way of the heathen...For the customs of the people are VAIN..." (Jeremiah 10:2-3).

The pagan origin of Hallowe'en, no matter how the Roman Catholic Church tries to whitewash it, or colorize it, or "Christianize" it, is plainly obvious for all to see. The real question is: Whom are we going to obey? The true God of heaven and earth, our Creator? Or the "god" of this world, Satan the devil, the real "god" behind the mask of Hallowe'en?

The Scriptures tell us forcefully that Satan is "the great dragon," "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD" (Revelation 12:9).

He is the master of subtlety and deception. He calls good evil, and evil good. He says, "What's the harm in observing Hallowe'en, and having a little `innocent' fun?" It is his purpose to delude, deceive, and destroy mankind by leading them into sin, lawlessness, and disobedience to the laws and Word of YEHOVAH God.

When Caesar invaded Britain, he found the Druids leading the Britons in the worship of the sun-god and his consort, the queen of heaven. This was the same age-old "mystery" religious system that originated from ancient Babylon and Egypt. Samhain, the "lord of the dead," was none other than that old idolatrous figure Nimrod. Says Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons:

"The Druidic system in all its parts was evidently the BABYLONIAN SYSTEM. Dionysius informs us, that the rites of Bacchus were duly celebrated in the British Islands...and Strabo cites Artemidorus to show that, in an island close to Britain, Ceres and Proserpine were venerated with rites similar to the orgies of Samothrace. It will be seen from the account of the Druid Ceridwen and her child, afterwards to be noticed -- that there was a great analogy between her character and that of the great goddess-mother of Babylon. Such was the system; and the name Dryw, or Droi, applied to the priests, is in exact accordance with that system. The name Zero, given in Hebrew or the early Chaldee, to the son of the great goddess queen, in later Chaldee became `Dero.' The priest of Dero, `the seed,' was called, as in the case in almost all religions, by the name of his god; and hence the familiar name `Druid' is thus proved to signify the priest of `Dero' -- the woman's promised `seed'" (p. 81, footnote).

Hislop further tells us:

"The worship of Bel and Astarte [Nimrod and Easter] was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, `the priests of the groves'....From Bel, the 1st of May is still called Beltane in the Almanac; and we have customs still lingering at this day among us, which prove how exactly the worship of Bel or MOLOCH (for both titles belong to the same god) had been observed even in the northern parts of this island...every year, at Beltane (or the 1st of May), a number of men and women assemble at an ancient Druidical circle of stones...They light a fire in the centre, each person puts a bit of oat-cake in a shepherd's bonnet. One piece has been previously blackened, and whoever gets that piece has to jump through the fire in the centre of the circle, and pay a forfeit. This is, in fact, A PART OF THE ANCIENT WORSHIP OF BAAL, and the person on whom the lot fell was previously burnt as a sacrifice. Now, the passing through the fire represents that, and the payment of the forfeit redeems the victim" (p. 103-104).

One of Nimrod's names under which he was worshipped as a god, was "Molech," the god of fire. Molech was the god of barbarity, cruelty and blood. The name itself is a form of the Hebrew word `melek' which means "king." Nimrod was the first man after the Flood of Noah's time to become a "king" and to carve out for himself a "kingdom" on the earth (see Genesis 10:8-10). At first he was worshipped as the "revealer of goodness and truth," but gradually his worship was made to correspond to the darker and more forbidding side of his nature. The horrible rites associated with the worship of this fiend have made the very name a symbol of cruelty and terror, such as is associated with Hallowe'en. Only it was very read, not just pretend.

Says Hislop:

"In almost every land the bloody worship prevailed; `horrid cruelty' hand in hand with abject superstition, filled not only `the dark places of the earth,' but also the regions that boasted of their enlightenment. Greece, Rome, Egypt, Phenicia, Assyria, and our own land under the savage Druids, at one period or other in their history, worshipped the same god and in the same way. Human victims were his most acceptable offerings; human groans and wailings were the sweetest music in his ears; human tortures were believed to delight his heart" (p. 151).

Hislop relates that the Druids "offered human sacrifices to their bloody gods." He adds:

"We have evidence that they `made their children pass through the fire to Molech,' and that makes it highly probable that they also offered them in sacrifice; for from Jeremiah 32:35, compared with Jeremiah 19:5, we find that these two things were parts of one and the same system. The god whom the Druids worshipped was BAAL, as the blazing Baal-fires show, and the last cited passage proves that children were offered in sacrifice to Baal. When `fruit of the body' was thus offered, it was `for the sin of the soul.' And it was a principle of the Mosaic law, a principle no doubt derived from the patriarchal faith, that the priest must partake of whatever was offered as a sin-offering (Numbers 18:9, 10). Hence, the priests of Nimrod or Baal were necessarily required to eat of the human sacrifices; and thus it has come to pass that `Cahna-Bal,' the `Priest of Baal,' is the established word in our own tongue for a devourer of human flesh" (Two Babylons, p. 232).

Thus our word "cannibal" comes from the word "Cahna-Bal," meaning originally "priest of Baal." Also, Molech, the name for "King" Nimrod, another appellation of Baal, or Bel, was obviously connected with the "bon fires" that were lit by the ancient Celts in their celebration of "Samhain," "lord of the dead." Thus the origin of the holiday we know as "Hallowe'en" is incredibly ugly, vile, and an abomination in the sight of YEHOVAH God, and Yeshua the Messiah.

YEHOVAH God's Word says of this inhuman and vile pagan religion: "And they built the high places of BAAL, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this ABOMINATION..." (Jeremiah 32:35).

YEHOVAH thunders: "They have built also the high places for BAAL, to burn their sons with fire for BURNT OFFERINGS unto BAAL, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter" (Jeremiah 19:5).

When we consider the horrible ancestry of this modern celebration of Hallowe'en, and its gruesome and grotesque connection with darkness and evil, how can a true Christian even imagine to have anything whatsoever to do with this hideous, horrible, and macabre eve of pagan glorification of Satan, witchcraft, demons, ghouls, sorcery, and diabolical Satanic deception? What should a true Christian do about such "holidays"? YEHOVAH God's Word clearly commands and instructs us:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with DARKNESS? And what concord hath Christ with BELIAL (Satan the Devil)? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with IDOLS?...Wherefore, COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the LORD, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the LORD Almighty" (II Corinthians 6:14-18).

Make "no bones" about it. Hallowe'en is an abomination in the sight of YEHOVAH God, and any son or daughter of His should have nothing whatsoever to do with this wicked, evil, and despicable "holiday" which the world around us celebrates with fervor and glee. YEHOVAH forbid that any of His children should get involved in this wicked abomination! As the apostle Peter declared, "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conduct; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (I Peter 1:15-16).


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

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