by Shawn Brasseaux
At this time of year, we see young people dressed up in costumes. They portray characters of all sizes, colors, and shapes. There are goblins, witches, zombies, pirates, devils, skeletons, and vampires, to name a few. You even see fictional and real-life celebrities. These kids, meaning no harm, travel from house to house and exclaim, “Trick-or-treat!” They are totally oblivious as to why Halloween celebrations include jack-o’-lanterns, apple bobbing, and door-to-door begging. Their parents, unfortunately, have never bothered to research the origin of the expression, “Trick-or-treat.”
Is it any wonder why the Church the Body of Christ is so ineffective in reaching the lost? Its members unite with the world in its doctrinal error. Professing Christians mingle with that which does not reflect their identity in Christ. Sadly, Christians are viewed as hypocrites because they are so permissive regarding the things that God is clearly against. The Scriptures scream, “Wake up!”
Ephesians 5:14-17 KJV:
“14 Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
During the past 15 years, young people, including my generation, have been subjected to the “Harry Potter” books and movies. Harry Potter, a young wizard, and his friends attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main antagonist of the series is Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard, whom Harry fights. Just like Halloween, it seems like “innocent child’s play.” But, to the Bible student, this is another attempt to downplay the gravity of devil worship. Call it whatever you want, but if it does not bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ, it is devil worship!
Why is it extremely important that we educate our young people about the topic of witchcraft and the occult? Should we be concerned with Halloween and related matters like the Harry Potter franchise? In this Bible study, we will search the Scriptures for the answers.
GOD’S VIEW CONCERNING WITCHCRAFT
In the Old Testament, the LORD made it very clear to the nation Israel that He hated witchcraft. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18 KJV). “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:27 KJV). The LORD instructed Israel before she went into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 KJV):
“9 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.
10 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 [witchcraft], or an observer of times [astrology], or an enchanter [magician], or a witch,
11 Or a charmer [one who casts spells], or a consulter with familiar spirits , or a wizard, or a necromancer [raises the dead].
12 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.
13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”
The LORD declared in Micah 5:12 KJV: “And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:” Clearly, God wanted Israel, His earthly people, to have no part in Satan’s policy of evil. He did not want them to mingle with witches, darkness, and so on.
What does God want for us, the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people, in this the Dispensation of Grace? Galatians 5:20 refers to witchcraft as a “work of the flesh” (verse 19), something that opposes the “fruit of the [Holy] Spirit” (verses 22 and 23). In Ephesus, the Apostle Paul was able to evangelize many people. Acts 19:19 indicates that these people were formerly pagans who were also Satan worshippers: “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver [~US$6.4 million!].”
The Ephesians were notable for their magic spells, but once they had trusted in Jesus Christ, the Bible says they literally burned their magic (spell) books! Witchcraft and the occult should have no part in our lives as Christians. God has separated us unto Himself. We should not be fellowshipping with devils (see 1 Corinthians 10:19-23).
There is no law “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween.” Yet notice 1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Although they are not explicitly forbidden, we should avoid the activities that are inconsistent with our identity in Christ Jesus.
WHAT IS “DEVIL WORSHIP” ANYWAY?
When we think of devil worship, we think of blood drinking, spell chanting, human sacrifices, and bowing down to a horned statue. However, there are much more innocent looking forms of devil worship. In Isaiah 14:14-15, Lucifer (Satan before his fall) professes: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
If any activity does not bring glory, praise, and honor to God Almighty (the Lord Jesus Christ), it is devil worship. Satan wants you to worship something other than the one true God. Devil worship includes materialism (a lover of possessions) and narcissism (lover of self): it is “worshipping and serving the creature, more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25bc).
Consider this. The Bible uses the title “jealous God” six times for JEHOVAH (Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 6:15; Joshua 24:19). Jealousy (envy) is a sin when we commit it (Romans 1:29; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:21; et al.). But, just as there is a godly anger (Matthew 5:22; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26), there is a godly jealousy, God’s righteous jealousy. God continually reminded Israel that He was “jealous” over her. “They [Israel] provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:16-18 KJV).
Prior to going into the Promised Land under Joshua, Moses warned Israel of her previous idolatrous ways. Once Israel went into that land, they were to destroy the pagan heathens and their idols (Exodus 34:11-17). Unfortunately, even in God’s Promised Land, the Jews established pagan shrines to the worthless idols of the Gentiles (1 Kings 14:22-24; 2 Kings 17:7-18; Psalm 78:58)! The LORD wanted Israel to Himself, and yet they ignored Him and adored vain, inanimate idols.
In Leviticus 20:26, God explains to Israel why He has instructed her with His laws, including forbidding her to consume unclean animals and teaching her not to pursue wizards and witches (verse 27). “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” God wanted Israel to reflect her special, sanctified status—she was His people in the earth, and He wanted her to be separate from the pagan, Satan-worshipping Gentiles. Sadly, Israel wanted just the opposite!
The Apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, warned members of the Body of Christ in Corinth about provoking the Lord to “jealousy” by fellowshipping with devils (1 Corinthians 10:20-22). Paul was “jealous” over the Body of Christ, instructing us to avoid satanic deception by holding to the doctrine in his epistles (2 Corinthians 11:1-4).
Throughout the Holy Scriptures, over a dozen references describe God as “jealous.” God wants His people all to Himself—He does not want us mingling with the world’s idols (crucifixes, statues, religious paintings, selfishness, materialism, et cetera). In His omnipotence and omniscience, God is justified in being jealous over us because He alone deserves our praise, worship, dedication, and honor. After all, He is our Creator and our Saviour (if we have trusted in Him for salvation!). So, how can we honor and praise God by participating in Halloween? We cannot.
THE ORIGIN OF HALLOWEEN
Halloween is a pagan holy day, a special time for witches. Contrary to its “child-friendly” appearance, it is a holiday that commemorates death and evil. Occult worship reaches it peak on October 31st. This “innocent-looking” child’s holiday turns out to be nothing more than a glorified version of the despicable Celtic festival of Samhain, a day when the Druids sacrificed to their pagan gods and fellowshipped with deceased loved ones.
Jack-o’-lanterns (in America, pumpkins replaced turnips), apple bobbing, trick-or-treating, costume wearing, and black cats are all symbols found in paganism. Halloween’s history abounds with superstitious beliefs and activities Research the dark history of Halloween (try the History Channel’s website http://www.history.com/topics/halloween). How many sincere, misinformed (or uninformed) people allow their children to participate in this?! We lament the fact that some have turned a “blind eye” to this for the sake of compromise.
A SILENT BATTLE
Ephesians 6:11,12 KJV says: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
This battle is not fought with flesh and blood weapons such as machine guns and swords, but with supernatural weapons, sound doctrine from God’s Word rightly divided. Ephesians 6:11,13 tell us that we need to “put on the whole armour of God.” In Christ we have this armor, we simply need to put it on! This armor is dependent upon God’s Word, “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The only way we can fight off Satan’s attacks is to put the sound doctrine of God’s Word into our thinking. We must transform and renew our minds by studying the Holy Scriptures “rightly divided” on daily basis (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:22-24).
Let us compare Ephesians 6:11-12 with 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV:
“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Satan’s battle focuses on people’s minds (especially Christians). God wants to provide us with enlightenment, spiritual wisdom, and salvation from Satan’s darkness. Contrariwise, Satan seeks to corrupt our minds. Satan wants to deceive us, blind us, and confuse us. Whenever Satan distracts us away from thinking on God’s Word, then he gets the advantage!
Now, Satan cannot deceive those who are grounded in sound doctrine from God’s Word (Ephesians 4:14). Satan can only prey on those who are uninformed and/or misinformed. The devil will not only focus on Christians who know little to nothing about God’s Word, but he will also focus on the minds of children, the gullible kids! This is why a firm understanding of Halloween (and Harry Potter) is needed.
THE FUTURE GENERATIONS
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).
If ever there were a great Parent, it would be God the Father. He is the greatest Parent, so we would do well if we hearkened unto His wisdom. Young minds are very pliable: they need to be guided in the right direction at the earliest age possible: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [love, care] and admonition [instruction] of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV). The greatest gift a parent could ever give his or her child is a firm foundation in God’s Word, the rightly divided King James Bible.
In Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses taught God’s Law (the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law) to Israel. The LORD commanded the Jews to daily meditate on His Word, memorize it, and write it everywhere in their homes (Deuteronomy 6:8,9). In addition, they were to educate their children in God’s Word (verses 6,7): “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Parents, not preachers and teachers, should be the primary instructors of their children. God has given the father-husband the role of teaching the children (his wife helping him, of course). Remember Ephesians 6:4? Bishops and deacons were to have godly children instructed in God’s Word (1 Timothy 3:4,5,12). Comparing 2 Timothy 1:5,6 with 2 Timothy 3:15, we learn that Timothy’s mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois taught him the Old Testament Scriptures… and just where was his father?!
The local church should then build on the foundation that the parents stored in their children. Older men in the church served as role models for the younger men in the church, and older women served as role models for the younger women in the church (Titus 2:1-8).
Our young people need to understand the seriousness of witchcraft (Halloween, Harry Potter, et cetera). It is our God-given responsibility to teach them these precious truths found only in God’s Word. When we allow our children to participate in these types of activities, we are sending them confusing messages. We condemn Satan and his evil works, yet we participate in activities that were once used to glorify God’s adversary and downplay God’s hatred for the beliefs underlying these practices?
We desperately need to get our young people to realize the weightiness of sound doctrine, especially regarding the occult (and its most subtle forms like Halloween and Harry Potter). God Almighty instructs us to educate them with sound Bible teaching, and we know that God’s Word will “effectually work also in [them] that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV). God’s Word will reach their minds, we just need to plant and water, sowing it into their minds, and let God take care of the rest.
One day, if the Lord tarries, our generations will pass, and new ones will take over. As adults, we owe it to the future generations to teach and preach God’s Word now, while we still can. Those future generations need a firm foundation in God’s Word so they can pass it on to their future generations.