Following is an English transcript of the message from this morning.
Today I want to look at several common holidays and consider what God may think of them. I want to consider a few main practices of each of these holidays and then look to the Bible to see what answers we can find about them. While these holidays were not in practice during Bible times, at least not exactly as they are today, there are foundational truths about them that God has given us.
The first holiday I want to consider is Halloween. I will not discuss the origins of Halloween, but it is commonly understood to have dark pagan roots. Whether that is true or not, we have to consider what Halloween is today, and what God expects of us today. I will look at only three things about each of these holidays.
Point one for Halloween: Dressing up in costumes
One of the common practices of Halloween is to wear costumes. Many people feel this is harmless fun. However, there are three teachings from the Bible that wearing of costumes goes against. 1) We are to be modest and separate from the world. 2) We are to avoid evil, even things that may seem evil. 3) We are to reflect Jesus to others.
One simple definition for modesty is not drawing attention to ourselves. Another way to think of Christian modesty is that we do not draw attention to ourselves but instead point others to look to God. As a whole, Halloween costumes destroy modesty. Instead, they draw attention both to the wearer and to what the wearer is representing with the costume. Most times, costumes reflect the values of the world. The most popular costume will often be tied to a movie character. Thus, the costume ties the person to the world instead of the separate and holy life God expects of us.
It is clear that most of Halloween is not holy or God-honoring. Instead, Halloween is directly involved in things that are part of darkness, pain, fear, and other aspects of the devil’s kingdom. Even if you dress up as an angel, you are still taking part in Halloween, which is clearly not of God.
Believers are called to be a light in the dark. We are to show others the love of Jesus. We are given the task of warning others of death and judgment and of sharing the gospel with them. If you are dressed up as something from the darkness of this world, how can you be the light God expects of His people? Light and dark cannot mix.
Read 1 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 Peter 3:2-4; Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:15
Point two for Halloween: Playing pranks and harming others
Playing pranks or teasing others may seem innocent at first glance, but it contradicts several principles of God. One teacher in the States asked her students to write a report on what they’d like to do for Halloween if they could do anything they wanted. Over 80% of the students reported that they wanted to harm or kill someone else.
This should not be surprising as many of the games and videos that many children consume is filled with violence. Studies around the world show that the violence these children are exposed to does directly affect their relationships later in life, including greater crime rates.
God is love and commands His people to love. We are to love God with all of our being, then we are to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Beyond that, we are even commanded to love our enemies. Further, we are told that anyone who hates another cannot be a child of God. A simple question to ask is, “Would Jesus do this?” His character is clear from Scripture. If Jesus would not harm others, most certainly neither should we.
Read Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-40; 1 John 2:9-11; 1 Peter 3:8-12
Point three for Halloween: Connection to the occult
Halloween has clear connections to the occult. Some people try to argue against this, but a short walk through town or a quick search on the internet will show people dressed as zombies, ghosts, witches, warlocks, goblins, werewolves, and all sorts of dark and demonic things. Beyond that, it is common for people to try to communicate with the spirit world through seances, mediums, palm reading, tarot cards, and so on.
God clearly commands against any connection to the works of darkness. To take part in these things, even in play, is to disobey God and to walk in darkness. Anything and anyone who is part of darkness cannot be part of God.
Read Deuteronomy 18:10-13; James 4:4; Galatians 5:19-25
Point one for Day of the Saints or All Saints Day: Prayer to the Saints
The Day of the Saints is a Catholic holiday created in response to Halloween. It was to be an alternative for Catholics to avoid the darkness associated with Halloween. However, this holiday has many false teachings related to it that are clearly forbidden in the Bible.
One of these practices is praying to the Saints. This practice began with only certain saints, including Peter and other apostles, but over time it has come to include practically any departed person. Many people pray to their parents, uncles, or grandparents, especially on this day.
This is a terrible false teaching. The Bible clearly teaches that praying to anyone other than God is wrong. This is a form of idolatry and puts others in the place of God. This breaks the first of the ten commandments and also breaks the command to love God above all others. The Bible teaches that after we die, there is no way we can affect events here on earth. The spirits of the dead are not imbued with magic powers to protect or bless us. That is completely false.
Point two for Day of the Saints: Request for intercession
One of the main prayers to saints is that of intercession and blessing. People pray that the saints will intercede to God on their behalf. The Bible teaches that the spirits of the disobedient are kept in a place of torment while the spirits of the obedient are kept in a place of peace until the day of judgment. In various places, scripture speaks of the spirits as sleeping until the return of Jesus.
Besides this, scripture teaches plainly that Jesus Christ is our only intercessor. There is no other way that we can approach the Father except through Jesus. Requesting intercession through any other spirit is a great offense against our Savior and Lord Jesus. And there is clearly nothing those spirits can do for us, so it is an empty and wasted prayer. Speaking to anyone who is deceased, whether they are called saints or not, is tapping into the spirit world the same as a psychic or necromancer would do. The Bible clearly forbids this practice.
Point three for Day of the Saints: Prayer to Mary
The great deception of the Catholic church is its devotion to Mary. It is a great sadness to see how close the Catholic church is to the truth, yet how they remain in this disobedience and ignorance of God’s Word. They hold the Bible in their hands, which teaches clearly not to put any person in a place of adoration, yet they pray to Mary, to the saints, and even to the Pope. Again, praying to any spirit, whether of a saint or of Mary, is talking to the dead, which is forbidden by God.
God so loved the world that He sent His only son Jesus to live and suffer and die for the sin of humanity. Yet so many have turned from God’s precious Son to follow after mere humans. How this must sadden the heart of God! I feel completely confident that if Mary were able to speak to us, she would beg that the Catholic church turn from this false veneration of her and turn to the only hope we have, Jesus Christ. Mary has no power to help or save us in any way. The Bible could not be clearer about that.
Read Deuteronomy 18:10-13; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6; John 10:1-11; 14:6; Romans 8:26, 27; Hebrews 4:14-16
Point one for Day of the Dead: Offerings and sacrifices to the dead
The celebrations of the Day of the Dead and of the Day of All Souls or Day of the Deceased are very similar. The Day of the Dead is celebrated in various forms throughout Latin America. One of the common practices is to make the deceased person’s favorite meal or drink and offer it to their spirit. This is usually done in hopes of some sort of blessing or protection in return.
Again, the spirits of the departed can in no way affect our lives here. The only spirits that do have influence on earth are the spirits of darkness, the devil and his demons. They have limited influence but do have real power. One of the greatest tools of the devil is deception. He can even appear as an angel of light, the Bible says. Thus, he has deceived many people in believing they can connect with the deceased.
Read Deuteronomy 26:14; Psalm 106:25-29; 115:4-8
Point two for Day of the Dead: Drinking alcohol
The Day of the Dead is a day of drinking for many. People even offer alcoholic drinks to the spirits of the dead. To me, this is such a great sadness. Of all the things we could want to do with those who have died, to share the bondage of alcohol shows the depravity of the celebration.
Alcohol is a poison to the body. It numbs the mind and lowers inhibitions and natural reserves. Drunkenness renders the person completely out of control. These things often lead to the addiction to alcohol, creating a slave out of the drinker. All of this is against God’s order and against His beautiful plan for our lives. It shows how empty and sad and hopeless the way of sin is.
Read Ephesians 5:15-19; Proverbs 23:29-35; Galatians 5:19-21
Point three for Day of the Dead: Partying and dancing
As with other celebrations, the Day of the Dead involves partying and dancing. Compounded by the alcohol involved, these parties are not honoring to God. Propriety, discretion, modesty, and decency are replaced with looseness, sensuality, gluttony, and shameful acts. People surrender to the passions of their bodies and thus dishonor God and each other.
Read 1 Peter 4:3-8; Romans 13:11-14
Point one for Day of the Souls: Prayer for souls
As I said before, the Day of the Dead and the Day of the Deceased are similar. The Day of the Deceased is a celebration of the Catholic church in which they spend time praying for the souls of the departed. This is somewhat the reverse of praying to the saints. Instead of asking the departed for help, in this case you are offering help for the deceased.
Just as the deceased cannot affect our lives, neither can we affect theirs. As the tree falls, so shall it lie. When life is over, our course has been set. We will be judged by our decisions here. Life is the great testing ground. Jesus clearly taught many times that there are only two ways. Those who choose the way of death in life will receive the reward of death. Those who choose the way of life now will receive the reward of eternal life. Today is the day of salvation. There is no hope after life has passed. We cannot change what was done.
Read Ecclesiastes 11:3; Luke 16:19-31
Point two for Day of the Souls: Purgatory
Another false teaching is that of purgatory. Some people believe that there is a place between earth and heaven where souls are kept and purged or purified of the sin that they leave life with. Once the soul is purged of sin, it can then move on to heaven. This is completely false.
We understand from the Bible that Jesus came to offer salvation by being born again in our spirits. We can be made new and pure today. Those who accept the way of salvation through Jesus will receive eternal life with Him in heaven. Those who reject Him through disobedience and sin now have no hope of ever reaching eternal life. The Bible is very clear about this. Jesus said whoever offers any other way is a thief and a liar who will destroy your soul.
Read Matthew 25:32-46; Luke 23:39-46; 1 Thessalonians 13-18; Revelation 14:13
Point three for Day of the Souls: Physical offerings
Similarly to the Day of the Dead, people offer physical things to or for the souls of the deceased. It can range from rosaries and special prayers to offering food or lighting candles at a shrine with an image or a picture of the deceased.
While some may be offering prayers on behalf of the deceased, many turn to asking for aid by giving these offerings. This quickly becomes idolatry because it is going to someone other than God for our help and answers. Praying to anything or anyone other than God is sin. Giving offerings or sacrifices to anyone or anything other than God is sin.
Final point for all of these holidays: They are driven by fear of death.
Similar celebrations and ceremonies can be found in all nations around the world. What is the one common thing that drives them? Fear. People are terrified of death. They do not know what lies beyond this life. They hope in terror that those who have made it to the other side can help them when it comes time to die.
Psalm 18:4-6; 55:4-7; Hebrews 2:14, 15
Final call to believers: God offers hope, peace, and life.
For Christians, death holds no power over us. It is not a frightening unknown. Rather, death is means for us to leave this life of trial and suffering to be joined in eternal glory with our Father and our Lord Jesus. Jesus conquered death by His own death and resurrection. Those who live in Him no longer fear.
Christians have a peace that passes understanding. We have a joy that cannot be taken. We have a hope that cannot be shaken. Those who are born again in their spirits by the power of Jesus have that new and eternal life already within them. We do not fear how we will answer for our sins after life because we are taking care of them now through Jesus. When we are forgiven and washed clean through Jesus, God says He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers them no more.
Anyone who believes on Jesus and trusts and obeys Him can have this eternal life today.
Read Romans 8: 13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 John 4:16-18
Following are some pictures I found online of the celebrations here in Peru.