Halloween

This day divides unbelievers from Christians like no other.  Mainstream America interprets the ghostly emphasis as mere fun.  We will see that the history of Halloween reveals this day to be a lot more than a superficial emphasis of the dead.  The word “Halloween” comes from the Celts- Salowen.  Christians interpret this day as a worship of the dead and Satan’s day.  Christians today usually offer their congregation and friends an alternative, i.e. “Family Fun Night,” or a “Fall Festival,” with an emphasis on the harvest and blessings of the fall season.  Why do Christians interpret many things in a different light?  The scriptures convey the answer:  Ephesians 6:12  “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.”  May we examine what history has to offer about this day:

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Halloween… is more popular than ever, going back 3,000 years:  to Ireland and its’ Celtic tribes.  It is the time of mystery and chaos between summer and winter.  Between life and death.  The Celts asked their priests (Druids) to pray for them.  October 31 was the last day for the harvest, and the first day of winter.  At this time they thought the Spirit world was so thin that the dead were free to walk back and forth.  They thought those who died during the last year walked the earth once more.  They thought they had to appease the dead… or else they could trouble and haunt them.  The people of the village would leave sweets and food at the edge of the village as gifts for the dead.  Hence “trick or treat.”  If the villagers left no “treat,” then the dead may come up with a “trick.”  Actually, the message should have been “treat or trick.”  The “treat” is the offering to appease the dead and stop the “trick” from occurring.  The dead come to life on Halloween, hence they wanted to keep them in their graves.  The Celts offered blood sacrifices to the gods.  The Druids read animal entrails to forecast who would die and prosper in the coming year.  Hence the ghost stories on Halloween.  Hillbilly rites still feature “granny” doing the same thing.  The Celtics have contemporary pagans carrying their traditions.

The Romans also celebrated a time of mystical revelry reflective in Halloween.  “Apple bobbing” comes from the Romans leaving fruit and nuts to their gods.

Christians grew and opposed pagans and Halloween.  At about 1000 AD, most people like the Celts, worshipped spirits (gods, demonic beings).  Constantine’s vision of the cross around 325 AD (Council of Nicea) led to Christianity opposing paganism.  The church tried to reason and compromise with pagans but it did not work.  So Pope Gregory III declared November 1 All Saints Day for people who did not have a holiday of their own.  All Saints Day is All Hallow’s Day (you were “hallowed” to be a saint), hence the eve of all hallow’s or all hallow’s evening (hallow eve became Halloween).  The church tried to absorb the pagan holiday but many continued their costumes, offerings to the dead, etc.– they changed their day from Salowen to Halloween.  The Church made November 2 “All Saints Day” in order to remember everyone who died in the last year.  This was a direct attack on Halloween.  Witchcraft concerned the church.  (Witch comes from OE wicca or wise one).  Witches were seen by the church as unruly feminine powers who tapped into the dark aspects of Halloween.  A later pope outlawed pagan religion all together because of their links to witches and the devil.  Witches were hung and burned at the stake all over Europe.  (1431 Joan of Arc was burned at the stake).  Black cats were seen as a witches’ spirit in animal form.  Bats became associated with Halloween as they pursued insects at the Halloween bonfires.  Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” on All Souls Day combines pagan and Christian elements.  Halloween has changed its’ shape to fit local beliefs.  Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation rejected All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Halloween and the Pope.

On November 5, 1605 a Catholic militant Guy Fox attempted to blow up the Protestant dominated House of Lords.  Ever since then, Guy Fox night is a popular English holiday.  It blends with Halloween and they are celebrated together.  Guy Fox dummies are burned.

The Puritans rejected Catholicism and Halloween.  In 1692, Salem witchcraft resulted in 22 killed as they were accused of being witches.  In Virginia, there were Anglicans and Catholics, hence Halloween got a root there.  Ghost stories and bobbing for apples were popular here and in other southern colonies.  In the early 1800’s, “play parties” became popular- they carved pumpkins, shared ghost stories, and practiced divination over a future husband.  Following the Irish “Potato Plight,” Irish immigrants later brought a renewed interest of Halloween to America.  Pumpkin carving was adopted in the late 19th century as a cheerier way to receive Halloween from Europe.  Witchcraft was extinct from the American holiday by 1900, and children took over the holiday with parties, apple bobbing, etc.  The children took Halloween out of the home and into the neighborhood.  When this happened, the children became involved in pranks and vandalism-  smashing pumpkins, breaking windows, tee peeing trees with toilet paper, and placing implements on roofs.  Our specialty in 1960’s Chicago was “soaping” the windows of those who afforded no “treats.”  Attempts were made in the 1920’s to make Halloween clean fun.  After World War II, Halloween made a come back with the same concerns- keeping it safe.  Costume parties (baby boomers) and trick or treating ruled.  But the dark side came back in the 1970’s, as razor blades and even poison were placed in trick or treat candy.  Recent movies on Halloween have spread the idea that Halloween is evil.  The New Age Movement is a spin off of Celtic tradition.  Halloween is important to them.  Contemporary witches are a new version of the ancient Celtic paganism.  Americans spend 2 and 1/2 billion dollars on Halloween, behind only Christmas.  More than 1/2 of American homes are decorated.  Putting on costumes and visiting haunted houses is popular.  Lately, it has become an adult holiday as well.  Boomers want to hang on to it.

This day presents a wonderful opportunity for Christians to share our faith with those who realize what a bizarre celebration this truly is.  As I write this, there are several homes around me within a stones’ throw, that feature ghosts on their front lawns as well as people exiting their graves.  Even as a child I thought the festivities did not compute or make sense.  If one does not know the one true God, then by default they will find a substitute.  Pray for and share the Gospel with the many lost souls this Halloween.  In His Service, Pastor Steve

  

Quotable Quotation

Lt. Col. Oliver North    ~     United States Marine Corps (Ret)

Oliver North made the following statement after Barack Hussein Obama vetoed the defense spending bill put forth from congress.  The National Defense Authorization Act endorses the military’s capability to defend our nation.  It has bipartisan support in both houses of congress.  In doing so, Obama is intentionally enabling Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis, the Chinese, North Korea and Iran to run roughshod with their global ambitions.  In Russia, Vladimir Putin is consolidating his hold on Crimea and the eastern Ukraine, and now conducting combat operations in Syria.  Oliver North quipped:  “Vladimir Putin is playing Barack Obama like Charlie Daniels plays the fiddle.”

Note:  Obama is intentionally deflating America’s might in order to accomplish this.  His lifelong mentors are communists, socialists, and Muslims.  Many discerning Christians and Americans knew this before he was elected in his first term.  It will never cease to amaze me that Americans twice elected this man whose political ambitions are contrary to every value this country was built upon.  Most Christians who I speak with, tell me they believe he is God’s judgment upon America, pure and simple.  He has just sanctioned the release of 46,000 prisoners on November 1, 2015, including Mexican drug cartels and gang members.  Tens or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of Syrian “refugees,” most who are Islamic, will be allowed to immigrate to America annually.  They will be packing Sharia Law in their suitcases.  Obviously, Christians need to pray fervently for our country without ceasing.  God is still on the throne and prayer changes things.  With God, all things are possible.  Our hope is in God, however, not in the government of our nation.

Pray For Revival In America

Johnny Cash ~ The Man Comes Around

This is a song about Armageddon, Judgment Day and also refers to Christ’s Second Coming.  (Hebrews 9:27)  It is filled with Biblical references and scripture, especially from Revelation.  Johnny’s brother Jack died young from a horrible accident and envisioned angels before he passed on.  Johnny never forgot this and undoubtedly incorporated this experience and much more into this song.  [Johnny’s father blamed him for his brother’s tragic death even though it was not his fault.  This haunted his tormented soul for the rest of his life, leading to his bittersweet temperament, his often sad countenance, and his dressing in black.  That horrible accident where his brother was cut in two in a saw mill was the tragedy behind his genius].  This was recorded on his last album in 2002 with the same name.

Johnny led a checkered life, spotted with rebellion.  Many think his use of the scripture “it is hard to kick against the pricks,” refers to his own life.  The song bears his signature sound of a train chugging down the railroad tracks, a sound referred to often by those in prison, since it is the only sound of freedom heard from inside the walls.  How amazing that his last work was such a song.  It is a very haunting melody with a melancholy spirit.  I believe that it reveals where his heart was at when he approached his own day of reckoning.  He had a clear view of God’s judgment upon all men, and that he himself was fast approaching the finish line.  He certainly knew the Gospel, and realized that Christ’s shed blood on Calvary covers all who truly repent and are born from above.  He was looking in the right direction prior to his death.  If you ponder over it, Johnny Cash was a unique figure in that he was loved by prison inmates, all kinds of sinners, hippies, politicians, war veterans, everyday nondescript folks like you and me, conservatives, liberals, and everyone else in between.  I really cannot say that about a whole lot of people, can you?               Blessings, Pastor Steve

The song was inspired by a dream Cash had about Queen Elizabeth II in which the queen compared Cash to “a thorn tree in a whirlwind.” Haunted by the dream, Cash became curious if the phrase was a biblical reference and eventually found a similar phrase in the Book of Job.[9]

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Acts 4:12  King James Version (KJV)

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Thy Word ~ Amy Grant

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”   Psalm 119:105  Whenever I am performing mundane tasks in the garage, I often put on Amy Grant’s “Collection” album from the 1980’s.  This song touches the soul with the truth of God.  It lifts up the Lord and His Word as our life long panacea for every challenge we face.

 

 

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 25

Doug Hagmann and Joe Hagmann Interview Bill Salus

Bill Salus is one of the most popular prolific authors of prophecy in the Middle East.  Bill Salus wrote a prophetical book called Psalm 83.  His latest book is Nuclear Showdown In Iran.  Ironically, Iran is the number one evangelical growing population in the world!  They are growing 19.6% per year, compared to America which is growing 0.8% per year.  A huge disparity.  Dreams, miracles, visions and Satellite TV are entering the homes in Iran, they are finding hope in Jesus Christ and healing is going on.  In Iran, the Syrian Refugee Camps and in China, the Holy Spirit is entering many Muslim communities there, and throughout the world.  A revival is happening throughout the Middle East in the midst of all of the chaos.  ISIS are a barbaric people, similar to the ancient Assyrians.  Jonah had no desire to take the Gospel to these heathens.  But God transcends our limited desire to share the Gospel.  Our vacuous foreign policy in the United States may be accelerating end times prophecy in the Middle East.  “Our enemies do not fear us and our friends do not revere us.”  The belligerents in the Middle East and Vladimir Putin in Russia are flexing their muscle.  This all puts Israel in a very difficult position.  Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting an Islamic power in Iran that is on the verge of possessing a nuclear weapon that could annihilate them.  In 2014 President Obama threatened to shoot down any Israelite jets that would enter Iranian air space in order to attack nuclear installations.

“Nine Eleven” propelled Bill Salus into an avid interest in prophecy.  The theme of the end times is dominant in the Bible and the #1 sign of the end times is that all of the signs are converging rapidly.  Iran is a big deal.  Benjamin Netanyahu came to America last March with the sole purpose of addressing Congress about Iran.  Bill Salus believes that end times apocalyptic events are so close, that we must strive to make sure we are right with God.  Place your faith in Jesus Christ.  Wise words indeed.

Keep Looking Up!

More Profound Quotations From Vance Havner

You always enter God’s hospital as a charity patient. You can’t pay your way.

We build expensive churches and sometimes it is like erecting million-dollar launching pads to send up firecrackers.

The Christian’s view of the future is not a spectacular dreamed up by science or the brainstorm of secular historians. He gets it from an old, old book written by a solitary exile on a lonely rock in a restless sea. The Apocalypse is laughed at by this world and discredited even by some churchmen but it is precious to all strangers in modern Babylon who are looking for the City that’s soon coming down. Its strange, mysterious characters make more sense every day as the seven-sealed book opens the meaning of God’s history within history and the stage is set for the last chapters in the drama of this age. He does not argue with the wise-acres of this world, for that would be casting pearls before swine. Blind eyes cannot see this vision nor can dead men understand Scripture until they are born again. God goes His quiet way and lets the panels discuss and symposiums debate current events in all their learned ignorance. Headlines mean something entirely different to Him and newscasts tell another story to His ears. Blessed is the man whose vantage point is Patmos!

There are many brands of treason in the Christian camp. Men who deny the historicity and authenticity of God’s Word; worldlings who hobnob with the enemy; indifferent church members who come not to the help of the Lord against the mighty – all these are traitors. It sounds good to talk about forgetting all our differences and closing ranks to face the foe without, but we may lose to the foe within. Paul recognized two threats to the church – wolves from without and false leaders within (Acts 20:29, 30).

Someone has suggested that a good text for an Easter sermon can be found in a phrase out of Acts 12:4: “Intending After Easter…” Everybody goes to church on Easter Sunday but most of them do not intend to keep it up. It is not a religious show on a big day but faithfulness to God every day that counts. Putting in an appearance on a special occasion and then being conspicuous for absence on most occasions is the bane of our church life today. Isaiah thundered against the hollow and meaningless observance of new moons and Sabbaths and ‘the solemn meeting.” Christmas and Easter Christians, the holly-and-lilies crowd, make poor soldiers of the cross and followers of the Lamb. The real test of our piety is what we intend to do “after Easter.”

Devotion of the Day

DOCTRINE, DYNAMIC, DISCIPLINE

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.
I Timothy 4:16

Stir up the gift of God which is in thee.
II Timothy 1:6

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
II Timothy 2:3

Doctrine, Dynamic, Discipline – Paul would have young Timothy qualified in all three. For lack of any or all, our Timothys do not fare so well today. Some know not what they believe or else turn from truth to fable. Some lack fire from heaven, vainly “compassing themselves about with sparks.” And real discipleship has given way to a modern version without a cross.

How the church suffers for lack of all three! How many members can give a reason for their hope? How much of our religious activity is the work of the Spirit? And while we have professed believers aplenty, how many disciples do we have?

We need a fresh course in the Three D’s!

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Greek Word Study, Part XIII

150)paroinois- given to wine/ The root of paroinois is oinos which means wine.  Please refer to Greek Word Study, Part II, numbers 21-23.

151)pater- father/ We have English words which are derived from this root.  For instance- “paternal,” meaning pertaining to the father.  A child’s paternal grandmother would be the grandmother on the child’s father’s side.

152)pentakis- five times/ Our military installation near Washington, D.C. is called the Pentagon since it has five sides.  Satanic rituals are performed within the five sided pentagram.

153)petra- rock/ The famous city founded by the ancient Nabateans in Jordan is called Petra and was carved out of solid rock.  Our word “petrified,” refers to objects that eventually become as hard as rocks.

154)plasma- thing formed or anything formed/ There are four fundamental states of matter.  Solids, liquids and gases are the premier three states.  Anything not under these three categories may be termed as plasma.

155)porne- a harlot or a whore/ We obviously derive the word pornography from this root word porne.  Pornography involves the visual observation and the reading of material that endorse ungodly sexual practices.

156)pornos- fornicator or whoremonger/ One who engages in sexual practices that are forbidden by God and His Word, the Bible.

157)metamorphoo- transformed/ A tadpole turning into a frog or a caterpillar turning into a butterfly goes through an amazing metamorphosis.  When a person is born again (John 3:3), they encounter the greatest metamorphosis there is, as they become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

158)prin- sooner, before/ This word reminds us of “pre,” the prefix that holds the same meaning.

159)proteros- prior, previous, former/ The English word protégé can be traced to the Greek word proteros.  My protégé would be the person before me, who I model myself after. I follow the example of my protégé.  Another synonym with a similar meaning is prototype. 

160)proton- first, of the beginning/ Science calls protons, neutrons and electrons subatomic particles, or the building blocks of what everything is made of.

161)skandalon- thing that offends, stumbling block/ The offence of the cross is called a scandalos (scandal) in the New Testament.  Of course, a modern day scandal involves people performing nefarious deeds in order to attain power or other types of illicit gain.

162)stadios- measure of a distance, furlong, race/ The modern English word stadium usually refers to a sports arena where athletic competition is held.

163)strenos- strength/ The words strong, strength and strain are all derived from this Greek root word.

164)schizo- break, divide/ Modern psychology labels a person with multiple personalities (two or more) as a schizophrenic person.

165)philosophia- fond of wisdom/ This word is the root for the English word philosophy which means exactly the same thing.  Unfortunately, in the Biblical context, more often than not, it refers to the wisdom of the world.  Please read Colossians 2:8.