Video available here: http://youtu.be/xsrdhhSEuEw
Halloween is a time of superstition, a celebration of the
creepy things that send chills of the supernatural up our spines. It is a holiday that has been taken
advantage of by all kinds of marketing strategies, binding the children’s
celebration with candies to the goods and services that are purchased by
adults. For many, it is a time of
remembrance of the things that mankind would rather forget, but to the
children, it is that one time in the year when your supply of candy is
restocked to overflowing.
When most people think of Halloween, they associate the
holiday to the Salem witch trials. The
marketing agencies are in tune with the forward motion of the people and follow
suit, carefully placing black hats and witch brooms in the entrances of the shopping
centers and advertising, portraying the witches with long, green, crooked noses
having big, hairy warts. But that is an
Americanized adaptation of the celebration that adds a creepy element of our
folklore into a holiday celebration that originated in another country.
Christian groups that speak out against this holiday
typically denounce what they consider to be the roots of this celebration. Some claim that the day was of Roman
influence, with either a celebration of the goddess Pomona or the “festival of
the dead.” Others bind it to the Celtic
festival of Samhain, the Old Irish celebration of summer’s end. This root seems to be the most accurate,
since the celebration was first introduced into America through the influence
of Irish and Scottish immigrants with strong opposition by the Puritans of New
England. These immigrants were carving
pumpkins as they did in the old country with turnips – the pumpkin was much
softer and easier to carve.
Other Christian groups trained to believe that the Catholic
Church is the bedding grounds of the antichrist oppose this holiday due to the
roots that tie to the Catholics in the days of Pope Gregory IV. The
day celebrated as “All Saints Day,” or “Hallowmas,” was celebrated in the
latter part of its existence on November 1st – making October 31st
“All hallows eve.” Originally celebrated
in the year 609, this holiday was placed in the month of May, but is believed
to have changed to the later part of the season due to the massive number of
people that flocked into the cities for the celebration. But this idea of celebrating in honor of the
saints is certainly not mainstream Christian – this was a day honoring the
saints that were in Catholic Purgatory.
It was remembering the saints that had gone on, but were in a “holding
place” before they met Christ.
This holiday is interesting, when you consider the
background having been raised in the cult of William Branham. While my family did allow myself and my
brother to fill sack after sack with candies, a great number of the followers
of William Branham did not allow their children to participate. I can remember when our children first
started dressing up as little cowboys, superheroes, and Star Wars villains, the
“Branham houses” were always dark and gloomy – not a single light shining
upstairs. I always got a good laugh off
of this, because while they thought nobody could see them hiding in the
basement, you could easily see the blue light casting images on their windows
from the televisions that they had hidden in their basements. I honestly would have never known that those
people had a television in their house – not just because Branham openly
condemned the watching of movies and television, but because those same houses
did not have one to be found upstairs.
While adhering to their message teaching in one area, they were
“breaking the rules” in another.
But it is even more interesting when you compare this
holiday celebrated by the Roman Catholics, Celtics, and Salem to the ministry
of William Branham himself.
In what William Branham called a “vision,” he fully
described Catholic Purgatory – and that same purgatory is celebrated in
churches around the world. In this
vision, Branham claimed to have saw his “little bride” on the other side, that
place where he also claimed that he preached the “same message that Paul
preached,” and he described thousands screaming, “We’re resting on that!”
Those people had died, gone one, and received new
bodies. He claimed to have recognized
the young body of an elderly lady in the congregation, describing her as a
20-year-old girl. But while they had
died and gone on, they were also in a “holding place.” Branham asked to see Jesus, and they said,
“He’s up higher than this.” They were in
a land of Purgatory, a place between life and God. This “vision” that is celebrated in the
churches is a vision of All Hallows Eve, the time before the saints are to be
honored by being lifted up from Purgatory and into the heavens.
He also did not mind telling a good ghost story, and those
same stories are told from behind the pulpits of churches that proclaim
Christianity. There were the souls that
he claimed to have spoken to after they died, (necromancy), but also the souls
that he described as still wandering to and fro on the earth. The best example of this is in the sermon,
“Who Is This Melchisedec”:
The other day in the Tucson paper, I was reading an article
that where there was a--a woman driving down the road, I believe about forty,
fifty miles an hour, and she hit an old man with an overcoat on. She screamed
and stopped her car. It threw him up in the air. Right out in the plain desert!
And she run back to find him, and he wasn't there. So what did she do? Some
people behind her saw it happen, saw the old man fly up in the air, and his
overcoat turning. So they run back to find out. They couldn't find the man
anywhere. They called the police force. The police come out to examine the
place; there was nobody there.
Well, each one of them testified, "The car chugged, hit
the man. He went up in the air, and everybody saw it." Witnesses, and two
or three carloads of them, they seen it happen. Come to find out, five years
ago, there was an old man with an overcoat on, hit and killed on the same spot.
When you leave here, you're not dead. You've got to come
back, even if you're a sinner, and be judged according to the deeds done in the
body. "If this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, we have one waiting."
En morphe, that's the word.
It is ironic, because while condemning other Christians for
participating in celebrating the dead on All Hallows Eve, those same Christians
being condemned would quickly flee a church that said these kinds of things in
the name of God from behind a pulpit.
The Church of the Living God is dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
not superstitious stories that play on the minds of its patrons like a
Halloween marketing scheme for the shopping centers.
But for many, there is a middle ground that is missed. A true Christian can easily identify
Branham’s Catholic Purgatory doctrine (and ‘vision’) as unscriptural, and
denounce the holiday as celebrating heresy.
They can identify communication with the dead as necromancy and sorcery,
sins that were punishable by death under the Mosaic Law. They might not have a problem with the Celtic
celebration of the change in season, but the underlying evil between these two
demonic teachings becomes the focus – insomuch that they ignore what God has
done for them.
When in the Message of William Branham, a message that
promoted Law instead of Grace, I also harshly condemned songs that spoke of the
dark side. Country songs singing of
drunkenness, failed marriages, wickedness, and more were a terrible thing to
focus your mind upon. Even folk songs
had depressing scenes, and sang of things better left alone. While I celebrated in the change of season
with my children, I also disagreed with the remembrance of evil during
But we are no longer bound by the Law. Christ came, and gave us power over
evil. He conquered the demons that are
the focus of this holiday, and we are no longer terrorized by them. He gave us full forgiveness of sin – even if
we become the target of the worst Country song, and gives us the power to lift
ourselves back into His Grace and mercy.
We are now walking in the fullness of Christ, and even if this holiday
were in remembrance of satan himself, we can openly ridicule the great deceiver
by giving HIM a wart on his nose!
When the early church was being established, these festivals
in celebration of false deities were a rising problem. Many in the cities of Pagan influence had
celebrated things that as Christians were now seen as purely evil. And like Halloween, some of these people
continued to celebrate regardless of what the other Christians thought of their
participation. This problem was enough
that the Apostle Paul addressed it in the book of Colossians.
Paul reminds us that we are now alive and well in the Body
of Christ. We are no longer to be taken
captive by man’s philosophy, and when others try to deny us of our freedoms in
His grace, we will not be enslaved.
These people are focusing upon the elemental spirits instead of Christ –
just as many Christians who speak so harshly against our children and their
candies do during Halloween. While their
focus is the elemental spirits of witches, ghosts and demons, A true Christian
will focus upon the God that delivered them from all of them combined. We serve a risen Savior that gave us the power
to conquer demons – not a weak god that tells us to run and flee.
In Colossians 2, Paul tells us that these people are trying
once again to enslave us by Law. He
compares them to the “circumcision party,” who felt like that particular
portion of the Mosaic Law must still be upheld – in a city where this painful
procedure was not custom. Paul says that
we are buried with Christ, and our bodies are no longer under submission of the
things of the flesh, and these rulers and authorities are put to open shame. Their focus is on the things of this world –
or worldly. They have become so worldly,
in fact, that they try to push you under their submission by denying you
celebration in a festival.
As Christians, we need to band together. We need to denounce those that try to push us
back under the law, which Paul called “obsolete.” We need to stand firmly in our faith that
Jesus Christ has made us more than conquerors.
We need to stop cowering in fear.
Take that same cult follower’s house, the one hiding in the
basement watching the “devil box” television while displaying his and her
denial of celebration. When children –
and parents – pass by this house, they can see the cross that they display
proudly. Those same families walking
through the streets may have never known the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They see a home with a cross that is in
denial of the celebration surrounding them.
They associate asceticism with Christianity – which Paul also openly
condemned. This god that they serve is
not a god that is loving, kind, and generous.
It is not the same god that died on the cross for them to offer them
salvation. These passersby see this
house with the cross, and mistake the god they serve for nothing more than a
lessor pagan god.
What if that same house opened their door with welcoming
arms? What if they dropped candies to
excite the children, and told the parents about Jesus Christ? What if they told them about what Christ did
for them on the cross, how He came and saved them from the demonic forces of
the very celebration they were participating in? What if through that same celebration, they
led just one more soul to the arms of Jesus Christ?
To those of you who are unsure as to whether or not Christ
gave you the freedom to celebrate, I think it is fitting that you read what
Paul wrote in his letter. You’ll find
not only the freedom to celebrate this festival, but also the firm foundation
to denounce the idea of trying to place you back under the law. I think we should all take this time to show our
love and kindness to our neighbors as Christ would want us to. Let’s show them love instead of hatred.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus
the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the
faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by
philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the
elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells
bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and
authority. In him also you were
circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of
the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in
baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful
working of God, who raised him from the dead.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your
flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.
This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the rulers and
authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Therefore let no one pass judgment
on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festivalor a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but
the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on
asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up
without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head,
from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and
ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ
you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to
regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to
things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and
teachings? These have indeed an
appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and
severity to the body, but they are of
no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.