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Halloween

John Collins10/24/2013

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.

65-0221E  WHO.IS.THIS.MELCHISEDEC

 

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 Halloween.

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.

Colossians 2:

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.