Let me start by stating that in no way, shape of form do I believe a Christian should (in a perfect world) celebrate, or allow their children to celebrate Halloween. By its very nature, this particular day has been marked (rooted) in the very bowels of hell. Having said that, we simply do not live in a perfect world environment where people will live 100% of their lives according to the word of God. Instead, we live in an imperfect society, filled with Christians who are imperfect, frail, weak and often times seduced by the cares of this world. But does that equate the loss of their salvation if they decorate, hand out treats for trick-o-treaters or dress their child up as the latest favorite fictional character? The answer is no. They will not lose their salvation.
We like to quickly judge whose saved and whose not. Whose living their life for Christ with impunity, and whose simply not living up to our measured standard of righteousness. Christians love to boast in their own self-worth and ridicule and demean others who we tend to believe are not saved simply because they might act or behave (or in this case celebrate) something which we proudly point out is spiritually wrong. Yet what of the things that we ourselves might tend to do that equally is just as bad, if not moreso, than someone celebrating a day which has its origins in the occult? Things like gossip? Being angry. Backbiting. Slandering another brother or sister in Christ. Or even gluttony? How many times have we, who are in Christ did one (or more) of these things and yet never once questioned whether or not we were saved (born again)? Yet how many so called “Christians” are going to use these next few weeks, and even the months following (November and December) as a rallying call to condemn others for taking part in festivities that they don’t agree with, and justify themselves by claiming perfection?
Here’s a general rule I happen to live by which time and spiritual maturity has brought me over the years, and that is sometimes it’s best to leave the spiritual condition of a fellow Christian to God and him alone, rather than use a situation or act one might not happen to agree with as a measuring stick to deciding if they are saved or not. The truth is, one is saved simply by placing their trust in what Christ did on the cross and keeping their faith planted firmly in him and him alone. This then justifies the person before God (Colossians 1:22-26) which is what justification by faith actually is, a person being justified (made righteous) simply by faith alone (Romans 5:1, Galatians 3:24). Being justified is neither earned thru a series of a works based system of religious creeds or dogmas, nor is it imputed upon us because of what church or Denomination we belong to. Justification is the initial result of having ones faith placed solely into Christ because of what he did on the cross.
So we go back to the argument some would claim that says if one uses this time of season by partaking in a festivity such as Halloween (or even Thanksgiving or even Christmas) aren’t they sinning against God and are condemned? The answer is once again a resounding no! Let us examine the word carefully before we execute those within the faith. The apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4:7 something very important about the believer, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” Paul is making it quite clear that the treasure Paul is speaking of is the power of God in the heart of the believer, but notice Paul reminding us that that same spirit of regeneration is embedded in jars of clay (the KJV says earthen) meaning, we are prone to error, we are people who are frail, imperfect in our lives before God, yet God loves us enough to see the heart, and that same love to those who place their faith in his son, covers a multitude of sins.
To suggest that a believer who would allow themselves to partake in this, or any other festivity which has its roots in early paganism will lose their salvation, negates the message of the cross. Unbelief is the only thing which will separate a person from Christ. But there must come a level of spirituality and maturity in the believer so that they would not desire to do those things which the world would do, Paul mentions this several times by stating that we are to be renewed in the spirit of God daily (Ephesians 4:23), allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in all of lifes many challenges. Yet let’s be frank if we will, the truth is, people are people, no one is going to live perfectly in this life, even if they are a Christian, the simple fact is, some do not see this particular time as being anything other than a time where families enjoy the mood of the season, the fall colors, or the colorful lights on a tree, the fact is, they don’t see any genuine harm in any of these past holidays, and this yet brings up a point we must understand, that most people who are in Christ are immature and have not outgrown their desire for milk and instead, had a desire for meat. Yet we do not discount them, nor forsake them as one of our own, the simple truth is, people make mistakes all the time without celebrating Halloween, I have, you have – we all have. That is the plight of every believer, we live in an imperfect body in an imperfect world.
Some would argue using the law and God’s commandment toward Israel not to partake in the celebrations of the pagans of their time, but once again they would be thwarting the word of God by way of the cross. The fact is, the cross is the beginning of grace, not the end, it is not a place to sin willfully, but it is afforded to us by justification thru faith, that the believer is still made righteous before God, in other words, there is no sin that grace has not been afforded to us who are in Christ. For if God removed our candlestick for one minor action, he would have to remove all candlesticks for the greater actions which those in the past who walked in Christ committed. The truth is, not every action or deed done is sin, bad decisions (maybe) but sin? I do not believe so. If that is the case, then wearing wedding rings is a sin as the symbol of the marriage vow (wedding rings) was rooted in paganism. So too would be the use of birthdays, for the origins of birthdays were rooted in early paganism. Again, a slippery slope. But God’s grace is greater than sin, even those sins that we do not take into account daily that we might do that we have no knowledge of.
Of course this does not refer to clear, outright sinful accounts the word clearly states is wrong, however as John points out in 1 John 5:17 “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.” there are some sins which do not lead to spiritual death (eternal separation from God). But allow me to remind us all of Paul’s admonition to every believer in his own words found in 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Each person who is in Christ will stand before our Lord and give an account for every GOOD thing done in our own personal lifes walk, or BAD thing done, meaning evil (sin), not sin against God by unbelief, but by our actions while on this earth, where we will either lose rewards or gain them. But it must be understood that Paul makes it clear in this one verse that Christians will do bad things in this life which are not always good, but one day will have to answer for it, yet remember, But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Romans 5:20)
While the dangers of Halloween are very real and have been proven over the course of time to be bad, still, we must exorcise caution how we deal with other believers who we might not agree with who, for whatever reason, chooses to celebrate this time of year. This is where we must not judge (Matthew 7:1) but allow grace to mature in the hopes they will grow and come to the truth, yet understanding God knows whose are his and those who are not.
“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” (Galatians 2:4)
There is no worse force than the force of legalism cloaked in the garment of self-righteousness that condemns rather than edifies. But religion never edifies, but actually hinders the believer in their walk, a walk which comes through having a close relationship with Jesus Christ by faith, not of works. Yet, during this time of year, where the church should be showing the love of Christ to a dying and lost world, it has become bogged down in the affairs of rituals and legalism thru a system of works that would condemn anyone who follows Christ for celebrating his birth through the long held season called Christmas.
There is a trend, a growing sentiment within the body who would not only squelch the believer from celebrating Christmas, but deny their very freedom of doing so, all under the guise of the law, namely adhering to the law instead of grace. The truth is, those who would say celebrating Christmas is idolatry need to re-examine their argument and weigh it against the cross. The question is, are we under law or are we under grace? Which is it? If celebrating Christmas is idolatry for the believer based on the commandments of Moses, then do they adhere to the same standard when it comes to pork? To circumcision? To tithing? The facts are these, if Christ has fulfilled the law, then why are we attempting to justify ourselves by doing something to earn that justification which can only come through by faith and not works? If you say you don’t celebrate Christmas and by doing so it saves you, then you’ve already transgressed against the law of Christ, you’ve made your salvation based on what you did and not on faith.
This is the facts the modern day Judaizers who have infiltrated the church have become accusers of the brethren. They want believers back under the law and they use the rigid law of the past to control the church. It’s the same accusation that Paul had to deal with in his day when it came to those men who demanded that unless men were circumcised they could not be saved (Acts 15:1) “Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” It’s the same argument today.
Some Christians Have Been Taught: because there are pagan symbols and origins for various Christmas and Easter traditions, therefore believers should not celebrate such religious feast days, should not use pagan terminology, and should certainly not partake in any custom that has pagan roots.
Here is scripture showing that it is not inherently sinful to use pagan terms. Further, rather than being necessarily dishonored by such, God actively permits and He even employs, along with His people, the use of pagan terms. Finally, the Lord even permits His people to engage in certain superficial pagan practices. Of course God NEVER condones immorality. God would never regulate sin, because He is not double-minded, and because He would never send such mixed messages, and because God would never agree to His people hurting themselves. But then, how could a Christian use various symbolic pagan terms and practices, and yet sin not? Consider:
1. Pagan names for months of the year used in Scripture Neh. 2:1, and all Christians use pagan week day names
2. The Bible uses pagan names for Daniel’s associates. The Book of Daniel
3. Jesus went to Jerusalem for the apocryphal Maccabees’ Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah. John 10:22
4. Pagan philosophical terms co-opted. Hebrews: shadow, types, substance; John: logos
5. God allows us in the Body of Christ to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 1 Cor. 8:4
6. Those who are more mature can even go to, and eat in, an idol’s temple. 1 Cor. 8:10
7. Extra-biblical regulations may have a superficial appearance of wisdom but do not help. Colossians 2:20-23
1. Biblical Calendar, Hebrew Month Names: Scripture uses the Hebrew names of the months eight times. Ex. 13:4 (Abib, the first month); 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1; 1 Ki. 6:1 (Ziv), 37, 38 (Bul), 8:2 (Ethanim, the seventh month)
Babylonian calendar, pagan names: used in Scripture 16 times. Neh. 1:1 (Chislev); 2:1 (Nisan, the first month); Est. 2:16 (Tebeth); 3:7 2x (Adar, the 12th month), 13; 8:9 (Sivan), 12; 9:1, 15, 17, 19, 21; Ezra 6:15; Zech. 1:7; 7:1
European and Roman Pagan Names: Sun-day, Moon-day, Thor’s-day; Saturn-day, etc.
2. Daniel 1:6-7: “Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel (75x) the name Belteshazzar (10x; see Dan. 10:1); to Hananiah (5x), Shadrach (15x); to Mishael (5x), Meshach (15x;) and to Azariah (5x), Abed-Nego (15x).” For example, Daniel 2:49 says, “…Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon…” So the Babylonians took the language that God gave them, and perverted it with symbolism and pagan meaning, not unlike homosexuals taking the color pink, and even, being selfish, taking the entire rainbow, so that now pink symbolizes homosexuality, as does the rainbow itself. But we can take back the rainbow. And we can take back the color pink. So the names of Daniel’s associates had pagan origins, and pagan meanings, but regardless, the Holy Spirit inspired Daniel to use those pagan names, because God is holy, but He’s not uptight!
3. Jesus went to Jerusalem for the apocryphal feast of Hanukkah: The apocrypha at 1st Maccabees 4:56–59 states: “For eight days they celebrated the re-dedication of the altar. Then Judah and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the re-dedication… should be observed… every year… for eight days.” Jesus was a Galilean (Mark 14:70, Luke 23:6; etc. of Nazareth (northern Israel) with His base in Capernaum [Luke 4:23; etc. 16x]) and He would go to Jerusalem to minister for the feasts (John 2:13; etc.). Yet the Gospel of John says that Jesus also went to Jerusalem and even the temple during for the apocryphal feast which the Jews celebrate around Christmas time with the Menorah, the candlestick with nine branches. “Now it was the Feast of Dedication [Greek: renewal; inauguration] in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked into the temple…” (John 10:22-23). Some may criticize a Christian for even attending a religious festival other than an explicitly biblical one, whereas Jesus made it His custom to go to Jerusalem, for ministry purposes, during the Feasts, and He also went for this apocryphal feast.
4. Pagan Philosophical Terms Co-opted by God: Shadow, type, substance, logos (Heb. 8:5; 10:1; Rom. 5:14; John 1:1, 14; etc.)
5. Acceptable for Christians to Knowingly Eat Meat Sacrificed to Idols: 1 Co. 8:4-6. Acceptable for Christians to Eat in an Idol’s Temple : Members of the Body of Christ may even go into an idol’s temple and eat a meal there, paying our money to pagan priests, of Corinth, etc., even though they use our money to promote the worship of false gods like Apollo, etc. 1 Co. 8:10
7. Therefore, If You Died With Christ: from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations; “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Col. 2:20-23). 1. Biblical Calendar, Hebrew Month Names: Scripture uses the Hebrew names of the months eight times. Ex. 13:4 (Abib, the first month); 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1; 1 Ki. 6:1 (Ziv), 37, 38 (Bul), 8:2 (Ethanim, the seventh month)
Babylonian calendar, pagan names: used in Scripture 16 times. Neh. 1:1 (Chislev); 2:1 (Nisan, the first month); Est. 2:16 (Tebeth); 3:7 2x (Adar, the 12th month), 13; 8:9 (Sivan), 12; 9:1, 15, 17, 19, 21; Ezra 6:15; Zech. 1:7; 7:1) European and Roman Pagan Names: Sun-day, Moon-day, Thor’s-day; Saturn-day, etc.
The fact is this, either we are saved, justified by faith and faith alone, or we are saved by the law, but since the law could not save nor keep our salvation, then it is foolish to suggest that partaking of a particular day is both wrong and sinful, to suggest that means one is trying to live by works and not faith. It cannot be by both. Notice this in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” The yoke Paul is speaking about here is the law.
In Titus 1:15 the Apostle also warns against those who see evil in almost anything and condemn it. For these people, a lot of things have the appearance of evil, but purity is first of all a matter of the mind and conscience, not merely the external. “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” (NASB).
Just because the world distorts something, that does not make it evil if we avoid the distortions and use it as God intended or in a way that does not go contrary to God’s character and holiness. A good illustration is the beauty of sexual love within the bonds of marriage. Colossians 2:16-17 forbids is the celebration of religious seasons or holy days when they have been prescribed as religious duty and necessary for holiness or spirituality. Christmas is not a religious duty.
In this passage, the Apostle is talking about the Old Testament festivals which were shadows of the person and work of Christ–but Christ has now come. To continue to celebrate them is to dishonor the fact of His coming, or to act as though He were not enough for salvation or spirituality. Note what the Apostle says, “let no one act as your judge in regard to . . .” He is saying don’t let anyone tell you these things are requirements for fellowship with God. They were only shadows of the person and work of Christ, and He has not only come and fulfilled those shadows, but He is totally sufficient.
Colossians 2:16 and 17 in no way forbids believers from commemorating something such as the birth of Christ if it is done out of love, devotion, and the joy the season gives when used as a way of focusing on the Savior and not as a religious duty. The issue is not the observance, but the reason, the attitudes and the spirit in which it is done.
Furthermore, I believe there is scriptural precedent for commemorating and remembering the birth of Christ. This is in keeping with the events that occurred around the time of Christ’s birth These include:
1. The appearance of the angel of the Lord with the glory of the Lord to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Lk. 2:10-12).
2. The response of the angels at the announcement of Christ’s birth (Lk. 2:13-14).
3. The actions of the shepherds who left their flocks to go and see which was nothing short of a celebration (Lk. 2:15-20).
4. And the arrival of the men from the east bearing gifts as much as a year to two years later (Matt. 2:1-12).
There is, of course, the New Testament precedent for believers meeting together on Sunday. In essence this is a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. The early church automatically did this, but Scripture does not command us to do so. In fact, the early church at first met daily and took the Lord’s Supper daily, but we don’t do that today. Why not? Because these are not binding. We are not under the Law. Believers meet on Sunday because of its significance and because the early church set a precedent for it, but it was never commanded in the Bible. Believers did it out of love and adoration for the risen Savior.
The point is this: If the early church could celebrate the resurrection without a specific command from God, only the spirit of legalism or the letter of the law would forbid the celebration of Christ’s birth as a special season of joy and adoration. Ultimately, the issue is not the season, its the attitude and reason behind it and the distortion of it. Let’s not throw out the baby with the wash.
Hoehner points out that the traditional date for the birth of Christ as December 25th dates back to as early as Hippolytus (A..D. 165-235). In the Eastern church January 6th was the date used for Christ’s birth. But this is still a winter date and not far removed from December 25th.
The facts is this, either we live by the Spirit of Christ and God’s Holy Spirit guiding us or, we fall into condemnation of everything around us simply because we are fearful that by doing so negates our salvation, the only thing which negates ones salvation is losing faith in the only means by which we are saved – the cross. When the object of our faith is no longer in Christ, but in something other than the cross, or we fall into unbelief, then we negate that very salvation which can save us from our sins. Not by keeping to the Torah, nor the Sabbath, or whether or not we celebrate Christmas, but keeping our faith in what Christ did on the cross. That is why we can celebrate Christmas without our faith being challenged. Examine the words of Paul in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” God does not bring guilt, accusations, railings or condemnation. He brings freedom through the cross. Remember this season and understand that ours is not to judge one another by what they do or do not do, but to encourage others in their walk, not become a stumblingblock over minor disputes. Personal conviction should never be used as a theological position to guilt trip and condemn others, instead, let us encourage one another in this life we have now so that others may see the love of Christ in our words and actions.
Contact me at – email@example.com
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2 Timothy 3:2)
In 2009 I was given a dream of the coming future, this future pertains to how the world will become very dark to the things of God and that in much the same way, it will have nothing to do with organized religion or those celebrations many today partake in. In this case I refer to the long held tradition of Christmas. What God was showing me in this night vision was that there is coming a day in which the world will not be participating in the Christmas holiday. The day is coming in the future where there will be no merchandising of Christmas, or people lining up to buy the latest toy or electronic gadget, instead, the world will become so spiritually neutral that they will have nothing to do with this holiday, not even the church will support it out of fear of being ostracized any further. Here is that dream I had:
“I dreamed I was in a mall, a large shopping mall that I am familiar with and I was playing a video game, I decided to leave and go and get some quarters to finish playing and so, going inside the local drugstore, I began to take notice of certain things being promoted. I also realized that my motivation had changed from getting quarters to something more. I felt in my spirit that I should take note of what I was seeing, it was Christmas, but something was out of place which I could not put my finger on. I knew it was Christmas because there were Christmas candy being sold on the shelves, my favorite, chocolate covered cherries, a holiday favorite, was also being sold and I was going to get one but something compelled me to keep moving. I then took notice of several more things being sold in relation to Christmas, but there was something odd, out of shape, out of character. Anyway, I went to the counter and I decided to buy a toy, I grabbed a bb gun, which I thought would make a good gift for a young boy, growing up in the country every boy had a bb gun, although most mothers hated this fact, still, it was in our part of the country, a right of passing for boys to own a bb gun.
I bought the gun and began to ask where do I drop it off? the woman at the counter gave me a very strange look as I asked again, where do I drop this off for the local needy? The reason I found it odd was because that during every Christmas time the salvation army and other charities had what was called “toys for tots”. But there was no toys for tots being offered, again, this seemed strange to me.
i then found myself walking through the store hoping to find a business that would take the toy for a needy child. I then seemed to be motivated to look at what was going on. Every store was promoting Christmas but here’s the thing, they were NOT promoting Christmas like you would think today or years past. There was no santa’s, no rudolph, no reindeer, no Christmas trees, no decorations, yet there was no emphasis on Christmas as a holiday, a celebrated holiday. Not even a mention of a manger. It was as if Christmas had become a post era celebration that was nothing more of a remnant of things past, they only mentioned Christmas sales in passing like, “Oh, by the way, here is some Christmas sales if you celebrate it.”
I spoke to a man, he owned a business and I asked him would he take the toy, but he became angry at my insistence that he take the toy to give to a child. He would have nothing to do with it, but he told me something else, no one celebrates THAT holiday, it was like the holiday had become a thing of the past! I thought I had literally been taken into a different world, like George Bailey, I too was grieved at what I was seeing. I found myself driving, searching for a place to give this toy to, churches, charities, but in my spirit I knew the answer, no one celebrated this holiday any further.”
I believe what I saw in my dream is what is coming in the world, especially here in America. I believe that what I had seen was that Christianity and Godliness will be so removed from this nation and its foundation that we will not even celebrate the most glorious season of all, the birth of our savior. I believe what I was given (dream) is a warning that not only times are going to change, the love for Christ will no longer be acceptable nor shared by men. This is the end of the age and if what I have seen is going to come to pass, which I believe it will, I can only now say, come lord Jesus and come quickly.