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Three days of darkness and deception
Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day

Moses prophetically declared ten plagues that would come upon Egypt, because they had enslaved the seed of Abraham and Pharaoh would not let them go. When it came time for the ninth plague, God commanded Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt” (Ex. 10:21) And it happened! Darkness prevailed for three days, so intense, so overwhelming, so ominous, that the Egyptians did not leave their homes. Miraculously, though, the “children of Israel had light in their dwellings”—and so it should be now in a supernatural sense (Ex. 10:22). That intriguing account parallels something very similar—on a spiritual level—that happens globally every year. There are three consecutive days of spiritual darkness and deception that settle over much of the world, disguised in the form of religious holidays (“holy days”).


This day of masquerading in costumes and children going door-to-door, saying, “Trick or treat,” looks innocent, but it hides a very sinister past. Originally, it was an ancient Celtic and pagan celebration called Samhain (pronounced sow-in)—a dreadful night full of occult rituals performed by Druid priests on the cusp of the dark months of winter (symbolic of death). It included the wearing of costumes (often animal skins and heads), not for fun, but in the hope of warding off evil ghosts. Witches and Wiccans to this day believe Halloween to be a day when communication with the spirit world (especially contacting the dead or necromancy) is most advantageous because supposedly, the “veil” between the natural and spiritual realms is at its thinnest and most penetrable point.

Halloween is the high, “unholy” day of Satanism. It swings drastically to the dark and evil side of the spiritual spectrum, a time when gruesome images of skeletons, zombies, gravestones, blood, vampires, black cats, spider webs, and snakes are seen everywhere. Even the jack-o-lantern pumpkins on porches have a dark back-story that involves a man, a trickster named Jack, who made a pact with the devil for monetary gain. When he died, as the myth goes, God refused him entrance into heaven and Satan refused him entrance into hell—so his ghost was cursed to roam the earth forever. By the way, that light in the pumpkin—it represents a live coal from the fires of hell that Satan threw at Jack. Of course, it’s not true, but . . . it reveals the personality of the season.

Most committed Christians recoil from participation in Halloween since evil is so blatantly enshrined. However, few realize that the next two days we going to examine are filled with just as much spiritual darkness and deception.


The term “Halloween” is a word that stems from “All Hallows Eve,” a reference to the night before “All Saints Day.” (The word “hallow” means holy or saint.) So, what could be bad about a day set aside to celebrate saints, following a dark day that celebrates evil? Isn’t that positive progress? Not if you dig deeper into the symbolic meaning, doctrine, and purpose behind it. Pope Gregory III (the head of the Catholic Church from 731-741 A.D.) assigned November 1st as a day to honor all martyrs and saints. As the doctrine of the canonization and the role of saints evolved in Catholicism, about two centuries later, it became a day when praying to the saints was a major emphasis. (For a deeper study of this concept and practice, go to Questions #10-11 in The Beliefs of the Catholic Church). Unfortunately, this tradition is nothing less than the forbidden practice of necromancy, veiled in what seems to be acceptable, biblical terminology. And yes, I did say “forbidden.”

Deuteronomy 18:9-13 commands,

     When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 

A necromancer, like a medium or a spiritualist, is someone who attempts to contact the dead. The word “abomination” means something revolting and detestable. This occult practice is detestable to God because it opens the door to false supernatural manifestations. Those participating come under the influence of evil spirits. God detests the spiritual damage that results and the deception that is propagated. God was not and is not denying His people a legitimate and powerful spiritual experience; He is protecting them from a web of esoteric delusion in this area.

Apparently misunderstanding or misapplying this command from Deuteronomy, Catholics enthusiastically persist in the practice of “praying to the saints”—imploring departed “saints” in heaven to intercede in their behalf. Such a non-biblical tradition is both theologically erroneous and logically impossible. All Saints Day is almost like a global séance with millions of eager participants. Tragically, it is not a tradition pleasing to the Most High. We have the biblical record of Saul going to the witch of Endor in his attempt to contact the prophet Samuel who had died. That didn’t go so well for Saul, did it? (See 1 Samuel 28.)

There are two more reasons this practice of praying to the saints is wrong. First, according to the biblical standard, all believers are saints, not just those who have shown exceptional holiness (check out Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:2). Second, logistically, such a practice is impossible. Think about it! There are approximately 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. Just suppose half of them pray to Peter on All Saints Days (650 million). Break that down into a smaller time segment. That’s about 450 people calling on Peter every minute. Can you imagine trying to intelligently process 450 conversations at once? I do well to focus on one person at a time talking to me. To be able to handle such a tsunami of requests, Peter would have to be omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (existing everywhere), because he would have to be personally aware of mediating in 450 situations and locations simultaneously. Yet omniscience and omnipresence are attributes that only God possesses. Besides, the Scripture boldly and plainly proclaims:

     There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)


All Souls Day–especuially a time to pray loved ones out of purgatory

What could be wrong with setting aside a day to remember all who have passed through the veil of death to the other side? Nothing, if it ended there. However, in Catholicism, All Souls Day is especially a time to pray for those believed to be in Purgatory. In that imagined intermediate realm, Catholics who were not holy enough to enter heaven at death are purportedly purged and perfected over a period of time (sometimes, even thousands of years) to finally be made worthy of heaven. This doctrine robs the cross of its glory and grace of its power and plunges believers into a righteousness-by-religious-works mentality. The primary go-to scripture that Catholics use to support the idea of Purgatory is 1 Corinthians 3:11-15:

     For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Clearly, Paul was not talking about a long, protracted process of anguish and misery, but a single Day of supernatural revelation (he said, “The Day will declare it”). He was referencing “the Day” of the Lord’s return, when Jesus will descend from heaven “in flaming fire and all His holy angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). In one blazing, apocalyptic moment of spectacular power and glory, He will determine whether the works of His sons and daughters are worthy of an eternal reward, or if they were futile religious pursuits based on doctrinal errors or manmade rituals. He will baptize us in such an intense, holy fire that mortality will be swallowed up by life.

The Bible does not teach Purgatory; there are only two destinations after death. To propose a third, temporary realm of suffering and purging is to create false hope and open a door to compromise in the lives of believers who are faltering in their spiritual walk. Instead of zealously striving to overcome and to enter the strait gate, they might be inclined to accept defeat, thinking they will just have to spend more time in Purgatory. (For a deeper study of the concept of Purgatory, see Questions #20-21 in The Beliefs of the Catholic Church.)


So, what is my conclusion? These three days are all times of spiritual darkness and religious deception. Only the first is blatantly evil; the other two are clothed in the costume of Bible-based religious fervor. Quite often, the adherents who believe and participate are deeply sincere in their love for God—yet all three celebratory days are just as wrong as the festival of Samhain on which Halloween is based. No wonder those who are sensitive spiritually can, in a sense, “feel” the darkness.



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Written by Mike Shreve