The Falling Away Into Darkness

 Just as there is day so too, there is night, and just as there is light, there is also darkness.  We can also say as there is life, there is also death.  We find this is true of people. The Bible speaks to us about a falling away from the true Light, the Light of His Word. It speaks about people of the day and people of the night.  John 3:19 says,  “Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed.”  Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 this, “You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep as others do. But let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

Matthew 24: 10-12 speaks of  people falling away from the light and into the darkness, with great lawlessness. “And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people.  And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold.” 

We see that the darkness brings a change in a person’s life,  2 Timothy 3:2-5 says this about the falling of mankind, For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,  unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,  treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

The Lawlessness that is in the world will usher in the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness. There is more than just crime that is included in darkness. It includes the celebration of holidays here in America and around the world such as Halloween and even Christmas. Over the decades Halloween has exploded with popularity. It is no longer dressing up and going trick or treating after school. Today there are adult parties alongside the kids going door to door, in fact even churches are getting in on the day. So how did this day come about? Well, according to the History Channel the tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats. We are horrified when we see pictures of death and destruction and yet once a year we glorify death and darkness and we spend, as a nation, billions of dollars on portraying death and rewarding those who dress up as people who bring death. Why wouldn’t we find people who go out and reenact just horrific crimes? According to the Library of Congress, the Festival of Samhain marked the transition to the new year at the end of the harvest and beginning of the winter. Celtic people believed that during the festival, spirits walked the Earth. Later on, Christian missionaries introduced All Souls’ Day on November 2, which perpetuated the idea of the living coming into contact with the dead around the same time of year. In order to avoid being terrorized by all the evil spirits walking the Earth during Samhain, the Celts donned disguises so that they would not be mistaken for spirits themselves and be left alone. There is much debate around the origins of trick-or-treating, but generally there are three theories. The first theory suggests that during Samhain, Celtic people would leave food out to appease the spirits traveling the Earth at night. Over time, people began to dress as these unearthly beings in exchange for similar offerings of food and drink.  The second theory speculates that the candy boom stems from the Scottish practice of guising, which is a secular version of “souling.” During the Middle Ages, generally children and poor adults would collect food and money from local homes in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls’ Day. Guisers dropped the prayers in favor of non-religious practices with the inclusion of songs, jokes, and other “tricks.” A third theory argues that modern American trick-or-treating stems from “belsnickle,” a German-American Christmas tradition where children would dress in costume and then call on their neighbors to see if the adults could guess the identities of the disguised. In one version of the practice, the children were rewarded with food or other treats if no one could identify them.

The traditional Halloween colors of black and orange also traces back to the Celtic festival of Samhain. For the Celts, black represented the “death” of summer while the orange symbolized the autumn harvest season.  Playing pranks often varies by region, but the pre-Halloween tradition known as “Devil’s Night,” is credited to a different origin depending on the source. Some say that pranks started as part of May Day celebrations. But Samhain, and eventually All Souls Day, also included good-natured mischief. When Irish and Scottish immigrants came to America, they brought with them the tradition of celebrating Mischief Night as part of Halloween.

The game of bobbing for apples has been a staple at Halloween parties for many years, but its origins are more rooted in love and romance. The game traces back to a courting ritual that was part of a Roman festival honoring Pomona, the goddess of agriculture and abundance. While multiple versions existed, the gist was that young men and women would be able to predict their future relationships based on the game. When the Romans conquered the British Isles in 43 AD, the Pomona festival blended with the similarly timed Samhain, a precursor to Halloween.

The tradition of carving  Jack-o’-lanterns originated in Ireland using turnips instead of pumpkins. It is allegedly based on a legend about a man named Stingy Jack who repeatedly trapped the Devil and only let him go on the condition that Jack would never go to Hell. But when Jack died, he learned that Heaven did not want his soul either, so he was forced to wander the Earth as a ghost for eternity. The Devil gave Jack a burning lump of coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. Locals eventually began carving scary faces into their own turnips to frighten away evil spirits.

The idea of being spooked by black cats dates back to the Middle Ages, when these dark felines were considered a symbol of the Devil. It didn’t help that centuries later, accused witches were often found to have cats, particularly black ones. People began to believe that the cats were a witch’s “familiar”–supernatural entities that would assist in their practice of dark magic–and black cats and spookiness have been linked ever since. 

For much of the early history of Halloween, towering bonfires were used to light the way for souls seeking the afterlife. These days, lighting candles have generally replaced the large traditional blazes. Bats were likely present at the earliest proto-Halloween celebrations, not just symbolically but literally. As part of Samhain, Celts lit large bonfires, which attracted insects, which in turn, attracted bats. Soon spotting bats became connected with the festival. Medieval folklore expanded upon the eeriness of bats with a number of superstitions built around the belief that bats were harbingers of death. 

The act of going door-to-door for handouts has long been a part of Halloween revelries. But until the mid-20th century, the “treats” children received were not necessarily candy. Things like fruit, nuts, coins, and toys were just as likely to be given out. Trick-or-treating rose in popularity in the 1950s and it inspired candy companies to market small, individually wrapped candies. People began to favor the confections out of convenience, but candy did not dominate at the exclusion of all other treats until the 1970s when parents started fearing anything unwrapped.

You may say that may be true, but who knew, or we don’t celebrate to honor paganism. That is the lie of the devil. You do not see a child of the devil, one who hates light and hates God walking in His ways. We do see people today who practice darkness and still think in their mind that they are in the light , but they are not. Yes! Every time you sin and do not repent knowing that it goes against God’s Word you are not in the Light. Believers should know that God is a God of life and not death. He is a God of Light and not darkness. The Bible uses words like the hint or the appearance of darkness or evil.  We must be witnesses of the Light, the True Light and we can not sit on the fence and still be a witness to True Light. It is this True Light that will lead people to God, not some version of light that will only keep people in the darkness. Truth never comes from a lie. We want to look at the celebration of the Birth of our Messiah. This too came from a lie. The Emperor Constantine, in the 4th Century, declared that the religion of the Roman Empire would be Christian, to please his mother, but he himself worshiped many pagan gods including the sun god, this is why today we worship on Sunday and not the 7th day Sabbath. How can we even be a witness to His Creation, declaring that He is the Creator, if we ourselves do not rest on the 7th day Sabbath?  Because of the worship of the sun god, we have what they call halos in every Christian painting, the sun bursts, to honor the sun god, but the halo is used in many pagan religions. Wikipedia tells us this about halos:  They are on painted wares from south Italy, radiant lines or simple halos also appeared on a range of mythic figures: Lyssa, a personification of madness; a sphinx; a sea demon; and Thetis, the sea-nymph who was mother to Achilles. The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the sun-god Helios and had his usual radiate crown (copied for the Statue of Liberty). Hellenistic rulers are often shown wearing radiate crowns that seem clearly to imitate this effect.  So the Church made it their own and reimagined it as the Light of God. Once again taking pagan symbols and trying to mix the light with the darkness. We also celebrate the birth of the Messiah on December 25th, because Constantine ordered that date to celebrate the birth of the Messiah to coincide with the birth of his pagan sun god. As the head of the church he also changed Passover and called it Easter after a pagan god. So we now have Christmas trees and Easter bunnies, eggs and mistletoe, yule logs and Santa Clause, all pagan, in which they have their roots in pagan worship. It does not matter if we know the root of it all or not. We still are practicing paganism which God does not accept in any form, if we have the knowledge of it or not. God gave us His Biblical Feast days. These are not just for Jewish people, they are God’s Appointed Times for all those who call themself God Fearers. It is widely believed that Yeshua, (and we should use His real name, because it is the only name which means God’s Salvation), was born on the first day of Sukkot. The Feast speaks about God with us and He being our dwelling place. The eighth day, which is called Shimat Torah, is the celebration of the Word of God. It is also widely believed that Yeshua was circumcised on this eighth day. God does nothing outside of His Appointed Times. If it has to do with anything Biblical it happens on one of His appointed times. December 25 is not one of God’s Appointed Times. We must be a true witness to the world, a true Light, if people are going to be saved. A lie will not save people. There is no holiness outside of God’s Word. No godliness. No life, for only God’s Word brings Life. Yeshua said that He was the Bread of Life. Proverbs tells us that God’s Word is the Tree of Life. The Holy Spirit will cause us to have Springs of Living Water flow from within us. This is light, this is life and when we turn from this in any way shape or form we begin to fall into the darkness.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 tells us this, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Messiah with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

And again in 1 Corinthians 10:19-21, “I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

Let us not be deceived. Let us not ignore the truth. Let us not fall from the light into the darkness, because everyone else is doing it, or because this is what we have done all these years, or but it is just innocent fun. The night of the Devil is just that, for the Devil, and not for the people of the day!

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