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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

By:  Rev. Kevin R. Airrington

Follow up— Answering my Critiques

Please email me any questions or comments you have about this or any other Biblical or question about any essay on this site.   If you wish for your quest

This essay is a resource for Christian families who are looking for answers about Halloween. But I know before I even publish this that I will take heat for even bringing up the subject of Christians celebrating Halloween.  Let me say up front that my goal is to lift up Jesus in everything I say and do.  I stand for truth. I stand for Jesus, and I am not ashamed.

INTRODUCTION

Image result for jackolanternsSeveral years ago I reposted two very good articles about Halloween on my Ministry Website: www.airrington.com. Go to my site and search for Halloween. I did not write these articles, but I thought they answered some questions about Halloween.  They are very good articles but what I should have done is take the time to write my own article and inject my personal beliefs, detailed history and what the Bible has to say on the matter.

Should you and I as Christians be involved in the celebration of Halloween?

Finding the answer to that question has been an interesting journey in itself.   I have my own reasons and Biblical reasons  to say the least of these — Joshua 24:2, 15, And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel…choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  This in it of itself should be enough.  The sad thing is, God is clear in His Word about a good many things…yet it seems that many tend to ignore them.  They tend to make God in his or her own image instead of the way around.  Many will not read this article because it is too long and we just can’t be bothered, besides I just don’t believe that stuff is our excuse.  “My pastor says Halloween is okay to celebrate.”  Your Pastor is just a man and he is wrong about this!  That’s a pretty bold statement, I agree, but perhaps after you read this essay you will change your mind.  I hope you do…for the love of God, and if Christ’s death means any to you…I hope you do!

As I searched the Internet to get opinions, thinking I would find many God fearing Churches shout, “CHRISTIANS DO NOT CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN”…what I found instead of God’s saints defending the Gospel of Truth was churches glorifying Halloween as some sort of Christian Holiday; perhaps as important or more important than Christmas or Easter.  Shocking! First I found a site that said, “10 Reasons why Christians should NOT celebrate Halloween.”  Then the very next one in the search was, “7 reasons why Christians SHOULD celebrates Halloween.”  Ay ya yay!  No wonder Christians are confused about almost every subject.  One site said, “We should not worry about spirits, ghosts, and satanic symbolism with Halloween we should worry about drunk drivers and other social issues.”  Are you serious?  Yes, those things are important…again, may I… ay ya yay!  The Bible I read and perhaps yours is different than mine says,For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12

HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Image result for scary halloween
Is there anything Godly about this?

I have heard a lot of ‘TALK’ about Halloween being a Christian Holiday…just look at the thousands of people on Facebook, Youth Pastors and Pastors alike all justifying this holiday as some sort of I don’t know what…some sort of Christian All Saint’s Day.

Let’s see about all this Christian Holiday business.

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early “Christian” church, a day set aside for remembrance of the martyrs.   The word Halloween comes from the term “All Hallows Eve” which occurred on October 31st, at the end of the summer in Northwestern Europe.  “All Saints Day,” Or “All Hallows Day” was the next day, November 1st.  Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.   “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.”

As near as I could find out; the earliest origins of Halloween can be traced back to about the time of Jesus Christ.  These origins were primarily from an ancient Ireland and Scotland.  On October 31st, the Celtics celebrated the end of summer.  During this important time of the year for herders they would move their animals into barns and pens in order to prepare for and ride out the long winter months ahead.   Also, this was the time that the farmers harvested their crops.   This annual changing of the seasons and the “lifestyle” was celebrated by a festival called Samhain – pronounced ‘sow-ane’.   Few Christians have heard this term.  Samhain is still celebrated today as an ancient pagan festival of the dead by witches all over the world.  In some of the earliest Irish literature sources you will find mentioning’s of Samhain.  Many important events surround Samhain…they either take place on Samhain or around this time period.

Samhain is one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh make up the other three.  Samhain along with Beltane, bonfires were lit and rituals began.   These bonfires as well as the ashes are said to have protective and cleansing powers.  And that’s not all.  They also performed many rituals that involved the bonfires.  Samhain, like Beltane is seen as a time when spirits could easily make entrance into our world.  The aos sí – pronounced ‘ees shee’ and the older form aes sídhe – pronounced ‘ays sheeth-uh’, it is usually spelled Sìth but you would pronounce it the same.  (Star Wars – Remember the Sìth – Star Wars is the most occultic movie of all time.)…is a supernatural race that some believe is the remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits.  They are said to be ancestors, the spirits of nature or gods & goddesses and they walk among the living.

They also believe that the aos sí needed to be propitiated or appeased in order to ensure that their livestock survived the winter.  So, if you make the deity happy they will protect your livestock.  The souls of the dead were welcomed into their homes and the dead kin would also have a place of honor set for them at the table for them.  “Guising” is part of the festival.  This involved people going door to door in a disguise and reciting verses in exchange for food or coins.  (trick or treat).  Costumes were used to disguise themselves from the aos sí (the spirits).

Divination, which involved nuts and apples were a big part of the festival.  Divination is a systematic method by which the individual attempts to gain an answer to a question or a situation in their lives by way of an occultic process or ritual.   They may gain this knowledge through reading signs, events or through contact with a supernatural agency.

The Roman Catholic Church changed the dates of All Saints Day from 1 November to 2 November (they are good at changing dates— look at Christmas.  The Jews also monkey with dates…changing the Jewish calendar so that Jesus would not line up as the Messiah but a favorite Rabbi would, see my article called, “THE JEWISH CALENDAR”) and it later became ‘All Soul’s Day’.  Overtime Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ Day merged to help create what we now celebrate as Halloween.   Towards the end of the 20th century, Celtic neopagens and Wiccans have observed Samhain or something very similar based on it.  Make no mistake this IS a RELIGEOUS HOLIDAY but NOT a CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY.    Samhain is celebrated all over the world…and at different times of the year.  The name may change as well, but it is the same RELIGEOUS HOLIDAY.

Samhain, like Beltane was a time when the doorway to the underworld was opened to the this world.  This allowed the SPIRITS OF THE DEAD to come into our world.  The way I read this Samhain is basically a FESTIVAL FOR THE DEAD.  The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn says that the sidhe (fairy mounds or portals to the Otherworld) “were always open at Samhain”.

“According to the Dindsenchas and Annals of the Four Masters, which were written by Christian monks, Samhain in ancient Ireland was associated with the god Crom Cruach. The texts claim that King Tigernmas (Tighearnmhas) made offerings to Crom Cruach each Samhain, sacrificing a first-born child by smashing their head against a stone idol of the god.”  THAT’S WICKED…hey lets go trick or treating!

Image result for scary halloween demons
How can this glorify God?

Ronald Hutton ((1996) Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford, Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-288045-4) he writes: “When imitating malignant (it will destroy you as opposed to benign which is just a pain) spirits it was a very short step from guising to playing pranks”.   In other words, imitating evil spirits is about the same thing as dressing up in costumes and going door to door or playing pranks.   Playing pranks at Samhain is recorded in the Scottish Highlands as far back as 1736 and was also common in Ireland, which led to Samhain being nicknamed “Mischief Night” in some parts.  I think Mischief Night could accurately describe todays modern Halloween.   Many teenagers and young adults…play all kinds of pranks…toilet papering a tree…throwing eggs at a house…putting dog poop in a paper bag and setting it on fire so the unsuspecting victim stomps it out on their porch gets poop in their slippers and more.

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Harvest Party at Church. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE!

Trick-or-Treating came from the custom of going door-to-door collecting food, coins and fuel for bonfires and/or offerings to the aos sí for the Samhain festival.  Trick-or-Treating also has roots in collecting ‘Soul Cakes.’  This is an English practice where given out to Soulers (mostly children and the poor) who would go door-to-door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead (Idolatry, more on this later).   These small round cakes were eaten and they would represent a soul being freed from purgatory.  Traditionally the Soul Cakes with glasses of wine were set out on All Hallows’ Eve as an offering for the dead.  This ritual of children going door –to-door begging for Soul Cakes on All Saints Day was known as ‘SOULING’.

In 1891, the Reverend M.P. Holmes from Tattenhall, Chesire discovered the song from a little girl at the local school (Gregory, E. David (2010). The Late Victorian Folklore Revival. Scarecrow Press. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-8108-6988-2.).    In the 1950s the soul-cake song was still being collected in England.

The 1891 song contained the following lyrics:

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

In 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary, an American Folk Group recorded their version of the song and entitled it: ‘A Soalin’:

Soul, soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him what made us all!
Soul cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul, and three for Him who made us all.

American Hallowe’en composer Kristen Lawrence found two historical tunes associated with soul cakes, she was struck that the beginning notes were the same as the mediaeval plainchant Dies Irae, “Day of Judgment.”  The lyrics call for the people to repent and pray for the dead (Idolatry, more on this later). (British rock musician Sting recorded a song called “Soul Cake”.  You can listen to the song on his 2009 album, “If on a Winter’s Night”.   What am I saying; this is the 21st Century, head over to You Tube!  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu8H5rA9HuA).  It’s a snappy little tune with a nice beat…and my head was surely a bobbin’, however, the chorus will send chills down your spine!  His version seems to be an adaption of Peter, Paul & Mary; however, his refers to Christmas rather than All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day. “A Soul Cake, a soul cake…anything to make us merry.  We’ll hope you will be kind…And we’ll come no more a-soulin’…till Christmas time next year.”

That…”a soul cake a soul cake a soul cake…” chant makes me uneasy.  Like some sort of Satanic chant.  I think I will pause and pray right now…to be honest…all of this has made me uneasy and it is scaring the hell out of me!

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for your outrageous love for us.  Thank you for your Word…and your knowledge.  Lord as we explore the dark side of a holiday that drips in demonic activity I pray for Your protection and your comfort.   Oh God!  I am feeling very uneasy right now.  Like someone or something is watching me and they are not pleased with what I am writing…I rebuke these demonic spirits in the name of Jesus…you are the most high God…protect me and shower me with your love.  I pray that all those that read this are blessed and educated Lord.  That they will see the truth and they will follow your law.  Thank you Jesus.”

I’m am sorry, I had to do that…I am not simply filling words up on a page…I really am feeling scared and uneasy.

One thing that comes to mind at this point is that the Scripture firmly teaches that we are not to pray to anyone but the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.  Catholic doctrine teaches us to pray to the Saints.  Catholicism teaches it is okay to pray to Saints and other creatures.  I firmly believe that praying to anyone other than God is IDOLATRY.  I have no problem with Christians in Heaven hearing what is said on earth.  Many Christians seem to deny this fact, however, this is clearly taught in revelation 5:8-14.  Just because people in Heaven can hear the prayers on earth does not mean we can pray to them.  They can only hear the prayers and praises of God and this is only granted by God, let’s not give the Saints any powers that they do not have.

“The Roman Catholic Church prefers to say that it possible for the Saints in heaven hear every prayer of every creature all the time; otherwise, it would not be possible to pray to Mary legitimately.  The standard Protestant objection is that praying to the saints implies a type of omniscience on the hearers’ part. Their argument based on what we do not know, not what we do know.

There is no biblical teaching at all that states we are to pray to those who once were alive on earth and are now in heaven.  Biblically, prayer is always offered to God, and is a form of worship.  Further, prayer is not the same thing as talking to someone face-to-face.  Prayer is a humble petition to the Lord and not to a friend who’s in the same room with you or on the other end of the phone — or in heaven.  Prayer is offered to God, never to any created thing.  To do so is to offer worship that should only be directed to God, which is idolatry.”

The Bible teaches us to pray to God in Jesus name: 1 Pet 1:17, Eph 3:14.

By participating on Halloween you are breaking the very first commandment, Exodus 20:4, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Certainly, anyone that prays to dead people is an Idolatress! REPENT — Acts 3:19!

Pumpkins & Jack-o’lanterns —

A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o’-lantern from the early 20th century.
Photographed at the Museum of Country Life, Ireland

One of the traditions for guisers or pranksters was to hollow out turnips or mangel wursels (beets or other root vegetable).   Once hollowed out they would place a candle in them to act as lanterns.  Quite often they were carved with grotesque and frightening faces to represent spirits or goblins.  They were also used to protect themselves from harmful spirits.  Interesting, an evil spirit to protect you from and evil spirit…no thank you…I think I will rely on my Holy Spirit.   They were common during Somerset or Punkie Night.  Punkie Night is an English custom practices on the last Thursday of October.

Children marched around with a jack o’lantern and sang a song which goes:

It’s Punkie Night tonight
It’s Punkie Night tonight
Adam and Eve would not believe
It’s Punkie Night tonight

There are some variants of this old rhyme which also include these lines:

“Give me a candle, give me a light If you don’t, you’ll get a fright”

or alternatively:  “Give me a candle give me light If you haven’t a candle, a penny’s all right”

As Cooper and Sullivan (Cooper, Q. & Sullivan, (1994). Maypoles, Martyrs and Mayhem. London: Bloomsbury books.) explain, this relates to the tradition where children would beg for candles on this night, and threaten people who refused to give them anything.

Morrell (Morrell, Patricia; Peter Clark (Illustrator) (1977). Festivals and Customs. London: Pan Piccolo Books) explains how, in earlier times, farmers would put a traditional “Punkie” on their gates to ward off evil spirits at this time of year.

The Jack o’lantern comes from an Irish folklore about a man Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree.   Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from climbing down.  The devil made a deal with jack (he is good at that) not to allow Jack into hell after jack died and all he had to do was remove the cross from the tree.  After Jack dies, he couldn’t go to hell and he couldn’t go to Heaven.   Poor Jack was forced to wonder around the earth with a single candle to light his way.  The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer.   In the 1800s the Irish began to immigrate to America they changed from the turnip to the pumpkin.  Along with these traditions they brought with them the black cat which is considered to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.

Halloween is an occasion when the ancient gods (actually demons) are worshiped with human sacrifice.  The origins are not of Christian origins (notice the word “Christian” in quotes at the beginning of this essay?)  …the origins of Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals, demon incantations, worship of the dead, superstition and early Catholic traditions.

Many have claimed the “Christian” roots of Halloween.  I guess that all depends.  It depends if you count Catholics as Christians.  Now let me be perfectly clear.  Do I think Catholics are going to Heaven? No, absolutely not.  The Catholic Church is nothing but a cult that dabbles in blatant Idolatry, Sorcery, Islamism and Saint Worship.    However, there will be Christians that attended mass that do make Heaven, but it will not be because of their religion it will be in spite of it!  It will be because of Jesus!

Snap-Apple Night, painted by Irish artist Daniel Maclise in 1833.
It was inspired by a Halloween party he attended in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832.

The caption in the first exhibit catalogue:

There Peggy was dancing with Dan
While Maureen the lead was melting,
To prove how their fortunes ran
With the Cards could Nancy dealt in;
There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will,
In nuts their true-love burning,
And poor Norah, though smiling still
She’d missed the snap-apple turning.

On the Festival of Hallow Eve.

The most frightening thing about the Snap-Apple painting (never mind the eerie resemblance to the drink we call SNAPPLE —which I think there is more there than meets the eye.)…it looks EXACTLY like a Church sponsored HALLOWEEN ALTERNATIVE PARTY…maybe trunk r treat or Harvest Party! Games, dancing, bobbing for apples, singing, eating…candy and more.  I mistakenly took my children to our church’s trunk or treat.  First, in the church fellowship hall… it look just like the Snap-Apple painting.  They had women dressing as men, men dressing as women…witches, goblins, etc.   They were putting fake tattoos on the kids; tattoos of pumpkins, witches, black cats, goblins, ghosts, etc.   PLEASE CHURCH WAKE UP…WE ARE THE SAINTS OF GOD AND WE ARE ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL!!!!

The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of summer sacrifices to gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.

Before we move on I think it is important that we have a look at how Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, has to say about Halloween.

Perhaps they viewed the day as a simple fun and innocent neighborhood activity?

I don’t know if I should be shocked or I should have seen this coming.   Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca. In fact, it is one of two high and holy days for them. The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day.   I am convinced that those who believe and practice witchcraft, that Halloween represents a tremendous opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world.  If you are not convinced of this, please take a trip with me to Ashland, Oregon, just north of the California border on Halloween night.  The streets will literally be filled with Wiccan…demonic activity.

SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN

An old proverb says, “When you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.” Presumably, NO genuine Christian would want to sup with the devil at all and yet many may be doing so in ignorance.

Halloween is celebrated by millions of people as a fun time for kids, putting on costumes, and going door-to-door to get candy. But it is also known as a time of witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. On one hand, some see Halloween as a harmless time of fun and on the other, a ghastly and demonically inspired night to be avoided.

As Christians, there is a lot of debate on whether or not we should participate in Halloween. Is it alright to go trick-or-treating? Can we dress our kids up in costumes on that day? If we do any of this, are we celebrating an evil holiday?

My son, Joshua is just six years old told me, “daddy all the people that think Halloween is a Christian Holiday is lying it is actually a devil holiday.”  Now how in the world did my six year old figure this out and YOU HAVEN’T?

My daughter Rosebud, my 11 year old daughter has an answer for those that believe that Halloween is a Christian Holiday, “Well that just explains it all!  Kids dressing up with blood all over them, pitchforks and tails with triangles on them (obviously her observation of a devil), ghosts and goblins and witches…I don’t even get that.  Yeah, it’s a Christian Holiday.”

To be honest, on the surface it is clear that Halloween is a satanic holiday…and should scare the bezeebers out of us forcing us to recite the Scripture, “greater is He that is within me than He that is in the world.”  Let alone the history which we have just uncovered…if you really are a Christian as you claim to be…you should have a very uneasy feeling in your spirit…you should be scared as hell.

A few points about Hallowen:

  • October 31st has long been known as “The Festival of the Dead.” The Celtic tribes and their priests the Druids celebrated this day as a marker for the change from life to death.
  • Witches celebrate Halloween as the “Feast of Samhain,” the first feast of the witchcraft year. Being a festival of the dead, Halloween is a time when witches attempt to communicate with the dead through various forms of divination.  Christians should not be involved with occultic practice or divination. Note God’s command against divination in Deuteronomy 18.
  • Villagers, fearful of the possibility of being visited by the ghosts of past occupants, would dress up in costumes to scare the spirits on their way. They would also leave food and other treats at their door to appease the spirits so they would not destroy their homes or crops but instead move on down the road. Occultists also would try to scare away the spirits by carving a scary face into a pumpkin.
  • In some witchcraft covens, the closing ritual includes eating an apple or engaging in fertility rites. In the Bible (Genesis 3), eating a piece of fruit brought sin and death into the world. In witchcraft, eating an apple is symbolic of bringing life. The practice of bobbing for apples brings together two pagan traditions: divination and the fertility ritual.
  • Schools are removing any religious significance from Christmas (often called winter break) and Easter (spring break). Isn’t it ironic that most public schools still celebrate Halloween even though it has occultic origins?
  • Participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, haunted houses, and other occultic practices.

Source: These bullet points were barrowed from Probe Ministries in Richardson, Texas. (http://www.fillthevoid.org/Occult/TenReasonsChristiansShouldNotCelebrateHalloween.htm)

Some of you are not interested in what the Bible commands, however, you have stuck with me thus far, we know with certainty that we as Christians, as Saints of God, as Ambassadors of Christ that we are forbidden to become involved with the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

As a minister of the Gospel and being saved for over 25 years I have seen the devastating effect on lives when this commandment is broken.  Remember, God’s promise of protection for ourselves and that of our children is for those that are in His will and that promise may no longer hold true if we allow our children to celebrate this dark religious holiday.  Rebellion is the same as witchcraft the Bible tells us.  Ever wonder why children raised in an environment where Halloween is celebrated are in rebellion!  It is difficult enough to raise our children in a Godly manner in this day than to purposely expose them to Satan and the realm of darkness.

Satan and his demons have created a maze of ‘alternate religions’ to keep as many people deceived and confused as possible.  A brief study of history will show that Satan as introduced one false belief system after another.  He knows that our love for God and our God given desire to serve Him can easily be short circuited by these false religions.  He has told one lie after another: “all roads lead to God”.  Some uneducated Christians or Christians who refuse to hear the truth believe this lie.  All roads do not lead to God.  There is one God, the Creator of all.  Jesus is the ONLY Road to God and without Jesus Christ, there is no salvation.

It is clear, and all Christians need to know this, the devil wants to deceive us and keep us from discovering the truth.  Can we agree on that much today?  I am writing this for Christians, my brothers and my sisters.  The Church and Christians make one compromise after another.  Where in God’s Word and it is just a question, where does it say we must compromise with the world and become tolerant of other religions and sin?  Show me and I will never again preach the Gospel.  If that is so, then I am wrong…wrong about everything I know to be true of God.

You might say, Brother Kevin…my kids dress up as Barbie, Mickey Mouse or Pirates.  I always go with them, so that they are safe.  We never carve scary faces on pumpkins.  We have so much fun decorating our yard as a cemetery.  First, let me ask you mom, dad…what happens when you take your children tout Guising in their Barbie Costume and their Pirate Costume (arrggg!!!) and they see other children dressed as demons, ghosts, hookers, witches and an assortment of other occultic creatures?   What do you say to them?  WAIT!  Don’t answer me too quick.  Think…think…I know it hurts…but think!  You are building a foundation with your children and right now you have a moment.  What will you say?  What can you possible say that will not mold them and how they think about the occult?

If you say, “It’s okay Sarah; it’s all fun…just fun.”  You have just taught your child that it is OK to emulate evil and THAT IS WHAT THEY WILL REMEMBER.  1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Abstain from the APPEARANCE of EVIL.”  How about this one mom, “Oh honey, just ignore them…they are not Christians and they do not know any better.”  Congratulations mom, you have now just taught your child to not care about the lost and the dying…the ones that need Jesus.  Great parenting.  “Who is this guy, talking to us like this…it’s none of his business and he needs to use some tact.”    Who am I?  I am a dad; a grandfather, a husband, a Pastor…and I love you enough to tell you the hard truth…tact?  If you have not been watching the news, Jesus could return any minute!  Do you know how many people died from cancer last year alone?  We don’t have time…we need to share the truth in love and sometimes the truth hurts.

And speaking of truth, there is no response that you could share with your children that would erase the representation of evil and the occult on Halloween…you will dull their ability to determine what is evil and dark and what is pure and light.

One that I have been hearing a lot and reading on Facebook lately…I even saw a Youth Pastor’s wife say, “It’s all for fun.”  Your children will come to accept that they can enjoy Halloween that it is all in fun.  Maybe they have dressed up as a witch or a demon…hey it’s all in fun.  How about let them read Goosebumps or how about your read them the latest Stephen King novel before bed…it’s all in fun.  Maybe your son comes home one day and announces he talked to his grandmother who passed away 6 months ago.  His buddy whipped out a Ouija board and grandma was right there…it’s all in fun.  Maybe your daughter comes home late from school…her beautiful blonde hair is died black…nails are black…lipstick is black.  She announces that she is a Wiccan and she is in touch with mother earth on a truly spiritual level…groovy man…hey, it’s all in fun.  Maybe one night you get a call from the local police…your son or daughter is in jail.   The police had arrested them because of occultic activity…murder…desecrating a body…child endangerment…OH MY WHAT DID THEY DO?  The skinned a 6 month old baby alive as a sacrifice to the druid god Aba Kulana (I made that name up)…hey it’s all in fun. Your children have heard you say all their life that evil doesn’t hurt anything…it’s all in fun…as long as you don’t mean it to be serious…

Now, you are thinking that I am going too far.  But every single example I have given is a true one.  Listen to me mom and dad!  When we do not give our children FIRM direction in these areas, the devil will have free access, access that you have allowed and it will confuse and mislead your children.  Our children are not saved because we are.  They must choose Jesus for themselves.  If we do not tell that that the supernatural realm doesn’t have to be taken seriously, then they will not take it seriously and they will not take JESUS serious!

My children will not celebrate or participate in Halloween because:

– I don’t want them to underestimate the devil

– I don’t want them to open up to demonic influence

– I don’t want them to stumble into an area of the occult unaware

– I want them to know that I take the Bible literally

– I want them to prefer the light of the Gospel to the darkness of the occult

– I want them to know that it is OK to stand apart from the world on these issues

– I want them to recognize easily what is evil and stand against it in the name of Jesus

I could list many other reasons, but would you listen?  My children do not go to Harvest Parties or trunk or treats, etc.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHURCH SPONSORED HARVEST PARTY AND SAMHAIN!

When my children were in public school, we sent a note to school that said, “Dear teacher, we are Christians and do not participate in any fashion with the pagan holiday of Halloween.  As Christians, it is not appropriate for our children.  Please provide an alternate activity for my child if you plan to have parties, carve or color pumpkins or other occultic creatures.

Thank you for your understanding.  If you have questions, please call me.  God bless you, Mr. Airrington.  555-555-1212.”

If I have not convinced you that participating in Halloween in ANY FORM is wrong for a Christian, then you really have not prayed or thought about it.  If you choose this day whom you will serve and ask God to help you and give you wisdom in this area, He will.

What should Christians do?  Many believe they need to have a Harvest Party or the like so that their children are not missing out on the “fun” the others are having.  Remember what I said, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHURCH SPONSORED HARVEST PARTY AND SAMHAIN!

My children have NEVER been trick or treating and they don’t miss it!  They don’t care.  Often times the holiday becomes part of the parent and the fun the parent has seeing Johnny dressed up like a cute little demon.  If you feel you need an alternative I will give you one…probably the only one.

Remember, when Jesus spoke with Peter about His church, he promised him that, “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:18 This is a very clear mandate from our King…we are to take hell by violence!  Some Christians believe we need to take a defensive posture and hide in a corner protected by our shield of faith…no way…Jesus is talking of about offensive action here.  We need to seize the day and attack Satan’s Kingdom.

This is what we do at the Airrington house:  Those little demons and Barbie’s are coming…you can turn off your porch lite…pray you are not the attack of a prankster…hide in the corner with your shield or you can take hell by violence!

Get a small zip lock baggy…put a few pieces of candy in it.  Maybe a pencil with a Bible Scripture, some Bible Stickers (kids love stickers) and go to www.chick.org and order some comic tracts.  You can search for Halloween or get any of them… My Favorite is, “Who’s your Daddy?” They are cheap…just 16¢ each.  Buy 1 or 100!   On the back there is room to write your church or stamp it in…or your website or anything…a message…or leave it blank.  Zip it all up in the baggy…any extra candy let your kids eat it or hide it and you eat it!

Then pour yourself a hot bowl of Chili…shred some Cheddar Cheese and onion it…butter up the corn bread and wait for the doorbell.  Go to the door for safety with your kids…but let them hand out the bags.  They will be excited they are spreading God’s Word.

The Bible says “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That is so true! We do need to know what the Word says. It is relevant to our present lives, not just our eternal! Many of us have wasted a lot of years and we are just finding out what God has to say about our lives.

My family does not celebrate Halloween.  We don’t even pretend that it’s good, or make believe that somehow it’s a Christian event.  Halloween has roots in witchcraft, the occult and human sacrifice plain and simple.   It is the devils attempt to get some glory.  I’m always saddened this time of year when I see the number of Christians and churches that dress Halloween up like a baby in a pumpkin suit and follow the world.  If it’s just for dress-up and candy, we can do that any day of the year.  As believers anything we see the masses flocking to, we should be very leery of.  In public schools for example Halloween is celebrated and lifted up, yet Jesus is not allowed.   Like any family decision I encourage you to seek the Lord.

Ask yourself these questions for any choice you’re facing:

  • Does this activity lift up the Name of Jesus?
  • Would I do this activity with Jesus standing next to me?
  • Is this activity training my children in the way they should go?

You do not need an ‘alternative’ or substitute.   Changing the name to Harvest Festival does not change what it is.  Remember, we are in a war.  Will you fight or shall we just make up alternatives to the worlds wickedness?  

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HALLOWEEN

What does the Bible say about Halloween?  Everything!  You will not find the word Halloween or any of its previous names.  But the Bible is very loud concerning the occult, witches and demons.

Here are a few scriptures…if you have made it this far please don’t fade away at the most important part…God’s Word.

Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-14, ” 9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.

11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer [communicating or praying to the dead].

12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

13 Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.

14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”

1 Corinthians 10:20-21 “20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”

Galatians 4:8-11 “8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Romans 13:12a “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

God is definitely speaking negatively about occultic practices, spirits, witches and He condemns not only the practice but the people who chose to involve themselves in it.   King Saul found out and you and I have discovered this to be true, as Christians we are to have NOTHING to do with the occult.  Tarot Cards, praying to the dead (Idolatry), séances, lucky charms, talismans, demons, witches, mediums, etc.   These are all unbiblical and will harm our fellowship God.  They will open the Christian up to demonic oppression.  If you are having difficulty in your life…right now…this very second, reach in your pocket…what’s in your pocket?  What’s hanging around your neck?  A rabbit’s foot, a crucifix, St Christopher, a pentagram…get rid of it now and see if your circumstances don’t change.

Sadly, most Christians have heard this, read it in their Bible and ignore it.  One time I was talking with a Christian couple and I brought up this very subject.  Suddenly the man reached in his pocket and pulled a talisman…it was of one of the Catholic Patriarch Saints, I cannot remember which.   Everyone in the room starred at it…I finally broke the silence and said, “Where did you get that?”  He didn’t answer…he looked slowly in his wife’s direction.  His wife said almost very proudly, “I bought it for him.”  I said, “O, what did you do that for?”  She said, “I bought it for him when he had his heart surgery.”  I said, “what for?”  She said slowly as it began to dawn on her….”I ….I thought…it…would protect him!”  They told me that he had experienced one health problem after another since he started carrying that talisman.  I said, “Get rid of it.”  They said they would…but I have a feeling he still has it…he continues to have health issues.  Some unexplained by doctors.

THE FINAL WORD

The word “holiday” means “holy day.” But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is “hallow,” which means “holy, consecrated and set apart for service.” If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy-Lucifer’s!

As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries.

What is your Verdict?

VALIDITY OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Copyright ©2012 Pastor Kevin R Airrington


Juries in the United States are asked every day to determine if there is enough evidence in a criminal trial to convict a person “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In this article I am going to ask you to weigh for yourself the historical and the physical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from about 29 a.d. and then, you judge for yourself if the Bible is a credible document.

About 2,000 years ago an event was supposed to have occurred and the Bible records evidence of that event.  Much of the evidence that is recorded in the Bible is supported by outside documents and first-century historians.  If the man we call Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead then the Christian faith and the New Testament are complete and entire frauds.  In short, prove the Resurrection to be false and the entire Christian religion would fall apart and Jesus would found to be a liar.

But if true, this single event, above any other in the history of mankind, provides something solid to believe in. It provides evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth more powerfully than anything that he ever said or did.  It proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be: the Son of God.

Any event that claims to be historical must satisfy certain tests of authenticity.  For example, we know that people and events were historical by the things that were said and not said about them in their own time and the time immediately following.

Examine within these few pages the arguments that demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was truly raised by God from the dead. You will then have a solid basis for faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and with your whole heart, soul, and mind lay hold upon the hope of eternal life.

If true, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most important event in the history of mankind, and therefore the one most crucial to establish as an authentic historical event. In fact, the Resurrection is the very linchpin of the Christian faith, holding together every claim and every blessing. If the Resurrection could be proven a fraud, Christianity would disintegrate as a total fabrication with little redeeming merit. Jesus would not even be an example of a “good moral teacher,” as some maintain, for his most important prediction—that he would be raised from the dead—would be found a lie.

As Christians, our very salvation depends in large part upon the reliability of the four historical records of the birthlifedeath, and especially the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.   The most important, most vital element for our salvation is a deeply held historical factual raised Jesus from the dead.   Romans 10:9 asserts: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  We are trifling with the bedrock of our salvation when we entertain doubts about the historical accuracy of any part of Scripture.  But most crucial are those parts that make historical claims upon which our salvation depends.

Therefore, those who argue that historically the resurrection is not provable and even unnecessary are contradicting the testimony of the apostolic witnesses.  The Apostle Paul’s entire ministry was built upon the foundation of the Resurrection, and it was his personal encounter with the risen Christ that caused him to develop a firm conviction in the reality of this event. In the following verses, I have highlighted in bold type Paul’s statements of the consequences to the Christian faith if the Resurrection of Christ did not, in fact, happen.

1 Corinthians 15:14-20

(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

(16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Later in his life, Paul’s public testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his proclamation of the Gospel in Ephesus caused such uproar that the Roman authorities took him into protective custody lest he be killed by the Jews.  After several appeals according to Roman law, Paul found himself standing before King Agrippa, his last level of appeal before the Emperor himself.

Given permission to speak freely, Paul launched into a passionate account of his life, concluding with his encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.  When Paul then verified the Resurrection from Old Testament prophecy, the governor, Festus, interrupted him and told him he was crazy. The truth of Paul’s brilliant reply remains emblazoned across the pages of human history.

Acts 26:25-26

(25) “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

(26) For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

Amen! And that is why, taken together, the following historical proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ present evidence that is beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. The Resurrection narratives have the ring of historical truth

The Resurrection narratives (Gospels) bear unmistakable signs of being historically accurate. The earliness of these accounts, at a time when hostile witnesses were present, would have made a fabrication unlikely and dangerous.  There is agreement on the main facts and great variety in the witnesses given, yet they are not a mere repetition of some standardized story with all the discrepancies worked out.  The accounts of Christ’s resurrection appearances are clearly independent of one another, as their surface dissimilarities suggest.  Deeper scrutiny, however, reveals that these appearances are non‑contradictory.  Henry Morris writes:

It is a well‑known rule of evidence that the testimonies of several different witnesses, each reporting from his own particular vantage point, provide the strongest possible evidence when the testimonies contain superficial contradictions that resolve themselves upon close and careful examination. This is exactly the situation with the various witnesses to the resurrection.1

2. The Apostle Paul’s life and ministry is a strong witness of the Resurrection

At the time Paul met the resurrected Christ, he was an ardent antagonist to the Christian faith.  A highly educated man, he was not easily persuaded of anything that appeared contrary to or inconsistent with the Mosaic traditions.  It could be said that he would have been the last person on earth to accept the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah based on the Jewish expectations of the time. The fact that he became so fully persuaded of the resurrection of Christ that he completely dedicated his life to his risen Lord is powerful evidence of the reality of the Resurrection.   Canon Kennett writes:

Within a very few years of the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was in the mind of at least one man of education [the Apostle Paul], absolutely irrefutable.2

3.  The empty tomb is a historical given

No reputable New Testament historian doubts the historical fact that the tomb in which Christ was placed after his crucifixion was empty. Therefore, there are only three explanations for it. His enemies took the body, his friends took the body, or Jesus was raised from the dead. The first possibility is extremely unlikely, because his enemies would have certainly displayed his body if they could have, in order to humiliate his disciples, quell the rumors of his resurrection, as well as to cut short any new religious movement that threatened their Mosaic traditions.

It is equally unlikely that his friends would have taken his body, because after his crucifixion they were profoundly disappointed and discouraged and did not believe that he would be resurrected. It is absurd to think that under these conditions they would invent a scheme in which they would steal away the body to fabricate a story they obviously did not believe.

4. The disciples were devout Jews

The disciples were Jews who took seriously their Jewish privileges and obligations. Therefore, it is unthinkable that they would have been party to making up a new religion for personal gain. To a first‑century Jew, such an act was equivalent to lying against the God of Israel, as Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:12‑19 (where he called it bearing false witness, contrary to one of the Ten Commandments). For a first‑century Jew, lying against God and perverting His revelation would mean risking one’s salvation and future participation in the Messianic Kingdom. Would such a person risk divine retribution for a few years of prestige as a leader of a new religion? The answer can only be an emphatic “no.”

5. The testimony of women

The presence of women at the tomb is strong evidence that the biblical record is true. Women had virtually no credibility in the firstcentury Jewish culture, and their testimony in a court of law was considered worthless. For example, if a man was accused of a crime that only women witnessed, he could not be convicted on that basis.  If the account of Jesus’ resurrection were a fable added later in an attempt to authenticate Christianity, why would the record have women be the first to see him and testify to the empty tomb, unless it had really happened that way? Women bringing testimony of his resurrection that is then denied by the male disciples makes the latter look bad, and these men were the first leaders of the Christian Church.  A fabricated story added later by the Church would certainly have painted their first leaders in a more favorable light.

6.  Jewish propaganda presupposes the empty tomb and the missing body

The Jewish Temple authorities paid those who had seen the tomb empty to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body, and they even murdered many of those who preached about his resurrection. With such a powerful incentive to squash the new movement, they would have stopped at nothing to produce Jesus’ dead body if they could have. The fact that they did not means they could not because he was risen.

7. His enemies would have produced his dead body to silence the believers

If he did not rise from the dead, what became of his body?  If his enemies stole it and never showed it openly, that would have encouraged the very rumors of a resurrection that they were very anxious to prevent.  But the decisive proof that His enemies did not take the body is that they surely would have quickly produced it with great fanfare, for they stopped short of nothing to discredit the story.  As William Lane Craig argues:

This is historical evidence of the highest quality, since it comes not from the Christians but from the very enemies of the early Christian faith.3

8. There was no veneration of the tomb

If Jesus was not resurrected, why is there no record of his disciples venerating his tomb as so often happens to religious leaders?  Though God forbade it, the practice continued among the Israelites to the point that God Himself disposed of the bodies of Elijah and Moses lest their followers venerate their gravesites.

9. A non-Christian historian testifies in support of the Resurrection

Josephus, the firstcentury Jewish historian, wrote about Jesus Christ and the growth of Christianity as follows:

And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first did not forsake him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribes of Christians, so named from Him, are not extinct at this day.4

Though some have tried to dismiss this corroborating secular testimony as fraudulent, this is unlikely because Josephus’ writings were well received at the time of their writing by both Jews and Romans. He was even made an honorary Roman citizen.

There is no record of any objection being raised to this passage by early detractors of Christianity, and had this been a fraudulent and late insertion into the writings of Josephus, this fact would have been openly debated in the literature of the day. Because this did not happen, the silence of the critics is damning to their cause.5

10. No alternative explanations in the early non-scriptural sources

There is no alternative explanation for the rise of the Christian Church given in early historical sources that would even attempt to give the “real” story.  In the event that the story was fabricated, surely some critic would have attempted such an alternative explanation.  But the only adequate explanation for the rise of the Church that has ever been given is that the early Christians believed Jesus had been raised from the dead.

11. The biblical records of the Resurrection appearances give a unified witness

The Four Gospels and the Apostle Paul give a unified witness of eleven resurrection appearances.  Because these records are harmonious and noncontradictory, the burden of proof is upon those who would say that they do not tell the truth.

The eleven resurrection appearances, in their likely order, are as follows:

  1. To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:11–18)
  2. To the other women (Matt. 28:8–10)
  3. To Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5)
  4. To the two men on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13–35)
  5. To eleven of the disciples (except Thomas-Luke 24:33–49; John 20:19–24)
  6. To the twelve a week later (John 20:24–29; 1 Cor. 15:5)
  7. To seven disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1–23)
  8. To more than five hundred followers (1 Cor. 15:6)
  9. To James (1 Cor. 15:7)
  10. To all the Apostles [this could be speaking of the Ascension](1 Cor. 15:7)
  11. To the Twelve at the Ascension (Acts 1:3–12)6 

12. The idea of Christ’s new body was a totally foreign concept

The disciples had enough trouble believing that Christ would die and then be raised, and would never have even conceived of the idea of the Messiah having a different body.  It is virtually inconceivable that early Christians fabricated such a story, which even today sounds like science fiction to many doubters.

13.  Modern scholars and historians admit that there is strong evidence of his bodily resurrection

J. P. Moreland confirms this and quotes other scholars:

Almost no New Testament scholar today denies that Jesus appeared to a number of his followers after his death. Some scholars interpret these as subjective hallucinations or objective visions granted by God which were not visions of a physical being.  But no one denies that the believers had some sort of experience. The skeptical New Testament scholar Norman Perrin admitted: “The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based.” Dunn, professor of divinity at the University of Durham, England, agrees: “It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians, who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead.”7

Thomas Arnold, former Professor of History at Rugby and Oxford, and one of the world’s greatest historians, made the following statement about the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better, fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair enquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died, and rose again from the dead.8

Simon Greenleaf is one of the most highly regarded legal minds ever seen in America. He was an expert on the laws of evidence, and the founder of the Harvard Law School. He analyzed the accounts in the Four Gospels of the resurrection of Christ in terms of their validity as objective testimonial evidence, and concluded:

It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.9

14. The conviction of his followers in the Resurrection

Those who first published the story that Jesus had risen from the dead believed it to be a fact.

They rested their faith not only on the fact of the empty tomb, but on the fact that they themselves had seen Jesus alive after his burialHe was seen not once or twicebut at least ten recorded times; and not just one at a time, but in groups of two, seven, ten, eleven, twelve, and over five hundred.

15. The martyrdom of his followers for their belief in the Resurrection

The firstcentury believers preached and acted with conviction about the truth of his resurrection, many of them even dying because of their belief. If his friends had stolen the body to make it look like he had been resurrected, they would have known that they were believing a lie, and men do not become martyrs for what they know to be false.

16. The unanimous testimony of eye-witnesses, who could not all have been deceived or deluded

Some critics say that the early Christians had a vision or a hallucination of Christ after his death, in the same way people today claim to have “seen” the pop icon Elvis Presley.  Could it not have been an ecstatic visionA dreamA fantasy of an excited imagination?  Perhaps an apparitionNone of these is at all probable, for different groups of people do not keep on seeing the same hallucination. Over five hundred people in a crowd would not all dream the same dream at the same time.

Some modern Christian apologists have argued that it is irrelevant whether or not Christ actually was physically raised, because his “spirit” went to be with God.  God then supposedly gave Christ’s followers a “vision” of Christ continuing to live “spiritually” at God’s side. Such a mystical and spiritualistic concept would not have satisfied the Hebraic mind of the disciples, however, who believed the dead to be dead until raised in a bodily, physical resurrection.  It would also have placed the Christian faith on a subjective, mystical basis without historical claims and would not account for the early disciples’ energetic witness of the bodily resurrection of Christ.

17. The unbelief of the disciples concerning his resurrection

With the exception of Joseph of Arimathea, the followers of Jesus did not believe that he would die and then be resurrected. They were not expecting the event, and when it happened they did not believe it at first. They considered it an “idle tale” (Luke 24:11 ‑ KJV). They did not believe it until they had to, when they were directly confronted by the risen Lord.  Henry Morris writes:

One thing is certain: the disciples could not have fabricated the story of the resurrection from their own imaginations. On the contrary, they somehow failed to anticipate it even after such an abundance of prophetic preparation for it, both from the Scriptures and from Christ. It took the strongest of evidences to convince them it had actually taken place.10

18. The idea of a resurrected Messiah was a hard sell to the Jews and absurd to the Greeks

The picture of Jesus was not in keeping with then current conceptions of what the Messiah would be like (a theocratic ruler who would deliver Israel from Gentile oppression) and it would have been hard to convince others of its truth.  The Greeks, with their doctrine of the immortality of the soul, thought the idea of a bodily resurrection absurd and unnecessary (Acts 17:32).  If the disciples had invented an event or a doctrine around which to build a new religion, it would have been more in line with the standard expectations of the day.

19. He could have gotten out of the tomb only by resurrection

The “swoon” theory has proposed that Jesus was not really dead when they buried him, and that he “came to” again. But in that case, weak and exhausted, encased in heavy grave wrappings; he could scarcely have moved, much less removed the heavy stone door (about 2,000lbs) and gotten out of the tomb.   Furthermore, the Roman authorities had sealed the door, and even if he had been successful in moving the stone, the guards would have rearrested him and further humiliated him. Since there is no record of such an event, it must not have happened, because his enemies would have made much of such a bizarre happening.

20. The very existence and growth of the Christian Church makes no sense if he was not raised

Some critics say that the resurrection was a later addition to the story of Christ, invented years later by the Church to glorify a dead hero.  But it is known, from historical records outside Scripture, that the sect known as Christians came into existence in the reign of Tiberius, and that the thing that brought them into existence was their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection was not a later addition to the Christian faith, but the very cause and incentive for itThey rested their faith, not on historical records, but on what they had seen with their own eyes. The records were the result of their faithnot the cause of it. Christianity hinges on the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, for without it the entire faith is found fraudulent.  Had there been no resurrection, there would have been no New Testament, and no Christian Church.

21. The disciples had nothing to gain by fabricating a story and starting a new religion

His followers faced hardship, ridicule, hostility, and martyrs’ deaths. In light of this, they could never have sustained such unwavering motivation if they knew what they were preaching was a lie.  Religion had its rewards for them, but those rewards came from a sincere belief that what they were living for was true.

22. The unanimous testimony of the early Christian leaders

If the empty tomb and resurrection was a fabrication, why did not at least one of the disciples break away from the rest and start his own version of Christianity?   Or why did not at least one of them reveal the claim as a lie?  The Temple authorities were willing to pay good money to anyone who would provide such information.  Or if money was not alluring enough, what about the possibility of proving the Resurrection a lie in order to draw disciples away to follow some enterprising would‑be cult leader?  History has shown that this role is a popular one, and this would have been a golden opportunity.

Without the strong and persuasive evidence of the Resurrection, the continued unity of the early Christian leaders is inexplicable in light of the human tendency to want to promote oneself.  The assumption that they were all committed to the truth of their message is the only adequate explanation of their continued unity and the lack of any revelation of fraud.  Those who lie for personal gain do not stick together very long, especially when hardship decreases the benefits.

23. All of the alternate explanations proposed for the Resurrection lack credibility

In light of the evidence of the empty tomb, the Resurrection appearances and the rise of the Christian Church, a reasonable person should conclude that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a wellestablished historical fact.   In a court of law, such evidence would compel conviction unless contradictory evidence could be brought forward to introduce “a reasonable doubt.”   But all alternate explanations and theories are extremely doubtful and counter‑intuitive.

Therefore, Christians are being rational, sensible, and fully consistent with common sense when they rest their faith on this wellestablished historical event.  Not only is there compelling historical evidence to back the beliefbut extravagant benefits in the future are promised to those who believe it.  According to the Bible, the only sure promise of everlasting life for mankind, both individually and collectively, depends upon belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As Halley writes:

What a Halo of Glory this simple belief sheds on human life. Our hope of resurrection and life everlasting is based, not on a philosophic guess about immortality, but an historic fact.11

What is your Verdict?

From my research I have found 23 pieces of evidence proving the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We have more evidence of proof of the Resurrection than we do evidence that Abraham Lincoln ever lived.  Yet, you believe Abe lived, don’t you?

Maybe this article has helped you come to your own verdict and you are ready to offer the same kind of prayer that changed my life over 23 years ago.  Perhaps you are still skeptical; let me encourage you to continue in your research, but act quickly as the Bible says we are not guaranteed our next breath here on earth.  Hear me for just a moment, there is a lot riding on your verdict!  If Jesus really is the Son of God, then your eternal future depends on how you respond to Him.  John 8:24 says, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”  Those are strong words; I get it!  But please understand my friend, they are meant with the most concerning love for you.  Jesus paid it all for you.  He is opening the door to Heaven for all who will put their trust in Him.  The choice is yours.  The evidence is in; it is not disputable — what is your verdict?

1.  Henry Morris, The Defender’s Bible (World Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995), p. 1576.

2. New Bible Dictionary (Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1975), p. 1087.

3. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics   (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL, 1994), p. 277.

4. Translated by William Whiston (originally published in 1737), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus (The Winston Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1957), p. 535.

5. For more on the authenticity of Josephus’ reference to Jesus, see Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1999), pp. 55–57.

6. Traditionally, Judas Iscariot is excluded from the number witnessing his ascension because of the record in Matthew 27:5 that seem to indicate that Judas went and “hanged himself” shortly after the crucifixion. It seems more likely, however, that Judas was received back into the company of the disciples in the period between his repentance and the Ascension, which he witnessed. After he saw Jesus ascend, and all hope of the restoration of a Davidic kingdom lost, Judas went and killed himself. His absence then precipitated the need to replace him, which became the first order of business after the Resurrection (see Acts 1:16–26). If Judas had killed himself before the Resurrection, it is logical to assume that Jesus himself would have been involved in choosing his replacement, since he chose the original 12. The fact that Judas was received back into the company of the disciples after his betrayal of Jesus speaks volumes about the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus, as well as the committed brotherhood of the disciples.

7. J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), pp. 171 and 172.

8. Thomas Arnold, Sermons on Christian Life (London, 1854), p. 324.

9. Simon Greenleaf, the Testimony of the Evangelists (New York: 1874), p. 28.

10. Morris, op. cit., The Defender’s Bible, p. 1574.

11. Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1955 edition, p. 497. 

 

Other Information, Books, Booklets, and Articles available from:

Airrington Ministries: www.airrington.com

Save a VillageTM: www.saveavillage.org

For Further Evidence

Craig, William Lane, Reasonable Faith, Westchester, Ill Crossway, 1994

Geivett, R. Douglas, & Gary R. Habermas. Eds. In Defense of Miracles. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press 1997

Habermas, Gary, & Antony Flew. Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987

Hanegraaff, Hank.  The Third Day. Nashville: W Group, 2003.

Morrison, Frank.  Who moved the Stone? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987

Wilkins, Michael, J. and J.P. Moreland, eds. Jesus Under Fire. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985

Wilson, Ian. Jesus: The Evidence. San Francisco: Harper 1988

Schonfield, Hugh. The Passover Plot. New York: Bantam 1965

Johnson, Timothy Luk. The Real Jesus. San Franscico: Harper 1996

Strobel, Lee. The Case For Easter. Grand Rapids:Zondervan 2003