Obsessed with the dead
Halloween is a time of the year when many people, young and old, live out a fantasy in magic, mystery, and disguise. One of the most notable figures of Halloween is the Jack-o’-lantern also known as will-o’-the-wisp.
The concept of the Jack-o’-lantern goes back thousands of years and was originally carved turnips or beets. They are often carved with grotesque faces that represent spirits or goblins. Some historians conclude that the connection with Halloween goes back to the ancient Celtic Druid celebration of Samhain (pronounced SAH-win) which marked the end of the harvest season. This carved fruit was used to welcome deceased loved ones but also acted as protection against malevolent spirits.
Still others claim that pumpkin carving, in connection with Halloween, has its roots in the so-called Christian holiday of All Saint’s Day and represented the unbiblical idea of souls in purgatory. These Jack-o’-lanterns were set on windowsills to ward off evil spirits from the home.
Jack-o’-lanterns have an origin in a few, seemingly, fictitious tales as well. The main idea is that a man named Jack traps the devil and then makes a deal with Satan to never take his soul. Jack eventually dies and is too sinful to go to Heaven, yet he was barred from Hell as well due to his deal with the devil. Jack now has no place to go and nothing to light his way. In this story Satan tosses him an ember from the flames of Hades that would never go out. Jack places the ember in his favorite food, a carved-out turnip, and begins endlessly wondering the earth for a resting place.
As you can see the whole concept of the Jack-o’-lantern is based on a misunderstanding of what happens when we die. To understand what happens at death is to give us great peace. Praise God for His blessed promises in the Bible:
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they anymore a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they anymore a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6
At death we simply Rest In Peace (R.I.P.) in the grave until the resurrection. Jesus, in John 5:28-29, said “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” The resurrection of the righteous will take place at the return of Jesus Christ: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16). Are you looking forward to this event? Me too.
Remember Jesus said “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12) So put away the Jack-o’-lantern and open up the Bible which is also a lamp unto our feet (Ps. 119:105).
May God continue to bless as we trust in Him in all things.
Oct. 14, 2015