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Saturday, 1 November 2014


As I write this, Halloween came and went without significance here in the predominant middle-class area of Southern England. The night-time knocking on doors by a group of children or youths dressed in weird clothing and wearing bits of odd plastic over their faces, meant to frighten, seems to be no more. I don't know about the area where you live, but where we are, there have been no Trick-or-Treat callers in our street for quite a number of years. Perhaps the idea of stepping out into a damp, chilly night to knock on doors with the high risk of  hostile receptions, or just greeted with apathy to say the least, had made Trick-or-Treating somewhat of an unpleasant chore, adding an unnecessary burden on to what otherwise an evening of fun and games for the kids.
The concluding sentence of the opening paragraph may cause some Christians to throw their arms up in their own sense of horror. Fun and games? I believe Frank is in need of some serious prayer!
That, to me, is nonsense. I don't know how wearing a mask made of nasty cheap plastic can be so spiritually dangerous, or riding a broomstick which stubbornly refuses to fly, only to be used afterwards to sweep up the fallen Autumn leaves from the yard outside. Then that typical Halloween game of trying to catch apples floating in a tub of water, using only the mouth. Yes, I played that game with my mates in former years, and we were all Christian believers. As far as I'm aware, I have not come across any sign of sudden demon possession or occult manifestation, whether within myself or others as a direct result of such activity. Yet I do recall one Saturday afternoon when a group of us from our fellowship had spent a Summer Saturday at a Disneyland-style theme park back in the 1990s. One Christian father refused to allow his pre-teen son board the Ghost Train, just one of many fun features of the park. I even reasoned with him that all there is behind the swinging doors are moving dolls powered by hidden rotors, loudspeakers and light bulbs, but he stood by his convictions. Talking about Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion had a fright moment when the original owner suddenly appeared during an electric storm, hanged from the ceiling of the domed roof and swaying back and forth in the draught - as a result of hearing the news, falsely, that his bride-to-be two-timed him the day before their wedding. One adult, standing right in front of me, let out a loud yelp at the realistic set up.

I have ridden Ghost Trains quite a number of times in my younger days, and none had such a fright element as the opening scene of the Haunted Mansion. Maybe this was because the sight of a corpse hanging on a rope is far more true to life than the moving dolls in the train tunnel. And I have wondered how many true Christian believers had stood on the very same floor as I did in 1978 and 1995? Did I ever feel far from God or in a spiritual inertia afterwards? Not at all. Yet a youth was denied the pleasure of a ride due to fears of spiritual harmfulness.

This has made me wonder whether this lad grew up to be a mature, committed Christian, or one of many teenagers who leave their churches every week. So it's not surprising for me to see, on the run up to Halloween, the result of a survey carried out among British adults and children (I assume those under 18 years of age) appearing online just a couple days previously. The statistics were as follows:

UK adults believing in Ghosts -55%
UK children believing in Ghosts - 64%
Believing in Aliens - adults - 51%; children - 64%
Believing in UFOs - adults - 42%; children - 50%
Believing in Angels - adults - 27%; children - 27%
Believing in God - adults - 25%; children - 33%*

The chart indicates that only a quarter of UK adults believe in God while a third of under-18s believe, a statistic that seems to back the idea that teenagers leave their churches, particularly during their college years. Yet belief in ghosts, aliens, and UFOs are believed on at and above half the general population. It would be all too easy to blame this survey result on Halloween and all its paraphernalia which come round for just one evening each year, but totally overlook the academic and intellectual poison which infiltrate the mind on a daily basis - Darwinism, which is a denial of the Bible's truth and historicity. Where many Christian believers would shun Halloween, and even rebuke any church-goer for endorsing the festival, in turn I have met quite a number of Christians who holds to the theory of evolution above the revelation of divine Creation, and in essence, calling God a liar.

It does not need to happen. Every believer has been instructed by Paul the Apostle to let the Word of God dwell richly within him (Colossians 3:16.) As discussed in the last blog, if there's such testimony of God's omniscience and the power of prophecy, they are found in the Bible. And the wonderful thing is, God wants every believer to have full knowledge of Holy Scripture, mixed with faith. According to my own Christian life, doubts and fears can creep in, along with worry about the future, and anxiety about my health, and about my wife's health. Then added to this, how can I be sure that "I'm following the right religion?" After all, if the Catholic faith was right after all, I'll be in serious trouble. After not confessing to a priest for many, many years, not doing Penance, nor taking the Holy Sacrament of Communion, and to make things worse, attend a "heretical" church - eternal Hell is guaranteed. Then supposing the Muslims were right all along? Or the Buddhists? Or the Hindus? Or even Atheists, who can prove in their literature that God doesn't exist at all? And so it goes on. The Bible provides a sure-fire answer to all these issues and doubts.

So I want to believe the Bible's revelation of Divine Creation above Darwin's evolution. In this country, this would be putting myself in a minority of  fruitcakes and fantasists whose faith flies in the face of all scientific evidence of evolution and uniformitarian geology. But the Bible does have a powerful testimony against unbelief which I have found to be very helpful. In considering my own future and that of my wife, it is a comfort to know that every single day of my life as been foreknown and predestined by God's own omniscience. That is to say that every single day of my life, both good and bad, were known by God long before I was born. This is a source of hope. Rather than the feeling of intrusion, instead this is a source of comfort and encouragement.

One striking example of God's foreknowledge of a person can be found in Isaiah 44:28-45:1-3. Here the prophet foretells of a Persian king by name, Cyrus, and how God will use him to release the Jews from captivity. The wonder of all this is that Isaiah wrote this prophecy around 700 BC, while Judah was safe under the rule of King Hezekiah, some 115-120 years before the destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and a further 50 years before Cyrus gives permission for the Temple to be rebuilt, making the fulfillment of the prophecy up to 170 years after Isaiah wrote it. In short, God foreknew each day of Cyrus' life more than a century before his birth.

Another striking example concerned the young Greek king Alexander the Great, who was foretold in a vision which was given to the prophet Daniel some two hundred years earlier (Daniel 8:8.) Here, the prophet saw a vision of a goat with one great horn slaying with fury a ram which did what it pleases (the ram being the vision of the Persian Empire) Soon after the goat's conquest (that is, the expansion of  the Greek Empire), the horn breaks off and four others grow in its place. King Alexander besieged Jerusalem around 331 BC, but died rather unexpectedly in 323 BC, at the age of 33 years. After his death, history had shown that four generals arose, dividing the Empire into four segments, each with its own king. Daniel's vision was fulfilled exactly as prophesied.

But no other person who had ever lived was the fulfillment of so much Old Testament prophecy as Jesus Christ himself, particularly at his earthly ministry. We have already seen in earlier blogs that the lives of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and David, were indirect prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But there are direct prophecies found in the Old Testament, with predictions going back thousands of years before fulfillment. One of the most well known and startlingly accurate is found in Psalm 22, penned by King David approximately a thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ. In this psalm, a detailed description of the sufferings experienced at a crucifixion are so well detailed, including the mockery from the surrounding crowd (the strong bulls of Bashan), the feeling of thirst, the piercing of the hands and feet, the dividing of one garment of his clothing and the casting of lots for another, yet his own assurance that he had been close to God from his mother's womb. All were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Then not to mention the whole of Isaiah 53, the suffering servant. Here the prophet has written on how this servant took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows - yet he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. The prophecy was written in the past tense, as if it had already happened. Yet there were to be another seven hundred years to elapse after the writing before the event itself took place.
Another astonishing prediction made about Jesus can be found in the book of Zechariah 9:9, where we read:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
As prophesied, the crowds did gather on the road leading into Jerusalem as Jesus arrived riding on a borrowed donkey, an event we now call the Triumphal Entry. The crowds were rejoicing on his arrival as a result of the miracle performed earlier, in raising Lazarus from the dead. As Jesus entered the city, the people threw palm leaves on to the road ahead of him, perhaps what we might call the red carpet treatment with which we greet our celebrities today.
There are many more prophesies fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ, including Micah's prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2.) This is one more of the 48 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah found in the Old Testament. A Californian mathematician, Peter Stoner, had assigned a task to each of his students to determine the probability of all these prophecies about the Messiah being fulfilled purely by chance, without divine intervention. The calculating of factors had come out with an overall result that the probability of all these 48 prophecies fulfilled in just one man was one out of one, followed by 181 zeroes.**

This shows how unique the Bible is compared to all other literature, both religious and secular. No other book in the world carries prophecies which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ after they were written centuries earlier. And no other book contains prophecies written thousands of years ago but still awaiting fulfillment, such as the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to reign as King of kings from Jerusalem, along with the re-creation of a New Heaven and New Earth. God knows exactly when the end of time and the beginning of eternity will occur.
What does all this mean to us? Much in every way. Knowledge of Holy Scripture mixed with faith will bring heart peace when the chips are down, or there is uncertainty of the future. It helps me to be content when I see others do so well, while we struggle. It has stopped me from feeling envious of well-to-do believers travelling around the world, while I'm stuck at home grovelling in poor health. God knows our situation, our very thoughts, feelings and motives. Furthermore, he knew about them long, long before we were even born. As believers, he has our lives mapped out for us, and whatever the situation be, it will always be for our good. This can be a hard thing to say, as it is a lot more difficult to realise when my world has collapsed, but it remains true nevertheless.
If there something young people need in this present day, and that is knowledge and faith in Holy Scripture. I don't believe that depriving a youngster from a ride in the Ghost Train would be of any benefit at all, as this would most likely arouse greater curiosity, and wait for an opportunity when a little older. Neither would a kid in his right mind be glad if excluded from a Halloween party held next door, especially if he was already invited. But I also believe in growing up rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ and having faith and knowledge of Holy Scripture. Like that, I believe he'll grow up without the need to leave his church or abandon his faith.
As for Trick or Treat, thank goodness the kids around here have common sense and stay away from door-knocking. I have always hated these calls in the first place. 
*Daily Mail online, 29th October, 2014.
**Henry M. Morris, The Bible and modern science, Moody Press, 1968.


  1. Dear Frank,
    Thank you for the thoughtful post on Halloween and on Bible prophecy. Some evangelical Christians believe it is sinful to participate in any celebration honoring witchcraft or pagan practices. Then again, there is nothing inherently sinful in a dress-up party, provided the costumes are appropriate, with treats. Kirk Cameron (evangelist & star of the first Left Behind series) has said that the Halloween holiday can be a great witness opportunity, if Christian homes open their doors to neighborhood children, pass out candy, and tell them that Jesus died and rose again to conquered all the devils, demons and goblins.

    Personally, I certainly won't celebrate witchcraft or Satan, but I have no objections to a dress-up party or a church-sanctioned alternative. Our church did "Trunk or Treat" for the neighborhood children, passing out candy from the trunks of the cars. Some Lutheran churches celebrate Reformation Day and have children dress up like Martin Luther & his contemporaries. As for my husband and me, we went out for dinner and went grocery shopping afterwards. We ran into old friends from our former church, so it was a pleasant evening that kept us out until the door-knocking was over.
    May you and Alex enjoy the fall season. God bless,

  2. Hi Frank,
    The door bell went on Friday evening and when I opened the door there were two lovely little boys with smiling faces holding a little bucket each which contained a few bags of sweets. They had no sinister looking makeup or masks on their faces. They simply said 'Trick or treat'. I gave them a nice bag of chocolate bars each that I had got ready in case anyone called. We don't normally have anyone call in our area. When I lived in a more built up area where we had lots of kids come, especially teenagers,I used to have bags of sweets for them and would put a little card in speaking about the 'light of the world', and say something like 'I've seen better make up than that', or 'I think your own face would look a lot better than that mask'. They would just laugh and go on their way. I would rather show kindness to little ones like those children than be thought of as the 'grumpy Christian up the road'.. They were with their father who waited outside for them and all three said 'thank you' several times.
    God bless you and Alex.

  3. Great post, Frank.

    Like you, I think we can make such a big deal about minor things that people begin to question the legitimacy of our claims and beliefs, We can teach our children that these things are just for fun, and place the emphasis on good things and the children will learn the difference, but if we make an issue of the things being evil, we lose credibility and leave them with confusion about what is true.