Ghouls, Spirituality, and Jesus . . . Compatible?

Christians are often conflicted over whether to celebrate Halloween.

For some, Halloween is a harmless time of fun when everyone can dress up and party. Their children love this time of year because of the costumes and quest for candy.

On the other hand, a growing number of Jesus’ followers are uncomfortable with the festival. They choose not to participate in it to avoid the appearance of a double standard once they learn of its origin. So, where did this contentious holiday come from?

Halloween is an ancient festival born of paganism and Christianity (Samhain for the pagans and Hallowmas for the Catholic Church – both 3 days long beginning on October 31st). The holiday was brought to the United States by European immigrants in the 19th century.

What does this have to do with God and our Christ? Embracing or condoning any kind of spiritualism, witchcraft, divination, or communication with the dead will bring certain judgment from God at the last days and open the door to demonic oppression or possession in the meantime. This could include the religious practice of praying to or for the dead, séances, or the pursuit of magical or astrological arts (i.e. consulting mediums, use of tarot cards, reliance upon horoscopes, etc.).

Should a follower of the Christ, celebrate the holiday? This is a personal decision that should be made carefully after consideration of its origin, current practices, and damage to a potential witness for Jesus.


Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Suicide . . .

Is suicide a sin? Will those who commit suicide go to hell? There’s little in Scripture related to the taking of one’s own life. Nothing condones it, but neither is there anything that prohibits the act. What we’ll most likely discover is that, as with nearly everything else we do, intent is important to determining the eternal fate of someone who has committed suicide.

What does the Bible say about suicide? Very little, actually. What little information there is can be found in one of two categories: verses that tell us of a few individuals who killed themselves and others that may reflect an unfulfilled desire of some to end their lives.

Acts of actual suicide in Bible and history:

  • Samson. After being captured and blinded, he took advantage of an opportunity to kill not only himself but 3,000 Philistines by ‘bringing down the house’ (cf. Judges 16:25-31). It’s possible that Samson martyred himself as opposed to committing suicide. Only he and God know of his intent at the time of this final act.
  • King Saul. Seriously wounded, he asked his armor bearer to kill him. When the assistant refused, the king killed himself (according to at least one account). The armor bearer then committed suicide as well (cf. 1Samuel 31:1-6; 1Chronicles 10:2-6; 2Samuel chapter 1). In context, Saul sought death to avoid abuse by his enemies.
  • King Abimelech. A woman mortally wounded him by dropping a millstone on his head. Knowing he was about to die, the king had his armor bearer finish the job because he didn’t want it said that a woman had killed him (cf. Judges 9:50-54).
  • King Zimri. This king reigned only 7 days before committing suicide. King Omri of Israel besieged Zimri’s city of Tirzah and, probably out of fear, Zimri killed himself by burning the house down around him (cf. 1 Kings 16:15-20).
  • Ahithophel. King David’s counselor turned on the king in support of his son and enemy, Absalom. When his advice against the king wasn’t followed, he returned home and killed himself (cf. 2Samuel 17:23).
  • Judas Iscariot. This disciple of Jesus killed himself out of guilt for betraying the Christ (cf. Matthew 27:3-5).
  • Hundreds of Jews at Masada. Roman soldiers breached the walls of this hilltop fortress in 73 CE, compelling nearly 1,000 Jews to commit suicide. Husbands killed wives and children out of fear they’d be sexually abused and turned into slaves. The males then drew lots to determine which ones would kill the others.[i]


Possible unfulfilled desires to commit suicide:

  • Moses. In despair over the burden of caring for the Israelites, he asked God to kill him (cf. Numbers 11:12-15).
  • Elijah. . . . and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” —1Kings 18 and 19:4. Interestingly, this request came just after God had enabled a great victory over the prophets of Baal. Now that Jezebel was seeking his life, Elijah despaired and went from what was probably an extreme high to quite a low. This is common even with today’s followers of Jesus.
  • Jonah. This prophet was angry enough at God’s mercy with the Assyrians and discouraged at the lack of protection from intense heat that he asked God to take his life (cf. Jonah 4).
  • Those about to suffer during God’s end-times wrath.  At the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars of the sixth seal of the Revelation in the last days, Jesus’ followers will be gathered and the remainder of humanity will prepare for God’s impending wrath (cf. Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 6:12-17). Those left behind will cry out for the rocks to fall upon them because of the realization that God’s wrath is upon them (Revelation 6:16-17).
  • Those who’ll suffer during God’s end-times wrath. The fifth angel of God’s last-days wrath will cause the release of locust-like creatures from the abyss. They’ll torment men for 5 months (cf. Revelation 9:1-10). The pain will be so severe that the victims will wish for death, but it will elude them (Revelation 9:6).


While there’s nothing that directly condones or prohibits suicide, some insist you’ll find proof that suicide is wrong in the commandment that prohibits murder and in 1Corinthians 6:19-20 and 3:17:

You shall not murder. —Exodus 20:13.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. —1Corinthians 6:19-20.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. —1Corinthians 3:16-17.

In the case of the commandment to not murder, remember that it’s one of 5 that tell us how to treat our fellow man. Regarding Paul’s admonishment to glorify God in our body in 1Corinthians 6:19-20, as with many of his words to a sin-riddled church, the message exhorts the followers in Corinth to rule the flesh with the spirit and honor God through purity and not the other way around. It’s not specifically addressing suicide.

What we’ve learned so far is that many people in Scripture and history have committed suicide for what they believed to be good reasons: to avoid worse fates or get relief from excruciating pain and certain death by more unpleasant means. We see this kind of activity today for similar reasons. Is it wrong? Will the act result in a sentence of hell? The answer may depend on the state of mind and therefore the intent of anyone who has committed suicide. Internal chemical/emotional and external factors can overwhelm an individual and temporarily cloud their judgment.

Most people understand the potential lack of accountability that can stem from blocked rational thought and an inability to use sound judgment. We often talk about something termed the ‘age of accountability’ whereby we believe God will accept and save from judgment the spirit of a child until it’s old enough to fully understand the need for God’s salvation through Jesus. The youngster would need to decide from that point onward whether to follow the Christ.

The lack of emotional and mental maturity keeps one from being able to make this choice regardless of whether it’s due to age, disease, or intense physical or emotional pain. Only God knows the heart of someone who has committed suicide and whether they were able to make right choices. And, since He’s a good and righteous judge, we can trust that God will judge each person according to their heart’s condition.

Two extremely unfortunate side-effects of suicide are grief and finality. In some cases, family members understand that death provided relief for the deceased. But in most cases, the grief produced by the loss of a loved one is overwhelming. And death is certainly final. If God’s plan had included a part for the deceased, then the chance to fulfill that role has been forever removed. Therefore, suicide is also a serious matter with possible heavy and lasting consequences.

Summary: The Bible says little on the subject of suicide. What it does report is strictly historical in nature. As a result, we’re left only with opinions on the subject and personal desires. Mine is that the act itself won’t condemn a person to hell – that condemnation depends alone on the individual’s heart including the presence (or absence) of faith and resulting obedience up to the time of death. My prayer and belief is that God does indeed consider the heart condition when determining the fate of someone who has committed suicide.

“Taking the Mystery out of Communion”

Communion is defined as sharing; intimate fellowship or rapport (Merriam-Webster).

What do Christians so intimately share and why? What you’ll discover is that our communion ritual has its beginnings in God’s covenant with Israel and the Passover celebration – something we’re certainly encouraged to participate in.

In fact, Jesus was celebrating the Passover Seder when He announced that His body would be broken and His blood shed for a new covenant with God. Jesus then encouraged His disciples to remember His coming sacrifice whenever they partook of the Passover elements – probably because of their fulfillment with His coming, death, resurrection, and salvation.

The Passover flat bread and lamb’s blood had significance then . . . and now. Let’s take a quick look at the communion components before discussing how they’ve been used to represent God’s actions and fulfillment of fulfillment of His words through the prophets:

  • The bread: from the Passover, and as our ‘bread of life’ – Jesus.
  • The wine: blood the Passover Lamb and Jesus shed for salvation.

Old Covenant/Passover fulfillment:

  • The bread – matzo – had no yeast and represented the urgent departure of the Israelites from Egypt. Its holes and stripes represent OT prophecies about the piercing and beatings our Christ would endure (Isaiah 53:3-5).
  • The wine represented the blood of the old covenant between God and Israel. Today, Jews celebrate the Passover with a Seder meal that includes matzo and four cups of wine: Sanctification, Deliverance, Redemption/Blessing (1Corinthians 10:16-17), and Hope – usually associated with the return of Elijah.

New Covenant fulfillment:

  • The bread represents the ‘bread of life’ (Jesus) broken for us to offer salvation from God’s judgment to the world (John 6:35-58). The matzo bread was broken and hidden in a specific manner during the Passover celebration. Jesus did this and made His comments about being broken for the forgiveness of sins while conducting the Seder. God asked Him to do this and He accepted the assignment: inhabit a human form, live a perfect life as a blemish-free sacrificial lamb, and then be sacrificed at the exact time the Passover lambs were to be sacrificed.
  • The wine represents the blood Jesus shed for salvation as our ‘Passover Lamb’ (Matthew 26:27-28; 1 Corinthians 5:7). It is the Seder Cup of Blessing and the covenant cup (like in a traditional Jewish wedding). One of the many prophecies and ‘dress rehearsals’ Jesus fulfilled (and is still fulfilling) was that of a traditional Jewish bridegroom. Let’s look at these things in greater detail.

Wedding – Covenant – fulfillment:

God called Israel His ‘bride’. We are called the ‘Bride of Christ’ because He and we have been fulfilling the marriage covenant since Jesus’ time on earth. No other relationship between humans should be as close as that of a husband and wife, so the comparison makes sense. Here are but a few steps that have, and will be, completed:

  • Choosing of a bride: The father of a potential groom would search for a wife for his son. We have been selected as a pure bride for our Christ (2Corinthians 11:2).
  • Contract (covenant) – first cup of wine (Matthew 26:27-28). When a suitable bride had been found, the two families would meet to discuss the potential union. If the young man and woman agreed, they would essentially say, “I will be yours if you will be mine!” This is akin to what God said to His bride, Israel. To cement the deal, the couple would drink from a cup of wine called the “cup of covenant”.
  • Separation and the building of a home (John 14:2-3). After vows, the giving of gifts, and ceremonial bathing (like the baptism we experience), the couple would separate for a short time. The boy and his father would prepare a home for the couple. This betrothal separation would normally last a year in a traditional Jewish wedding process; however, we continue to wait. Why? Because God’s timing is His timing, and He’ll wait until the number of those who’ll accept His mercy has been met.
  • Marriage and second cup timed by the groom’s father. This is also the final Seder cup and the second covenant cup in heaven: Matthew 26:28-29; the gathering for the marriage: Matthew 24:21-36; the marriage: Revelation 19:5-9). The father of the groom, at a time known only to him, would summon the groomsmen to announce that it was time for the marriage ceremony, which consisted of a supper and second cup of wine. The groomsmen made their announcement with shouts and trumpet calls.

We now understand that communion is a way of remembering the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf and reiterating our vow in the new covenant with God through Jesus. Should everyone take communion? No!

First, only those who have promised their lives to God and our Christ should consider engaging in the ritual.

Second, there are unsuitable ways to take communion (remember that drinking the cup of covenant serves as a reiteration of our vow to ‘be a faithful bride’ until our groom returns).

  1. With an impure heart (1Corinthians 11:23-28). Taking the cup during communion while practicing sinful behavior (akin to being an unfaithful bride) is a contradiction and a lie. This is why we must be careful!
  2. For the wrong reasons (1Corinthians 11:20-22). In this case, some of the people in Corinth were using the communion table for eating and drinking – even getting drunk! This was a total abuse of the ritual, which is meant to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and our covenant. It also reeked of gluttony . . .

In summary, Jesus’ sacrifice of flesh and blood mirrored the Passover Lamb of the old covenant with God and paved the way for the salvation of all mankind in a new one. Followers of the Christ remember His sacrifice and the new covenant (synonymous with a human marriage relationship) by taking symbolic bread and wine together.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!