It’s kind of sad to see some Torah observant believers talking about the joys of Halloween, and making excuses for it, just to please their children. “Well, it’s just make-believe; innocent fun for the kids.” Fine, but as Torah observant believers you know that you cannot use the "we're under grace" mantra to justify SIN, right? Or do you?
You CANNOT get away from the fact that Halloween caters to the forces of darkness. That’s the bottom line! Witches, goblins, demons, sorcery, magic… some crazies even see pleasure in sacrificing black cats. What’s “innocent” about that? Every one of these things are an abomination to YHWH who made sure to tell us we CANNOT serve two masters (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13).
How many times does Scripture condemn the idea of “other gods” (in Halloween's case, SATAN!) and magic and sorcery, etc., as evil? I don’t understand how people can simply overlook that! Is THAT what “Jesus” died for? NO!
Paul puts it well in his explanations about humanity’s stiff-neckedness and desire to do exactly what they want, whenever they want, ignoring Torah and pretending. Here’s just one example - and I pray that those who are lauding Halloween will let this sink in:
Titus 1:10. For many are stiff necked and their discourses vain; and they mislead the minds of people, especially such as are of the circumcision. 11. The mouth of these should be stopped: they corrupt many families; and they teach what they should not, for the sake of sordid profits. 12. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies.”
13. And this testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith 14. and may not throw themselves into Jewish fables and into the precepts of men who hate the Truth. 15. For to the pure, everything is pure; but to them who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but their understanding is defiled, and their conscience.
16 And they profess that they know Elohim, but in their works they deny him; and they are odious and disobedient and to every good work reprobates. (AENT)
A persistent charge is levied against the Renewed Covenant for being anti-Semitic; this is, of course, wholly remarkable when we consider that every writer, except perhaps Luke, was in fact Jewish! Still, the charge continues due to some very strong language; language that must be considered both carefully and in its proper historical and cultural context. Perhaps the largest source of misunderstanding comes from not appreciating the vociferous manner in which Jews are known to debate.
If we fast-forward this verse two thousand years, we now interpret the invectives through our own modernity, but a good preview of how certain statements can be easily misunderstood is right here in Titus 1:10-16. If a Jewish person didn’t know better, they would wince and cry “Ouch!” The reading here is in fact accurate, but there is much more to this passage than first meets the eye.
First, the line about “Cretians are always liars” is from a Greek poet, Epimenides, who often wrote in an exaggerated theatrical style. Even today, the term “cretin” survives in English and is a holdover from those times, meaning the same thing. Also, since Paul is Jewish and following “all righteousness” it’s impossible that Torah is the object of his rebuke as “fables” and “commandments of men”! The same can be said of Jewish mysticism, which we have seen Paul teach on a variety of levels.
What then are these “Jewish fables”? According to Charles Ryrie: Jewish myths; speculations of a Gnostic sort, supposedly based on OT scripture. Ryrie Study Bible (NASB), p. 393. The key is in the highlighted portion of the above passage, “they profess to know Elohim, but in works deny him” for by this very description, Paul has named the heretical sect. “Gnosticism” is derived from the Greek gnosis, “to know.”
What is often overlooked is that Gnosticism did not originate with Christianity, although later adopted by many Messianic themes. Rather, it began as a Jewish sect with their own “myths and fables.” According to Professor Ryrie: The heresy of Gnosticism had begun to make inroads among churches in John’s day.
Among its teachings were: (1) knowledge is superior to virtue; (2) non-literal sense of Scripture is correct and can only be understood by a select few; (3) evil in the world precludes God being the only creator; (4) the incarnation is incredible because deity cannot unite itself with anything material such as a body (Docetism); and (5) there is no resurrection of the flesh. The ethical standards of the Gnostics were low… (Ryrie Study Bible (NASB), p. 440).
Is it any wonder then why Paul was upset at these false teachers? Even a conventional Pharisee would take great offense to such posturing, and they most certainly did with four of these five articles of belief.
These false teachings are, of course, diametrically opposite to Paul’s own teaching as a “ringleader” of the Netzarim, so there should be no surprise when he takes these false teachings to task. In any case, one can easily see how modern readers, divorced from the historical context, can easily draw the wrong conclusion and not take into account who the speaker is, and who the intended audience is