Why Not Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles Instead of Halloween?
Too few have ever stopped to deeply consider why they believe what they do, why they follow the customs they do, or where those customs came from.
One example is the celebration of various holidays and traditions. Take Halloween, for instance. Every year on the evening of October 31, millions of Americans participate in the nation’s second-most lucrative holiday of the year. It is the occasion for parties, pranks and children requesting treats or threatening tricks. Many masquerade in grotesque costumes and eerie disguises. Why? They don’t know. They just do it because that’s what others are doing.
It is clear to see that Halloween’s symbolism is based on darkness. But how did society come up with such a bizarre holiday? A cursory check of world history reveals that ancient pagans performed mystical rites and ceremonies in honor of the dead on their “New Year’s Eve” (October 31). This celebration helped preserve the false doctrine of the “immortality of the soul”—that the dead aren’t really dead.
Years ago, Halloween was simply the evening celebration in anticipation of “All Saints’ Day”—November 1—in honor of the “lord of the dead.” This was actually in honor of the devil, not God. The Holy Bible reveals that God isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:31-32). Nevertheless, the Halloween tradition has been perpetuated to this day and further popularized through commercialization.
God and true Christianity stand for the exact opposite of death and darkness—for light and life (John 1:4-5). No matter how much of a joke we make it out to be, Halloween is simply Satan worship. It is, in real fact, connected with rank idolatry and demonism.
The overtly heathen practices of Halloween—and even the subtly pagan customs associated with certain other supposedly “religious” holidays, such as Christmas and Easter—worked themselves into professing Christianity down through the annals of history and are still being celebrated today, with most people giving no thought whatsoever to their origin and few doing anything about it once they learn of it.
There are certain celebratory days, however, that worship the great God—days He instituted within the ancient nation of Israel that are still to be kept in our modern society. Many passages in the Holy Bible show us that Jesus and the entire New Testament Church kept the same annual feast days that the God of the Old Testament commanded His chosen people Israel to keep forever (Leviticus 23:1-36).
What could be better than restoring the observance of God’s holy days? Kept according to His instructions, God’s holy days are much more meaningful and fulfilling than all of the world’s “traditional” holidays put together.
The Feast of Tabernacles
This year commencing at sunset on the evening of October 12 is God’s Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44). It is a week-long festival that is rich with spiritual meaning for true Christians, for it pictures the soon-coming peaceful millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the King of kings, on this Earth.
How many professing Christians today have even so much as ever heard of this feast? Its observance is plainly commanded in the Holy Bible!
Notice God’s instructions to His people: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts” (verses 1-2).
These instructions came directly from the living God. He, when referring to the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, the feast of weeks or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, called them “the feasts of the Lord.” “Even these are my feasts,” declares God Almighty!
Why, then, do the vast majority of “Christian” ministers today preach that these God-ordained festivals are merely the “feasts of Moses” or scoff at them as archaic “Jewish” observances?
In this same 23rd chapter of Leviticus, God clearly orders His people to observe the weekly Sabbath as well as all of His commanded annual feasts. In three places, He commands that these “feasts of the Lord” be observed “for ever” (verses 21, 31, 41). The Hebrew word olam, rendered for ever in English translations, means “eternal” or “everlasting.”
Unlike the holidays commonly celebrated by this society, which picture no real purpose or plan for human existence, God’s perpetually commanded annual festivals reveal the full scope and meaning of His great purpose and plan for mankind.
Unfortunately, most professing Christians wittingly or unwittingly overlook God’s clear commands today and choose instead to succumb to the pressures put on them by society and Satan the devil, who is actually the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), holding the whole world captive to his sinful ways. It takes real, living faith in God Almighty to overcome the tendency to conform to society’s traditions and ways.
Herbert W. Armstrong put it this way: “This world’s society and its customs are based on human nature—which is to say, on Satan’s ways—and are diametrically contrary to God’s ways! Go along with the crowd, and you are stumbling along with the other dumb sheep to the slaughter! Why be one of the crowd? Why not stand out from the crowd of ignoramuses and weaklings, as one who has knowledge, wisdom and character! Any old dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim against the current!” (The Missing Dimension in Sex).
Sage advice, that! Why not throw off the chains and shackles of the devil’s ways that bind us? Why not cease to observe the traditional, man-made, Satan-inspired holidays of this world, and start instead to obey Almighty God’s commands to keep His weekly and annual sabbath days which He created for the benefit of all mankind? (Mark 2:27; 1 John 5:3).
Personally, I have observed the Feast of Tabernacles for nearly 40 years. My family and I have found it to be the most marvelous, exciting and joyous time of the entire year—a time of physical and spiritual feasting. Unlike Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays and so-called “Christian” festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles is not a time when there are fights, family feuds, drunkenness, murders, adulteries, indebtedness and debaucheries of every kind imaginable.
My wife and children and I observe God’s inspiring, visionary Feast of Tabernacles because that is the time when all true Christians leave behind their daily cares and get away from their ordinary pursuits—such as school and work—and assemble together in joyous fellowship with people of like mind for one happy, glorious week. We, along with thousands of other members of God’s Church, enthusiastically look forward to observing the Feast every autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) at one of the festival sites located throughout the world. Between services, we participate in various exciting, fun-filled Church-sponsored activities for young and old alike, as well as visiting special attractions unique to each site.
Indeed, God’s great fall festival gives His people a special time and setting in which to think about His purpose for life and how to attain it. And the sincere concern and fellowship, the spiritual nourishment, and just plain, good clean fun always whets one’s appetite for the next year’s Feast, making the ordinary “vacations” and traditional holiday celebrations of the past seem humdrum by comparison!
Why not start celebrating the festival of Tabernacles instead of Halloween? For more information about how and why you should, be sure to study our free publication Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which?