It seems that people have always loved to be frightened. The feelings of fear and fright causes our heart rate to accelerate and gets a little adrenaline flowing, thus causing a heightened sense of awareness. We begin to feel more “alive” when we are fearful. To some this feeling is quite pleasurable, at least for a short while. We should note that there is a difference between fear or fright and terror. Fear or fright is a feeling we get while we watch a spooky movie or read a horror novel in the safety and security or our own home or a movie theater. Terror, on the other hand, is something experienced. Terror is a mortal and realized fear for our own life, or that of another person. Most victims of violent crime, police officers, fire fighters and combat veterans have felt a sense of terror at some point.
All Hallows (Saint’s) Evening, a.k.a. “Halloween” is the evening before All Saint’s Day, which is a catholic holiday in honor of all of their “saints.” Halloween has its roots in paganism. However, today it has little or nothing in common with the pagan celebration. This day and age, Halloween is just a time for children to dress-up in costumes and get tummy aches from eating too much candy. It is a day when being frightened is fun. It is a day for hearing and telling scary stories by the light of a campfire or by the light of a flashlight held beneath a chin.
The spooky stories we hear and tell on Halloween are full of ghosts, ghouls, goblins, witches, were-wolves, vampires, and worst of all – the Boogey Man, or when I was kid the, “Booger Man.” We tell these stories, knowing full well that there is no such thing as a vampire, or a ghost, or a Boogey Man. They’re all just stories. We all know that, don’t we? However, the scary elements of the stories (ghouls, goblins, etc) all have at least one thing in common – they all represent evil and darkness. The “Boogey Man” of the story is always an evil, sinister being that wants to kill and destroy.
The stories are make-believe, but Boogey Man is real! He has a name – Satan, the Devil. He is an evil, sinister being who only wants to kill and destroy souls. He is an angel, who led a revolt against God and was cast down, along with his fellow rebel angels. For him and his angels, God has “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). However, as of yet, the Devil is allowed to roam free. Our adversary Satan, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (2 Peter 5:8). He is the “Father of Lies” and a murderer. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).
He knows that he has been condemned to everlasting fire in Hell and seeks to take as many souls as he can into that fiery pit with him. He is the source of all that is malicious, despiteful, evil, hateful, malevolent, malignant, nasty, rancorous, spiteful, vicious, wicked, poisonous, venomous, virulent, baneful, detrimental, noxious, pernicious, envious, jealous, mean or petty. He is the ultimate liar and deceiver. He is not a physical being who stalks and kills his victims like Jason (“Friday the 13th”), Freddy Kreuger (“Nightmare on Elm Street”), or a monster in a story. He seeks to kill and destroy in other ways. He tempts mankind into sin just as he tempted Jesus, “Who did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22). He seeks to have us kill ourselves in sin, knowing full well that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).
We need to fear and be in terror of him and his influence. He can destroy us if we allow him to. However, in our fear and terror of him, we must not panic! We must stand firm against him and resist his temptations. Soldiers in combat experience terror, but they stand firm in the face of it. Fire fighters and police officers experience terror and fight against it. Christians face the terror of Satan and his evil works and overcome them through faith in God and the assurance of eternal life in Christ Jesus. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28). Satan cannot snatch away your soul unless you let him. Fear him. Be wary of him. Nevertheless, stand up to him! “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).