By Linda Nathan
When I grew up during the nineteen forties and fifties, Halloween was just a day at the end of October where we dressed up, ate popcorn and caramel apples, and collected candy from neighbors. Once I tried knocking on doors a day early and received green tomatoes. But that was it--we had no fears of being poisoned or of finding glass in our candy.
I made one of my favorite costumes from my mother's metallic-looking silver diet suit that was supposed to melt the pounds off while she exercised. I don't think it worked because she gave it to me, and it made a fantastic space suit. A plastic space helmet with bags for air tanks completed the effect, along with green cotton gloves with green thread sewn between the fingers for webs. It didn't scare anybody, but it sure was fun.
The horrific and demonic were almost unknown in my West Seattle neighborhood. And as television was still relatively new—we young kids used to gather at a neighbor's house in the afternoons to watch The Lone Ranger—there were no ghastly cartoons or demonic rock groups to trouble our fun—or our sleep. If there were a few monsters, you could sometimes see the zippers down their backs.
It wasn't long, though, before Hollywood started getting professional about horror. I still remember the terrible nightmares I experienced for weeks after watching the original War of the Worlds movie in 1953 when I was twelve. It wasn't until many years later that Jesus Christ freed me from the demons that harassed me from that movie.
Things began to change in major ways during and after the Sixties. And they changed for me too. My dad's sister was a spiritualist, and some years earlier, she'd introduced me to a few of her occult practices and given me a subscription to an occult magazine. She also convinced my mother and me to join her in a séance before I left for college. I started to become involved with evil, and it wasn't just "pretend" evil. It led to 14 years of deep involvement in psychedelics, spiritualism, and the New Age Movement. (For the full story, read Glorifying the Savior / Exposing Deception: Why We Wrote The Omega Point Series).
At the same time, horror and evil were becoming both popular and profitable in our culture. One important way it spreads is through the imagination, such as cartoons that we kids ate up and that kids still do. If it was "imaginative," it had to be okay. Sadly, Disney hasn't turned out to be the harmless fun it seemed at first. Fantasia, created to promote Mickey Mouse, not only blended animated imagery with classical music it also included vivid scenes of evil dominating good. One section that haunted Richard for years (a young boy when he saw it) was its depiction of Mussorgsky's "The Night on Bald Mountain," in which a gigantic rampaging Satan overpowered a tiny church. Even though Richard was raised as an atheist, the sheer overpowering visual evil was terrifying. Many years later, after he became a Christian, Jesus Christ sent those demons to flight. (When Richard went to seminary in the 1980s, one of his studies was on the theology of children's cartoons. The results weren't pretty, for by that time evil was coming in like a flood.)
Three Major Stages in the Downfall of a Nation
Dr. Mark Bubeck, in his book, The Satanic Revival, lists three major stages in the downfall of a nation, which he determined from studying God's actions in the Old Testament:
1. The culture becomes demonized. "The demonization of the culture makes it unfriendly, uncomfortable, and dangerous for people who want to practice biblical morality." (p. 46) Ministering effectively in a demonized culture involves encountering demonized people. Today, many churches don't even acknowledge that such battles are growing more and more common, let alone teach how to win them by ministering in the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit.
2. Gross sin creates a natural weakening in the nation, which leads to its final collapse. The second stage develops through the continual practice of iniquity, which weakens the nation's moral fiber. Chapter 1 in the Book of Romans in the New Testament clearly reveals the role of sin in progressive corruption. Second Timothy 3:1-7 provides a specific list of such sins, including being lovers of self, proud, boastful, abusive, disobedient, slanderous, greedy, lacking self-control, treacherous, brutal, and having a form of godliness but denying its power, among others.
3. Finally, the nation is beyond the point of change, and God's ultimate sovereign judgment determines its fate. In other words, it's out of our hands.
Where do you think America is at in this progression?
The Halloween season. Today our culture is demonized to the point where Halloween is no longer one day at the end of the month but is a season that begins after Labor Day and dominates the entire month of October with a focus on evil and death.
Can we reclaim October?
Can we reclaim America?
There is an answer. There's a wonderful, life-freeing, joy-filled answer. Freedom from bondage and evil is an earmark of the work of the Holy Spirit through salvation in Jesus Christ.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8b)
Do you know Jesus Christ? Can you say that He has set you free from the terrible grip of sin and evil?—that He is your light and power in the darkness of this age? Salvation is the greatest miracle of all. If you have not yet experienced this miracle, why not now? The saving Gospel is simple to understand:
1. We are all sinners, born in sin, rebels following the prince of the power of the air, the devil, and headed for hell. God's wrath is on us until we repent and turn to Jesus Christ:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1–3
2. God has provided the only solution to our terrible situation: We must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, and be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
3. You can be born again.
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." Romans 10:8–11
4. How do you get that kind of faith?
Read the Bible and pray for the gift of saving faith in Jesus Christ.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
5. We become new creations in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
6. Attend a church. Pray for God to lead you to one that is grounded in the historic, orthodox faith of the Apostles according to the New Testament.
 Quoted from The Satanic Revival by Dr. Mark I. Bubeck. (San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life Publishers, Inc., 1991.)