It is the time of the year again when you, together with your family, traditionally gather at cemeteries to visit the grave of your loved ones.
In the Philippines, it is also the time when the working people have the 1st of November as a holiday from work while, with November 2 as a working holiday.
But apart from knowing All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day as events on your calendar, have you ever wondered about the origin, biblical perspective, and the proper Christian way of dealing with these holidays?
Here are 3 questions and answers to ponder about these holidays:
What is the difference between All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?
According to an article on BBC, All Saints Day is a time for people to remember the known and unknown saints and martyrs in history. The holiday is also known as All Hallows Day or Hallowmas.
Encyclopedia.com defined All Saints’ Day for the West as the feast observed on the first of November. For the people in the East, it is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
Meanwhile, All Souls’ Day according to Christianity.com, is the day when people commemorate the souls of those who died already.
Crosswalk.com explained that the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches set November 2, a day after All Saints’ Day, for this observation.
The article continues that the observation of All Souls’ Day entails the Roman Catholic Church’s belief of praying for those faithful departed Christians who might need to undergo the process of cleansing before they can set foot in heaven.
What does the Bible say about All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?
When you think of saints, you probably first thought of the statues of saints displayed in Roman Catholic Churches and of the fiestas celebrated in different places in our country.
But as mentioned earlier, All Saints’ Day is a day to commemorate all saints – known and unknown. Who are the saints?
It is you and the rest of the Christian believers.
“To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:2 CSB)
Every believer who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and who trusts God alone is a saint in the eyes of God.
So, as you observe All Saints’ Day this November 1, remember that this celebrates the unity of Christian believers in Christ Jesus.
On the other hand, All Souls’ Day is a day to pray for the cleansing of your departed loved ones. This purification is set to help them enter heaven, known to be purgatory.
However, purgatory — or the concept of it — is not found in the Bible. For those who died, their destination is either hell or eternal peace with God in heaven.
It is only through Jesus Christ that you can attain the forgiveness of your sins and the assurance of being with God for eternity.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 NIV)
To sum up, from the article by Compelling Truth, it is unbiblical for Christians to practice praying to for the souls of their dead or laying out food for them during All Souls’ Day.
So what could Christians do during these holidays?
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day should not be a waste of your holiday time.
You can see these days as opportunities to worship God. Use this time to seek God and hear from Him.
Secondly, you can reach out to your grieving family and friends because of the death of a loved one. Your empathy and encouragement can go a long way for them.
Lastly, use these holidays to take part in the great commission. Share the gospel with someone. By doing this, another friend, relative, or even a stranger can find eternal security in heaven after death.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 CSB)
Do you also want to spend eternity with the Lord after death? Begin your journey of faith today.
If you have any questions about the biblical perspective on these holidays, you may call the CBN Asia Prayer Center at 8-737-0-700 and we would love to guide you and pray for you!