What is All Saints' Day about? What is a biblical view of All Saints' Day?
All Saints' Day is a church day celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church (and other Western Churches) on November 1. In Eastern Churches, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost. All Saints' Day commemorates the lives of past saints and includes asking for their prayers before God in heaven.
All Saints' Day is also known as Allhallows. From this, the celebration of Halloween has developed, or Hallow's Eve, the night before Allhallows. The focus on spirits on this night originates with the superstition that the spirit world is most active on the evening before All Saints' Day. Other names used for All Saints' Day include Solemnity of All Saints, the Feast of All Saints, and Hallowmas.
Biblically, the saints who have passed on before us are alive with Christ. As the apostle Paul wrote, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). However, there is no biblical command to pray to saints in heaven or ask them to pray for us. Instead, Christians are commanded to pray to "Our Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). Believers pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14) by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:14-16 teaches Jesus is our intercessor and high priest: "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
We draw near to God in prayer directed to Him, not through the saints in heaven. First Timothy 2:5 adds, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Because of the unbiblical nature of praying to saints on All Saints' Day, many of the Protestant Churches that recognize this day define it as a day to remember the saints, excluding prayer to saints from the celebration. They may focus on Hebrews 11, which reflects on past saints. They may also use Hebrews 12:1-2, which says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."
In summary, All Saints' Day is based on the historical church calendar, celebrates the saints of the past, and includes prayers to dead saints in heaven. Its inclusion of prayer to the dead is inconsistent with biblical teachings. Those who recognize All Saints' Day should do so only in the sense of recognizing and remembering past saints as Hebrews 11 does, not including prayers to the dead in any way.
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