Monthly Archives: May 2010

Fateful Decisions Determine Who Comes into Existence

It is amazing to realize how personal choices are so fateful–full of fate–not just for the one who chooses a certain path or makes a decision in life, but for those who literally come after them.  In fact, some of our choices actually determine just who comes after us on the planet!

For example, I asked my dad, Scott K. Hancock, who was in his late seventies at the time, “Hey, Dad, you were quite the ladies man in your day.  Was there a woman who you let slip through your fingers?”

He looked at me funny as if to say, Well, my son is in his fifties, and I am about done on earth, so I guess it’s all right to tell it.  “As a matter of fact, there was a girl back in Corsicana, Texas during the War.  Her name was Thelma Mae.  I should have married her, but I didn’t.  I got cold feet and stood her up.  That was a mistake.”  I could tell it was difficult for him to talk about. 

I said, “Yeah, but what about me?  You married Mom and had me right after the War.  If you had married that girl, I would not exist!  This very  conversation we are having right now would not be taking place.”

“I guess you are right,” Dad said, righting himself, withdrawing back into taciturnity, no doubt wondering what had gotten into himself for sharing anything so personal.

“I am glad that you didn’t marry her,” I finally said.  And that was about all we said that day, for I had already seen the windows of communication being shuttered over his countenance.  A couple of years later, Dad died.  That was 2002.  We never talked any more about it.

I shared our talk with my wife Linda.  “If Dad had done right, if he had kept his word and promise to Thelma Mae, our kids–all five of them–Danny, Noah, Sara, Hannah, and Joby–would not exist.  And our grandkids–no Cody, Austin, or Baby Katy.  It would be a totally different universe.  Linda, you would have existed, of course, but not you you.  We are the sum total of our experiences, so subtract our 40 years together, and who then would you haver been?”

Linda just looked at me with that quizzical beginning of a smile that said, He’s out there again, but I love him.

“So my Dad’s betrayal of that girl some 65 years ago created a parallel world that permitted nine human beings to exist that would not have existed otherwise.  How can good come out of something bad–something so bad that it would haunt my Dad all those years?” 

Then I thought of God’s foreknowledge.  He knows all things beforehand.  There are no surprises for Him.  And then the scripture, “He puts it into their hearts to fulfill His will.” 

I talked to my Mom about this story, and she filled me in with the details that Dad did not share.

Dad and Thelma Mae had written each other for four years during World War II.  They were betrothed.  She had worked and had saved up, and her trousseau was full.  All was ready with the wedding dress, linens, and fineries.  Even furniture awaited their housewarming.  When Dad did not come back for her–and that without a word–she was heartbroken.

Instead, Dad married my Mom Louise in December 1945 and immediately took off to Califorinia for a brand new start.  I now know the reason for the sudden departure was as much personal as it was for financial considerations.

My Mom told me that a couple of years after their move, my grandmother wrote them a letter.  That would have been about the time, ironically enough, I was born.  She said that Thelma had died.  Mom said she read the letter, and it didn’t say much more than that.  Mom asked Dad who the girl was, and he said, “Oh, it was just a girl he had known back then.”

Mom said that after moving back to Texas in 1955, she had spoken to a woman she met at church in Oak Cliff that had known Dad and all the Hancocks of Kerns, Texas.  She filled Mom in on what had happened to Thelma Mae.  She had died of a broken heart in 1947.  She just wasted away.  Probably took pneumonia because she wouldn’t eat and take care of herself.  She was buried in her white wedding dress, and on her breast was laid my Dad’s 8 x 10 Army photograph and a stack of love letters he had written to her.

Oh, my God.  The sadness that my Daddy endured for the rest of his life–a sadness that paved the way for me and my family’s existence!  How unsearchable are all the ways of this life, for I was born out of a betrayal–possibly the most hurtful of all the sins.  I would not have come into existence had not my father made that fateful choice and its accompanying regret–a remorse that he carred with him to his grave.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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The Pagan Roots of Halloween– “From Samhain to Halloween”

{The pagan roots of Halloween are thoroughly revealed in this research paper written by one of my students in Freshman College Composition this past semester.  She is actually a senior in high school, taking the course.  The truth will come out–even, as Christ said, “out of the mouth of babes.”}
 
Lizz Chappell 
Writing 110 
 Mr. Hancock 17 April 2010 

From Samhain to Halloween 

 

Each year on October 31,  people all around the world can be found walking down the streets in costumes and going door to door “Trick or Treating”. This tradition has been around for as long as any of us can remember, but where exactly does it start? How far does it go back? Is it different from how we celebrate October 31st today? Halloween is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in America, and dates back thousands of years.   

Halloween started 2,000 years ago from an ancient group of people, the Celts, with a celebration called Samhain (“Ancient Origins” 1). The Celts split their years into two different seasons, Beltane and Samhain. Beltane went from May 1st to November 1st, and was known by the Celts as “The Light.” Samhain was from November 1st to May 1st, and was a period of time called the “The Dark.” Samhain meant “summer’s end,” and marked the beginning of a new cycle. Many Celts believed that with darkness, silence comes (Freeman 1). October 31st marked the last day of summer, and the end of the harvest. It was a time of year the Celtics associated with death and darkness. They strongly believed the realms of the living and the dead crossed on this night, and the ghosts of the past would come to visit. Spirits were believed to be mischievous and caused trouble, sometimes damaging crops (“Ancient Origins” 1). Samhain was an elaborate celebration with bonfires, feasts, and sacrifice. Bonfires have especially played a big role in Samhain for one very important reason: The Feast of Tara (Freeman 2). 

The Feast of Tara was held every October 31st in celebration of the royal seat of the High King. Every household in Ireland would extinguish their fires and wait for the priests, also known as the Druids, to light a new fire. The new fire was lit at Tlachtga, which was the burial place of the great Druid, Mogh Ruith, who was believed to be a goddess. When the fire of Tara was lit, every household could relight their fire and would celebrate the new light with a huge feast of meat, breads, and the crops from the summer. The fire of the feast of Tara was a kindling of new dreams and a new beginning. The bonfire represented an island of light with an oncoming tide of winter darkness. After the fire, the ashes were sprinkled over the fields to protect them from the cold winter. Another custom after the fires was to make a circle out of the ashes and have each member of a family place a pebble within the circle. If, on the next day, the pebble had somehow been misplaced, it was believed that person would die within one year (Freeman 2). 

Another important part of Samhain was sacrifice. Herders would take cattle and sheep away from the pastures and into the stable, and a select few of those animals were chosen to be ritually devoted to the gods before slaughter. The Celts believed the gods drew near to earth at this time of year, so the people offered sacrifices for thanksgiving. Also, personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing peoples’ wishes were thrown into the fire to be sent up to the gods in smoke (Freeman 1). 

Instead of sacrifice, some people believed in another tradition of Samhain, soul cakes. These cakes were little pastries baked for the dead to eat to help their souls. They were placed on graves or given to the poor. They were given to beggars as proxies for the dead (Leach 1053). The Celtic tradition lasted for centuries, but the way Samhain was celebrated was changed by an invasion of another culture, the Romans. 

The Celts eventually were taken over by the Romans around 43 A.D., and they ruled for 400 years. The Romans combined two of their own festivals with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain: Feralia and The Festival of Pomona. Feralia was a day when the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead, and the Festival of Pomona was to honor the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, and the symbol of the apple was imported into Samhain (“Ancient Origins” 1). The tradition of “bobbing for apples” is thought to have come from the celebration of Pomona (Freeman 3). 

Throughout the years, Christianity grew strongly across Europe, and in the 800’s, Pope Boniface the IV declared November 1st as All Saints Day. It is believed he did this to replace the Celtic festival Samhain with something church related but still dealing with the dead and lost souls. The Church believed rather than trying to completely erase the Pagan holiday of Samhain, they would use it. Pope Gregory I’s theory was that if people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, consecrate it to Christ. This became the basic approach used in missionary work. Samhain eventually was decided Pagan and evil by the Catholic Church. They believed it was a festival associated with the devil. Druids, or Celtic Priests, were considered devil worshipers who believed in demons and spirits. The Celtic Underworld became identified with Christian Hell. Some believers of the Celtic religion actually went into hiding and were branded as dangerous and malicious. All Saints Day was a holiday meant to replace Samhain forever, though it never fully did (Santino 2). November 2nd was later declared All Souls Day, a time to not only honor saints who had passed away, but all those who had passed. These celebrations were referred to as “All-Hallows”, so October 31st became All Hallow’s Eve, then over time that formed into the word we commonly use today, Halloween (“Ancient Origins” 1). Halloween is also referred to as “The Witches New Year”, and “The Last Harvest” (“Pumpkin Carving” 1). 

Halloween eventually came to America as more and more European immigrants came to our country, though there are actually very few records of Halloween celebration in the colonial history of America. Each culture brought their own varied customs of Halloween with them. Northern American colonies were mostly Protestant and had strict religious beliefs against the practice of Halloween. Southern colonies, on the other hand, had more of a mixture of European religion and culture. Beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups began to clash with each other and Native American tribes, and the southern colonies began to mix their Halloween traditions with Native American harvest celebrations. Some of the first celebrations were actually play parties, where neighbors told stories of the dead, told each other’s fortunes, and had feasts with dancing and singing. Around 1850, America was flooded with many immigrants, and each culture helped the celebration of Halloween become very popular (“Ancient Origins” 2). Scottish immigrants celebrated with fireworks, tall tales of ghosts and spooks, games, and mischief. Bobbing for apples was a very popular game, and Puicini, an Irish fortune-telling game using saucers. In the mid 1800’s, the potato famine of Ireland sent approximately 2 million immigrants from Ireland and surrounding countries to America. These immigrants really shaped the Halloween celebration and spread it throughout America. Many supernatural creatures became associated with All Hallows. In Ireland, fairies were some of the legendary creatures thought to roam the streets on Halloween. Many old folk ballads commemorated this, like one called “Allison Gross”, which told the story of a man being saved from a witch’s spell by the fairy queen (Santino 3). English observation of Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th also intertwined with Halloween celebrations. This brought in a lot of pranks and mischief to the holiday. People now believed less in ghosts wreaking havoc on the night of October 31st and more of children causing trouble (Hellion 1). Along with pranks and old legends being told on Halloween, one thing that spread quickly over America was wearing costumes. 

Today on the night of Halloween, many children can be seen running around the streets in costumes such as witches and ghosts, their favorite television characters, and many more. The tradition of Halloween costumes actually dates all the way back to the Celts and their practice of Samhain. The Celts believed winter was a very frightening time with darkness, the cold, and a shrinking food supply. On the October 31st, people believed they could encounter ghosts, but to avoid being recognized by these ghosts’ people would wear masks and disguises when they left their homes. Many Celts also wore costumes in celebration of Samhain, usually consisting of animal heads and skins. Throughout the years this tradition evolved into what we now practice today (“Ancient Origins” 3). 

Another world-wide tradition of Halloween is carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. This has become the symbol many of us automatically associate with Halloween. This tradition is believed to have begun around the 900’s, and turnips and gourds were originally used. They were set on porches and window sills to welcome the ghosts of loved ones that had passed away and to protect their home against evil spirits. Instead of candles, these gourds and turnips were lit with burning lumps of coals. Pumpkins weren’t native to Europe, and it wasn’t until European immigrants came to America that they discovered pumpkins and began using them (“Pumpkin Carving” 1). 

No one can think of Halloween without thinking of “trick-or-treating.” This tradition goes back to the very first celebrations of All Souls Day parades in England. Poor people would beg for food, and families would give out soul cakes in promise of prayer for dead family members. The distribution of soul cakes was actually highly encouraged by the church. Children began going from house to house to get these sweet treats, and throughout the years the treats began to vary (“Ancient Origins” 3). Today candy is the main treat given out on Halloween night. 

Halloween has always been associated as a night of mischief, and many superstitions and legends have arose from this. Some people believe certain things may bring you love, bad luck, or even death. Superstitions have changed and evolved throughout the ages, and some of them are still around today. 

Many people hear stories of avoiding things on Halloween in case of bad luck, also known as superstitions. There are thousands of superstitions associated with Halloween. Some have been long forgotten, but some are still well known today. One of the most famous Halloween superstitions is the fear of black cats because of the belief they bring bad luck. This superstition dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, when people believed witches would turn themselves into black cats to avoid being recognized. Another common superstition is to avoid walking under ladders to keep away bad luck. This superstition goes all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and their belief that triangles were sacred and that they shouldn’t be crossed (“Ancient Origins” 4). If a candle suddenly goes out by itself, as though by breath or wind, it is believed that a ghost is present. If you gaze into a candle flame long enough, you can peer into your future. If a person casts a headless shadow or no shadow at all, it is believed to be an omen of death within the next year. If a bat flies around a house three times, a death omen is placed on that household. It is believed anyone born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits. In Britain, it was believed the devil was a nut-gatherer, and he used nuts as his magic charms (“Halloween Superstitions” 2). Many superstitions also came about from the festival of Samhain. 

Samhain was a time of mystery and a time when people believed the lost souls of loved ones drew near to the earth. Certain legends came about with the festival of Samhain. Many believed the barrows where fairies dwelt would open, and a demon who stole babies, Samhanach, was released. For three days before and three days after November 1st, the warriors of Ulster assembled for eating, drinking, and boasting of men they had killed. Each warrior kept the tongue of the men they killed for evidence (Leach 1051). There was also a legend of women being able to change the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, and mirrors (“Ancient Origins” 4). Girls who would carry a lamp to a spring of water believed they could see their future husband in the water’s reflection (“Halloween Superstitions” 1). 

There are also many legends dealing with women and love on Halloween night. Many young women believed they could use the magic of Halloween to identify their future husband. Nuts were believed to hold magic. If a woman would eat a baked treat with walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, it is believed she would dream about her future husband. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that single young women name a hazelnut for each one of their eligible mates, and then toss all the hazelnuts into a fireplace. The nut that would burn to ashes, rather than pop or explode represented that woman’s future husband. In 1700’s Ireland, a cook would bury a ring into a woman’s mashed potatoes on Halloween, hoping to bring love to the diner who found it (“Ancient Origins” 4). Along with superstitions came many pranks, mischief, and tricks. Halloween became a spooky night with all the old legends, but it also became a night many saw to stir up trouble. 

Pranks and mischief turned into a major problem in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Instead of harmless pranks and tricks played on friends, they became acts of vandalism and property damage. Halloween became an excuse to participate in criminal activity. Communities fought back by encouraging “trick-or-treating.” They believed trick-or-treating was a safe way to have fun and keep kids out of trouble. Trick-or-treating became very popular by the 1940’s and has evolved into what it is today (Hellion 2). 

Halloween as we know it today started from an ancient ritual very different from our own. What was once a festival full of witchcraft and the belief in spirits and ghosts has now turned into a night of dressing up in a variety of costumes and collecting candy from door to door. Halloween has become popularized by television, movies, music, and other types of media. It has grown to become America’s second largest holiday, and it brings in approximately $6.9 billion dollars annually. 

Whether it was Samhain or Halloween, October 31st is a day throughout history that has always had a supernatural feel to it. It’s a night when the air starts to grow cold and stories come about of spooks and legends. It’s a holiday different from the others, and it all started thousands of years ago. 

  

Works Cited 

“Ancient Origins.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2010. 

<http://www.history.com/topics/halloween&gt;. 

Freeman, Mara. “The Celtic Year Samhain.” Chalice Centre. Chalice Productions, 1999. Web. 23 Apr 

2010. <http://www.chalicecentre.net/samhain.htm&gt;. 

“Halloween Superstitions.” The Holiday Spot. The Holiday Spot, n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2010. 

<http://www.theholidayspot.com/halloween/superstitions.htm&gt;. 

Hellion, . “A Brief History of Halloween in America.” Deliriums Realm. N.p., 09/10/2007. Web. 23 Apr 

2010. <Hellion, . “A Brief History of Halloween in America.” Deliriums Realm. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 

Apr 2010 >. 

“The History of Pumpkin Carving.” Pumpkin Carving 101. Halloween Online, n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2010. 

<http://www.pumpkincarving101.com/pumpkin_carving_history.html&gt;. 

Leach, Maria. Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 

1972. 1051-53. Print. 

Santino, Jack. “The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows.” The Library of Congress. Library of Congress, 

n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2010. <http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html&gt;.

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“Woe to the Pastors” Because of the Lies–Part II–(Conversations with the Seer)

“What exactly is God’s beef with the preachers and pastors?”

“In this message contained in Jeremiah 23, Yahweh is saying, You have scattered my people by feeding them lies, but ‘I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them into their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.  And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them’ with the truth (vs. 3-4).  It is plain that God has not forgotten the lost tribes of Israel even though the pastors don’t teach the flock this truth.  For He refers to Himself as the LORD (YHWH) God of Israel, even as the apostle Paul said, ‘God has not cast off His people whom He foreknew'” (Romans 11: 2).

I stopped him.  “Wait a minute.  Why is all this important?”

“Because we are peeking into the very mind of Christ, the Anointed One.  The ‘fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily’ in Him [Col. 2: 9].  So knowing what is in His mind shows us what is in the Father’s mind.  These are the very things that He is thinking about.  Yes, thinking about.  Do we want the mind of Christ?  We are admonished to put it on, to think like He thinks, to be perfect like Him.”

“You mean God actually sits around and thinks about things?”

“Exactly,” the Seer said.  “He thinks about regathering His chosen people Israel, the 12 tribes.  And today’s preachers are not teaching this regathering, because they are not thinking about it.  For they have not believed this truth.  After all, He said, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts'” [Isa. 55: 8].

“I was taught that we were Gentiles, one of the heathen nations.”

“That is a perfect example of how the pastors ‘speak a vision of their own heart, and not of the mouth of Yahweh’ [v. 16].  Today’s pastors tell their flocks that ‘you shall have peace and no evil shall come upon you’ [v. 17].  They tell their flocks, Hey, no sweat.  The Rapture is coming.  You will escape the Great Tribulation.  ‘No evil shall come upon you.’  You will be taken out of the earth supernaturally.  They keep repeating this erroneous dream some woman had in the 1800’s.  Just tell them what they want to hear.  The bigger and more extravagant the lie, the more the people will believe it.  But don’t tell them the truth–that ‘the righteous will scarcely be saved’ from the tribulation coming–that the only reason that the very earth we sit on today is spared from total destruction is because of His elect chosen ones being in the line of fire.  ‘And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s  sake, those days shall be shortened'” [Matt. 24: 22].

“So the only reason that the earth is spared from total annihilation is because God doesn’t want to kill His chosen elect along with the others?”

“That’s right, and that means that true followers of His are on the earth–in harm’s way.  These are His elect, the chosen ones, the sons and daughters of God.”

“Why don’t the preachers warn the people of the hard times coming?” I asked.

“The preachers don’t tell them these truths because they don’t believe it themselves, and if they are leaning to accepting this truth, they do not share it, for they know that they would be kicked out and lose their jobs and livelihood being the hirelings that they are.”

“The pastors teach that the modern day Jewish people fulfill all this that you are saying.”

“Don’t be deceived into believing that.  About 85% of todays Jewish people are converts to Judaism.  Most are the offspring of the Khazars whose kingdom converted to Judaism in the 8th Century AD [ http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Khazars ].”

“What difference does that make?”

“The difference to God is that He promised Abraham that to his seed He would give the land in and around Jerusalem.  And the Khazars are from another lineage.  But they claim  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel as their forefathers.  It is not true.  And even if all modern day Jewish people were from the biblical patriarchs, that would only include just two of the 12 tribes, for the kingdom of Judah (the Jews) was made up of Judah and Benjamin.

“And you know what else angers Goid about the pastors?  They ‘think to cause my people to forget my name’ [v. 27].  They don’t tell the people–even if they have this knowledge– that ‘the LORD’ is a title that the translators used instead of God’s Hebrew name YHWH, pronounced Yahweh, or very close to that [ http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/index.php?q=Yahweh&title=LoveToKnow_1911%3ASearch&site=1911 ]. That’s the thing to really watch out for.  Don’t mess with God’s name, and definitely don’t deny it–whatever you do.”

That closed that session with the Seer.  These things would take time to soak in, for they were so different, so opposite of what the world was teaching.

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Filed under elect, end time prophecy, false teachers, great tribulation period, Lost Sheep of the House of Israel