The first of November is celebrated by many as a special day to remember the dead. At this time of the year, people visit the graves of their departed and pay their respects by bringing flowers, lighting candles, and offering prayers. In other cultures, food, beverages, and material possessions are placed upon the headstones or grave markers of the dead.
Called ‘All Saints’ Day’ or ‘Feast of All Saints’ by the Roman Catholic Church, ‘Undas’ in the Philippines, and ‘Dia de Muertos’ in Mexico — this tradition of celebrating the dead dates back to 837 AD when Pope Gregory IV mandated the general observance of November 1 as the day to celebrate the dead, including saints and martyrs.
The doctrine behind this holiday teaches that prayers for the dead will help cleanse their souls and make them fit for paradise. Is this doctrine rooted from the Bible?
“There is no ‘Day of the Dead’ in the Bible,” Bro. Eli frankly answered a guest who asked about it during a Bible Exposition of MCGI’s Ang Dating Daan.
“In the Bible, there is a book called ‘Acts of the Apostles’ where you can read about the practices of the first century Christians,” he continued. “They didn’t have those practices of going to cemeteries and bringing food, beverages, and candles. These are not in the Bible.”
Bro. Eli also added that many people have already been accustomed to following rituals and traditions relating to the ‘Day of the Dead’ that are not based on the Bible.
“Even other holidays that precede and follow November 1 such as ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ (commonly known as Halloween) and ‘All Souls’ Day’ are also not found in the Holy Scriptures,” Bro. Eli wrote in a blog article.
“Let them be. Let us not disturb them anymore,” Bro. Eli advised. Citing the Book of Job, he said that the souls of the dead are already in the hands of the Creator.
“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10, King James Version)
Bro. Eli further remarked that nothing can be done for the dead, especially for their salvation. “No matter how big or expensive the candle you light and put in front of their graves, you cannot change the works they have done during their time here on earth which will be the basis of their salvation come Judgement Day,” citing Revelation 20:12 as basis.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (King James Version)
To conclude his response, Bro. Eli gave the inquiring visitor some more advice: “We will all be judged based on our works, not because we were prayed for, visited at the grave, or offered with candles and flowers. That’s why while we are still alive, we should do good deeds.”
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Multi-awarded televangelist and Overall Servant of the Members Church of God International Bro. Eli Soriano is known for disputing religious traditions and beliefs that have no foundation in the Bible.
As a firm believer of the Holy Scriptures, he says that “the Christian faith must be based on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ — no more, no less.”
Through several platforms used by MCGI, Bro. Eli propagates the Gospel of Christ across the globe — including discussing biblical wisdom to debunk the millennium-old traditions and beliefs.