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Here's the story behind the jack-o'-lanterns people carve for Halloween. (Public Domain Pictures)

The upcoming Halloween celebration dates back to the Druids, who used the holiday for various pagan religious practices including human sacrifice. There is nothing Christian about it.

Yet there is one interesting story about the Halloween celebration, which illustrates how the pagans tried to appropriate the stars into their religions. It is the story of the jack-o'-lantern, that pumpkin with a face carved out and a candle inside. This seemingly benign decoration represents a much more gruesome picture from the rituals of past ages: A frightful severed head. And the picture comes straight from the Star Bible, even though the real meaning is very different.

The "jack-o'-lantern" in the sky is the star Algol ("evil spirit"). It is part of the constellation Perseus, (the breaker) which is a picture of Christ, who breaks open a way for us (Mic. 2:13) and breaks open the seals in Revelation 5. Algol pictures the severed evil head of the nations, the Antichrist, whose head is cut off from the nations when Christ returns (Rev. 19:20). So the frightful jack-o'-lantern is really a picture of the return and triumph of Christ.

The Star Algol would have been near the zenith point on Halloween after midnight in Druid times 3,000 years ago. Now it can be seen closer to 11:00 p.m. It is also an interesting object, because it is a variable star decreasing in brightness about every 69 hours, with the nearest visible minimum at about 2:00 a.m. on Oct. 13.

This year a small comet, ASASSN 1, adds to the picture as it runs through Perseus on its way toward the North Pole. The comet reaches its maximum brightness on Oct. 14, but will be a faint magnitude 6 or 7 object best viewed through binoculars or a small telescope. On that date, it passes near the bright star Capella (the goat) in the constellation Auriga (the shepherd), which reminds us that Christ is our Good Shepherd who will keep us safe in the day of judgment shown by Perseus (2 Pet. 2:9).

So tonight, find the Halloween star, Algol, and tell someone about how Christ our Good Shepherd will protect us from the judgment to come.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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