Easter and the Christian Walk - Godmadeus.com

Picture of a real bunny with a question mark and a cartoon Easter bunny.

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:






Is Easter a Christian Holiday?

This article examines Easter to determine if it is really a Christian holiday.



Easter



The Daffodils are in bloom, the Irises are soon to follow, the grass is turning green, and cherry blossoms float on the wind. The world is waking up. Aah . . . spring is in the air. What do we think about when spring comes each year? For many Christians, the central religious holiday of the year comes each spring. There is a celebration of the greatest sacrifice ever made. Many people celebrate this great sacrifice which was made on our behalf. Many people get excited about this holiday because the sacrifice was followed by the foretold resurrection of our savior. This holiday is commonly called Easter. What do we know about this holiday? What we think we know and the truth may be two different things. Sit back and read this informative article, but be forewarned; what is written here may require a change in behavior for all who read it. Most of the world is deaf and blind to the truths revealed here. Once we understand these truths, we are no longer able to claim ignorance. There will be nothing for God to wink at. We are accountable.

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Is the word Easter in our Bible? This depends on which Bible we read. It is clearly in the King James Version of the Bible.

Act 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The word Easter, as used here, comes from the word Pascha which means Passover. This word appears in the bible 29 times and is always translated as Passover except for this one time. Why is it translated as Easter this one time? I believe it was correctly translated as Easter for two reasons:



1. The Bible is the perfect unerring word of God. The words of the Bible confirm this to be true.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Psa 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.


This applies to the King James Version of the Bible as discussed in the article Which Bible Should I Read?

2. The verse in question is indeed referring to the celebration of Easter, not the Passover.



Here is why I believe this. We see in Acts 12:3, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was already underway when King Herod decided to capture Peter.

Act 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

The next verse tells us, after he apprehended Peter, he put him in prison until after Easter.

Act 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

I checked several Bibles just to make sure, and all of the, more than 15, Bibles I checked rendered this word as Passover except the KJV and the AKJV. The problem is the chronology of these verses does not make sense if the word "Easter" is translated as "Passover". The Passover comes the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

We saw above, King Herod did not even decide to try to catch Peter until the Feast of Unleavened Bread was underway. This means the Passover had already passed before he decided to apprehend Peter. Then Herod apprehended Peter, and then he kept Peter in prison to wait for the Easter celebration to be over. The verses only make sense chronologically if the holiday Herod was waiting to pass came after the Feast of Unleavened Bread not before the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The celebration of Easter does not occur on the same day as the Passover, as many Christians believe. The Passover is always on the fourteenth day of the first month using the Biblical calendar. The Passover can fall on any day of the week. The celebration of Easter, on the other hand, always falls on a Sunday. The current dating method for Easter is much more complicated than the dating of the Passover, and much effort has been exerted to ensure Easter does not fall on the same day as the Passover. Here is a quote from http://www.thetimenow.com which describes how the date for Easter is currently obtained.


"In 325 C.E [sic] the Council of Nicaea ruled that Easter should be held on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the March Equinox which is approximated as March 21st. If the full moon is on a Sunday, Easter is delayed by a week to keep it from falling on the same day as Jewish Passover."


Source: http://www.thetimenow.com/blog/easter-sunday/ (Ramsey)



Naturally, King Herod would be concerned with Easter rather than the Passover. After all, King Herod was a pagan not a Jew. In fact, the online Jewish Encyclopedia tells us King Herod was very popular with the pagans.


"All the worldly pomp and splendor which made Herod popular among the pagans, however, rendered him abhorrent to the Jews, who could not forgive him for insulting their religious feelings by forcing upon them heathen games and combats with wild animals."


Source: http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/7598-herod-i (Jacobs)



Does this mean we should celebrate Easter because we find the word written in our Bible? We also find the word groves and Molech in our Bible. This does not mean we should run out and build alters to Molech. In fact, we are warned to stay away from pagan practices.

Where else can we look for support of celebrating Easter? There is no other mention of it in any Christian Bible. Jesus did not instruct us to remember him in this way. Christ Jesus gave very clear instructions on how to remember him.

Luk 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Luk 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

This is only one of the verses which give us instruction in how to remember Christ Jesus. The instructions left for us are the same in each verse though. None of them mention what many Christians think of as Easter.

Where do we get the idea of Easter being a Christian holiday?

To get the answer, we need to travel back to the years 672 - 735 A.D. This is when Saint Bede lived. He was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth. In 725 A.D., Bede wrote The Reckoning of Time (Latin: De temporum ratione) which was the first comprehensive treatise on calculating time and calendar construction. According to Faith Wallis, who translated the work, the Reckoning of Time was "the model and reference for all subsequent teaching discussion and criticism of the Christian calendar." Chapter 15 of this work gives us the answer to our question about how Easter became known as a Christian holiday.


15. The English Months


In olden time the English people — for it did not seem fitting to me that I should speak of other nation's observance of the year and yet be silent about my own nation's — calculated their months according to the course of the moon. /330/ Hence, after the manner of the Greeks and the Romans [the months] take their name from the Moon, for the Moon is called mona and the month monath.

The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath; May, Thrimilchi; June, Litha; July, also Litha; August, Weodmonath; September, Halegmonath; October, Winterfilleth; November, Blodmonath; December, Giuli, the same name by which January is called. They began the year on the 8th Kalends of January [25 December], when we celebrate the birth of the Lord. That very night, which we hold so sacred, they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht, that is, "mother's night," because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night.

Nor is it irrelevant if we take the time to translate the names of the other months. The months of Giuli derive their name from the day when the Sun turns back [and begins] to increase, because one of [these months] precedes [this day] and the other follows. Somonath can be called "month of cakes", which thy offered to their gods in that month. Hrethmonath is named for their goddess Hretha, to whom they sacrificed at this time. Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance. Thrimilchi was so called because in that month the cattle were milked three times a day; such, at one time was the fertility of Britain or Germany, from whence the English nation came to Britain.

Source: Bede, The Reckoning of Time translated by Faith Wallis volume 29 p. 53-54 (Wallis)



In the highlighted text of the above quote, we learn several important facts.

1. April is derived from the month Eosturmonath.
2. Eosturmonath was named in honor of the pagan god called Eostre.
3. The pagans honored Eostre with feasts during this month.
4. The Passover season is now referred to by her name (Eostre) by Christians. Note: We now spell the name as Easter. However, the pronunciation and meaning remain the same.
5. The new rite, Easter, is called by the time-honored name of the old pagan observance.



This tells us, at the very least, the name Easter is derived from a pagan origin. We can learn more about what customs were associated with Eostre from volumes 1 and 2 of Teutonic Mythology written by Jacob Grimm. Grimm, discoverer of "Grimm's Law," was a German philologist, jurist, and mythologist who wrote these books in the early to middle 1800's. Grimm confirms a connection between Easter and Eostre here in the following quote.

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Source: Teutonic Mythology Volume 1 (Grimm)



This next quote gives us the origin of Easter sunrise services.

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Source: Teutonic Mythology Volume 1 (Grimm)



The next quote gives us the origin of the Easter candle and Easter eggs.

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Source: Teutonic Mythology Volume 2 (Grimm)



The origins of hot cross buns and Easter bread can be found in the next quote

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Source: Teutonic Mythology Volume 2 (Grimm)



Some people want to claim Bede made up this goddess. Here is what Grimm had to say on the subject.

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Source: Teutonic Mythology Volume 1 (Grimm)



What about the Easter Bunny? Hares are well established as a sign of fertility due to their prolific reproduction capabilities. Some say the lights of the pagan goddess Eostre were carried by hares. Remember, Oestre was the supposed god of the radiant dawn or uprising light. I will not attempt to list all of the connections of the rabbit to paganism, but it is well established the pagan idols Aphrodite and Cupid had hares as companions. Some sources also cite the pagan idols Freja and Ishtar as roots for some Easter beliefs and customs. I do not feel the need to delve any deeper into the occult as I believe the above sources prove the connection between Easter and paganism to those who truly seek the truth.

Who determines which days are Holy days? Is it God or is it man? God gave us Holy days to keep. There are many passages which tell us the New Testament church was keeping these days Holy. Here are a few of those passages.

Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Act 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

Act 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

Act 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

Act 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1Co 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.


We can go to Leviticus 23 to see God's Holy days. Take out the sacrificial requirements which were fulfilled by Christ, and the remainder are the Holy days we are commanded to keep. Why do we submit to the teachings of man and ignore the commands of God? Who do we serve? There is nothing in the Bible which instructs us to celebrate Easter or any other pagan holiday. Therefore, this is a teaching of man not God. We know the origin of Easter is rooted in paganism, yet many Christians hold on to this tradition. Why? What is the allure of keeping this unholy day and claiming it to be Holy?

The Biblical account of Jesus is true. Why would we mix this truth with fables and paganism? The Bible tells us Jesus was full of truth.

Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

This does not say Jesus was partially full of truth, so why do we intermingle the truth with lies and deception? People are quick to quote John 3:16, but what about the verses which follow it?

Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Joh 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Joh 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Are our deeds evil when we mix the truth of God (the light) with the untruths of paganism (darkness)? Is the allure of keeping Easter so strong because of a love for the darkness spoken of in these verses? If we are sincere in our desire for worshiping the one true God, then we must ask ourselves what the motive is for our actions which run contrary to scripture. Could the motivating factor be peer pressure? The Bible tells us to come out from the world and be separate.

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Touch not the unclean thing. Separate yourself, do not touch it. That is a New Testament verse. What is the unclean thing? Paganism.

But we know in our hearts we are not worshiping a pagan idol by coloring some eggs or in some other way celebrating Easter. Right? If we are keeping this so called holy day, we are submitting to something other than God. There is nothing in the scriptures which instructs us to keep this day Holy. We are submitting to the world. We are touching the unclean thing; we have not separated ourselves from it. Furthermore, this holiday is often used as a means of indoctrinating children into pagan practices such as Easter eggs and pagan beliefs such as a belief in the Easter Bunny. Christ gave clear warnings about offending a child who believes in Him.

Mat 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Mat 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Mat 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

But surely I am making too much of this. Surely this does not really matter. The scriptures tell us it does matter. From one end of the Bible to the other, the Bible tells us to not worship false idols. The Bible tells us to not mix good and evil.

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

These verses could be speaking directly about Easter. These are New Testament verses telling us Jesus is not to be associated with pagan idols. This holiday does exactly what these verses tell us not to do. It mixes good and evil, light and dark, the word of the true God with paganism. Easter mixes Christ with pagan practices such as Easter egg hunts and the Easter Bunny.

The Bible tells us to not be deceived by evil portraying itself as good.

Luk 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

The Bible tells us a little evil taints the whole good.

Mat 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.


When speaking of these matters, people sometimes respond with the phrase "but God knows my heart."

If we choose to indulge in Easter, we better search our hearts thoroughly to see if our love is for God or for the world.

Another typical phrase is "well, I just have to trust in God."

God will lead us and guide us, but he will not force us. Satan is working hard to deceive us all. Will God lead us to the truth and then simply wink when we refuse to drink of it?


References

Grimm, Jacob. Teutonic Mythology. Trans. James Steven Stallybrass. Vol. 1. London: W Swan Sonnenschein & Allen, 1880. Print.

Grimm, Jacob. Teutonic Mythology. Trans. James Steven Stallybrass. Vol. 2. London: George Bell & Sons, 1883. Print.

Jacobs, Joseph, and Isaac Broydé. "JewishEncyclopedia.com." Herod I -. JewishEncyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.

Ramsey, Brandon. "Easter Sunday: Holiday Dates and Why It's Celebrated." The Time Now, TheTimeNow.com, 10 Mar. 2015, www.thetimenow.com/blog/easter-sunday/.

Wallis, Faith, and Bede. "The English Months." Bede, the Reckoning of Time (Translated Texts for Historians ; v. 29). Vol. 29. N.p.: Liverpool UP, 1999. 53-54. Print.




Volume 1 of Grimm's work can be read online at https://books.google.com/books/reader?id=F9E3AQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PP1.

Volume 2 of Grimm's work can be read online at https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=fiAAAAAAQAAJ&rdid=book-fiAAAAAAQAAJ&rdot=1.

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Picture of a real bunny with a question mark and a cartoon Easter bunny.