Regarding Easter

Christians in the first century A.D. did not celebrate anything called Easter. The word “Easter” in Acts 12:4 of the KJV is a disappointing translation of the original word “pascha,” meaning the Jewish holiday called Passover. Although many today celebrate Easter as the day Jesus was resurrected, Passover was not the day Jesus was resurrected, but the night/day He was slain (the Jewish day began at evening and lasted until the next evening; Gen. 1:5; Matt. 26:17-ff; cf. Ex. 12:1-6). Furthermore, it was not the early Christians celebrating the Passover in Acts 12, but the enemies of Christianity–Herod and the Jews who were killing Christians (12:1-4). The holiday in Acts 12 translated as “Easter” would have involved the Jews slaying a lamb AFTER Christ was slain on the cross, which at that point would have been a blasphemous rejection of Christ, the Lamb of God, as the ultimate and final sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 10:8-18).

In the second century A.D. uninspired men began setting aside the general time of the Passover for a special “holy observance” of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but they had no authority from God to deviate from the weekly pattern the Lord had already established through His apostles. Around the sixth century A.D., Catholics also intermingled pagan practices with the holiday to become what we now call “Easter.”

Many sources say the word “Easter” is derived from the false fertility goddess Ishtar / Ashtoreth / Astarte / Ostara / Eostre / Eastre, depending on the source. This would perhaps explain Easter’s connection with Spring (new life), eggs, and rabbits, which symbolized reproduction. The Bible records Solomon worshiping a goddess named Ashtoreth (aka the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, female counterpart of Baal) roughly one thousand years before the resurrection of Christ (1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13).

There is some debate about the origins of the name “Easter,” but no matter what it is called, there is no Scriptural evidence that the first century church observed it as a religious holiday. If the name is truly derived from a pagan goddess, then whenever someone says “Easter,” he is saying the name of a false goddess that should have been forsaken and forgotten a long time ago (Hos. 2:17; cf. Ex. 23:13; Deut. 12:3; Josh. 23:7). Instead, let us always remember our Lord in the way He desires and follow the Biblical pattern of communion on the first day of every week (Acts 2:42; 20:6, 7; 1 Cor. 11:20; cf. 16:2; 2 Thess. 2:15).

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