Thursday, April 1, 2010


Does Scripture instruct Jesus’ followers to celebrate Easter?” In studying God’s Word, the only reference to Easter which I have found is in Acts 21: 4 (KJV), “And when he [Herod] had apprehended him [Peter], 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.” However, in other translations the word used is not “Easter,” but “Passover.” Baffled by the variance, I continued my search.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia says, "EASTER (Acts 12:4), An anachronistic mistranslation of the Greek ‘pascha’ (‘Passover’), in which the KJV followed such earlier versions as Tyndale and Coverdale. The Acts passage refers to the seven-day Passover festival. It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to …” Easter. (Vol 2, p.6)

Where, then, does “Easter” come from? According to scholars, it has its roots in ancient paganism.

 West Germanic name of a pagan spring festival. (Webster's Dictionary, 1976)
 The pagan festival held to honor Eastre, the goddess of dawn, was called Eastre in Old English. (The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 1987, p.177)
 Easter is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte. The pagan festival of 'Easter' was quite distinct (from the festival Pasch) and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity. (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p.192)
 ...Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Traditions associated with the festival survive in Easter rabbits and eggs as symbols of fertility. (Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia)
 The scientific terminology for the female hormone, estrogen and the cyclic period of sexual receptivity, estrus is derived from this fertility goddess, Eastre.
 Sabbats in Modern Witchcraft--Spring Equinox--A solar festival, in which the forces of male and female, are in equal balance. The first day of spring, marks the birth of the infant Sun God [Son of Eostre] …. The Christian version of the sabbat is Easter. (The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, 1989, p.289)
 Witches celebrate eight major festivals or sabbats each year. 20 or 21 March, Eostre, the vernal equinox, is a fertility festival. (A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans, 1980, p.167)
 They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths (Judges 2:13). NIV note: Female deities such as Ashtoreth the beautiful goddess of war and fertility. The worship of the Ashtoreths involved extremely lascivious practices.
 1 Kings 14:24 speaks of ritual prostitution as an important feature of Canaanite fertility religion. The cult of Ishtar - the goddess of fertility, love and war was the most important one in ancient Babylon and became, under various names (Asherah, Venus, Aphrodite, Semiramus, Diana, and Mary in addition to those previously mentioned), the most important in the Near East and Western Asia.

How did this fertility festival become intertwined into the church?

Constantine, the pagan Roman emperor, legalized Christianity in order to reinforce his crumbling empire. He needed the strength demonstrated by those who were willing to die for their beliefs. However, in his quest for unity, he eventually outlawed all religions except Rome’s version of “Christianity.”

Many Jews refused to blend pagan practices into their traditions, including their observance of Passover. To resolve this division, the emperor declared that Passover would be outlawed and Easter would be the official church holiday. He communicated this decision made at the Nicene Council through a letter to all the churches in the empire explaining his reasoning:

“When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; was declared particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom of the Jews… They do not possess the truth in this Easter question...” - (Found in Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. Iii., 18-20.)

Consequently, many Jews were executed for refusing to relinquish their traditions and many Christians were martyred for refusing to taint the purity of Christ’s Church by observing the Pagan festival.

In America, Easter was dismissed as a pagan holiday by the Puritans
and did not begin to be widely observed until just after the Civil War.
This year, however, according to a trade report in the
March 10, Chicago Tribune,
American spending is “forecast to reach $13.03 billion,”
an “average of $118.60” per person celebrating Easter!

The Barna Group, recently explored Americans’ definition of the Easter holiday. The results show that while a majority of Americans indicated some type of spiritual connection with Easter, only a minority directly linked Easter to the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ.

Even while many Christians ignorantly observe pagan Easter practices, Heavy Metal groups are singing about Easter, witches are writing about her, universities are teaching about her, children are reading about her, and Hollywood is producing movies to mock our ignorance.

We might excuse our practices by saying that we are celebrating Jesus in our hearts. However, God warns us not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil [Gen. 2:17]. God’s people must worship in truth [John 4:24]. Yet, rather than studying to show ourselves approved and rightly dividing the Word of God [2 Tim 2:15], we often blindly accept what we’ve been taught and assume to be true.

Are you certain that the source of you beliefs and practices are the Bible—or some other authority?


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

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