Gallop estimates with it's various surveys across the nation that 100 million adults which comes out to be about one out of every two people in the United States attends an Easter service. The biggest surge coming from attendees who are 30 years or younger and are Roman Catholics.
Where did very popular holiday called; "Easter" originally come from and did the New Testament believers set a series of days in order to celebrate the Passover? Prior to 325 AD we find no historical record of what modern era is now celebrating which we call Easter. Back in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine claimed to be converted to Christianity but was really still very much involved with paganism. His main objective as the Pope of Rome was to unite both pagans, and Christians under his leadership. It's the same concept we see today concerning unity under the current Pope of Rome. So in order to try an accomplish this objective, Constantine sought out to add festivals (see Christmas, click here) which appealed to pagans and adopt it into to church worship which would eventually appeal to the church community who were making professions of faith in the Lord. So Constantine by making a degree at the Council of Nicaea, Easter became a religious holiday which was to be on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox which just like the pagan festival.
Today if the Pope of Rome would declare a holiday in which Christians should observe let's say for example, the celebration of the miracles of Jesus. How many non-Catholic churches would join in on the celebration? Would you say it would be as popular as Easter or Christmas among Protestants? It is logical to assume based on history, if the new official so-called holiday presented by the current Pope would be adopted by many outside of Catholicism. But also rejected by many others as well in the very beginning. Eventually those who had previously rejected the new so-called holiday will come around and adopt it into their own practices. The only ones left in the Christian community are the few who name Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They would continue against the onslaught of the many not celebrate any new holiday degreed by the Pope of Rome. This is exactly what happened throughout history concerning the two other holidays of Christmas and Easter.
Mark 7:7-9 Howbeit in vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
The Tradition of Lent
The traditions of Easter has some truths, but it also has many errors contained in it which are not biblical. The Lent tradition and practice is a typical example. There is no record of the Apostles nor Jesus celebrating 40 days of abstinence which means reframing from their normal worldly activities for a period of time. Basically it's a form of works to attempt to please God for all the other sins committed during the past year. So where did it come from?
Lent which means "spring time" was originally a pagan practice that was first invented by the Babylonians in honor of their "Queen of Heaven and Her son Tammuz". "He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz" Ezekiel 8:13,14. The reason why the women were weeping for "Tammuz" was because of his death. Also it was believed among pagans that "Tammuz" came back to life from the dead. Sound familiar? It should because it's a distorted belief of of what really Christ did on the Cross (Gen. 3:15) and His victory over Satan when He was risen from the dead. In reality, Tammuz never came back to life from being dead but instead, he was used as an object of worship for many pagan cultures throughout history.
Eventually Lent was adopted by the Egyptians in honor of one their of gods which happens to be another version of Tammuz named; Adonis. Since there were variants of Lent in the way it was practiced by the ancient pagans, Catholic leaders at the time were in disagreement on how to celebrate the new tradition. It wasn't till the sixth century when the Pope made the official by calling the Lent celebration a 'sacred fast', and ordered the people to abstain from meat and a few other foods for a period of time. The Scriptures plainly condemn such a practice..."Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" 1 Tim 4:2-3. Lent started out as 36 days, but later in 800 AD it was expanded to 40 days and it has been that way ever since.
Eating Fish on Fridays
How many of you reframe from eating meat or use to, or know of family members from the past who once did? Part of the Lent tradition was to obtain from meats on every Friday during the Lent season and fish was endorsed to be eaten. This tradition has been modified, some churches advocate reframing from mean only on Good Friday. Even if their church doesn't say one way or another, some of its members hold to this tradition because of its popularity with others. Where did this tradition originate? It was a very popular practice among ancient pagans. In honor of the pagan god Freya who was the goddess of peace, joy, and fertility, the pagans would eat fish on Fridays. Now fish was known to the ancient pagans as having a high reproduction rate and was a holy symbol to their goddess. By the way, Freya is where we get the word; "Friday". What does the Scriptures say about obtaining from meat as part of a holiday? We read in 1 Tim 4:2-3, to find out this is not a biblical practice when it comes to worshiping God.
The Easter Bunny
Many Protestants including Baptists who celebrate this holiday reject the Easter bunny although in some cases it's not a total rejection but rather contains some modifications in order to fit this custom into their celebration of the holiday. The bunny symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons. Eastre or Astarte known in the spring festival as the goddess of fertility. Rabbits had high reproduction rates which the ancient pagans considered as perfect objects to sacrifice to their goddess.
The Easter Egg
The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most ancient pagan cultures. A peasant, would color brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. The ancient Druids believed the egg was a sacred emblem of their idolatrous religion. In Hinduism, they honor the egg as with a golden color. In Japan it was brazen. In China, dyed or painted eggs are used on "sacred" heathen festivals. In America the Easter egg contains numerous colors as the society is mixed blend of different cultures.
And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
The True Meaning of Passover: Christ
This might be a surprise for some Christians, but Easter and the Passover have nothing in common with each other. Even though the Bible uses the term, Easter...it still doesn't mean it's an acceptable reason from a biblical point of view to celebrate. The true Passover is a memorial of the crucifixion of Christ which is for New Testament believers. And for the Old Testament believers, it was a shadow of things to come namely Christ. It wasn't conducted on Sunday or any fixed day of the week based on where the sun was, but a calendar day of the year. The day of the week varies from year to year as we shall see from Scripture.
The Biblical Timeline of Christ's Death and Resurrection
This is one of the most amazing and exciting part while discussing the true meaning of Passover! It clarifies the confusion that this holiday called, Easter has promoted. How many people really believe Christ risen from the dead Sunday morning? Let's take a look from an example. Here are Christians, great defenders of God preserving His Word but are found to be in error regarding the account of "Easter".
Does Luke 23:56 support a "Friday" crucifixion in the KJV (no "day" here in Greek)?
Luke 23:56 supports a "Friday" crucifixion in the light of verses 54 and 55. Luke clearly recorded that the day of the crucifixion was the day of "the preparation, and the sabbath drew on (near)" (Luke 23:54). The "preparation" was the preparation for the sabbath of the passover week (2 Chron 30:21-22, ie, the feast of the unleavened bread which lasts for seven days). The passover which Jesus observed was held on a Thursday evening, while "the preparation of the passover" was held on a Friday (Mark 15:42). Jesus was thus crucified and buried on Friday before the "sabbath day" (ie, Saturday) which was a day of rest. The women returned to the tomb on Sunday with their spices and ointments only to discover that Jesus is risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-6). More details on Christ's actual day of Crucifixion in a moment.
How many of you who are reading this now were taught this particular account when learning about "Easter?" How many churches know the truth about the real time line but are still going along with the holiday's time line by conducting an "Easter" or "Good Friday" service just like other so-called churches who claimed that Christ had risen on Sunday? What do the Scriptures say concerning this matter which is often times overlooked by those who believe in the false account but here is the answer...
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Christ made a sign which signified Him as the Saviour. If this Scripture did not come out the exact way Christ said it would happen, then He wouldn't be Lord and Saviour over His people. Jesus said, he would be in the ground for "three days and three nights" which conflicts with the Easter holiday that claims Christ died on the cross Friday afternoon and rose again Sunday morning. There is little dispute here on how long Christ was buried even most scholars agree it was a 72 hour time frame but how it is remembered for "Easter" is totally distorted!
Christ's Day Actual Day of Crucifixion
"And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!" John 19:14.
This is quite rare for preachers or lay people to teach or give an accurate account of when the actual day was especially in this day in age, in the past, it was touched upon by certain ministers of the Gospel. The day of course is not a secret, but rather the Bible is quite clear about it. Because of this celebration of "Easter" it is usually negected. But it is very important for you to know! Listen carefully, when it comes to Christ's crucifixion the Scriptures reveal this very important aspect. All four Gospels refer to the day of Christ's dying on the Cross as the day which they were preparing for the "high day" Sabbath. In John 19:31, it says; "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." What is a "high day" sabbath? Leviticus 23 tells us the Jews were to keep seven of these days, year by year. In verse two it says; "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts."
Those days were called; "holy convocations and my feasts" and they do not fall on the same day as Numbers 28:16-17 tells us: "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast." This feast was the first Day of Unleavened Bread. Matthew 26:2 says, "You know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." We know for certain Christ was crucified on the Passover which is described in Exodus 12. The original Passover was when the Jews were taught to slay a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts which caused the angel of death to pass them by sparing their firstborn. It was a shadow of things to come namely the true Messiah which is Jesus Christ. So Christ was crucified on the exact day the lamb was being slain every year. This day then would automatically be a preparation day for the feast day, or annual "high day" Sabbath which was to begin almost immediately after His burial.
So what day did the Passover occur? Well according to the Jewish calendar, the Passover occurred on a Wednesday...This means that the annual Sabbath had to be one day later which would be Thursday! As this sabbath was approaching, required a quick burial of Christ's body prior to its arrival. The weekly Sabbath which occurs on Saturday, was to occur two days after that. So Christ was crucified on Wednesday afternoon. Now if one is to correctly understand Mathew 12:40 about how many days Jesus spent in the grave, this would put His resurrection on a Saturday afternoon. This also is the very reason why Mary Magdalene, and the others with her saw angels Sunday morning rather than Christ (Luke 24:6).
Christ's prophecy of the events that were to happen, did in fact happen in every aspect with no errors in His plan. Since we know from the Scriptures the true time frame, I ask again, why do many so-called churches continue with the Easter tradition? Even some Christian churches have been confused on this issue while claiming to know better (some Baptists assembles) but yet either have a "Good Friday service with a message or an Easter service with a message" but reject the "Lent" tradition. Their symbolic representation of the Lord's death and resurrection is faulty. Thus, it denies what the Scriptures reveal about it which all true Christians rejoice in and celebrate in remembrance of Him at the Lord's table. Revelation 17:2 points out..."With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. Verse 5, And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
The Scriptures Commands
In Revelation 18:4...
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
The Bible makes it clear we are not to 'Christianize' a pagan tradition even though it has some biblical truths in it. We are also "not to be partakers of her sins" and show appearance of evil by going along with this holiday known as Easter which symbolizes rejection of what Christ predicted about his death and resurrection from the grave. When we look at Old Testament believers, we didn't see any change in it's celebration like additional customs outside of Scripture. Nor did they change the Sabbath days either. For many hundreds of years before Christ came and died then rose again from the grave it was conducted the same way as God had instructed on how to do it. Things did change in the New Testament as prophecy was fulfilled.
But the changes we see today go beyond the bounds of Scriptures as this holiday gives honor to a pagan god who's traditions are imbedded in it which of course wasn't happening with the old Passover practice. We as true Christians should rejoice in the Lord's great accomplishments, His great sacrifice, His raising from the dead, His unmerited mercy upon us, and ever being so thankful about it in our daily lives, while gleaning on the things pertaining to the Lord in order conform more to His Will.
Praise Be To God!