8 Quick Facts About Easter

8 Quick Facts About Easter:

1.      The word English word “easter” was adapted from the Anglo-Saxon name for the pagan goddess Eastre or Estera.  Devotees made sacrifice to this goddess during the month of April, hence the name was transferred to the Passover celebration occurring around the same time.  See also Alexander Hislop's definitive work, The Two Babylons, for further study on the pagan origins of easter. 

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2.      The word “easter” does not actually occur in Scripture.  The translators of the King James Version of the Bible supplied the word in the place of the Greek word for Passover, pascha, at Acts 12:4.  Modern English translations such as the New King James Version rightly translate this word “Passover.” 

3.      Easter was not celebrated by the early Christians anywhere in the New Testament.

4.      Jesus directed His followers to commemorate His death, burial and resurrection in the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and baptism by immersion.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Romans 6:3-5.

5.      Jewish Christians continued to celebrate the Jewish feast of Passover in commemoration of Christ’s death on the cross, and this evolved into an annual celebratory feast that evolved into the Easter celebration that most of Christendom recognizes.

6.      Disputes arose later as to whether Easter should be celebrated on the Passover, without regard to the day of the week, or on Sunday, the day that Christ arose.  Those in favor of Sunday also disagreed as to which Sunday it should fall on.  The church bishops attempted to settle the dispute by stating that it should be celebrated on Sunday, at the Council of Nicea in 325 A. D.  But they never specified which Sunday it should be celebrated on.  Eventually, the Western church adopted the rule of celebrating Easter on the "Sunday following the 14th day of the calendar moon which comes on, or after, the vernal equinox which was fixed for March 21.”[i]  This explains why the date for Easter varies from year-to-year, because the vernal equinox is an astronomical phenomenon that varies in its occurrence annually. 

7.      Easter bunnies and colored eggs have nothing to do with Christ’s death and resurrection.  These associations came from pagan fertility customs which migrated from their pagan origins into the Christian Easter.  As W. E. Vine points out, this was done to make Christianity more appealing to the pagan masses that the church sought to convert.[ii]

8.      While the festival of Easter has no basis whatsoever in any teaching of Christ or His apostles, neither on any biblical precept, we should judge no one as ‘pagan’ for observing it.  It does serve an evangelistic and good purpose of calling the world’s attention for a short season to the most important and glorious event of human history and the Christian faith:  the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Neither should any Christian who observes Easter judge that Christian as less than charitable who abstains from observing a festival that lacks biblical precept or example to so do.  However, it is a sound principle of Christianity to stick with a plain “Thus saith the Lord” for everything that we observe and do.  When we as Christians start declaring days and observances as holy, which God has not commanded, we are headed down the same slippery slope as the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time.  Jesus said of them:  “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Matthew 15:9.             

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[i] “Easter.”  International Standard Dictionary of the Bible. (1915)
[ii] W. E. Vine.  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.  1985.

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