The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
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Themes Archive

 
Easter and Christianity
    The Passover, a celebration held at the commandment of Jehovah God, was celebrated by those who formed the chosen people of God until, by divine care, came one who was to be true "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Even the same day that the Israelites sacrifice their Passover lamb and eat it with unleavened bread in 33 A.D., the "Lamb of God" have to die, as the true Pascal Lamb. We, Christians of these days understanding and appreciating the favor of God, we must ask ourselves: We, who want to fulfill the words recorded in Hebrew 12:2: "looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith" we will still celebrate the Passover?
    To find a satisfactory answer we must note that early Christians did not mention Passover or Easter, as it is called in English, because, as shown in the Bible, there was no such celebration held for them. However, after the apostles fell asleep, and ambitious men in the church began leaning to their own understanding, a controversy developed over whether Christians should celebrate the Jewish passover. Some religiously observed the Jewish passover as a formalism, while others, like Arius, said, as quoted by the historian Mosheim: "Christians should keep no Passover, because Paul declares Christ, who was slain for us, to be our Paschal Lamb." And indeed Paul says at 1 Cor. 5:7 the following: ” For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ”.
    But as time went on the passover-keeping apostate Christians increased in numbers until by the fourth century they completely overran the various congregations. Then came Constantine, the adroit religio-political emperor, who took this apostate Christianity, united it illicitly with the pagan religions of his empire, and formed a single, universal (Catholic) state religion. It was the Council of Nice (A.D. 325), called by Constantine, that fixed the papade date when it declared that "everywhere the Great Feast of Easter" was to be observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 21.

    Passover and Easter

    The word “Easter” appears in the King James Bible at Acts 12:4; this, however, is an error of the translators. The original Bible word pascha simply means “passover,” and that is the way modern translations render it. So Easter is not really mentioned in the original Greek of the Christian Scriptures.
    Since Easter is not authorized by the Bible, where did it and its name come from?
    In the book Great Catholic Festivals, by Jesuit James L. Monks, there are some clues. This book, bearing the imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman, tells us on page 33: “It often happens that when pagans are converted to Christianity they retain some of the customs of their former life and Christianize them, as it were. The pagan Anglo-Saxons used to celebrate a festival of their goddess of spring, who was named Eôstre. When they became Christians and celebrated our great festival, which always comes in the spring, they kept the old name which became our Easter.”
    Only a little digging in the dictionaries, encyclopedias and reference works is necessary to uncover some amazing answers that Easter name comes from the Anglo-Saxon tlastre, the name of "a goddess of light or spring, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated in April". Alexander Hislop, in his weighty book, The Two Babylons, answers the question, "What means the term Easter itself, by saying: "It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard [the noted archaeologist] on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar."
    Her name is derived from Asht-tart, meaning "The woman that made towers". That woman was Semiramis, who, being both the mother and the wife of Nimrod, worked with him in building the tower of Babel as a means of reaching heaven in defiance of Jehovah God. Upon her death this mother queen was deified by her worshipers as the "queen of heaven" and the moon became a symbol of her "spirit". (Nimrod's "immortal spirit", it was believed, inhabited the sun.) It is from this ancient cistern of demonism that the universal heathen worship of the sun and moon sprang. The springtime festival, held when the moon reaches its fullness, is part of this pagan worship of the "queen of heaven, and it still parades throughout the earth under its ancient but Anglicized name "Easter".

    Which was the time when Easter got its official start?
    It was A.D. 325, long after Christ’s resurrection. By now apostasy had set in and there were many false Christians, Christians in name only. The pagan emperor Constantine was one of them. Constantine, who was still chief priest of the Roman pagan religion, assembled a large number of these apostate Christians together at the Council of Nicaea. What was this pagan priest’s motive? He wanted harmony in religion for political reasons. And so, as the book A General History of Rome tells us, “he combined in his own mind the two hostile faiths rather than balanced them against another—a state of feeling rather than of opinion, which is more common, perhaps, than is generally supposed.” Constantine thus blended the two religions, the Roman pagan religion and apostate Christianity. One of the results was that Constantine decreed that “everywhere the Great Feast of Easter” was to be observed.
    In view of these facts what could be more reproaching, more dishonoring, or more blasphemous of Jesus and His beloved Father Jehovah God than to have this sexy pagan holiday associated with the resurrection of Jesus? Moreover, the Bible condemns in no uncertain terms this worship of Easter (Astarte), the "queen of heaven", revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth, Ashteroth and Astaroth. Jesus’s disciples knew how Jehovah's wrath was kindled against the nation of Israel when Israel turned from pure worship and celebrated the Easter festival, as recorded in Judges 10:6: ”And the children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and served the Baalim, and the Ashtaroth, and they forsook Jehovah, and served him not.”
    Only a sincere repentance can bring salvation to those who followed those practices, as we read in 1Samuel 7:3,4, 12:10: ” We have sinned, because we have forsaken Jehovah, and have served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.” Observing this rule as scriptural examples recorded in I Corinthians 10:11, which teaches us: ” Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.”, a sincere Christian will abstain to follow such a practice condemned by God. And this mainly because there is no biblical record that Christ's disciples had ever celebrated Easter (Passover).

    Easter Egg, the Rabbit and Easter Parade

    A sincere Christian would ask a natural question: What association is between the Jesus Christ’s teaching and Easter egg, rabbit, cakes, and the Easter Parade?
    Additions to the feast as celebrated today, are further evidence of its rich paganism. It’s true that someone could say that multicolored eggs and and rabbits are made to appear as nothing more than innocent appendages attached to the occasion solely for the amusement of the children.
    But even it? Thus archaeologists have uncovered carvings of the fertility goddess Ishtar. They found her holding an egg in her hand and a rabbit at her feet. Thus the book Great Catholic Festivals comments on Easter: “The eating of eggs on this day is said to have come down from pagan usage of the egg as a symbol of fertility.” And The Catholic Encyclopedia says under “Easter”: “The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.” Not only the Druids of northern Europe, but also the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Hindus, Chinese and Japanese all attached deep mystical significance to eggs used in the spring festivals which all these heathen nations observed. The Japanese sacred eggs were the color of brass; the Chinese also painted their eggs; the Hindus had eggs golden in color. Other nations colored their Easter eggs red to symbolize the blood of life."From Egypt," says Hislop, "these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians."
    Even the Catholic Encyclopedia says under the subheading "Easter Eggs": "The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring." Brewer, quoted in The Century Dictionary, says: "The practice of presenting eggs to our friends at Easter is Magian or Persian."
    But what can be said about the Easter Rabbit? The rapidly multiplying rabbit was also a symbol of fertility and great reproduction. Says the Catholic Encyclopedia, "The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility." Therefore we can say that this symbol is one that has nothing to do with biblical truth!
    But even the wearing of new clothes and the Easter parade were part of the pagan rites. The Easter parade is a late addition to the festival, according to some authorities, who say that it comes from an ancient Chinese spring procession. Rich mandarins donned their finest robes and then displayed them en mass to one and all. Does not just happen today with this opportunity?
    One last point that we would like to mention about this situation is that all these practices are supported and promoted by those who accumulate huge profits from these things and they are traders. A wide range of products are related to these symbols for consumer to sensitized his heart and to buy those products. Often, objects that were not sold, or even remained on the shelves from other events such as Christmas, they just change the ad and are offered on this occasion.
    Seeing all these practices that have nothing to do with the manual of life, the Bible, but rather are rooted in immemorial times and pagan practices, what will do the true Christian? He knows the Bible rule recorded in 2 Cor. 6:14,17, and he will also follow: ” Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you.”

    The Memorial

    If all those arguments displayed above may not motivate us to celebrate Passover no more, does not the Bible commands Christians to commemorate a particular event regarding Christ?
    Yes. Jesus told his followers to remember His death, which took place on Nisan 14 of the year 33 A.D. The remember of Christ’s death was instituted to be celebrated exactly after the disciples were finished to eat Paschal lamb and have accomplished the law of Moses as they were tied. Jesus knew that at His death as the Lamb of God, the Jewish Passover meal will become useless. The Passover sacrifice may not serve like a „shadow of future good things”, because the good thing, the better sacrifice, Jesus Christ, actually came and died as a foundation for the new world of justice. Continuing to celebrate Passover, we give more value to the shadow than the reality. This would mean a lack of faith in coming of Jesus Christ as The Lamb of God, who take away the sin of world. Therefore, people who continue to celebrate Passover as of old, are those who reject Jesus from Nazareth, „the better sacrifice”, „our Passover”.
    Jesus instituted the new Memorial, in order to prepare something instead of annual Passover dinner, something through He would turn the people’s faith and their attention in the right direction. He taught His followers to keep this Memorial as regular thing, at the proper time. Therefore Christian Church, elected from gentiles to fulfill the words related at Acts 15:14, that declare: “God at the first did visit the gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.”, did celebrate no more Passover, but only the celebration instituted at Nissan 14 of the year 33 A.D., by Jesus and His disciples, that is The Memorial. And His followers, the Christians, will celebrate His death, celebrating The Memorial each year at that time, in the spirit of Redeemer’s words: “…for this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” – Matthew 26:28