Easter used to be my favorite holiday. I absolutely loved celebrating the resurrection of my Lord and Savior! The bright colors of spring, and the warmth of the sunshine (when it didn't rain or worse - snow!) added to the joyfulness of the occasion. I never once questioned the origin of this special holiday, until I began homeschooling my children.
I have shared before how the homeschooling journey led me to discover things that I never imagined. I expressed how my heart sank at the realization that beloved celebrations of the church are really contrary to the One Whom was being celebrated! I might have also confessed that I pushed that information to the back of my mind because at the time I was not willing to address it.
Now, however, I have fully accepted that the way I once worshiped my Savior was not how He wanted to be worshiped. In fact, He has forbidden that way of worship in His Word!
Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods.
Before I continue with what the Scriptures say, I want to share with you what I found on the Roman Catholic Church's (RCC) website concerning Easter, and also what they call the "EASTER CONTROVERSY" (the controversy apparently being the timing of Easter), and why I believe that Deuteronomy 12:4 is applicable to Easter. In the first article, I read:
"Easter: The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda (Simrock, Mythol., 362); Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron ; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn ; German, Ostern"
"Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by Jesus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter."
Concerning the Easter Rabbit:
"The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility (Simrock, Mythologie, 551)"
But what also concerns me is the apparent antisemitism that accompanied the decisions of our supposed "early Church fathers". I noticed this when researching the Sabbath as well. Concerning Easter, the RCC article states:
The emperor himself [referring to Constantine], writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: "At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin. . . for we have received from our Saviour a different way. . . And I myself have undertaken that this decision should meet with the approval of your Sagacities in the hope that your Wisdoms will gladly admit that practice which is observed at once in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment." From this and other indications which cannot be specified here (see, e.g. Eusebius, "De Paschate" in Schmid, "Osterfestfrage", pp. 58-59) we learn that the dispute now lay between the Christians of Syria and Mesopotamia and the rest of the world. The important Church of Antioch was still dependent upon the Jewish calendar for its Easter. The Syrian Christians always held their Easter festival on the Sunday after the Jews kept their Pasch. On the other hand at Alexandria, and seemingly throughout the rest of the Roman Empire, the Christians calculated the time of Easter for themselves, paying no attention to the Jews. (bold mine)
As I was reading through these articles from the RCC's website, I came across a term that I had never heard of before - "Quartodeciman". Evidently this was a term given to those who continued to observe Passover. Here is a brief explanation taken from Wikipedia:
"The Quartodeciman controversy arose because Christians in the churches of Jerusalem and Asia Minor celebrated Passover on the 14th of the first month (Aviv), while the churches in and around Rome changed to the practice of celebrating Easter on the following Sunday calling it 'the day of the resurrection of our Saviour'. The difference was turned into an ecclesiastical controversy when synods of bishops which held to Apostolic tradition condemned the practice." (bold mine)
What I see from this one resource alone, is that Easter has pagan origins, and was mandated by Constantine and the RCC to be celebrated by everyone instead of Passover. There are many other resources that support this finding, and I highly encourage you to research this more.
So what does Scripture say about Easter? Well, the word "Easter" is not even in the Bible, except some translations use that word in Acts 12:4. However, if you look at the original language, you can see that the word is "pascha", which means Passover. Also, if you read through the New Testament carefully and slowly, you will notice that the early Followers of Yeshua continued to keep the Feasts of Yehovah - His "appointed times" - even after the ascension of Yeshua. This is something that I had not really noticed before, or if I had, I just didn't think it was applicable for me today. But now I see that from the very beginning of Yehovah's giving of His Feasts, He commanded His children to keep them as an "everlasting law":
Exodus 12:14 (ISR)
And this day shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall celebrate it as a festival to Yehovah throughout your generations - celebrate it as a festival, an everlasting law.
Therefore, since Easter is NOT commanded by Yehovah, but has pagan worship origins, Deuteronomy 12:4 applies: "Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods."
Leviticus 23 explains Yehovah's appointed times, so I highly recommend that you read it. If you do, please note where it is said that these appointed times are a "law forever", and/or are to be kept "throughout your generations".
Yehovah's appointed times were established for very specific reasons. Every aspect of them point to the coming of Yeshua, the Messiah! The more I learn about each feast, the more amazed I am at how intentional my Heavenly Father was and the lengths to which He went to in order to reveal Himself and His Son to His creation. I have gained so much from keeping His appointed times - which is no shocker - because He states over and over about how He will bless those who follow His ways and keep His commandments.
So why am I sharing all of this? Well, it's NOT to make anyone angry or to cause division (although I know that is a possibility, after all, I was angry myself at first). I really hope to ignite a spark of curiosity if nothing else. I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Messiah to search the Scriptures (see Acts 17:11) and test everything that we have been taught throughout our life times. Much of what the current church considers to be Biblical just isn't. Much of the traditions and doctrines that are being practiced in churches has been handed down to us from the Roman Catholic Church and/or others who did not want to be "Jewish"! (please read my post on "Foot Binding", which is an analogy the Holy Spirit showed me concerning traditions and doctrines of men) I hope to help lead others to following Yehovah according to His Ways.
Hosea 14:9 (ISR)
Who is wise and understands these words, discerning and knows them? For the ways of Yehovah are straight, and the righteous walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.
Lamentations 3:40 (ISR)
Let us search and examine our ways and turn back to Yehovah.
For a detailed explanation about Yehovah's appointed times, take a look at these free online resources:
Or watch these videos:
Or watch these videos: