Since the pagan symbols of eggs and rabbits were adopted by the Catholic Church centuries after Christ’s ascension, should Christians keep this holiday or encourage others to observe it?
Let’s answer this, with another question, ‘Would Jesus Keep Easter?’ He certainly could have told us, right? The Apostles could have done so as well. Their teachings and doctrines given to them by Christ are preserved for us in the book of Acts and the epistles written by Paul, Peter, James, Jude and John. But nowhere do we find a hint of support for Easter or anything remotely resembling it. What we do find is clear instruction from Jesus and Paul to keep the Passover and other Biblical Christian observances.
Holy Scripture does not support this pre-Christian holiday and in fact condemns such celebrations. Because Scripture condemns pagan practices and the worship of false gods, we know that God the Father and Jesus His Son have no interest in Easter and do not approve of it. We are specifically commanded ‘to be careful’ in following what God has commanded in respect to what days we are to observe and ‘to be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). Notice what I emphasized. We are not to follow a pagan holiday that practice the giving of chocolate Easter bunnies or the locating of any lost colored eggs.
Jesus, in fact, is diametrically opposed to religious rituals that supposedly honor Him but in reality are rooted in worship of false gods. He makes clear the difference between pleasing God and pleasing men: ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men … All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition’ (Mark 7:6-9).
Easter is a tradition of men, not a commandment of God. But it’s more than that.
It is a pagan tradition of men that, like other traditions involved in the worship of false gods, is an abomination to the true God. Jesus and His Apostles would never sanction its observance because it mingles paganism with supposedly Christian symbolism and ritual. It is rooted in ancient pre-Christian fertility rites that have nothing to do with Jesus. Zero, Zilch, Nada!
It’s not that difficult to trace the surprising origins of Easter and what it really represents. Many scholarly works show that Easter is a pre-Christian religious holiday, one that was created and developed long before Jesus’ time and carried forward to the modern era through such empires as Babylon, Persia, Greece and finally Rome – including the Catholic Church!
‘Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words’ notes: ‘The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean [Babylonian] goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pesach [Passover] held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast … The pagan festival of ‘Easter’ was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity’. In other words it was a compromise made by the Catholic Church enabling those pagans they were trying to convert to better swallow the Catholic version of ‘Christianity’.
Alexander Hislop in his book ‘The Two Babylons’ explores the origins of Easter. He discovered that a form of Easter was kept in many nations, not necessarily only those that professed Christianity. ‘What means the term Easter itself? … 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,(my emphasis) whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was … Ishtar [just like Easter].
Look in any good Bible concordance under ‘Ashtaroth’ (or Ashteroth, Astoreth) and you will discover the same ‘Astarte’ worshiped by the ancient Babylonians were also worshiped by the ancient Tribes of Israel. Why do you think God sent the northern Tribes of Israel into captivity (Judges 2:13)? God didn’t send Israel to slavery for watching ‘Late Night with King David’!
Easter, and the practices associated with it, can be traced back to various pagan rituals. Hislop explains that ‘the forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshipers of the Babylonian goddess’. In Egypt a similar 40-day period of abstinence ‘was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god’. In fact, some Bible margin notes, indicate this.
In reality, most of the trappings associated with Easter reveal that this holiday is actually a fraud pawned off on unsuspecting and well- intentioned people. God wants us to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), not to recycle ancient customs used to worship other gods.
Even the timing of the events used to justify celebrating Jesus’ resurrection on a Sunday morning- that He was crucified on the afternoon of Good Friday and resurrected before dawn on Sunday morning-are demonstrably false, as an examination of the Scriptures shows.
For those who want concrete proof that He was indeed the Messiah and Savior of mankind, Jesus made a promise:
‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matthew 12:39-40).
Try as some might, there is no way to calculate three days and three nights from a late ‘Good Friday’ afternoon to an ‘Easter Sunday’ morning before daylight. At most this amounts to barely more than a day and a half. Either Jesus was mistaken, or those who say He was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday are mistaken. You can’t have it both ways.
The questions remains – if Jesus walked the dusty roads of Galilee today, would He keep Easter? Certainly not!
But He would be consistent because He does not change (Hebrews 13:8). For instance, He would keep the annual Passover in the same manner as He instructed His followers to keep it (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:15-17). And Jesus would observe the Days of Unleavened Bread in the way He inspired Paul to instruct early Christians (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Anyone who wants to be right with God, who wants to be a true disciple of Christ, the Master Teacher, will carefully examine their beliefs and practices to see whether they agree with the Bible. I’m here to tell ya, if your beliefs don’t match up to God’s, you will end up in a really bad place – even worse than one of Oprah’s audiences. It’s called the Lake of Fire (Revelation Revelation 21:8). Doesn’t matter if your intentions are good or not. That’s not what gains entrance into the Kingdom of God (John 13:15, John 14:15, Acts 2:28).
Claiming we somehow ‘honor’ Jesus by practicing a pagan tradition simply defies common sense and sound reason. Analogies are not always adequate, but consider the following:
If you knew that your human father enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs as a special dinner and that he hated knockwurst sandwiches, would you refuse to make him his favorite special meal of spaghetti and meatballs and instead make his most hated meal of knockwurst sandwiches? Couldn’t a rational person argue that you would be dishonoring your father by serving him his least favorite meal?
The same holds true for what you ‘serve’ the one true God. God has shown how He wants to be worshiped through His weekly Sabbath and annual Biblical Holy Days. Yet while perhaps well-intended, many ‘professing Christians’ and supposed Christian ministers and priests reject God’s Holy Days and claim to show their love to their Lord and their Heavenly Father by continually trying to serve Him ‘knockwurst sandwiches’ so to speak. God calls the man-made traditional holidays revolting, pagan and abominable! Jesus asks these people, ‘Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things which I say?’ (Luke 6:46).
True Christians will not try to honor God with ancient idolatrous practices, violating His explicit commands (Deuteronomy 12:29-32; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1). Easter, as we have seen, is filled with idolatrous trappings.
Simply claiming that something is Christian or is done to honor God doesn’t make it acceptable to God. A billion people following something that is wrong, in the end, it’s still wrong.
Easter doesn’t represent a resurrected Jesus Christ. Rather, difficult as it may be to admit, it merely continues the practices pagans followed thousands of years ago to honor their nonexistent gods. If we are to escape the calamities prophesied to come on those who place the ways of this world ahead of God (Jeremiah 30:7, Matthew 24:21), then we must repent (turn away from) of following traditions that dishonor Him (Revelation 18:1-5).
God would much rather have us honor and obey Him according to His clear instructions in His Word. Then God can use us to represent His Holy Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Messiah, who will return to earth. No greater calling can be extended to human beings.
God does not allow fallible human reasoning to inject false teachings like honoring Jesus with a Sunrise Easter service (which by the way is an abomination to God, Ezekiel 8:14-16) or an Easter egg that parallels Christ and how this egg supposedly represents renewing life through His sacrifice. Last time I checked, the Bible doesn’t say anything about finding Easter eggs or candied bunnies in Christ’s burial tomb!
Bottom-line, if you worship a Messiah on a day called ‘Easter Sunday’ (or any other Sunday for that matter), you are not worshiping the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, but rather a counterfeit, ‘another Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11:4) invented by men who want to draw attention away from God and His Truth.
‘And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9)’