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Bible Articles and Lessons: E

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There is absolutely no instruction in the Bible to keep holy a day or a period called Easter. The English word "Easter" is used once only in the Scriptures and, as in all other 28 occurrences of the original Greek word "pascha"; it should have been translated as "Passover".

The word 'pascha', in its reference to a period in time, relates to the 'paschal festival', the feast of Passover, extending from the 14th to the 20th day of the first month (Nisan), of the Jewish year.

The reason for the Passover

It was a Jewish festival memorializing the deliverance of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. The Jews were commanded by the Father to sacrifice a lamb without spot or blemish, and to paint the sacrificial blood on the lintels of the doorposts of their houses in order to ensure the "passing over" of the 'angel of death'. Any house that was not protected by that sacrificial blood suffered at the hand of the angel... the eldest child, the firstborn, died.

Whilst the slaying of the paschal lamb was to Israel a type of something that was to come, in the form of the sacrifice of their Messiah, they failed to recognize that type when it occurred, and they therefore were not covered by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb. The results were disastrous, for more than a million Jews lost their lives and thousands more were led away into slavery in the years AD 70-135.

Leviticus 23 contains God's instructions to Israel concerning Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover was to be kept on the 14th day of the first month (Abib/Nisan), and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to commence on the 15th day -- for 7 days all Israel was to eat unleavened bread. The first day of the feast of 'unleavened bread' was to be a 'holy day', a day of holy convocation, on which no Israelite was to labor in any way. The 7th day was likewise. These days were in addition to the normal 7th day Sabbath Holy Day.

Why the Easter Festival?

The simple answer is to be found in the 'take-over' of Christianity by Rome in AD 325, when Constantine declared Christianity to be the 'religion' of the Roman Empire. The Empire included many religions, and all of them had their own 'gods' which they continued worshipping under the guise of Christianity. The 'sun god' of Babylon was Tammuz; the 'moon god' Ishtar was known as Ashtoreth to many people, including the Jews. The Jews incurred the Father's wrath by making the round cakes with 'T' on them for use in the festival of worship to Ashtoreth, the 'moon god', and for this idolatry God severely punished them (Jer 7:17,18).

The 'Christianity' that the Roman Empire now embraced was thus a mixture of the beliefs of the original Church at Rome and the beliefs and practices of the pagans who were welcomed into the Church. The festival in honor of Ishtar became a Christian celebration, complete with the original pagan idea of 40 days of fasting before the celebration of their worship to Ishtar. That 40 days became the 40 days of 'Lent'.

Eggs, bunnies, and sunrise celebrations

Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod, and this beautiful woman, the Queen of Assyria, was worshipped as the goddess of love and fertility. She convinced her people that Nimrod had become the 'sun god' and she was the 'moon god', worshipped under the Babylonian name of Ishtar (Ashtoreth to the Jews and many others, Venus to the Romans and Astarte to the Phoenicians). To many of these people, the egg was a symbol of fertility, and this pagan idea was carried over into Christianity. In later generations, because the humble bunny rabbit multiplied so speedily, it also became a symbol of fertility and thus the two became associated with this pagan festival of Easter. Because the Easter/Ishtar celebration had its roots in worship to the 'sun god' and the 'moon god' as the king and QUEEN OF HEAVEN, so the Easter celebrations commenced as the sun came up and its light obliterated the moon. The celebration of Easter in its present form is completely pagan in origin and cannot be acceptable to the Father. One worldwide religion worships Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus (who is, they claim, "God the Son"). They portray her as the QUEEN OF HEAVEN, in a sad parody of the Old Testament apostate worship.

What is the truth?

Does it matter what we believe? Do you think the Father would be pleased with us if we kept a pagan festival? Surely the answer is NO. It is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that is our HOPE, not a pagan festival that honors the 'gods' of the sun and the moon.

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