Why Christians Shouldn’t Be Celebrating Easter
I know what you’re thinking- “but it’s Easter, what do you mean? It’s Resurrection Day!” Stick with me for a minute, and we will look at some history around the day/name, why we shouldn’t replace Pagan holidays with “Christian” ones, and what we should be doing instead. I ask that when reading this article you pray first for wisdom, clarity, and discernment. Don’t already have a horse in the race, and be seeking to be correct, but instead, for truth.
I want to add a disclaimer that we are commanded not to even utter the names of these false gods, but for educational purposes, may the Father forgive me. (Exodus 23:13)
History of Ishtar
Let’s start with the origination of the Pagan deity associated with this day. She goes by many names, including, but not limited to: Ostara, Easter, Innana, Ishtar, Isis, Liberte, Astarte, and Ashtoreth. Most commonly known by Ishtar, goddess of love, fertility, and war, the ancient Sumerian deity has been a hot topic of humanity’s attention throughout all of history.
Said to be the daughter of Enki, “king of the gods”, the earliest written knowledge of her existence is circa 3500 BC. She gains most of her popularity from women, especially those who feel particularly oppressed by their government, or by men and society, in general. Throughout the ages, prostitution and other sexual immorality and types of sacrifice have been practiced in her name. The most commonly heard of occurrences by the Canaanites, in the city of Nineveh, later by the Hebrew women in Babylon, ancient Greece, and in modern day society under the pretense of radical feminism and “liberation” from the oppression of men. On the surface, she seems to give off a great sense of appeal, especially for women. The best modern day insight into this is found in both Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace‘ and ‘Anna Karenina‘, as she is the subject of the character’s prayers and poetry, although he later renounced these beliefs, and converts to Christianity. In history, we find accounts of her praises through the writings of Enheduanna, the iconic earliest author known by name. In these writings Ishtar is often portrayed to be of divine nature. This is a misconception that continues to lead many astray.
Upon digging deeper into her history, we can find out more about the events surrounding her worship and the fate of those who followed her. Every civilization widely known for their worship of her saw a great fall and total destruction, even many of the Hebrew people and Solomon the wise man himself turned their hearts to her!
“For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” -1 Kings 11:4
The statue of liberty herself is a homage to the false goddess. To the Romans, she was known as ‘Libertas’ and known for promoting freedom to do whatever made people happy, and sexual “liberation”. She is the mother of harlots worshipped alongside Baal, the prince of the air.
The word Easter can be broken down using etymology, or the study of words.
O.E. Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from P.Gmc. *Austron, a goddess of fertility and sunrise whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *austra-, from PIE *aus– “to shine” (especially of the dawn). Bede [a 7th-century Christian scholar] says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ’s resurrection. Ultimately related to east. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of Latin Pasche to name this holiday.Etymology Online
But enough of her, let’s get into how she got tied to our Messiah’s resurrection.
Starting around 2 A.D., Roman bishops and emperors sought to unite their entire eastern and western empire by celebrating Easter. They weren’t successful until Constantine came around and set up a new, planetary week system which elevated their many gods, and caused the day of resurrection to fall on a Sunday. This became known as the Easter/Paschal Controversy. People then began to recognize Sunday to be the true Sabbath day as Constantine had changed it.
On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.”(Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, trans. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1.)
“Protestants do not realize that by observing Sunday, they accept the authority of thespokesperson of the Church, the Pope.”(Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950).
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [Saturday Sabbath to Sunday] was her act… And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things.”
(H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons).
The dedicated followers of Messiah Yeshua (the Natsarim) continued celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday(the true seventh day) and the death and resurrection through Passover, as commanded by YHWH our God.
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. -Deuteronomy 16:1 KJV
Much of these changes were intentionally designed to separate the Jews from the Romans, as the Romans detested the Jews.
According to Eusebius, Emperor Constantine I declared: “Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.”Life of Constantline, Book III Chapter 18
More specifically, these changes were established by the Council of Nicea, also known as Bithynia, which the spirit of Yeshua leads Paul away from in Acts Chapter 16.
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. -Acts 16:6-9
By meddling with the dates which YHWH had appointed, they changed the entire timeline of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) death, burial and resurrection. Messiah died on a Wednesday, Nisan 14, and rose again on a Saturday, or Sabbath, Nisan 17. Three days, and three nights! Not Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday. I can’t help but find this disgraceful to our Master and Savior’s holiness.
I will also add that these changes were prophesied by Daniel in Chapter 7.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. -Daniel 7:25
So where does all the extra stuff attached to modern day Easter celebration come from? The answers may surprise you. Pagans began celebrating Easter as a way to pay homage to the false deity, with the timing conveniently surrounding the Spring Equinox, a day infamous for Pagan practices and sacrifices. The legend surrounds an egg-laying Easter bunny named Osterhase, which was originally said to have been a bird that died and was resurrected by Eostre, another name of the ancient false god. It in turn gave her colorful eggs. The eggs and bunnies are now symbolic of the fertility powers associated with her. The baskets of treats traditionally included foods such as eggs, “hot cross buns” (raisin cakes), and ham, which is an abomination in itself.
"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." - Jeremiah 7:18 "Then YHWH said to me, 'Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of YHWH for the children of Israel, who look to other mighty ones and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.'" - Hosea 3:1
But Wait! There’s More…
The Catholic tradition of Lent is also deeply rooted in Pagan practices! The “goddess'” counterpart, brother “Tammuz” was known as the ancient “god” of vegetation. The “40 days of Weeping”, as it was traditionally known, was originally to commemorate him. This “god” lived 40 years, and supposedly resurrected each year. There was a day of sacrifice for each day of his life. We can credit this practice to the Council of Laodicea. This originally had absolutely nothing to do with Messiah’s resurrection.
"Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the YHWH's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said He unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these." -Ezekiel 8:14-15 KJV
What does Scripture Say?
The Bible has quite a bit to say about things like this. The title of this article is to make a correlation to the Israelites worshipping the golden calf in Exodus 32.
Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to YHWH.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Then YHWH spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” Exodus 32:3-8
If you will notice, they weren’t worshipping a false god in this situation. Instead, they were incorporating the Pagan style of worship they had learned in Egypt into their practice of our Almighty God, which he detested. He was going to destroy all of them and restart with just Moses, but relented after Moses begged for their mercy. Are we not guilty of recreating our own versions of this story? Just because we change our view of why we do things, (i.e. decorating Easter eggs for church Easter egg hunts and reclaiming the day as Resurrection Sunday) does not mean that YHWH our God has changed His! Why do we remain stiff-necked and continue to carry on the traditions of men?
"Will you stay on the ancient path that wicked men have trod?" -Job 22:15
I recently stumbled onto an interesting insight into this event, located in the Aramaic Targums of Jonathan:
But the people saw that Mosheh delayed to come down from the mount, and the people gathered together unto Aharon, when they saw that the time he had appointed to them had passed; and Satana had come, and caused them to err, and perverted their hearts with pride. And they said to him, Arise, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Mosheh the man who brought us up from the land of Mizraim, he may have been consumed in the mountain by the fire which flameth from before the Lord, (and) we know not what hath befallen him in his end.Exodus 32:1, Targums of Jonathan
And it was when Mosheh came near the camp, and saw the calf, and the instruments of music in the hands of the wicked, who were dancing and bowing before it, and Satana among them dancing and leaping before the people, the wrath of Mosheh was suddenly kindled, and he cast the tables from his hands, and brake them at the foot of the mountain;- the holy writing that was on them, however, flew, and was carried away into the air of the heavens;- and he cried, and said, Woe upon the people who heard at Sinai from the mouth of the Holy One, Thou shalt not make to thyself an image, or figure, or any likeness,- and yet, at the end of forty days, make a useless molten calf!Exodus 32:19, Targums of Jonathan
A little off-topic, but I thought I’d share that interesting piece of literature. Please note that many of the Targums are still in the testing phase.
Back to the point.
In no place in the Scripture does it tell us to celebrate “Easter”. In fact, the only mention of the word in modern Bibles, in Acts 12:4. The only problem with this, is that the Strong’s concordance is 3957, which is the Aramaic word for “pascha” meaning “passover”.
Passover, on the other hand, is mentioned in the Bible. A lot, actually. The story of Passover isn’t only symbolic of the original Exodus from Egypt(Exodus 12&13), but the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus as well. The promise of the Second Coming is also symbolic of Passover. The Passover meal and following week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread takes the place of the traditional “Holy Week” days such as Good Friday. It is a week long festival of joy, giving praise, and thanks to His name. Yeshua was our spotless, blemish-free Passover lamb, redeeming us from the law of sin and death, which was to perish as a result of our iniquities. Instead, we are given second chances over and over to do right, by His grace. HalleluYAH for your mercy and goodness!
And this day [Feast of Unleavened Bread] shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. -Exodus 12:14 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Isaiah 53:4-7 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" 1 Peter 1:18-19
Messiah Yeshua also kept the Passover. The Last Supper was a Passover meal, and the following week was a direct parallel to the Exodus from Egypt. The leavening refers to the added laws and traditions of men. By purging out the leavening, we symbolically remove the things and teachings that are unbiblical.
"And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?" -Mark 14:12 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." -1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Yeshua declares himself the Passover lamb and unleavened bread in John Chapter 6, the bread being his body, and the wine being his blood. Sound familiar? This is where we get the concept of taking communion.
"And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing." -Luke 22:7-20 KJV "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." John 6:52-58 KJV
But is it just for the Jews? Hardly. If you have been grafted in to the body of Christ, you are one in Him and encouraged to walk as He walked.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28 "If a foreigner dwelling among you wants to observe the Passover to the LORD, he is to do so according to the Passover statute and its ordinances. You are to apply the same statute to both the foreigner and the native of the land.’ ” Numbers 9:14 "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?" -Romans 11:17-24
My family and I will be celebrating for the first time, however, a little late this year, due to travelling and not being all ready in spirit yet. So if that’s you, and you still would like to participate this year, many of us in the Torah Observant/Hebrew Roots movement will be celebrating on April 27, due to discrepancies in calendars. The calendar is a confusing thing to understand when we are so used to the Gregorian Sun calendar, and we won’t be getting into that on this page. It has potential to cause unnecessary division.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any one of you or your descendants is unclean because of a dead body, or is away on a journey, he may still observe the Passover to the LORD. Such people are to observe it at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; they may not leave any of it until morning or break any of its bones. They must observe the Passover according to all its statutes." Numbers 9:9-12
If the LORD YWHH our God appointed specific times to symbolize and commemorate the amazing and intricate promise of our salvation through Christ Jesus our Messiah, why must we insist on celebrating it in the way of the Romans? …The Romans who killed Him in the first place. Why are they still the centerfold of everything that we do, and not the Word of God? Observing Passover and the feast days is not only spiritually fulfilling, but it is fun, joyful, and it makes our Father happy. Why not just make the switch, and let go of things attached to Pagan practices, fully purging ourselves of the leavening and traditions of men, that we may be blameless in YHWH’s sight?
I mean in no way to upset anyone or make them feel guilty of something, quite the contrary. I too have only recently found this information, however, after learning, I felt so much conviction from the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer that after learning these shocking truths, that you too will take this situation to prayer, and thoughtfully and carefully consider these concepts. I also encourage you to read or watch more regarding the amazing symbolism and parallels found in the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits feasts. It is truly magnificent.
"May YHWH bless you and keep you; May YHWH cause his face upon you and be gracious to you; May YHWH lift up his countenance upon you and give you shalom." Numbers 6:24-27