RETHINKING EASTER

by: Wayne Schatzle

            Supposedly the holiest time of the year is the Easter season. It is interesting that the very word Easter, in fact has nothing to do with Christ at all. It is a name of a pagan fertility goddess of the spring, also called Astarte, or Ishtar. Actually God instructed His people to not even have the names of other gods on their lips {Joshua 23}. Even the various trappings of colored eggs and rabbits are additional tokens of fertility and reproduction, which we ignorantly teach to our unsuspecting children. But doesn’t it all point to Christ’s resurrection? If the truth were known it actually takes away from the specific instructions Christ revealed to His followers. In the actual story we read in the bible, Jesus instituted the New Testament Passover at the beginning of the annual Passover and substituted bread and wine instead of the lamb. He instructed His followers to do that ritual as a memorial to the covenant between He and His followers. Oddly enough there was no instructions to celebrate His resurrection. In fact He rose and walked through the rock unbeknownst to anyone. The angel rolled the grave stone away so people could look in and see He was gone- not let Jesus out. Another thing that smacks of paganism is sunrise services- again totally unbiblical and even referenced in the eighth chapter of Ezekiel how people had their backs to the temple and worshipped the rising sun in the East!     

            Scholarly commentaries will show that Jesus was probably entombed at the going down of the sun at the beginning of the high holyday, which that year would be a Thursday, and was resurrected at the setting of the sun that following Sabbath. If that being the case, Jesus would have fulfilled the ONLY sign that He was the Messiah by being in the tomb exactly 3 day and 3 nights {Matthew 11:40}, totally opposite to our traditions of keeping a “good Friday” crucifixion and Sunday morning resurrection.  To muddy the water even more: today we observe the beginning of days at an unobservable twelve midnight instead of the biblical sunset.

            Years ago I talked with a pastor of a large church about these traditions and pagan trappings that have influenced this most solemn occasion. Surprisingly he knew full well of all this, but confided that the people wanted it that way and would surely cause a division in his church over scripture truth. I was reminded of the words of Paul to Timothy of the last days when people would not accept sound doctrine but according to their own desires will turn from the truth and accept fables {2 Timothy 4}.

            Church history reveals a slow departure away from bible truth to man’s traditions usually as a means to garner converts among the heathen who associated with pagan customs and secondly to separate themselves from the Jews. The Catholic and Jewish encyclopedias both reveal that the reason for the convoluted timing and observance of Easter was to separate themselves from anything resembling Jewish. History points to a pagan emperor Constantine to finally decree in favor of Easter, rather than the biblical Passover that Christ kept, centuries after that first new testament Passover {or called on occasion the Lord’s supper}. That trend has continued even to this day. Churches today are in competition for the dwindling number of people willing to attend church. Not surprising, churches have lowered the bar and now teach traditions as doctrines. The deception is complete. Satan has convinced the world that evil is good- and good is evil.

Make no mistake, the pagan religions were very enjoyable to fleshly-minded people and it was always difficult to tear people away from that to embrace a religion of self-denial and moral uprightness. Never the less God hates these seemingly innocent ways and thunders “Learn NOT the way of the heathen” Jeremiah 10.

            The road to truth is a rocky one. Reform is looked at as being pharisaical. Some few ministers have stopped using the name Easter- in favor of “resurrection day”. Even that small step in the right direction is looked upon by many as being legalistic.

            For many years this ministry has warned of deception and encouraged personal bible study. Easter is actually one of the easiest deceptions to identify for the novice bible student and casual reader of history but very hard for people steeped in worldly traditions to separate from.

As always, it is our prayer that our great God will light the path that leads to Life and He would grant the strength to stay on that narrow way {Matthew 7:14}

          
    Written by Wayne Schatzle, director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)

freeinfo7@juno.com

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