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What Are the Real Origins of Easter? | United Church of God

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sandy-2021492  •  one month ago  •  49 comments

By:   Jerold Aust (United Church of God)

What Are the Real Origins of Easter? | United Church of God
Millions assume that Easter, one of the world's major religious holidays, is found in the Bible. But is it? Have you ever looked into Easter's origins and customs and compared them with the Bible?

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Posted on Apr 2, 2006 by Jerold Aust5 comments Estimated reading time: 9 minutesAdd to my study list

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Maya23K/iStock/Thinkstock Human beings replaced the symbolism of the biblical Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with Easter eggs and Easter rabbits, pagan symbols of fertility.

Easter is one of the most popular religious celebrations in the world. But is it biblical? The word Easter appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible (and not at all in most others). In the one place it does appear, the King James translators mistranslated the Greek word for Passover as "Easter."

If Easter doesn't come from the Bible, and wasn't practiced by the apostles and early Church, where did it come from?

Notice it in Acts 12:4: "And when he [King Herod Agrippa I] had apprehended him [the apostle Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."

The Greek word translated Easter here is pascha, properly translated everywhere else in the Bible as "Passover." Referring to this mistranslation, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible says that "perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text."

Think about theses facts for a minute. Easter is such a major religious holiday. Yet nowhere in the Bible—not in the book of Acts, which covers several decades of the history of the early Church, nor in any of the epistles of the New Testament, written over a span of 30 to 40 years after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection—do we find the apostles or early Christians celebrating anything like Easter.

The Gospels themselves appear to have been written from about a decade after Christ's death and resurrection to perhaps as much as 60 years later (in the case of John's Gospel). Yet nowhere do we find a hint of anything remotely resembling an Easter celebration.

If Easter doesn't come from the Bible, and wasn't practiced by the apostles and early Church, where did it come from?

Easter's surprising origins


Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, in its entry "Easter," states:

"The term 'Easter' is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover] held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast . . . From this Pasch 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" (W.E. Vine, 1985, emphasis added throughout).

That's a lot of information packed into one paragraph. Notice what the author, W.E. Vine—a trained classical scholar, theologian, expert in ancient languages and author of several classic Bible helps—tells us:

Easter isn't a Christian or directly biblical term, but comes from a form of the name Astarte, a Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess known as "the queen of heaven." (She is mentioned by that title in the Bible in Jeremiah 7:18 and Jeremiah 44:17-19; Jeremiah 44:25 and referred to in 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 5:33 and 2 Kings 23:13 by the Hebrew form of her name, Ashtoreth. So "Easter" is found in the Bible—as part of the pagan religion God condemns!)

Further, early Christians, even after the times of the apostles, continued to observe a variation of the biblical Passover feast (it differed because Jesus introduced new symbolism, as the Bible notes in Matthew 26:26-28 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-28).

And again, Easter was a pagan festival, originating in the worship of other gods, and was introduced much later into an apostate Christianity in a deliberate attempt to make such festivals acceptable.Moreover, Easter was very different from the Old Testament Passover or the Passover of the New Testament as understood and practiced by the early Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

Easter symbols predate Christ


How does The Catholic Encyclopedia define Easter? "Easter: The English term, according to the [eighth-century monk] Bede, relates to Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown . . ." (1909, Vol. 5, p. 224). Eostre is the ancient European name for the same goddess worshipped by the Babylonians as Astarte or Ishtar, goddess of fertility, whose major celebration was in the spring of the year.

Many credible sources substantiate the fact that Easter became a substitute festival for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The subtopic "Easter Eggs" tells us that "the custom [of Easter eggs] may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter" (ibid., p. 227).

The subtopic "Easter Rabbit" states that "the rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility" (ibid.).

Author Greg Dues, in his book Catholic Customs and Traditions, elaborates on the symbolism of eggs in ancient pre-Christian cultures: "The egg has become a popular Easter symbol. Creation myths of many ancient peoples center in a cosmogenic egg from which the universe is born.

"In ancient Egypt and Persia friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox, the beginning of their New Year. These eggs were a symbol of fertility for them because the coming forth of a live creature from an egg was so surprising to people of ancient times. Christians of the Near East adopted this tradition, and the Easter egg became a religious symbol. It represented the tomb from which Jesus came forth to new life" (1992, p. 101).

The same author also explains that, like eggs, rabbits became associated with Easter because they were powerful symbols of fertility: "Little children are usually told that the Easter eggs are brought by the Easter Bunny. Rabbits are part of pre-Christian fertility symbolism because of their reputation to reproduce rapidly" (p. 102).

What these sources tell us is that human beings replaced the symbolism of the biblical Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with Easter eggs and Easter rabbits, pagan symbols of fertility. These symbols demean the truth of Christ's death and resurrection.

Easter substituted for Passover season


But that's not the entire story. In fact, many credible sources substantiate the fact that Easter became a substitute festival for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Notice what The Encyclopaedia Britannica says about this transition: "There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers . . . The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals foreshadowed . . .

"The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, unfettered by Jewish traditions, identified the first day of the week [Sunday] with the Resurrection, and kept the preceding Friday as the commemoration of the crucifixion, irrespective of the day of the month" (11th edition, p. 828, "Easter").

Easter, a pagan festival with its pagan fertility symbols, replaced the God-ordained festivals that Jesus Christ, the apostles and the early Church observed. But this didn't happen immediately. Not until A.D. 325—almost three centuries after Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected—was the matter settled. Regrettably, it wasn't settled on the basis of biblical truth, but on the basis of anti-Semitism and raw ecclesiastical and imperial power.

As The Encyclopaedia Britannica further explains: "A final settlement of the dispute [over whether and when to keep Easter or Passover] was one among the other reasons which led [the Roman emperor] Constantine to summon the council of Nicaea in 325 . . . The decision of the council was unanimous that Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and on the same Sunday throughout the world, and 'that none should hereafter follow the blindness of the Jews'" (ibid., pp. 828-829).

Those who did choose to "follow the blindness of the Jews"—that is, who continued to keep the biblical festivals kept by Jesus Christ and the apostles rather than the newly "Christianized" pagan Easter festival—were systematically persecuted by the powerful church-state alliance of Constantine 's Roman Empire .

With the power of the empire behind it, Easter soon became entrenched as one of traditional Christianity's most popular sacred celebrations. (You can read more of the details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?)

Christianity compromised by paganism


British historian Sir James Frazer notes how Easter symbolism and rites, along with other pagan customs and celebrations, entered into the established Roman church:

"Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals [the empire's competing pagan religions].

"The inflexible Protestantism of the primitive missionaries, with their fiery denunciation of heathendom, had been exchanged for the supple policy, the easy tolerance, the comprehensive charity of shrewd ecclesiastics, who clearly perceived that if Christianity was to conquer the world it could do so only by relaxing the too rigid principles of its Founder, by widening a little the narrow gate which leads to salvation" ( The Golden Bough, 1993, p. 361).

In short, to broaden the appeal of the new religion of Christianity in those early centuries, the powerful Roman religious authorities, with the backing of the Roman Empire, simply co-opted the rites and practices of pagan religions, relabeled them as "Christian" and created a new brand of Christianity with customs and teachings far removed from the Church Jesus founded.

The authentic Christianity of the Bible largely disappeared, forced underground by persecution because its followers refused to compromise.

Easter does not accurately represent Jesus Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, though it appears to do so to those who blindly accept religious tradition. In fact, it distorts the truth of the matter. Easter correctly belongs to the Babylonian goddess it is named after—Astarte, also known as Ashtoreth or Ishtar, whose worship is directly and explicitly condemned in the Bible.

The ancient religious practices and fertility symbols associated with her cult existed long before Christ, and regrettably they have largely replaced and obscured the truth of His death and resurrection.

When confronted with these facts about Easter, many professing Christians might raise this question to justify its continuance: With hundreds of millions of well-meaning Christians observing Easter, doesn't this please Jesus Christ? Yet He has already answered this question in Matthew 15:9: "In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." How will you choose to worship Him—in spirit and in truth, or in fraud and in fable?

EasterPassoverHolidays and Holy DaysResurrection

  • Jerold Aust


    Senior Writer and Minister, United Church of God

    Jerold Aust has served in the ministry for 52 years, as a public speaker for 58 years, a published writer for 38 years, and is employed by UCG's Media and Communications Services. He is a Senior Writer, interviewer, and editor for Beyond Today Magazine and has taught Speech Communication for UCG's ministerial online program and the Book of Revelation for ABC.


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sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    one month ago
Easter isn't a Christian or directly biblical term, but comes from a form of the name Astarte, a Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess known as "the queen of heaven." (She is mentioned by that title in the Bible in Jeremiah 7:18 and Jeremiah 44:17-19; Jeremiah 44:25 and referred to in 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 5:33 and 2 Kings 23:13 by the Hebrew form of her name, Ashtoreth. So "Easter" is found in the Bible—as part of the pagan religion God condemns!)

Further, early Christians, even after the times of the apostles, continued to observe a variation of the biblical Passover feast (it differed because Jesus introduced new symbolism, as the Bible notes in Matthew 26:26-28 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-28).

And again, Easter was a pagan festival, originating in the worship of other gods, and was introduced much later into an apostate Christianity in a deliberate attempt to make such festivals acceptable.Moreover, Easter was very different from the Old Testament Passover or the Passover of the New Testament as understood and practiced by the early Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.
 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one month ago
Easter isn't a Christian or directly biblical term, but comes from a form of the name Astarte, a Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess known as "the queen of heaven." 

Or maybe it is derived in albis, a Latin phrase that was plural of alba (“dawn”).  In old high German it became eostarum.  The Latin and Greek Pascha (“Passover”) provides the root for Pâques, the French word for Easter.

At the end of the day:

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.2  JBB  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one month ago

When Rome absorbed Christianity (See: Battle of Actium, Saul / Paul of Tarsus, Roman Emperor Constantine, Holy Roman Empire etc) Rome systematically gave Christian meanings and Christian names to all of the longstanding Roman holidays and celebrations people loved, particularly those related to the changing of seasons. People would not give up all their old traditions and become Christians otherwise. This is not a theory. It is a documented fact of history...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
1.2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JBB @1.2    one month ago

Yes, and then vilified those whose traditions thay had taken over, including Jews and Pagans.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2  JohnRussell    one month ago

I think this article is silly, no matter how technically accurate it may be.

Just like Christians celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus, even though some of the traditions have ties to pagan observances, Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Jesus even though the article indicates ties to pagan beliefs. 

The bottom line is that Easter celebrates Jesus resurrection, whether or not individual people think it did not happen. THAT is the meaning of Easter to the only people for who the meaning matters, Christians. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @2    one month ago
THAT is the meaning of Easter to the only people for who the meaning matters, Christians. 

A lot of Pagans would argue that point, John.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1    one month ago
A lot of Pagans would argue that point, John.

Is that what you are trying to do?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1    one month ago
The English word Easter, which parallels the German word  Ostern , is of uncertain origin. One view, expounded by the Venerable  Bede  in the 8th century, was that it derived from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of  spring  and  fertility . This view presumes—as does the view associating the origin of  Christmas  on December 25 with pagan celebrations of the  winter solstice —that Christians appropriated pagan names and  holidays  for their highest festivals. Given the determination with which Christians combated all forms of paganism (the belief in multiple deities), this appears a rather dubious presumption. There is now widespread  consensus  that the word derives from the Christian  designation  of Easter week as  in albis , a  Latin  phrase that was understood as the plural of  alba  (“dawn”) and became  eostarum  in  Old High German , the  precursor  of the modern German and English term. The Latin and Greek Pascha (“Passover”) provides the root for Pâques, the French word for Easter. encyclopedia brittanica
 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
2.1.3  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.2    one month ago

So, the Passover celebrates the resurrection?  A lot of Jews would argue that point, too, John.

And where do eggs and bunnies enter the equation?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.4  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.3    one month ago

Passover occurs within the same annual time frame as Easter. Passover was the backdrop of Jesus being in Jerusalem at the time of his death. 

Easter eggs and bunnies dont have a connection to the resurrection, in terms of the Christian easter they are a secular aspect. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
2.1.5  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.4    one month ago

Yes, John, I'm aware of the history.  It seems that you, too, are aware that Christianity "borrowed" holidays and traditions from other religions (Judaism, in the example of Pascha).  Knowing that, and knowing that practitioners of those religions still exist, how can you say that Easter only matters to Christians? Jews who celebrate Passover (Pascha) certainly aren't celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  Pagans who celebrate the coming of spring with fertility symbols and/or worship of Eostre still exist.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
2.1.6  Gsquared  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.4    one month ago

Do you have any doubt that the Last Supper was a Passover seder regardless of how it may be characterized by Christians?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.7  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.5    one month ago
Jews who celebrate Passover (Pascha) certainly aren't celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  Pagans who celebrate

there is a bizarre anti- Christian bias on this site. 

Passover is not Easter, and vice versa. 

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.8  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Gsquared @2.1.6    one month ago
Last Supper was a Passover seder regardless of how it may be characterized by Christians?

How is it characterized by Christians?

In 1Corinthians 5:7: “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.”

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover. […] As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. […] He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” (Luke 22:7–12)

Mark 14:12, Jesus prepared for the Last Supper on the “first day of Unleavened Bread

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
2.1.9  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.7    one month ago

Some Christians call Easter by a name once used for Passover.

Some Christians call it by a name derived from a Pagan ritual welcoming spring and celebrating fertility, and use the symbols that used to accompany that ritual, despite having no doctrinal reason to do so.

Recognizing that is not anti-Christian.

Claiming that nobody should be concerned with the meaning of Easter, when aspects of the holiday have been taken from others, is dismissive of those others.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.10  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.9    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.11  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.9    one month ago
Some Christians call Easter by a name once used for Passover. Some Christians call it by a name derived from a Pagan ritual welcoming spring and celebrating fertility, and use the symbols that used to accompany that ritual, despite having no doctrinal reason to do so.

So what?

To Christians Easter is the celebration of Christs resurrection.  That seems to annoy you. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
2.1.12  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.11    one month ago

No, it doesn't annoy me.  Easter is almost the only time of year I can find the Christian black jellybeans.

Why so upset by the history of your holiday, as told, BTW, by a Christian minister?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.13  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.12    one month ago
Easter is almost the only time of year I can find the Christian black jellybeans.

What makes a jelly bean Christian?

Knock yourself out:

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
2.1.14  evilone  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.7    one month ago
there is a bizarre anti- Christian bias on this site. 

There is a bizarre pro-Christian bias in the US. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.2  JBB  replied to  JohnRussell @2    one month ago

Pagans had long celebrated the rebirth or resurrection of nature, of life, in the Springtime with traditional festivals and celebrations...

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  JBB @2.2    one month ago

thats fine, but Christians celebrate Easter specifically as the day Jesus was resurrected. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.2.2  JBB  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2.1    one month ago

Yes, with all the pagan symbolism of Springtime rebirth...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.3  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @2.2.2    one month ago

Does it really matter where or when it all started?

People act like pagans don't use the same rituals and celebrations they always have, no one has taken anything from them!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.2.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Texan1211 @2.2.3    one month ago
Does it really matter where or when it all started?

Absolutely, cultural misappropriation is cultural colonialism and a virulent form of oppression and racism.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.5  Texan1211  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.4    one month ago

I always have trouble getting worked up over trivial, inconsequential matters.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.2.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Texan1211 @2.2.5    one month ago

It is better for one's wellness.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.7  Texan1211  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.6    one month ago

Definitely!

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.2.8  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Texan1211 @2.2.5    one month ago

I believe what I believe and just go on. Whatever religious beliefs I have or do not have I generally keep to myself. Seems like some others have problems doing the same. Discussing religion with some people you do not really know is like discussing politics. Somebody always gets upset and hot under the collar.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
3  charger 383    one month ago

Why doesn't Easter come on the same day every year?  

Christmas is always Dec 25 but the other big Christian Holiday jumps all over early spring.

 
 
 
Veronica
Professor Guide
3.1  Veronica  replied to  charger 383 @3    one month ago

Easter falls on the first Sunday following the full moon after the Spring Equinox.  Take that as you will.

Christmas is around the same time as the Winter Solstice (Yule for me).  From what I have read it used to fall on the same day when using the Julian calendar, but the solstice still changes dates every year (Dec 20th to the 23rd).

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Veronica @3.1    one month ago

Yes, lunar calendar versus solar calendar.   Easter has always been linked to the Jewish festival of Passover. In the Bible, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are said to have occurred around the time of Passover. The early Christian church chose to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following Passover, which was timed according to the lunar calendar.

 
 
 
Veronica
Professor Guide
3.1.2  Veronica  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.1    one month ago

Not always.

.

Passover’s dates are pegged to the Hebrew calendar, based on the lunar cycle. It starts in the middle of the month of Nisan, when the moon is full, typically falling in March or April of the Gregorian (modern) calendar. As a result, Passover typically begins very close to Easter.

However, that timing is thrown off by the shorter Hebrew calendar. Every few years, a leap month is added — an extra 29 days — to keep pace with the seasons. When this happens, it can push mid-Nisan past the second full moon of spring, thus distancing Passover from Easter.

  • In 2024, which is a leap year, Easter is March 31 and Passover starts April 22.

  • In 2025, Easter is April 20 and Passover starts April 12.

  • In 2026, Easter is April 5 and Passover starts April 1.

  • In 2027, Easter is March 28 and Passover starts April 21.

  • In 2028, Easter is April 16 and Passover starts April 10.

BUT Easter is ALWAYS the FIRST Sunday following the first full moon AFTER the Spring Equinox.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
3.1.3  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Veronica @3.1    one month ago

And that varies by denomination and geography.  Churches in Asia Minor don't celebrate Easter on the same day as western churches.  They never could come to an agreement on that.

 
 
 
Veronica
Professor Guide
3.1.4  Veronica  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1.3    one month ago

I find that fascinating.  I am going to have to research that.

I know that in many Wiccans celebrate some of the non-season changing Sabbats on different days.  

     Samhain - Oct 31st or Nov 1

     Imbolc - Feb 1 or 2nd

     Beltane is May 1

      Lughnasadh (Lammas) is August 1

      The season changing Sabbats fall on the Equinoxes and Solstices - so they change every year. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
3.1.5  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Veronica @3.1.4    one month ago

Oh, I thought Samhain was always on October 31st, and Imbolc on February 2nd.  I didn't realize that they varied.

Samhain - another Pagan holiday the church took on, as All Hallow's Eve and All Saints' Day.

 
 
 
Veronica
Professor Guide
3.1.6  Veronica  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1.5    one month ago

Some do the whole Halloween, however some do evening Oct 31 to early morning Nov. 1st, some do just early morning Nov 1.  It all depends on what feels right to the person celebrating. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
3.1.7  Gsquared  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1.3    one month ago

Orthodox Christians' Christmas is on January 7, not December 25.   This last year the Ukrainians changed their holiday to December 25 symbolic of a break with the Russians.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
3.1.8  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gsquared @3.1.7    one month ago

I didn't know that, either.  So their Christmas lines up more with the end of what we'd call Epiphany.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.1.9  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Veronica @3.1.2    one month ago

Yes, rules have exceptions.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
3.1.10  Drakkonis  replied to  Gsquared @3.1.7    one month ago
Orthodox Christians' Christmas is on January 7, not December 25.   This last year the Ukrainians changed their holiday to December 25 symbolic of a break with the Russians.

Seems kind of odd to me that there's any controversy on what day it is. No one knows when Jesus was born anyway, so one day is as good as any other. It's what is being celebrated that matters. To me, anyway. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
3.1.11  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.10    one month ago

Some biblical scholars believe Jesus was born in June or July, but it's the idea rather than the actual calendar date that should matter.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
4  Tacos!    one month ago

There’s nothing wrong with the fact that the church (a community of believers) decided at some point - long after the crucifixion - to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It doesn’t need to have been part of scripture or any preexisting tradition. It doesn’t need to have come directly from the mouth of Jesus, either.

And the church has a long history of practicing syncretism and attaching these celebrations to existing local holidays.

Same goes for Christmas, Lent, or any other Christian celebration. But people hear this stuff and decide that it invalidates the entire faith. It’s interesting to learn the history of these things, but it doesn’t imply some deeper spiritual significance.

It’s like celebrating Black History in February or Pride in June. It’s just something we decided to do.

The Greek word translated Easter here is pascha, properly translated everywhere else in the Bible as "Passover." Referring to this mistranslation, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible says that "perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text."

Yeah, Bible translations are a complex business. If I had a nickel for every time some fundamentalist insisted to me that scripture is infallible and clear . . . well, I’d have a shitload of nickels.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
4.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Tacos! @4    one month ago
There’s nothing wrong with the fact that the church (a community of believers) decided at some point - long after the crucifixion - to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

How long do you think it was?

Referring to this mistranslation, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible says that "perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text."

Perhaps Clarke was an antisemite as he was anti-Catholic.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
4.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1    one month ago
How long do you think it was?

I honestly don’t know. I am aware that the Church has created a plethora of holidays over the centuries. I am no expert on the total history of them all, though.

Perhaps Clarke was an antisemite as he was anti-Catholic.

I am not familiar with this guy, but I don’t think you need to be anti-anything in particular to critically analyze scripture.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
4.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Tacos! @4.1.1    one month ago
I honestly don’t know. I am aware that the Church has created a plethora of holidays over the centuries. I am no expert on the total history of them all, though.

Exactly, I’m no different.  None of us here know Koine Greek, are Biblical historians but people want to comment per their political agenda.  History be damned.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
5  Drakkonis    one month ago

There is so much distorted information in the article it is hard to know where to begin untangling all of it and, truth to tell, I'm not sure I should bother. The first problem is with the source. That denomination is a fringe element of Christianity that grew out of Herbert Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, which differed from mainline Christianity significantly. The Worldwide Church of God has apparently left the teachings of Armstrong and are now teaching mainline beliefs. The United Church of God is a splinter group that formed in order to maintain Armstrong's views. 

Beyond that, I'm only going to appeal to common sense concerning this issue, based on what should be generally known facts , rather than waste time getting bogged down in details that won't change anyone's opinion anyway. Those who want to believe the celebration of Christ's resurrection is pagan in origin are going to believe it no matter what is said. 

Passover refers to the Angel of Death passing over the houses of the Israelites during the night of the tenth plague visited on Pharaoh and his people for his refusal to let God's people go from their slavery. The sign to be used to indicate to the angel that the house was to be passed over was the blood of an innocent lamb placed on the doorposts and lintel as a substitute death for the firstborn who may have been inside. 

This whole episode is what is called "foreshadowing" or "type" of Christ. This was later confirmed by the Apostles, with Paul stating that “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed,”   as Drinker of the Wry pointed out in 2.1.8   It shouldn't be necessary to explain to anyone here that the Gospels were about Jesus coming to be the actual sacrifice that takes away sin. All the Temple sacrifices were just placeholders and, if you care to read it, Paul explains why they were insufficient for actually removing sin in Romans. The point, however, is that Jesus is the one and final sacrifice that actually takes away our sins and makes us right with God. He was the most literal Passover there could possibly be. Those who believe in Jesus and what he did for us are now free from the slavery of sin and will join him one day in perfection. This promise was sealed and evidenced by his resurrection. He was the first to be resurrected and is a promise for the rest of us. 

The Jews of his day who believed in him would certainly not have missed this connection with the traditional Passover. Christians did not "borrow" Passover. Christians received and celebrated the true Passover provided by God Himself. God, as promised in Jeremiah, discarded the old covenant and established a new one, based on the perfect sacrifice. This is what is celebrated on Easter Sunday. 

As for the name "Easter", this is simply a word, one that doesn't mean what it once did in the modern lexicon. Eggs? Bunnies? These are just symbols, also not meaning what they once did. Very few people connect the name to an old German goddess today. If you asked 1,000 people "What is Easter?" nearly all of them are going to tell you that it is the Christian celebration of the resurrected Christ, so that is what Easter means today. 

As for Easter, Passover or Paschal not being in the NT it is a non-issue. 

16  Therefore do not let anyone judge you   by what you eat or drink,   or with regard to a religious festival,   a New Moon celebration   or a Sabbath day.   17  These are a shadow of the things that were to come;   the reality, however, is found in Christ.   18  Do not let anyone who delights in false humility   and the worship of angels disqualify you.   Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.   19  They have lost connection with the head,   from whom the whole body,   supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20  Since you died with Christ   to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,   why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:   21  “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?   22  These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish   with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.   23  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility   and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Colossians 2:16-23

Because it does not appear in the Bible doesn't mean it's forbidden to worship, praise and celebrate what Jesus did for us. Saying we can't is attempting to put us back under the law rather than worshipping by the spirit. Christians constantly worship and thank God and Jesus throughout the year for what we do on Easter. We just set one day aside for a focused celebration in which to glorify God and Jesus, something both the OT and NT command us to do. 

Lastly, I've found at least two references that state that the earliest recorded record of Easter/Passover/Paschal in the Christian sense was around 150 AD, so about 120 years after Christ's resurrection. And that's just the first mention, meaning we don't know how long it was in practice before that. Likely a while, if not almost immediately, given that it was and will remain the most important event in human history until Christ's return, in the Christian point of view. 

Concerning RCC involvement in the issue, I can't say one way or the other whether they tried to replace the worship of a goddess with Christianity by keeping the name, if the name actually applies in the first place. It may not. As for the bunnies, eggs, chocolate and whatnot, I think that may have begun with pre-Christian customs or whatever but lost any connection to those meanings a long time ago. I think they are simply a way to more or less bribe young children into taking an interest in something they aren't likely to understand and/or make it fun for them. It certainly doesn't have any pagan intent behind it today. Those things lost most, if not all of that symbolism a long time ago. 

P.S. I was asked elsewhere how what day Easter falls on was determined. I can't detail the actual method but I know it is tied to the Jewish lunar calendar so as to be close to when they celebrate Jewish Passover. Theirs doesn't always fall on the same day, like Christmas does, either. Generally, the Christian dates for events don't use a lunar calendar but they apparently made an exception for this. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
5.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Drakkonis @5    one month ago

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
5.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Drakkonis @5    4 weeks ago

You've attacked the source, but haven't refuted anything he said.

Funny how this "foreshadowing" is determined in retrospect, isn't it?  Also, there's very little archaeological evidence that the Exodus ever actually happened, so the Passover seder may well have been founded on a lie.

Eggs? Bunnies? These are just symbols, also not meaning what they once did.

Symbols of what?

Fertility, of course.  Not especially representative of the sexually-repressive Abrahamic religions.

 
 

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