“...how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed and they are all zealous for the Torah;”- Acts 21:20
Based upon the success of our December article, "Why We Do Not Celebrate Christmas", the Psalm11918.org team has put together a article of similar observations centered around the celebration of Easter.
Here are our top 10 reasons why we do not celebrate Easter:
10. Easter originated out of hate.
Very early in the life of the church, it was widely accepted that the Lord's Supper (the breaking of unleavened bread at Passover) was a practice of the disciples and a recognized tradition. However, a dispute arose concerning the date on which Pascha (Easter) should be celebrated. This dispute came to be known as the Easter/Paschal controversy. Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of John the Evangelist, disputed the computation of the date with Bishop Anicetus of Rome, specifically as to when the pre-paschal fast should end.
The practice in Asia Minor at the time was that the fast ended on the fourteenth day of Nisan, strictly in accordance with the Hebrew calendar and the commandment of Scripture. The Roman practice was to continue the fast until the following Sunday. One objection to the fourteenth of Nisan was that it could fall on any day of the week. The Roman church wished to associate Easter with Sunday and sever the link to Jewish practices.
According to Eusebius, (Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18), 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." However, the custom of Christians and Jews joining in the Passover feast seems to have persisted, as Saint John Chrysostom found it necessary to condemn such inter-faith activities in his sermons. "The very idea of going from a church to a synagogue is blasphemous," he declared, and "to attend the Jewish Passover is to insult Christ."1
What we discover is the fact that in Christian theology, Easter has as its very foundation a hate motif that the hierarchy of the Roman church wished to show toward the Jewish people and to the biblical festival called Passover.2
9. Easter is a traditional Catholic celebration.
Easter is a Roman Catholic holy day and was established by the authority of the Catholic church at the 4th-century Council of Nicea: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05224d.htm
Consider the references in Scripture to the area of Nicea (also known as Bithynia) and how the Spirit of Yeshua leads Paul away from the area.
While we have nothing against Catholics as individuals, we aren't Catholic and don't participate in Catholic celebrations.
8. Easter traditions are recycled pagan celebrations.
An email from The American Family Association entitled "Wear 'em and Share 'em this Easter season" prompted us to write this article. In the email the AFA is promoting buttons and stickers proclaiming, "Easter means He Lives".
Actually, it doesn't.
Etymology is the study of the origins and meanings of words. The word origins site, Online Etymology Dictionary, provides this definition and background for "Easter":
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.3
The name "Easter"? Pagan: http://www.history.com/content/easter/pagan-origins
Easter bunnies? Pagan: http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html
Easter chicks? Pagan: http://godkind.org/easter.html
Easter baskets? Pagan: http://www.israelite.net/easter.htm
Easter eggs? Pagan: http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html
7. Easter is not the date of Messiah's Resurrection.
Messiah was resurrected three days after Passover (Hebrew: Pesach). Passover falls on the same Hebrew date every year: Nisan 14. Messiah was resurrected on Nisan 17. See our article on When Yeshua was Crucified for more details about how these dates are given in Scripture.
The official date of Easter is the first Sunday strictly after the "Paschal full moon" (for example, if the Paschal full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday).
Messiah's resurrection is keyed to the date of Passover rather than a specific day of the week. There is one circumstance when the two may overlap: when Passover falls on Wednesday.
In the 3rd century, some Catholic bishops in Gaul, wishing to escape the difficulties of the paschal computation, seem to have assigned Easter to a fixed date of the Roman calendar, celebrating the death of Christ on March 25, His Resurrection on March 27, since already in the third century March 25th was considered the day of the Crucifixion.4
The current calendar date for Easter was selected to avoid celebrating the event on the Scriptural festival of Passover. Those who lived during the first few centuries after Christ who continued to observe Passover as the date of the crucifixion were excommunicated from the Catholic church.5
If we truly are attempting to celebrate the resurrection of the Savior of mankind shouldn't we actually pick the right date... especially since we know when it actually is?
6. Easter is never mentioned in Scripture.
Scripture never records either Jesus or any of His disciples as celebrating Easter or any of the traditions associated with Easter. Check it out for yourself and read more about this point here.
5. G-d condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.
"Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?' You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it." [emphasis added]
4. Celebrating Easter teaches children that lying is OK.
As children get older they realize that all of the fluff (pun intended) associated with Easter is fiction. They come to realize that the blessings and gifts they receive do not come from Peter Cottontail (the Easter bunny) but instead come from their parents. They also realize that their parents lied to them and everybody seems to be OK with that. They perpetrate the same lies on their own children and their parents, friends, and family all nod their heads and smile knowingly... but nobody seems willing to address the lie.
Somehow, if you have warm fuzzy feelings about something then that justifies lying. G-d is not a liar. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).
You tell me... where do you think we are getting this stuff?
Just because something has truly treasured and warm memories associated with it does not make it good. Consider the treasured and warm feelings an adulterer has for the women with which he has fornicated. His feelings do not make his actions any less a sin.
3. Easter traditions obscure G-d's plan for mankind.
The focus throughout Scripture is on Christ's sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection and the redemption that His work provides. By focusing on all of the unbiblical traditions associated with new life (plastic green grass, rabbits, chicks, eggs, gifts and all the other non-Christ-focused traditions usually associated with Easter) we lose sight of Messiah. By mixing in the pagan traditions (above) and the lies associated with it, we damage our witness as individuals and as a whole to those who are unsaved... thus further obscuring G-d's plan.
G-d is not a G-d of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33) and of truth (John 14:6).
2. Easter is a tradition of men.
Messiah spoke in very strong terms to condemn those who transgress the commandments of G-d in order to uphold the traditions of men (see Matthew 15 and our article about tradition). Easter is a tradition and not commanded (or even mentioned!) anywhere in Scripture. If we celebrate Easter and yet ignore the holy days that G-d has commanded us to honor and keep then aren't we heaping upon ourselves the same condemnation of "hypocrites!" that Christ gave in Matthew 15?
Shouldn't we instead try (as best we are able to do today) to honor those days that G-d has declared to be holy?
1. Easter is not part of G-d's ordained pattern of worship.
Messiah said in John 4:23-
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
Our Master tells us that we are to worship G-d in Spirit and in truth. Such are the people the Father seeks to worship Him.
Easter is not from the Spirit of G-d but consists of idolatrous traditions that G-d has commanded His people not to follow.
Easter is not filled with truth but with lies that parents tell their children and each other.
Easter is almost entirely celebrated in the place of the holy days G-d has ordained. Doing this puts us into the category of "hypocrite" that Christ condemned.
Think about the path that our nation has taken while celebrating Easter over the past century. Consider G-d's words from 2 Chronicles:
[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Consider also the words of the prophet Micah:
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Please come quickly, Lord Yeshua, and show all of Your people how we should properly honor You!
Footnotes1. Easter, New World Encyclopedia, 4/23/2010 from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Easter [back]
2. Should Christians Celebrate Easter?, ASK ELM, 4/23/2010 from http://www.askelm.com/news/n010412.htm [back]
3. "Easter" from Online Etymology Dictionary, 2/21/2010, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=easter&searchmode=term [back]
4. Easter, Catholic Encyclopedia Online, 2/21/2010, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05224d.htm [back]
5. Easter, Catholic Encyclopedia Online, 2/21/2010, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05224d.htm [back]