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Easter or Resurrection Sunday – Is there a difference?
April 2013

The best way to begin a study of this nature would be to start it with two suppositions.  Depending on which of the suppositions you believe to be true, will whether you accept or reject this information.

Supposition One:  There is NO spiritual evil force trying to destroy you, your family, and friends.  When God said, Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1st Peter 5:8), He was speaking in metaphorical terms.  There is, no "devil" therefore no matter what activity you participate in, it will not affect your life for better or worse. 

Supposition Two:  There IS, a spiritual evil force trying to destroy you, your family, and friends.  When God said, Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1st Peter 5:8), He was speaking factual truth.  Therefore every activity you participate in, affects your life for better or worse.  The devil (Satan) is looking for every opportunity to turn your eyes away from the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to bring you to Hell, by causing you not to believe and accept the Lord’s saving grace.  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There is another group however.  A group of people whose hearts are open but they are not sure what to believe.  This group has never had the facts presented to them in a way that they could understand it.  It is our hope and prayer that this group will, with open minds and hearts, read this lesson and ask God to reveal the truth.  Then openly and honestly act on what is revealed. 

If you hold to supposition one, this month's teaching will be of no use to you; because there is no devil who is trying to destroy you, your family, and friends.  Furthermore, God is to loving to allow a person to go to Hell!  And since your actions do not affect anything spiritual, then there is nothing to worry about.  If you are wrong, God will understand?  Or will He?

If you hold to supposition two or you are of the group that needs to understand more clearly please, for your own sake, take heed, pray, and read carefully!  Is Easter synonymous with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?  Is Easter a "Christian" observance?  Is there anything wrong with the traditional practice of Easter eggs, bonnets and rabbits?  By the way, have you ever asked yourself where the practice of celebrating Easter with eggs, bonnets and rabbits come from?  In this teaching we will attempt to answer these questions as factually and as simply as we can.  We will give you as many Biblical references as possible.  Then we will attempt to show what celebrating with eggs, bonnets and rabbits really represent and we will present the facts that go along with it.  "Dear Lord; May you truly aid in and bless this teaching?"

According to Merrill F. Unger, Easter is of Saxon (people who formerly dwelt in the northern part of Germany) origin.  Easter or Eastra is the goddess of spring.  In whose honor sacrifices were offered about the time of Passover each year.  By the 8th century, Anglo‑Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ's resurrection.  Rev. Alexander Hislop in his book "The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship" writes, "Easter is not a Christian name.  It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead.  Easter is nothing else than Astarte; which is the Greek name for Ashtoreth one of the titles of Beltis the queen of heaven.”[1] “Beltis” has a common ancestry or origin with the Babylonian god “Ishtar.”  The name “Beltis” as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments was “Ishtar”[2] and was found applying to the “Mother of all Gods”[3]   She is the goddess of sensual love, maternity and fertility, hence the rabbit, which is a sign of fertility. She is known as the goddess of sex and war. 

Astarte or Ashtoreth, meaning “star” is the principal female deity of the Phoenicians and the Canaanites and was worshipped as the god of fertility and war.  She is known to the Assyria as ‘Ishtar’ and ‘Astarte’ or “Ashtoreth” by the Greeks and Romans.  She is a god identified with the planet Venus.  The worship of Ashtoreth goes back over 35,000 years (cf. Judges 2:13, 10:6; 1st Kings 11:5, 33; 2nd Kings 23:13).

The popular observances that still attend the Easter celebration amply confirms the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character.  The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now.  The "buns," known by that identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens, 1,500 years before the Christian era.  "One species of sacred bread," says Byrant,[4]  "which used to be offered to the gods, was of great antiquity, and called Boun.”  According to Diogenes Laertius a third Century biographer of the Greek philosophers “this Boun was made of fine flour and honey.[5]  The prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:18) takes notice of this kind of offering when he says, The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.”  The hot cross buns are not now offered, but eaten, on the festival of Astarte; but this leaves no doubt about where they originated. 

The origin of the Pasch eggs is just as clear.  Ancient Druids bore an egg, as the sacred emblem of their order[6] (refer Figure 1 – last page).  In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples.  The occult meaning of this mystic egg of Astarte, in one of its aspects had reference to the ark during the time of the flood.  Within the ark, the whole human race was shut up, in the same way a chick is enclosed in the egg before it is hatched.[7]  This egg is known as the "mundane egg," the egg in which the world was enclosed in (refer Figure 2 – last page).  If then the world is seen shut up in an egg, and floating on the waters, it is not difficult to believe that this egg might hold Noah's family and therefore, it contained the world in its bosom. 

The Roman Church adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection.  A prayer was even appointed concerning it.  Pope Paul V, teaching his superstitious devotions asked us to pray at Easter:  "Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ."[8]     

"The late Lady Baird," of Fern Tower, in Perthshire, says, "a writer in "Notes and Queries," thoroughly versed in British antiquities, told her,[9] “that every year, at Belting (or the 1st of May), a number of men and women assemble at an ancient Druidical circle of stones on her property near Crieff.  They light a fire in the center; each person then puts a bit of oatcake in a shepherd's bonnet.  They all sit, and when blindfolded each draws a piece from the bonnet.  One piece has been previously blackened, and whoever gets that blackened piece has to jump through fire, and pay a forfeit.” 

            This is a part of the ancient worship of Baal, and the person on whom the lot fell was previously burnt as a sacrifice.  Now, the passing through the fire represents the sacrifice, and the payment of the forfeit redeems the victim."  This practice is now practiced and called by the name “Easter.”  The month "Belting," among our Pagan ancestors, has been called Easter-monath.  This is the festival of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter.

Is Easter synonymous with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Obviously not!  Is Easter a "Christian" observance?  Obviously not!  Is there anything wrong with the traditional practice using Easter eggs, bonnets, and rabbits?  By association – obviously yes!  When and where does the practice of celebrating Easter with eggs, bonnets, and rabbits come from?  When?  From the beginning!  Where?  From inside the bosom of Satan himself!  What is the result of this abomination?  "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger.  They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel.  So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies” (Judges 2:11-14).

Before closing this section of our study we would like to ask a couple of questions.  First; if we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, does it really matter if we participate in these Easter festivities?  YES!  If we look back to the occupation of the Promised Land, the chosen of God were commanded to forsake everything, regarding worship of foreign gods.  Did not that command include the total destruction of all men, women who knew a man, Gold, Silver, and all idols?  Yes!  Wasn't even a Babylonian garment to be destroyed?  Yes! Do you remember what happened when that garment was not destroyed but was kept and hidden?  It caused the children of God to be defeated until it was discovered and eliminated (Joshua 7)?  Then the person who committed the sacrilege was killed.  Does not God tell us not to touch the unclean thing?  Yes!  Wouldn't that especially mean that which is offered to other gods? Absolutely!  Look at what the Apostle Paul has to say about this subject.  "Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?  What am I saying then?  That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?  Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's Table and of the table of demons.  Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?  Are we stronger than He?  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify (1st Corinthians 10:18-24).  If God's chosen people were told, to destroy everything that had to do with idol worship, because it would have an adverse effect on us, our family, our lives and our nation shouldn't we observe His command?  Absolutely!  Even if we do not see how it could affect us?  Without a doubt!

Secondly; how do these Easter festivities centered on eggs, Easter bonnets and rabbits draw us closer to God?  If you cannot see yourself drawing closer to God through them, then it may be time to stop practicing them.  Again remember what the Apostle Paul said, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify" (1st Corinthians 10:24).  And "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (10:31).

Now let us look at what we are truly celebrating and the facts surrounding it.  In the earlier English versions Easter had been frequently used as the translation of the Greek word "pascha," and the Hebrew word "pesah."  In every passage except Acts 12:4 (KJV), which says, "intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people," these words are translated "Passover.”  It was also called the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The object was to mark the distinction between the Passover as a sacrifice, and the feast following the sacrifice.  The latter was designated "the Feast of Unleavened Bread" (Leviticus 23:5~).  The Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the most important of the three great annual festivals of Israel.  The Hebrew word "pesah" which is translated "Passover" literally means to "leap over" or “exemption.”  Figuratively it means to spare, or show mercy.  The Paschal meal was on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, while the seven days following are called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5-6).  The Passover was instituted in memory of Israel's preservation from the last plague visited upon Egypt (the death of the firstborn) and their deliverance from bondage (Exodus 12:1-28).  The observance was as follows: 

  1. Every head of the family chose a male of the first year without blemish from the cattle, or from the sheep or goats, on the 10th of Nisan (Exodus 12:3).  Later it became the practice to take a lamb. 
  2. On the 14th of Nisan (between the months of March and April) the lamb was slain "between the two evenings" (Exodus12:6).  According to the Karaite Jews that meant between actual sunset and complete darkness.  This was understood by the Pharisees and Rabbis as the time when the sun begins to descend to its real setting (from 3 P. M. to 6 P. M.). 
  3. Then the whole animal without breaking a bone was roasted and eaten by each family, including slaves and strangers, if they had been circumcised. 
  4. The meal was eaten the same evening. 
  5. All who partook had their loins girded, shoes on their feet, and a staff in hand, representing that they were ready to march out their bondage.  The Paschal lamb was a sacrifice, combining the significance of the sin offering and other holy offerings, i.e., it shadowed reconciliation also glad fellowship with God; the lamb suffered instead of the partakers. 
  6. The blood of the lamb was put on the posts and lintel of the door, making the sign of a cross and was the sign that the house was to be spared.  With this sparing and reconciliation accomplished, through forgiveness of sins, the people of God could immediately relate the significance of the meal, and thus the flesh of the lamb for God’s saving grace. 
  7. The scripture records that the Passover was kept on the evening before the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 12:28), then again the second year after the Exodus (Numbers 9:1-5), and then not again until they entered Canaan (Exodus 13:5; Joshua 5:10), and then every year following at the same time. 
  8. These observances were to be taught to each generation (Exodus 12:14-17) for a memorial.

Now let us relate this Paschal observance with the New Testament's account of the life and death of Jesus.  There are ten particulars in the Old Testament Passover Feast, which we can easily relate to the life, and death of the Lord Jesus. 

They are:

1.      The Lamb was the accepted sacrifice.
2.     
The Lamb slain was to be without blemish (blemish represents sin).
3.     
The Lamb was slain as an atoning sacrifice for redemption.
4.     
The Lamb was to die between sunset and darkness (3 P.M. to 6 P.M.).
5.     
The Lamb was to die without a single bone being broken.
6.     
The Lamb was to be disposed of that same evening.
7.     
The Lamb's blood was to be sprinkled on the house as a sign of the washing away of sin.  The washing spared the individuals from judgment, which means eternal separation from God.
8.     
The Lamb's blood was the instrument of reconciliation.
9.     
Taking the flesh and blood of the Lamb, for ones self became a symbol of God's Grace.
10. 
The sacrifice was to be repeated yearly as a memorial and an ordinance.

Now let us look at some New Testament scriptures that correspond with the particulars for the Passover Ordinance, as shown above.

1.      John 1:29, 36 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"

2.      1st Peter 1:18-21  "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."

3.      Ephesians 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace Colossians 1:14, 20-22 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight‑‑"

4.      Luke 23:44-46 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.  And when Jesus had cried out with a load voice, He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."  Having said this, He breathed His last."  (Note:  The 6th to the 9th hour corresponds to Noon to 3 P.M.  Notice the verses in Luke 23: 44-46, they say, “there was darkness on the earth until the ninth hour” (3 P. M.), THEN, right after the ninth hour, Jesus commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father and breathed His Last.  Jesus died between 3 P.M. and 6 P.M.

5.      John 19:31-36 “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.  For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken."

6.      John 19:38, 41-42  "After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.    Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby."

7.      Hebrews 9:13-15  "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

8.      Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."  Colossians 1:19-20 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

9.      Romans 3:23-26for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

10.  Luke 22:14-20 “When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.  Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; "for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; "for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."  1st Corinthians 11:23 "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;"

Please note in 1st Corinthians 11 we see the Apostle Paul approximately 30 years after Jesus instituted the ordinance of Communion, still observing it.  This ordinance of the Lords Supper has been kept regularly by Christians and non Christians ever since Jesus first instituted it in 29 AD.

So what can we observe by this relationship between the original Passover instituted on Mount Sinai under Moses, approximately 1,500 years before Jesus' birth, death and burial.  "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another‑‑He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.  Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.  Then I said, 'Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.'"  Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God."  He takes away the first that He may establish the second.  By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 9:24-10:10,19-22).

JESUS IS THE LAMB SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.

Let your Holiday festivities be centered on Him who through His sacrificial death made possible eternal life in the presence of a loving Holy God.

Do you not think that it is time to put away all the things of this world and keep our eyes and hearts on the things of heaven?  Those that associate with such pagan rituals as described above and refuse to see the evil associations will be punished!  Those that put away such things and honor the sacrifice of Christ and obey His ordinances will be blessed beyond our capacity to receive them.  Having eyes, do you not see?  And having ears, do you not hear?  And do you not remember” (Mark 8:18)?  “May the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).

Figure 1                                                                       Figure 2

                       


                                                           

Figure 1 – Bryant’s Mythology, Volume 3, Page 62              Figure 2 – Bryant’s Mythology, Volume 3, Page 161


[1]   Unger’s Bible Dictionary  Page 283

[2]  Layard’s Ninevah and Babylon   Page 629

[3] Vauz’s, Ninevah and Persepolis, Page 459

[4]   Bryant’s Mythology, Volume 1, Page 373

[5]  Diogenes Laertius,  Page 227b

[6]  Davie’s Druids, Page 208

[7]  Bryant’s Mythology, Volume 1, Page 161

[8]  The Scottish Guardian, April, 1844

[9]  The Right, Honorable Lord John Scott

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