Most “Christians” today celebrate Easter as the day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. However, early followers of Jesus would not have recognized or celebrated Easter. There is no reference in scripture to the observance of a holiday (Holy Day) to commemorate the “resurrection” of Jesus.
So, Where did Easter come from and how did it get incorporated into today’s “Christianity?”
Easter is in the Bible
Let’s get this out of the way right up front. In the King James Version we find the word Easter in the Bible.
“And when he (Herod) had apprehended him (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.”Acts 12:4
The Greek word translated as Easter is pascha, derived from the Hebrew word pasha which means Passover. This word occurs 29 times in the New Testament and is translated as Passover 28 of those times. The quote above from the book of Acts is the only time pascha is translated as Easter and is a deliberate attempt by the translators to legitimize a pagan holiday as Christian.
The New Year and Easter
Now, the first thing you need to know is that in ancient times the year began in spring. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C. This celebration was around the time of the vernal or spring equinox, which occurs in late March somewhere between the 21st and the 25th.
Equinox comes from the Latin words meaning equal night since this is when day and night are approximately equal. (John 11:9) The vernal equinox is identified by the movement of the celestial bodies and not upon a fixed date on a calendar.
In ancient Rome, March 25th was observed in honor of Cybele, the “Mother of God” and her cult flourished on today’s Vatican Hill. Cybele’s lover/son Attis, was born of a virgin, died and was reborn annually. This spring festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and rose to a crescendo after three days with rejoicing over the resurrection of Attis on Sunday morning. Cybele, known as Inanna in Sumeria and Ishtar in Akkad, was the center of these Easter celebrations.
When is Passover
Passover begins 14 days after the first new moon of spring, being at the Full Moon. Typically, this is the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, Passover will always fall on a full moon and like the equinox is identified by the movement of the celestial bodies. In the Hebrew calendar, this is the 14th day of the month of Abib/Nisan, which falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.
“Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night.”Deuteronomy 16:1
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”Exodus 12:2
Abib – an ear of corn, the month of newly-ripened grain (Exodus 13:4; 23:15); the first of the Jewish ecclesiastical year, and the seventh of the civil year. It began about the time of the vernal equinox. It was called Nisan, after the Babylonian Captivity (Nehemiah 2:1).Bible Dictionary
The Passover and Easter
The oldest records indicate that the early “Christians” celebrated Passover. In 1 Cor 5:7-8 Christ is referred to as “our Passover” and states “let us keep the feast” of Passover and unleavened bread. However, after Emperor Hadrian crushed the Bar Kokhba revolt (A.D. 132-136), he adopted new repressive measures against Jewish religious practices. These measures influenced the new “Christian” hierarchy to change the date of Passover celebrated by “Christians” from Nisan 14 to the following Sunday in order to show separation and differentiation from the “Jews”.
This nicely coincided with the pagan festival already in place in Rome honoring Cybele/Ishtar and her resurrected son as described above. This is why you see so much common symbolism between “Christian” Easter and pagan Ishtar celebrations.
When did Easter become an official “Christian” holiday?
Various records indicate that it was Pope Pius I, who lived about 147 CE, who made the first official decree that “the annual solemnity of the Pasch (Passover), should be kept only on the Lord’s day (Sunday)”. However, it wasn’t until 325 AD, at the Council of Nicaea that Easter became official for all of Christianity. Roman Emperor Constantine convened this council for the purpose of unifying the doctrines of his new state religion to be called “Christianity”. This was a purely political move. Constantine realized that to control his kingdom he needed to somehow merge the old pagan religions with this new religion. Thus creating a universal or catholic religion.
Among the things discussed in this council were the pagan doctrine of the Trinity, moving the Sabbath day to Sunday and setting the dates for the pagan celebrations of Christmas and Easter. It was ruled that Easter Sunday would be celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
1170 “At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox.”Catechism of the Catholic Church
Note that the Catechism refers to Easter as the Christian Passover
A whole body of Anti-Semitic literature was produced by the “Church Fathers” who defamed the Jews as a people and attempted to empty their religious beliefs and practices of any value. As shown above two major causalities of the anti-Jewish campaign were the Sabbath and Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and Passover was transferred to “Easter” Sunday.
The year before the Council of Nicaea convened (324 CE), Pope Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. Later at the Council of Nicaea, Pope Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation.
The Roman emperor Constantine declared:Eusebius in “Life of Constantine”
“Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.”
In a little over 300 years “Christianity” had moved so far away from Jesus and his teachings that the Roman Pope conspired with the “Christian” Emperor of Rome against the people of Jesus and referred to them as detestable. Ever wonder why “Christians” have Easter Ham, and Fish on Fridays.
Now if you happened to hold to the year beginning on (the Vernal Equinox) March 25th, as called for by God (Exodus 12), and calculated Passover 14 days later, then Passover week (the week leading up to Passover) would begin on April 1st and you would be an ‘April Fool’ for celebrating Passover as called for by God.
God commanded Passover
God commanded that Passover be kept as a record / remembrance forever.
“And this day shall be unto you for a record; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.”Ex 12:14
“And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”Ex 12:7
God hates the blood of lambs, animal sacrifices are worthless, incense is an abomination, your Sabbaths and holidays are iniquity/sin.
“Hear the Word of the LORD… To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? says the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand, to tread My courts? Bring no more worthless sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me your new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure; it is iniquity/sin, even the solemn meeting (funerals Matt 8:22). Your New Moons and your appointed feasts (holidays) My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.”Isa 1:10-14
God is very clear in Isaiah that physical sacrifices, ceremonial works and holidays of men are sin. Sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4) and keeping Passover is commanded in the Law. So the Passover must be a shadow (Heb 10:1).
Let us reason together
“Come now, and let us reason together” Says the LORDIsa 1:18
In the story known as the “Lords Supper”, Jesus says “I have desired to eat this Passover with you” and “do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus said the Passover is to be kept in remembrance of him. There is no mention of Easter, a resurrection celebration, rabbits or eggs.
The “Lords Supper” is not the cracker and grape juice of modern “Christianity”. The ceremonial works of the law are sin and abomination as Isaiah points out. So what is it?
At the “Lords Supper” Jesus/Y’hoshua explains Passover
Y’hoshua said, “take and eat (of the bread), this is my body.” “I am that bread of life” “…the Words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”Matt 26:26, John 6:48, John 6:63, John 1:14
The Passover requires the bread to be unleavened and Y’hoshua said “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” “The scribes and the Pharisees (religious leaders) sit in the seat of Moses (or Peter): … do not do according to their ceremonial works: for they say, and do not.”Ex 12:8, Luke 12:1, Matt 23:2-3
“Looking upon Jesus…” John said “… Behold the Lamb of God.” “And thus shall you eat it (the meat of the Lamb); with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.”John 1:36, Ex 12:11
Y’hoshua said, “drink … this is my blood of the covenant, … shed for remission of sins.” “…this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; … says the LORD, I will put My law in their thoughts (minds), and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. … for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”Matt 26:27-28, Jer 31:29-34
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will Passover you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt/oppression.”Ex 12:13