Yikes!! My guess is, if you are like me, you opened this post in one of two ways. Really, seriously twirked that I would have the audacity to call the celebration of the resurrection of the Messiah a pagan holiday. Or, grieved that yet another believer appears to have gone astray and desires to take others with her.
I assure you, neither is the case. I just wanted to get your attention:-) Now, put that smiley face aside, though, because what I do want to talk about is serious business.
Have you ever thought about where we get the term Easter? I’ll be honest. I never did. Not once. I remember learning where the term Christmas came from, or at least what it means. I also knew that Santa Claus was not really part of it, but that there was a lot of symbology to the artifacts of Christmas (the tree, the candy cane, etc.). I remember in my early 20s researching the history behind Halloween and choosing to not take part in it (and then waffling, taking part, and turning back from it when my children were younger). Somewhere in the years since those discoveries, I began to ask what in the world the Easter Bunny, colored eggs and hunts all had to do with the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus). I reasoned or perhaps was even told that it had something to do with new life. It still haunted me. That explanation was just not good enough.
A year ago, I was working my way through an amazing study of Genesis taught from the Hebrew perspective. Talk about eye opening! It has changed my whole view of the Bible and my role as a Gentile Christian. That aside, I was shocked to read that the name Easter was that of the wife/queen of the evil tyrant, Nimrod. Say what?! She was known eventually by many names including Semiramis, Ishtar, Isis, Cybele, and Ashteroth (read a bit of God’s judgment on Judah in Jeremiah 7:18). Nimrod (also called Ashur) deified himself. He became known as the creator god, the god of the sun, later to be called Ba’al, Marduk, and Molech, among others. Semiramis, his wife, was also deified, being known as the mother of heaven, the goddess of the moon and of fertility. After Nimrod died, Semiramis bore a son whom she called Tammuz. He was said to be the reincarnation of Nimrod, a man-god, forming the last of a very unholy trinity. These three became the basis of all false religions, what God called Mystery Babylon (Nimrod built Bavel, the original city of Babylon where a tower was built to the sky in defiance of God, and where God confused the languages of the people – Genesis 11).
These God-less gods were responsible for false worship, temple prostitutes, child sacrifices, and all number of heinous acts. Associated with this goddess of fertility were the rabbit, as a symbol of fertility, and the egg. It was said that a large egg came down from the sky and rested in the water. Easter (Semiramis) was born from that egg in the spring time. Thus the ritual springtime celebration of the pagan goddess, Easter.
How in the world did Easter come to be the name of the holiday of our Lord? The explanation goes way back to the 2nd century AD. It was a time of great persecution for the Jewish people. Jerusalem had been destroyed, and Rome built another city on top of the ruins. The city was called Alia Capitolina. Jews were forbidden to enter, as they were said to be detestable. Anything Jewish was also forbidden, including any Jewish celebrations or feasts. This was a problem for the early church as they had continued to celebrate the Passover, as Yeshua had done, and included the commemoration of His death as the Passover sacrificial lamb as part of it.
Here we need a little of basic information. Way back in Exodus, God had commanded the Israelite people to celebrate the Passover, followed immediately by the Feast of Matzah (Unleavened Bread) in the first month, on the 14th day. Passover was to be on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Yeshua, as the sacrificial Passover lamb, was crucified on Passover…did you know that? (A topic for another day is the fulfillment of prophecy that took place on each of the God-assigned Hebrew feasts…except one that is yet to be fulfilled.)
Yeshua was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, a particular date, not a particular day of the week. The apostolic church (the early church under the leadership of the apostles) continued to observe Passover, on Nisan 14, regardless of what day of the week it fell on, but including the Lord’s Supper as instituted by Yeshua before His death (Luke 22). For well over a century this was the only way Yeshua’s death was commemorated.
When Rome built Alia Capitolina over the ruins of Jerusalem and forbid anything Jewish from entering, the church, rather than continue to follow God’s command to observe Passover when it was intended, chose to move the celebration to the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, coincidentally right around the time of the pagan fertility celebration, Easter. After a couple of hundred years, and a decision in there somewhere to celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah, the watered down Passover, and Easter were blended and called Easter. Easter became the celebration of the resurrection of the risen Messiah that incorporated the pagan symbol of the fertile bunny rabbit, and the supposed mystic birth of the false queen of heaven. It makes my stomach turn. What satisfaction and glee Satan must feel watching Yeshua’s church celebrating Him in this way.
This brings to mind the Church in Thyatira. The 4th of 7 churches that John wrote to in Revelations. This was the church that allowed Jezebel in her midst. Jezebel was a symbol for idolatry, sexual immorality, and sacrifices to idols. The real Jezebel of the Old Testament worshiped Ba’al and killed God’s prophets…and she was the Queen of Israel!! The church at Thyatira had allowed Jezebel to infiltrate their midst with idolatry and sexual immorality, and Yeshua had some tough words for them.
I have said it before, and I will continue to say it, because it is the mission God has given me: it is time for the Church to return to its Hebrew roots, to the tree we were grafted into, not the one we replaced. This Sunday, forget about Easter. Focus your praise and worship on what Yeshua did for you, as you do every year, but do it on Resurrection Sunday.