Some Thoughts on Easter

Easter, much like Christmas, is an old worldly celebration that someone slapped a new label over, but what remains underneath remains the same traditions. The Greeks had Saturnalia at the winter solstice, which was the celebration of the birth of the sun God, the festivities included evergreen trees and wreaths, red and green decorations, lights, exchanging of gifts, blood pudding and gingerbread men, all of which were connected with idolatry of the sun god and human sacrifice. Catholicism made Christmas what it is today, as Jesus could not engage in the festivities of Saturnalia, nor would his Apostles and the first century church. But the early Catholics could not bear to have the world having fun festivities in idolatry and they themselves left out, so, without changing much at all about Saturnalia, they jumped right in, and haven’t looked back since, justifying their actions by rebranding Saturnalia as Christ-Mass. Easter’s origin is similar to Christmas.

    Easter comes from the name “Eastre” who was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Eastre’s symbol was the bunny, which is a symbol of fertility. But Easter is probably even older than that, as the Babylonians had Ishtar (pronounced Easter) as their goddess of fertility and spring. At any rate, we already see where the terminology comes from, and where the Easter bunny originated, but there was more to the ancient celebration of spring and the worship of the goddess of spring and fertility. The exchanging of decorated eggs is also very old and is yet another symbol of fertility. Even the hot cross buns traditionally eaten around Easter were once the cakes offered to the goddess (the Catholics slapped a cross on top to make it justifiable). Of course, there are more coverups in the story, like the decorated eggs, which Catholicism has re-interpreted to symbolize the tomb of Jesus, which is quite a stretch. So then, Easter comes solely from ancient pagan worship, the celebration of the spring solstice and the worship of the goddess of spring and fertility. The belief was that such a worship at the spring solstice would cause the goddess to bless the year to be fertile for the soil and the people.

The traditions of Christmas and Easter are so old (ironically older than the birth of Jesus, and His resurrection) that few think twice about how we should consider the holidays. An observation of denominational churches today proves that the mentality of the old Catholic fathers is very alive today. Churches engaging in all sorts of festivities that have nothing to do with the Bible, God’s will, and the work and purpose of the church. Such things are foreign to new testament Christianity. But today we can see Easter announcements from churches advertising all sorts of fun events for children and adults alike. We can see church parking lots filled with bouncy houses. When David said “I was glad when they said to me ‘let us go into the house of God’” I don’t think he meant that he was excited for his turn in the bouncy house, but to serve the Almighty God with all his might in honor and purity (Psalm 122:1). It reminds me of the words of Jesus, “this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandment of men” (Mark 7:6-7). Justifying carnal driven fun by saying it is celebrating Christ is not just. Churches pounding people with distractions while saying “let’s focus on Christ this holiday” is not even rational. Friends, what I saw on December 25th, 2016, burned in my memory, the year that Christmas fell on a Sunday. It was a year that showed the true colors of denominationalism. The yearly outcry to celebrate the birth of Christ rang out that season, but when the day came, every church that I drove by on my way to services that Sunday had closed its doors. The blatant hypocrisy of claiming to be celebrating Christ and not doing the very things he has command to be done on the first day of the week, to assemble and partake of the memorial communion. Instead many spent the day exchanging gifts, feasting, and showing that their hearts were far from the command of the Lord.

Let me be clear, I don’t have an issue with anyone exchanging gifts, getting together with family and sharing a meal, as such do not hold any idolatrous connection in anyone’s mind today, but I do have a problem with these things when they get in the way of worship, or distract our worship. I do have a problem with branding social meals, events and festivities as a celebration of Christ. I do have a problem with calling such traditional festivities as a “good thing”. Friends, God declares a thing “good,” not us. Man has labeled many religious ideas and practices “good,” but cannot be found in the scriptures. God through Isaiah spoke warning upon those who call evil good (Isaiah 5:20). A Christian can judge something a good thing when they can identify it in the Word of God. And the Word of God has not given us authority to honor Christ through the means of Easter or Christmas. As Mark 7:6 proves, honoring Christ is accomplished by having our hearts near Him and His words, not the ideas of men. To love Christ is to hold fast to His commandments (John 14:15), not the ways of ungodly men who adopted the ways of ungodly pagan men.

In conclusion, I will not honor Christ’s resurrection because it’s Easter, but I will honor Christ’s resurrection every day, because I live united with his resurrection (Romans 6:4-5). I will honor Christ’s resurrection in a distinct way every Sunday when I partake of the Lord’s Supper with the assembled body of Christ, I do this not because its a tradition, but because it is from the authority of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:24-25, Acts 20:7). Someone may object, saying “the Lord’s Supper is not about the resurrection, but the sacrifice.” That’s only half true, because when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, it was because He would rise again, not because He was to die and remain dead (not much to celebrate there). Notice how Jesus makes the point of His resurrection when He instituted the Supper: Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” So we see then, that what is done must be done by the authority of Christ.