Each year, it seems that more and more Christians in all denominations recognize the fact that bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with the resurrection of our Saviour, and start getting back to the true Biblical roots of Christianity. Scripture tells us that when Jesus, the Word made flesh, came to this earth, He came to be the Lamb of God (a direct reference to Passover) to take away the sin of the world. Yet, several hundred years into the early history of the church, in an effort to distance themselves from the Israelites who rejected the Messiah and to increase unity in Rome, church leaders unscripturally moved away from God’s holy days and mingled pagan celebrations in their place.
One such example is Easter. The origins of this day are easily found in any encyclopedia, which show that well before the birth and death of Jesus, ancient pagans worshipped the fertility goddess Ishtar every spring equinox at the full moon. Her worship formed the roots of “easter”, which is why bunnies (a notoriously fertile animal) and eggs (embryos) are part of the imagery. In the original Hebrew and Greek texts, no reference is made to “easter” but rather Scripture tells us that Jesus died on Passover and rose on Firstfruits. Those are the days that God established for us to set aside to give thanks for the gift of salvation.
One reason that this change has become so universally accepted is that over the centuries, people have mistakenly come to regard the Old Testament, and everything in it, as old and outdated and not meant for all of God’s people through all of the ages. Actually, the Old Testament was the only Scriptures that Jesus and his disciples had. They quoted it extensively, and assumed people knew it as the foundation for understanding the stories and terms used in the New Testament. Jesus tells us in John 5:46 that Moses wrote of Him, and in Luke 24:44, in addition to Moses, he adds “the prophets and the psalms”, both a reference to how the Old Testament is about Jesus. He was not sent to start a new religion, but rather to provide a means to save God’s people from their sin. Gentiles were grafted into the tree by faith (Romans 11), so our religion should logically reflect that into which we were grafted, not be something entirely different.
The Bible’s Holy Days (from where we get the term “holidays”) are laid out in Leviticus 23, and are found consistently through all of Scripture, including the post-resurrection New Testament. The spring feasts set the pattern for the first coming of Christ. Had the religious scholars of that time paid attention, they would have seen that Jesus met every requirement of the Passover lamb, and would have recognized him as their promised Messiah at His first coming. After all, they had been rehearsing it every year for centuries. Similarly, many believe that the fall feasts set the pattern for the second coming of Christ. We would be wise to study them to assist our preparation, to watch and be ready as Jesus repeatedly warned us to be, so that we don’t make the same mistake at His second coming.
No matter how fond of Easter rituals you may have become, like it or not, it is not what the Bible teaches. Jesus promises to celebrate Passover with us when we get to heaven. (Matthew 26:29) The post-resurrection example of Paul and the Gentile church was to keep the Passover and feast of Unleavened Bread/First Fruits, no doubt a wonderful celebration of the blessing that Jesus had given by being our Passover Lamb. (Acts 18:19-21, Acts 20:6, 1 Corinthians 16:8) Of course, after the death of Jesus, there was no longer any sacrificial lamb offered because that offering had been made once and for all. If the early church knew to keep Passover, and Jesus promises to keep it with us in heaven, what makes you think it is invalid now?
Many Christians quote Galatians 4:10-11 as if this is proof not to keep the annual Sabbaths: "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." Yet look at the context. When you read verse 8, it talks about before you knew God (the true God) you did service to them which are "no gods" (false, pagan gods). But now, in verse 9, that you know the true God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements and desire again to be in bondage. Then verses 10-11 about observing days. What is really being said here? Before you knew the true God, you kept pagan days and were in bondage to these false gods. Now that you know the true God, how can you go back to the bondage of observing the pagan days (like Sunday, Christmas, and Easter) instead of God’s ordained days (like Sabbath, Tabernacles, and Passover)? The truth is that these verses, which people use to justify breaking God's days, are really saying that the people who are breaking the true days in preference to the false days are the ones upon who Paul labored in vain. These verses say the exact opposite of what most people believe they say.
My prayer is that you will get back to God’s word, and away from man’s tradition, which Scripture tells us is worship in vain (Mark 7:7-9). This year, Passover begins at sundown on April 20. All Christians would be blessed, and do well to spend some thoughtful hours that evening in contemplation of the enormous gift our Saviour gave us by being our Passover Lamb and saving us from the sure death that we would have faced without Him.
There are many wonderful websites that can give you more information about God’s holy days from a Christian perspective. One of my favorites is www.biblicalholidays.com.
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Judith Koch became a Christian after many years of following satan’s new age lie. She is now determined to not repeat that mistake, and to follow Scripture as it is written, no matter what the world around her might do or think.