EASTER OR PASSOVER: WHICH SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE AND DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

EASTER OR PASSOVER: WHICH SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE AND DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

The short answer is we should observe Passover, not Easter, and yes it does matter. But such an answer needs explanation to satisfy those who are unsure. Following on from our previous posting about tattoos, we continue our journey unpacking pagan myths and practices that have infiltrated church life over the centuries.

Nowhere in the Bible will you find the word Easter. The word Easter derives from the Germanic name Eostre, a pagan fertility goddess of the Saxon people of northern Europe.   Eostre’s origins go back to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, whose main symbols were eggs and rabbits! Although these pagan fertility symbols have become widely accepted in western culture, they remain nonetheless pagan. And God makes it abundantly clear that we are not to do as the pagans do. Therefore the adoption of “Easter” and all its pagan symbolism, sunrise rituals and traditions, into the church of God is actually an abomination. The main feast day of “Ishtar”, which is pronounced “Easter”, was a day to commemorate the resurrection of a pagan god called “Tammuz”, who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess, Ishtar and the sun-god.[i] Yet the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob states unambiguously we should not worship Him as the pagans do their gods. For example:

“Take heed to yourself you are not ensnared to follow after them (the pagans) after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘how did these nations serve their gods, I will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord in that way.”  Deuteronomy 12:30-31

“Make no mention of the name of their gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth!”  Exodus 23:13

“You shall destroy all their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, for you shall worship no other god for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God!” Exodus 34:13

“You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord you God”  Joshua 23:7

At “Easter-time” the church celebrates the death and resurrection of the Passover Lamb of God – Jesus Christ. So ask yourself a simple question: how do you think Jesus feels having His bride, the body of true believers, rename His great sacrificial act of love after a pagan goddess?

By contrast, the Passover is well documented throughout the scriptures from the very first Passover, which took place the night the Israelites left Egypt. We are told clearly to keep the Passover forever in memory of what the Lord did. The Passover (Pesach in Hebrew = “to pass over”) incorporates the retelling of the story of Exodus and God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt, a pagan nation.

So this day shall be to you as a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generation. You shall keep it as a feast by everlasting ordinance.” Exodus 12:14

The Israelites were instructed to mark their homes with the blood of a lamb, symbolic of the eventual shedding of the blood of The Lamb whose sacrifice brought us out of slavery from the kingdom of darkness. Can there be any greater insult to our Lord and King than to take what He has done and taint it with paganism?

The typical Easter story teaches us that Jesus was crucified on “Good Friday” and resurrected early on the first day of the week: Sunday. Yet simple mathematics demonstrate that at the very best, this represents a period of no more than about 38 hours over two nights! Yet the scriptures emphatically state Jesus spent three days and three nights in heart of the earth preaching to the dead in Sheol:

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40

“Jesus answered and said to them, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”” John 2:19

“By whom he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the divine long-suffering waited in the days of Noah.” 1 Peter 3:19-2

Using modern chronological computer programmes researchers have ascertained that Jesus was in fact crucified on a Wednesday. He was examined and tested by the authorities in the early hours of the day, as were the Passover lambs in the temple, who like Him, had to be without spot or blemish. He was then crucified and died at around 3pm in the afternoon: the same time the lambs were being ritually slaughtered in the temple. Jewish custom required bodies to be buried before the end of the day. The Jewish day starts and finishes at sundown (around 6pm in Israel). Hence Jesus was buried before sundown. He was the Passover Lamb of God, depicted by the Passover feast and traditions all God’s people were to keep as an everlasting ordinance.

The day after Passover is always a Shabbat. The church has taught us this must be a Saturday, which is the weekly Shabbat in Jewish culture. Jesus was buried before the Passover Shabbat began, a special Shabbat, a bit like our modern bank holiday, which in this case was a Thursday. Therefore he spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night in the grave rising again early on the first day of the week – what for us is early Saturday evening but Sunday in the Jewish calendar. This was the full three days and three nights as it is written.

For 1700 years the church has been misled into believing something that is not correct as it has been over the whole Christmas story – but we’ll save that for later in the year! It is a good example of the lying doctrine of Balaam that Jesus speaks of so angrily in Revelation 2.  Man put his own twist and interpretation on events and replaced truth with traditions influenced by pagan practices common at the time.

So this year we encourage you to prayerfully consider replacing Easter, a pagan tradition, and the less obvious “Resurrection Sunday” with Passover, as God requires of you as an everlasting ordinance.[ii]  If what we have written troubles you please pray and seek His will. Do your own research and discover for yourself this deceptive piece of theology.   Nowhere in the Bible will you find Easter (except perhaps the mistranslation in the old King James) – but you will find the Passover everywhere. If you love Me obey Me says the Lord your God.[iii] Be blessed through obedience to His word – not man’s traditions.

[i] http://www.sabbathcovenant.com/book2MysteryReligionOfBabylon/Chapter7.htm

[ii] Exodus 12:14

[iii] John 14:15

Recommended further reading: Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts by Dr Richard Booker. You can find it at http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jesus+in+the+feasts

15 Comments

  1. Hi. I’ve always felt awkward at holidays since I was little. I do not celebrate… I have over the past few years began wondering about Passover. How would a christian prepare this meal? Could you give me a brief run down (description) of how it might go? I know there are several prayers, and the passing of a cup something like four times, a hiding of bread, bitters and whatnot within the Jewish customs through out the meal… is this something we should learn or is there more liberty so long as we are focused on our true “Passover Lamb”… celebrating all in remembrance of Him?

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated, Thank you

  2. Thanks Siani for responding to my comment. Point taken, of course we must be transformed in our lives and understanding by the living word of God, but what are these commands you speak of? It was not a New Testament teaching that we should continue to observe Passover. Also it certainly was a practice for converts to be circumcised, until Paul stood against it. So the early church experienced cultural change as it admitted Gentiles. The wonderful thing is that the Holy Spirit did not desert the church when Peter and others got it wrong but helped it grow through this change. My point is that it is quite impossible for us gentile Christians to become messianic Christians as if two thousand years of history hadn’t happened, and we should largely trust the deposit of faith that we have inherited. God is not interested in dates, but in what goes on in our hearts when we worship him and love each other. Of course not all church traditions are right or helpful, some are contradictory between churches, but I would argue that to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter is a truly Christian event simply because the church in the authority of the Holy Spirit has decided that it is. Easter is simply the English word for it, It has nothing now to do with the pagan origins of the word or with eggs or bunnies. And as someone has rightly pointed out the orthodox call it Pascha. Do you for example insist on not wearing jewellery, covering your head in church and not speaking?

  3. Supermarket: What’s Easter got to do with the church? | News | The Christian Institute

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/supermarket-whats-easter-got-to-do-with-the-church/?e020415

    Easter or Passover? Now we have a supermarket asking “what’s Easter got to do with the church?” (see link above). Maybe NOW is the time to agree with them and give a totally honest answer. What’s Easter got to do with the church? “Absolutely Nothing”. But what has Passover got to do with the church? “Absolutely everything”.
    Trusting that Believers all will begin to understand the significance of the paschal lamb, and all that He has achieved for us at Golgotha on THE Passover of all time.

  4. Excellent article. The lenten fast was also dreamed up by Ishtar as well! She was also known as Semiramis and was the mother of Nimrod, but also married him. Easter and Christmas have troubled me for years and I am so glad that more and more churches in the UK are celebrating Passover instead of Easter.

  5. Great article, certainly gets one thinking.

  6. Centuries of church tradition does not make it right or true and
    subtly camouflages the significance of the greatest act of sacrifice
    ever known and on which the history of the human race was changed
    forever. Passover is a mirror and picture of that earth changing
    event. It should not be trivialised and linked with paganism which
    is by no means dead. It is very much alive and being sought by those
    who are trying to give meaning to their lives.
    The church’s acquiescence to these myths and its acceptance of eggs
    and rabbits as symbols of the greatest sacrifice on earth is
    trivialising and appeasing to generations of people who need to know
    the truth. Passover spells it out loud and clear and its significance
    was revealed to the Jewish nation first and then to the world. Lets be
    clear!

  7. I’m afraid I agree with Peter to a considerable extent. I move in Messianic circles, and fully appreciate the need to get back to Jewish roots of the faith, but it is only in the English speaking world, as far as I am aware, that the term Easter is used. Other Western Christian nations use variations on Pesach, usually through Greek and Latin Pascha, yet they still celebrate on the day we call Easter, not on Passover itself. I was gulled by books when I was younger like ‘The Two Babylons’ that spoke a lot of crap amidst some truths about the early church / Roman catholic origins and Babylonian religions, but I was able over time, and with theological training and knowledge of church history to realize that a lot of claims are, at best, overstated. Sometimes being so insistent on ‘pure Jewish roots’ can lead people astray and ignore the Jewish roots in the faith of some things that are often claimed to be pagan in origin – such as celebrating and meeting on Sundays. There is actually very good reason to believe that it was an early, indeed probably a New Testament practice, and stemmed from a thorough-going Jewish understanding of the significance of Jesus’ resurrection, but you wouldn’t catch a hint of that from the ‘church fathers were pagan corrupters’ crowd….

  8. Peter, I would like to answer your question if I may. You asked the question – Where do you stop. We stop when we know the word of God so well that we come into obedience with all His commands. Admittedly, this will probably be our life’s work, however, if our Father gave/spoke these commands for us then surely He wants us to obey them. I don’t believe the word of God is something we can pick and choose from – He wants us, all of us, all of our heart not just a part of it that we are willing to give. Jesus was totally obedient to His Father to the point of the cross. He didn’t compromise, when He so easily could have. He loves and wants us so much, but He wants us to put Him first in our lives & if that requires sacrifice of ‘our’ traditions in order to be obedient to Him, then so be it. It is a small price to pay for all He has done for us.

  9. Passover. It certainly does matter. Last year I was in a conference and discovered how easter came about (Constantine & the pope etc). I felt thoroughly cheated by the church, who don’t teach the biblical truth. Our Lord observed Passover – why should we follow a roman emperor aiming to distract us from our faith in order to obey him, instead of be obedient to our Father and Lord!

  10. I think, we must always keep in mind that Israel and the Jew are God’s chosen earthly land and people; while the christian is God’s heavenly people.Our destined home is Heaven not Israel. As gentiles, our approach to God is different.They await their Messiah the first time….we await our Lord at His second coming.I think we need to be very careful we don’t start to mix and match feasts and festivals up.
    They have the type…we have the reality.

  11. Thank you I found this really helpful as just the other day I found myself wondering whether to use the term Easter or instead say Passover. So I am taking your teaching as a confrmation to me from God to use Passover in future.

  12. Dear Emmaus friends,
    I commend you for what you have written about Easter and look forward to your Christmas comment to come.
    I am not sure about what to say about celebrating passover however as we celebrate the Lord’s death until He comes when we partake of The Lord’s Table (or communion). Also we should be mindful of our great debt to Him every day and especially when we worship on Sundays.
    I do not agree that these old pagan traditions are dead – they are alive and kicking and to be seen in RE in schools and sadly also in some churches (e.g. at Dor Kemmyn in Cornwall where multifaith ceremonies, including Wicca, are demonstrated to youngsters in the presence of the Bishop of Truro and his Methodist counterpart – this is public knowledge and has been in our papers with photographs). Also, lies are told to little ones about Father Christmas, how can we expect them to believe us as parents when we tell them about Jesus?

    In my experience some CHRISTIANS tend to get upset if you mention that you do not celebrate Christmas and you have to be prepared for a bit of flack sometimes if the subject somes up as some can find it very threatening.
    Assuredly it is a great price to pay to stand on these issues especially if your family do not agree but joy and peace will follow year on year. Everyone must seek the Lord’s will for themselves as you say but I have never regretted giving up Easter and Christmas celebrations.

  13. Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century Anglican priest who became a Roman Catholic, stated that 79 per cent of RC practice was derived from the pagans. Easter is not the only observance the Church needs to jettison. Let’s return to our Jewish roots.

  14. I am in agreement with the general approach of this article. We can perhaps ALL accept that the early post-apostolic church for various reasons – and some of them very good reasons – determined to over-write certain pagan festivals and so to “Christianise” them. This may have been acceptable 1800 years ago but we must question whether it remains acceptable today – especially when we now know better. The second point we have to make is that the conscious determination to ignore Passover MAY also have been part of the Church’s attempt to de-judaise the Christian faith, and so to ignore the Hebraic root of our faith. This in turn has engendered and encouraged nearly 2000 years of Christian persecution of Jews – some vehement and some by attitude/prejudice alone.

    It is surely dishonouring to Jesus, the acceptable Passover lamb – who was slain so that the judgement that ought to have landed on me, should instead PASS-OVER me and settle upon the Lord, to ignore the single most important event in the history of Mankind, and instead celebrate the name of a pagan fertility godess. That the Judgement should PASS-OVER the penitent sinner is what the entire Christian Good News is all about. Why on earth should we seek to confuse it by ignoring the Passover festival, and tag it on to ‘easter eggs’ and ‘bunnies’ and end of winter celebrations etc etc etc??!!

    Whilst this may have been acceptable 1800 years ago as the early church fought a real battle with the then current pagan religions, today we live in a very different world. Most Christians believe that a time will come (soon?) when a large number of Jewish people will place their trust and faith in Jesus. Do we think they will be enticed into the Kingdom by marking history’s most important event through Eostre? I doubt it! And what about Hindus, Moslems, Buddists, Communists, Secularists – and the plain ordinary sad Agnostic? Should they not also be encouraged to SEE the powerful effect of our sins being washed away in the blood of the lamb, and the Judgement that ought to afflict us instead PASS-OVER and be settled by the Lord Jesus? That is the most wonderful GOOD NEWS!

    No, the time is approaching, FAST, when the true Christian church will re-order its priorities, and I suspect this will involve CELEBRATING a slightly different calendar, but most important of all, celebrating THE TRUE Passover.

    Blessings in the Name of the Passover Lamb, Peter Sammons

  15. Much as I respect the point you are trying to make, I think this type of exercise: trying to bring about an interpretation of what has been accepted as church tradition for centuries in the light of long dead pagan beliefs is a distraction to the serious work you are doing. The trouble with this approach is where do you stop. The very days of the week are originally pagan Wednesday was Woden’s day, for example. Sunday well !! We are redeemed and generally church activity in as much as it takes what is of earth and blesses it, partakes in the redemptive activity of God. We are therefore safe to celebrate Jesus resurrection anytime anywhere but particularly gathered together at the end of the lenten fast.

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