Easter Is Not Christian
One thing that I never understood in my life was the celebration of Easter. I mean, what do chocolate, eggs, and rabbits have to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rabbits don’t even lay eggs, maybe if they used chickens it might make more sense. The whole Easter tradition is so out of place that comedian James Gaffigan said that it sounds like a drunk man made it up.
You see how ridiculous it sounds. But on a more serious note, what exactly is the history of Easter, and does it really have anything to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Well, I did some research and this is what I found.
Origins of Easter
Why is the word “Easter” associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Where did this word come from?
The origin of the “Easter” is thought to come from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox which now falls around March 21st when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and the day has twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. Traditions associated with this pagan festival survive in the idea of the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in brightly decorated Easter eggs, which are the symbol of rebirth. (1)
The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus its tale is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of his native country: “An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess”–that is, Astarte. (2)
As we can see in the two references above, Easter has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus. This pagan spring festival combined with Jesus’ Resurrection Day and came into Christianity. Easter originated from the tradition of worshipping pagan goddesses, it has no relation with Jesus. The Festival of Eostre, the Teutonic goddess of spring, was traditionally celebrated with rabbits symbolizing fertility and eggs symbolizing rebirth. This Teutonic goddess is the same character as Astarte in Phoenicia. Moreover, there is Ashtoreth in Hebrew, Ishtar in Mesopotamia and etc. The goddesses and their myths respected by ancient countries changed into various forms but using the egg as a symbol of abundance, new life, or fertility has never changed.
This tradition of eating eggs during the ritual of the pagan goddess came into the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus’ resurrection was figuratively compared to the goddess hatching from an egg. Unfortunately, Jesus did not revive like a chick hatching out of the egg but resurrected.
Easter was established by the Roman Emperor Constantine I, in AD 325. Outwardly it seems like they are keeping Jesus’ resurrection, but it is just a pagan custom that was derived from the idea of worshiping the pagan goddesses. It is an idea and a ritual that cannot be celebrated along with Jesus’ resurrection.
How Should Resurrection Day Be Observed?
Leviticus 23:4-14 “‘These are the LORD’S appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD’S Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’S Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly … When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath…This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live…’”
Resurrection Day, which is identical to the Day of Firstfruits of the Old Testament, is on ‘the day after the first Sabbath (the first Sunday) following the Feast of Unleavened Bread.’
For the Day of Firstfruits, the word “firstfruits” reveals its meaning. A sheaf of the first grain was brought to the priest and the priest waved the sheaf before God so it could be accepted. That is why it is also called as “the feast of the wave offering.” The Day of Firstfruits is a copy and shadow of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus died on the cross on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and was the first to resurrect from among the dead on the day after the Sabbath (Sunday) following the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week …
1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
After Jesus resurrected, he opened his disciples’ spiritual eyes by breaking the bread with them.
Luke 24:13-31 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him … When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
The words “now the same day” in the verse above refer to the day Jesus resurrected. Though the disciples were being accompanied by Jesus, they couldn’t recognize him because their spiritual eyes were covered. After eating the bread of the Resurrection Day, they could recognize the Christ. The only way to realize the true Christ is by eating the bread of the Resurrection Day, which contains Jesus’ promise.
A feast celebrated with a sheaf of the first grain is the Day of Firstfruits in the Old Testament. This became the Resurrection Day, the day commemorating Jesus’ work of redemption: dying in atonement for the sins of all humankind and being raised up on the third day after his death. The Resurrection day is the day after the first Sabbath (the first Sunday) following the Feast of Unleavened Bread. If someone is to have their spiritual eyes opened and realize Christ, they must eat the bread of the Resurrection Day broken by Jesus, the true offering of the Day of Firstfruits, and this will make them rise to live.
In conclusion, if you are a real Christian, have nothing to do with the Easter celebration. As we can see, all the traditions associated with Easter derive from paganism. Come celebrate Resurrection Day at the World Mission Society Church of God, receive the bread of the resurrection and open your spiritual eyes to recognize the Christ.