EASTER (vs. RESURRECTION)
How important is celebrating “Easter”?
A good Biblical answer might seem to be:
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Cor. 15:17)
That explains the importance of the resurrection, but not the importance of celebrating Easter.
Should “Easter” in fact be celebrated? You might be thinking “what’s wrong with celebrating Easter? Please consider that we may be asking the wrong question!
As you read the gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (and I urge you to re-read them!), do you get any sense that all of that happened in order to create a day each year in the future to be a special day?
I know that many people will rationalize “special days” as “opportunities” – for sharing the Gospel?, for “witnessing” about what Christ did?, for an occasion to read the Easter story? But is all of that REALLY what GOD intended to be the result of what He did? I believe that God intended every true believer, as a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to have:
joy, perpetual joy, because the penalty for my sins have been paid;
peace, constant and comforting peace (see Romans 5:1);
confidence, steady, abiding confidence, in God, because the resurrection event displays God’s resurrection power – that the One Who promises eternal life to all who trust in Him, can actually perform what He has promised – and He proved that again at the resurrection – He has power over death and the grave, He is truly all-mighty God;
a living, vibrant and personal relationship with God, because that which separates us from God has been removed and because having been joined to God through Christ, becoming a member of His body, we live each day in the light of John 15 (the Vine and the branches – read it!)
And that is God’s intent for your life, and mine, EVERY DAY.
If you get special tingly feelings on Easter, you may be having a momentary emotional experience, or perhaps the other 364 days of the year are not what they should be in your life. When we meditate about the cross of Christ and all that He suffered and endured – for me! – it should move us to humble thanksgiving and to abounding joy! If that only happens on Easter Sunday, shame on us!
God did NOT do what He did to change lives for one day, or even a few days, out of the year. He did what He did to CHANGE us – for the better – and for good, change that grips our lives EVERY day, and in every way.
Further fodder for thought……
IF (and that IS a hypothetical “IF”) God wanted Christians to have a truly holy day (or holy week) set aside for remembrance, celebration, or whatever, do you not think that He would expect to be the sole focus of that time and that we would be expected to be humble and for Him to be totally exalted? If that were so, then from whence come these frivolous, unnecessary and distracting customs such as buying new outfits for Easter, wearing hats on Easter Sunday, Easter egg hunts, candy, Easter bunnies, and on and on ad nauseum. I tremble (Isaiah 66:2) to think how GOD feels. Many of us care a great deal about how WE feel, but rarely give sufficient thought to how GOD must feel - as we offend Him, as we minimize Him and His GREAT work of redemption with frivolousness, as we compromise in our desire to be like the world rather than obey God, come apart from the world and be separate, etc. Are we “honoring God” with our lips while our hearts are [in reality] far from Him?
Selah – meditate on this
You may already know that "Easter" DOES appear in the Bible. It's true. You can find it in the KJV at Acts12:4. Should it be there? NO! The very same Greek word is translated in every other case as "passover", so it has no business being "translated" here as "Easter" (see note at bottom of page). "Easter" has pagan roots and we at BibleTruthForToday sincerely believe that the churches that proclaim that they belong to Jesus Christ have NO business celebrating "Easter" and furthermore have no business engaging in "Easter egg hunts" and the like - all of which are idolatrous.
"Easter egg most likely finds itself in Paganism, where the festival of Eostre – the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and from whom the word “Easter” is derived – was celebrated the first day of spring. As pagan symbols of fertility, eggs were strongly associated with this celebration. Similarly, the Persians accepted that the world was hatched from an egg on the first day of spring, and celebrated the New Year at a time corresponding to Easter. They exchanged at this time dyed eggs as good luck charms. The custom later appeared in Europe because of the Crusaders, who most certainly brought the idea back with them from the East."(Source: www.aqua-sf-news.com/articles/mar07_Easer_Egg.html).
We as Christians can, and should, rejoice and celebrate that "Jesus is risen" - just as He said He would, and "according to the Scriptures"! And so, we should be glad to celebrate the resurrection!, but not Easter.
Many Christians today seem uninterested in reading and knowing the "Old Testament" and consequently there is much Biblical illiteracy even in churches today. There are riches galore to be mined therein that help us to understand what we believe and the deeper significance of many truths. We believe that the Jewish feasts that are outlined in Leviticus 23 shed a great deal of light on the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the feasts primarily serve to instruct us concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and secondarily have application to us. They are not merely historic in nature, but profoundly prophetic in nature. The God of the Bible is a God of Prophecy, Who knows the end from the beginning and chose to reveal things before they happen in order that we mortals might believe that God IS everything He says He is!
The first of the seven feasts listed in Leviticus 23 is Passover which seems to be the anchor for all the rest. If you are unfamiliar with the "passover", or just need a refresher, please take a few moments and read Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23:4-8.
Note: In the KJV, Acts 12:4 is the only place in the Bible where the word "Easter" appears. In the Greek, the word that was translated "Easter" is "pavsca". The Greek word "pavsca" appears 29 times in the New Testament and in the other 28 cases it is correctly translated "passover". It is unfortunate that when translating Acts 12:4 the translators chose to use "Easter" rather than "passover".