The annual religious observance known in Christendom as “Easter Sunday” once again is upon us. This Sunday the vast majority of Christendom will celebrate what most of organized Christianity now considers the highest Holy Day on the religious calendar. It has been celebrated now for centuries since the Church Council at Nicaea in 325 A.D. set the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox as “Easter Sunday.” At first glance, that premise may seem innocuous…until it is understood that it was the early “Universal Church’s” adoption of the pagan day of veneration of the Babylonian goddess Ostara (alternately spelled “Eostre”, aka, Ishtar), the entire system of which is squarely centered in Babylonian pagan astrology, the anti-God religious system devised by Satan himself to redirect humanity’s worship of God to himself.
While Easter festivities are now observed by Christian groups around the world, the irrefutable fact is that the observance is entirely without Biblical precedence, and in truth owes its origins to pagan worship of the ancient goddess Astarte and her counterpart in Teutonic mythology, the Greek goddess of spring, Eostre, who pagans lavished with hedonistic worship in a festival named after her that was held each year on the vernal equinox, March 21st, in hopes of evincing her favor with the beneficences of a warm and bright springtime after enduring the bleaknesses of a long, cold and dreary winter. Many of the festivities associated with Easter today, such as “Easter Egg Hunts” and the “Easter Bunny,” have no connection whatever to the resurrection of Christ, and are carry-overs from the pagan festivals. Eggs and rabbits, for obvious reasons, have long been symbols of fertility and reproduction in paganism and mythology.
While the High Holy Day of Easter continues to be observed by the majority of mainline Christian denominations, nevertheless, a small number of Christian church-groups do not celebrate Easter at all, and a growing number of churches have adopted the more Biblically-appropriate alternative appellation of “Resurrection Sunday” for their observance of the special day. Though its importance continues to wane a little more with each passing year, in the minds of many in modern societies of the world, for those churches that do celebrate Easter or Resurrection Sunday, traditionally it is the high-water-mark in attendance, which likely has a lot to do with why those churches continue to observe and promote it.
However, is celebration of Easter or Resurrection Sunday, whichever you prefer to call it, Scriptural, or more importantly, God-pleasing, at all? Is it possible that in our rightful zeal to glorify God for the empty tomb on that original first day of the week when Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Christ, we have almost entirely overlooked, or at least under-emphasized, what else transpired that glorious resurrection morn nearly two-thousand years ago that IS very much worthy of exultation and exaltation of the Almighty God of genuine Christianity?
Irrefutable Facts About the Origins of Easter
The assignation of “Easter”—a.k.a, “The Day of Ishtar—is derived from the alternate name for the goddess Ostara, also spelled “eostre,” known also in the pagan worship of some nations as “Ishtar,” and in others as “Isis.” In every case the goddess known by these various names is considered “The Moon Goddess” as well as “The Fertility Goddess.” In various other pagan cultures in certain nations, some still existing, some not, this same idol, or false goddess has a variety of names—some familiar, some not so. In Chinese paganism her name is Shingmoo; in Egypt, Isis; the pagan Ephesians worshipped her as, Dianna; Greeks, Aphrodite/Ceres; in Druid paganism, Virgo Paritura; to the ancient pagan Jews, Ashtaroth (Queen of Heaven); to the Estruscans, Nutria; in India, Isi/Indrani; to the old Saxon (German) pagans, Hertha; to Scandinavian pagans, Disa; to Hare Krishnas, Devaki; to Catholics espousing Marian doctrines, her name is The Virgin Mary—Queen of Heaven; to Pentecostals/Neo-Pentecostals, she is Jezebel.
In pagan worship as well as more modern Astrology, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first new moon after Ostara, and therefore the date it is celebrated is not a fixed date each year, but rather is dependent upon the astrological calendar, which in itself demonstrates it is a product not of the perfectly ordered God-set Creational chronology, but of a chaotic creature-invented astrometry. Another indicator of the bastardizations inherent in the religions of man, which are designed to deflect to the archrival of God the worship, praise, honor and glory due exclusively to Jehovah-God, the Creator of all. “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:25).
The pagan high holy days coinciding with the time range during which Easter falls each year in practice are totally unrelated to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather celebration of the return of Semiramis—said to be the wife of Nimrod, the ruler of ancient Babylon—into her reincarnated form of the Spring Goddess. Indeed, the roots of “Easter” can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon, the original manifestation of Satan’s kingdom on Earth, and the most idolatrous form of paganism. Beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, Babylon is referenced numerous times in the Bible as the earthly manifestation of Satan’s kingdom on earth, which God will ultimately destroy. Pagan tradition holds that following Nimrod’s death, Semiramis, who, along with Nimrod, is considered to be the co-founder of all occult religions, invented the legend that Nimrod was actually her Divine Son whom she birthed in a “virgin birth.”
From there the Easter mythology gets even more bizarre, but also reveals the source of Easter related rituals and practices. The Babylonians, the original pagan worshippers, celebrated the return of Ishtar (Easter)—the goddess of Spring—on the day, as well as the rebirth, or reincarnation, of “Mother Nature,” or the goddess of Nature. According to Babylonian mythology, a gigantic egg fell from heaven into the Euphrates River. The egg broke upon impact and out of this egg emerged the goddess Ishtar (Easter). A short time later, the concept of an egg incubating in a nest until it hatched was conjured up to represent the original legendary event, and the “Ishtar eggs” and nest were placed in a “wicker” or reed basket and carried by pagan practitioners during the Easter or Ishtar festivities and ceremonies. The idea of an “Easter Egg Hunt” as part of the celebrations was conceived as well, the essence of which was that the persons who found the celebratory hidden “Ishtar eggs,” dyed with bright spring colors, during her annual “rebirth” time would receive special blessings from Ishtar, which included special impartations of fertility, because, as mentioned, Ishtar, Eostre, Ostara, is the supreme fertility goddess.
I’ve presented here only a very cursory history of so-called “Easter,” only enough to show that its roots are actually pagan and not a part of historical, Biblical, and orthodox Christianity. There are perhaps hundreds more sources of its history published on the Internet, and can be readily obtained using a search engine. My main reason for presenting a small bit of the history is to demonstrate what a distraction and departure from the primary message of the resurrection Easter celebrations are today. I find it extremely difficult to find any redeeming quality of celebrating “Easter” when compared to the richness of the message of the resurrection of Christ on that first Resurrection Morning. My motivation is not condemnation for those who celebrate Easter, but rather illumination of the surpassing greatness of the Resurrection Message.
The Rest of the Easter Story
For 1,688 years since Easter was officially established as a Holy Day of observance in Christendom, Christians have celebrated that the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea Jesus’ mutilated body was placed in was empty. Of course the tomb was empty…Jesus told the disciples repeatedly He would rise again on the third day! He had also told them He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Zoe, the eternal life of God)! They should have known death could not overcome the Life of God! Had they believed His claims, they would not have been perplexed to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty on the third day!
Though it may sound sacrilegious to some, the empty tomb was not the greatest or the grandest event that occurred on that third day, following Jesus bodily death. Nor was it that He had defeated death and rose triumphantly from the bowels of hell, and was alive, demonstrating that death, hell, and the grave—all products of the devil’s rebellion and apostasy—were powerless to hold Him! For He was the Creator, and “the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it” (Rom. 8:20). Indeed this Resurrection of the only Begotten Son of God, “the firstborn (prototokos, Gr.; prototype, Eng.) from the dead” (Col. 1:18; cf., Rev. 1:5), was the inaugural “revealing of the Sons of God” (Rom. 8:19), that “Holy Race” (1 Pet. 2:9) of Redeemed Humanity, “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17) who, in the final denouement of the Redemption plan will ultimately share His “glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
The unfortunate thing about the annual celebration of the empty tomb on a man-made religious “Holy Day” when churches and Christians make such a to-do about what happened on what they call “Easter Sunday,” which is nowhere found or referred to in Scripture, is that it undermines the greatest and grandest events that occurred that day, now more than 2,100 decades ago, and the result is that very, very few believers even know what those events were.
The first of these two events is what occurred after Jesus had the encounter with Mary, in which He said, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended unto My Father” (Jn. 20:17). He said this to her and stopped her from embracing Him because what would happen next would be that He would ascend into Heaven as the true High Priest of whom all the thousands of years of Hebrew high priests represented. The Levitical law concerning the High Priest while He was performing the oblational ordinance dictated that He could not touch or be touched by any human, particularly, a woman, lest He be defiled and disqualified as the High Priest. This is why He forbad her to touch Him, for He had not yet ascended unto the Father as the true High Priest bearing the sins of the world as the Kinsman Redeemer!
The story of Jesus appearing before the throne of God as the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, as well as the true High Priest, and what took place during that incredible event is found in Zechariah 3. It chronicles what took place when Joshua (Hebrew for Jesus) the High Priest stood before the Throne of God with Satan, the Accuser, standing next to Him, accusing Him before God. I will not expound upon this event here in great length, except to say that this is when the ultimate judge, God Almighty, declared the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, “Enough!” The blood He had shed—Holy and wholly innocent blood—was sufficient as a propitiation to satisfy the penalty for the sin of the whole world. Then the Almighty ordered that His bloodied and filthy garments (our sinfulness and wickedness) and the filthy turban on His head (what on earth during His fleshly suffering was the crown of thorns) be removed and replaced with the robes and crown of righteousness and royalty. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
His sacrifice—the ultimate sacrifice—was the satisfaction for our waywardness and wickedness, and it made our redemption complete. Now the Lamb who was slain had been exalted to the right hand of God, and given a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father! (Php. 2:9).
But, in reality, with respect to the ultimate purpose of the Redemption Plan, the culminating event that took place that third day—Resurrection Day—did not happen in the morning at all, but that evening. It was when the glorified Jesus walked through the locked door of the Upper Room (Aren’t you glad that Jesus does not allow the doors we’ve locked in our lives to keep Him out, actually keep Him out of our lives?), and the first words He spoke after returning to earth from the Throne of God in Heaven were, “Shalom! Peace be unto you!” (Lk. 24:36). With this greeting He was saying that the disciples and the whole world—whosoever would believe in Him and confess Him as Savior and Lord—now had PEACE with God! The sacrifice He had just completed had established PEACE between God and men! The utter spiritual defilement that utterly separated utterly unholy humanity had been utterly removed! God’s righteous and just wrath against wicked sinners—you and me and every person ever born except Jesus—had now been appeased, once and for all! Then, the glorified Christ and Kinsman Redeemer breathed upon those gathered in the Upper Room and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost!” It was at that very moment that the very first disciples in the history of the Adamic race were Born Again and thereby became the firstborn of “the Holy Race,” as they were infused with the Holy Spirit in their formerly dead (Eph. 2:1) human spirits! Think of that! Marvel at that! It is truly marvelous and mindboggling!
And, Praise God, that is how it has been transpiring ever since whenever anyone believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ and confesses Him as Savior and Lord—they are infused with the indwelling Holy Spirit and thereby Born Again, becoming a new creature in Christ—old things passed away, and new things come!
Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
“And now,” as the late Born Again Christian Paul Harvey used to say, “you know the REST of the story!”
Holy Days Discontinued In New Testament Era
Speaking through inspiration of the Spirit, the Apostle Paul, the spiritual patriarch of the Gentile church, chastised the Galatian Church for their spiritual regression or apostasy with regard to their returning to observance of special “days and months and seasons and years” as required by the teachings of the “Messianic Judaism” which they had become influenced by infiltrating Judaizers in Paul’s absence:
Now, however, that you have come to be acquainted with and understand and know [the true] God, or rather to be understood and known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly and worthless elementary things [of all religions before Christ came], whose slaves you once more want to become? You observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years! I am alarmed [about you], lest I have labored among and over you to no purpose and in vain. (Gal. 4:9-11; A.B.)
The Kingdom Is Come!
It is an established fact supported by a preponderance of historical information in addition to Scripture itself that the earliest Gentile believers under the tutelage of the early apostles such as the Apostle Paul and his contemporaries rejected, and in the case of Jewish believers, renounced, the observance of “special” holy days, seasons, months, and years, including all the Jewish feasts. The early apostles taught that with the death and resurrection of Christ the Kingdom had now come, and unfettered access to God and the Spirit-realm had been granted, and thus there was no further need for the types and shadows of the Old Covenant era. Now there was a “new and living way.” Now the “way, the truth, and the life” had been manifest.
“It is FINISHED,” Jesus declared from the cross at Calvary with his final dying breath! And, at that very moment, the veil in the Temple that had for centuries separated the Holy Place from The Most Holy place was rent from top to bottom as the Spirit of God burst forth from behind the blue, purple, and scarlet fine twisted linen veil (Ex. 26:31) that for millennia theretofore inalterably segregated unholy, sin-infested mankind from the pristinely Holy Almighty God, nevermore to be incarcerated behind that veil, but released to now take up residence in surrendered believers in the true Lamb of God who had just “taken away the sin of the world,” as John The Baptist prophetically pronounced (Jn. 1:29)!
Will You Celebrate A Pagan Fertility Goddess or The Resurrection of the Savior?
This Sunday being what the Church-world as a whole and the secular-world alike refer to as “Easter,” this is a good time for genuine Born Again (there is no other kind in truth) believers in Christ to take a fresh look at just what the perennial day of observance is really all about and whether or not the concept of “Easter,” including the invocation of the term, is genuinely glorifying to the God who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to be the Ransom required to take away the sin of the world. More and more believers are beginning to understand that the celebration of “Easter” is actually rooted in paganism and has nothing whatever to do with the resurrection of Christ on the third day following His death on the cross on the religious day that came to be called “Good Friday.” For me personally, that is a good thing. Sacrificing the fleeting frivolity of Easter egg decoration and hunts and being tagged a “bah-humbug” is a small price to pay for not obscuring and detracting from the glorious truths of what really happened on that first Resurrection Morning when that donated tomb in which Jesus’ mutilated body had been placed was empty because the Messiah had risen just as He prophesied He would, having purchased our redemption on the Cross at Calvary, not just covering over as the blood of bulls and goats could only do, but TAKING AWAY—REMITTING (a word totally unique to the New Testament and not found in the Old)—my sin and yours! Hallelujah!
Gladly, without any reservation, sorrow, or mourning, will I trade the temporal and short-lived happiness of my children in finding a painted chicken egg, for the everlasting, uncontainable, and inexpressible joy they will experience when their spirit bursts through the Portals of Glory to find the Savior who saved them by His grace waiting with open arms to receive them into eternal fellowship, greeting them with a standing ovation (Ac. 7:56) and that greatest of all salutations we all long to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into joys of your Master!”
By the way, do you think it might matter to God if we celebrate the triumphant and glorious resurrection of the Son of God, which gave eternal life as a free gift to every truly Born Again believer in human history, or a pagan day paying homage to Satan and false gods and was invented as a mockery and diversion of the very fact that Christ broke the throes of death, hell, and the grave and rose from the dead—ALIVE FOREVERMORE? I DO! Yes, I do!
And, if you are a pastor, or an elder or a deacon of a flock of God’s Sheep who says you believe in the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and yet you mix the memory and commemoration of the resurrection of Christ with the symbols of worship of the pagan goddess Astarte, without remorse or even a tinge of guilt pricking your conscience, and use that pagan worship as a promotional tool to draw people to your church on Resurrection Sunday, even after you’ve read articles and information like this, well, I guess there’s nothing else I have to say to you. But, I can promise you one thing, ONE DAY, yes, sir, ONE DAY, you’re going to have to look into the eyes that John described as flames of fire, and explain it to HIM, and HE is going to have a LOT to say to you! Yes, sir, ONE DAY, that is going to happen, and I don’t have the words to tell you how glad I am and will be that I am not you! Hallelujah!###
Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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