Friday, April 15, 2011

Celebrating Easter!

Anonymous wrote to rightly instruct us that:

“…pascha NT:3957 mistranslated "Easter" in Acts 12:4 , KJV, denotes the Passover (RV). The phrase "after the Passover" signifies after the whole festival was at an end. The term "Easter" is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast, but was not instituted by Christ, nor was it connected with Lent. From this Pasch the pagan festival of "Easter" was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity. See PASSOVER. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words).

16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Jeremiah 44

This is a form of the “genetic fallacy,” which is committed when an idea is either accepted or rejected because of its source, rather than its merit. We ought not to reject an idea just because of where it comes from. For example, bad people sometimes have good ideas and visa versa. Proverbs 18:17 reminds us that “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” So, the question is not, “What did the root of the word “Easter” mean when the translators of the KJV misused it, but rather, what does is mean now? As Christians, we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord every day, but especially every Lord’s Day when we gather corporately to worship Him; this is required (Heb. 10:24-25). Nevertheless, we are permitted to voluntarily set aside special days of celebration and feasting.

Our anonymous friend asserted that the reason Easter “was introduced into the apostate Western religion,” was “part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity.” Now I’m not sure how he/she knows that this was the reason, but I would suggest there was a different reason. As the gospel spread into pagan lands it not only conquered pagan hearts, it also conquered pagan culture; it redeemed individuals and societies. An old pagan festival was transformed into a Christian victory celebration (victory over the pagans). A similar argument is out there concerning the pagan roots of Christmas. A friend of mine said that we do not worship pagan Christmas Trees. What we do is go out and cut down pagan trees, bring them home, decorate them and sing Christian victory songs around them.

The Easter celebrations of the Christian Church have no hint of “burning incense to the pagan queen of heaven,” nor of “pouring out drink offerings unto her.” If they did, they would indeed be pagan celebrations and would deserve God’s judgment and our disapproval. Of course we are not required to celebrate Easter as a “special day,” any more than we are required to celebrate birthdays.

1 comment:

  1. He is risen! He is risen indeed!!! We celebrate THAT!!! We were not called to be dour, we were called to rejoice and glory in Jesus. Thanks Pastor Booth. :-)