Walking With God: The Truth About Easter and Passover

You are here

Walking With God

The Truth About Easter and Passover

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (6.05 MB)

Downloads

Walking With God: The Truth About Easter and Passover

MP3 Audio (6.05 MB)
×

While millions assume these customs are Christian, nowhere in the Bible are they found being practiced by the Church Jesus founded. If Easter and its traditions don’t come from Holy Scripture, where did they originate?

They in fact emerged from ancient paganism. The English word Easter is derived from the Old English term Eostre or Ostara, the name of the goddess of the spring, the dawn and fertility. Over 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, pagan people reveled in festivals to this and other pagan gods and goddesses that included sex rituals and even orgies. These festivities occurred around the time of the spring equinox when the sun’s rays brought warmth and life to the earth following the cold and darkness of winter.

Easter and its customs have pagan roots

In pagan cultures, eggs often symbolized fertility and reproduction. For example, the ancient Druids in Britain and Gaul (modern-day France), were said to dye eggs and bury them in the newly plowed fields in late winter to encourage fertility and prosperity. As to the Easter bunny, in ancient times rabbits, as a rapidly breeding mammal, were valued as a sign of producing offspring. In addition, the Easter sunrise service has roots in the pagan ritual of prostrating before the rising sun (see Ezekiel 8:16 Ezekiel 8:16And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
American King James Version×
).

How did Easter and its customs become infused into traditional Christianity? It was due to the rise of misguided, compromising teachers who appropriated heathen spring rituals and deceptively applied them to Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 [4] And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
American King James Version×
; Colossians 2:8 Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
American King James Version×
; Deuteronomy 12:30-32 Deuteronomy 12:30-32 [30] Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. [31] You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. [32] What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
American King James Version×
).

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words states that Easter was “introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity” (1985, “Easter,” pp. 344-345, emphasis added throughout).

Also, author James Frazer wrote: “When we reflect how often the [mainstream] Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis” of Greek mythology (The Golden Bough, 1890, p. 345).

Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover

Jesus, His disciples and the early New Testament Church never observed Easter or its rituals. Rather, they unfailingly kept the Passover and the Holy Days of the Bible. Although the word “Easter” appears in Acts 12:4 Acts 12:4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
American King James Version×
in the King James Version of the Bible, it is a mistranslation. The original Greek word in this scripture is Pascha, meaning “Passover,” which most modern Bible versions translate correctly.

Passover, a solemn and sacred annual occasion in ancient Israel, commemorated how God miraculously redeemed and freed the people from slavery in Egypt. On the first Passover evening in Egypt a lamb was slain, roasted and eaten in each Israelite household. Its blood was placed on the lintel and doorposts of their dwellings as a sign of God’s protection from the plague of the death of the firstborn sent in judgment upon Egypt (Exodus 12:12-13 Exodus 12:12-13 [12] For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. [13] And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
American King James Version×
).

The lambs killed on that evening symbolized Jesus Christ as the future sacrificial “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
American King James Version×
). Christ accomplished this by voluntarily offering Himself as a sacrifice with His blood shed so repentant individuals could be spared from eternal, spiritual death (Matthew 26:28 Matthew 26:28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
American King James Version×
; Romans 5:20 Romans 5:20Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
American King James Version×
).

On the first New Testament Passover, He used the symbols of unleavened bread and wine to represent His sinless body and His blood, which were sacrificed to cleanse those who repent of their sins and reconcile them to God (Luke 22:19 Luke 22:19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 1:7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
American King James Version×
). As the apostle Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×
, Jesus Himself was represented by the Old Testament lamb sacrifice: “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

Jesus kept the Passover throughout His lifetime (Luke 2:41-43 Luke 2:41-43 [41] Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. [42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. [43] And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
American King James Version×
; John 2:13 John 2:13And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 26:17-19 Matthew 26:17-19 [17] Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover? [18] And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master said, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples. [19] And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
American King James Version×
). And some 25 years after His death and resurrection, the apostles and other members of His Church were still faithfully keeping the Passover (Acts 20:6 Acts 20:6And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
).

Reject Easter and observe God’s Passover and Holy Days

God told the people of ancient Israel to observe the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread in conjunction with the Passover, as a reminder that He freed them from Egyptian bondage (Leviticus 23:5-8 Leviticus 23:5-8 [5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover. [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
American King James Version×
). This is symbolic of the redemption that repentant individuals have from the spiritual slavery of sin as a result of Christ’s sacrifice.

Unleavened bread is symbolic of Jesus’ sinless life, which true Christians must strive to imitate. As the “bread of life,” Jesus is at the very center of this festival, just as He is in all of God’s annual Holy Days (John 6:35 John 6:35And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
American King James Version×
; Colossians 2:17 Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
American King James Version×
). He personally observed this feast, as did the apostles and all the early Church (Acts 20:6 Acts 20:6And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
).

Finally, the truth is that Easter is a deceptive substitute for the Passover and needs to be utterly rejected. Instead, the Passover and God’s yearly seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread must be observed faithfully by all true Christians at this time of year (Luke 22:19 Luke 22:19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
American King James Version×
; Leviticus 23:6-8 Leviticus 23:6-8 [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
American King James Version×
).

This is part of what it means to walk with God in faith and obedience—to turn from our old ways, habits and customs and to begin living in accordance with His commandments. (To learn more, download or request our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)