Ten-year old Jack, curious about the trappings of Easter, asks: "Mom, why do we have Easter sunrise services?"
His mother answers, "Easter sunrise services honor the risen Jesus Christ."
"Why do we color eggs?" he asks. "Because eggs represent life," his mother replies.
"Then why Easter bunnies?" continues Jack. "Because rabbits are very fertile" his mother responds.
Jack probes deeper
Ten years later Jack is still searching for answers. He now wants to know: Is Easter really about the Jesus described in the Bible? And what do sunrise services, eggs and bunnies have to do with the Jesus the apostles served?
He is shocked when he discovers that pagan deities were worshipped with Easter-like celebrations 2,000 years before Jesus' birth. But even more so by admissions from highly esteemed church leaders that Jesus never observed Easter or any of the holidays of today's Christianity.
Festivals the early Christian observed
In the New Catholic Encyclopedia Jack finds this candid admission: "The earliest Christians did not immediately disassociate themselves from the observance of the Jewish feasts. Many references in the NT [New Testament] indicate that Jesus and His disciples, as well as the early Palestinian Christian communities, observed the Sabbath and the major annual festivals" (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Early Christian Feasts, 1967, Vol. 5, p. 867; emphasis added throughout).
Jack then finds in Deuteronomy 16:1-16 a list of the actual biblical days that Jesus and the early Christians kept.
He also finds from historical sources that the "Easter" egg tradition can be traced to ancient Egypt. And hot cross buns are traceable to the founding of Athens (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1959, Easter, p. 108).
Even the names Easter, Ishtar (Assyrian) and Astarte (Chaldean) were connected to the mystical mother-goddess of the cultic deity Tammuz, an ancient counterfeit Messiah (ibid, p. 105; Ezekiel 8:14).
Why Jack decides to copy Jesus
He also found that Easter is never mentioned in the Bible (except as wrongly rendered in one translation where the word Pasha, meaning Passover, is improperly translated "Easter" in Acts 12:4).
So Jack now chooses to do as Jesus did, to follow His example by observing the biblical festivals.
Holy Day links to Jesus
With further study Jack has learned from Bible that God established His Holy Days as explicit reminders of His spiritual truths. They foreshadow things to come in His plan for mankind. Each festival highlights a specific role which Jesus, as of now, has already fulfilled or eventually will fulfill in God's salvation plan (Colossians 2:16-17).
But Easter customs can all be traced back to pagan practices such as the Tammuz worship condemned in Ezekiel 8:14-16. These cultic customs on which Easter and the other holidays of traditional Christianity are based gradually replaced the biblically established ways of worship that Jesus and His apostles practiced.
They also corrupted how Jesus and His gospel message are perceived by most people. The early replacement of biblical Holy Days with celebrations rooted in paganism led not only to a different gospel but also to a distorted perception of the historic Jesus.
According to the apostle Paul, there is only one true gospel. And to adopt or support any other message claiming to be Jesus' gospel is a serious offense with potentially devastating consequences (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4).
The real Jesus
The Jesus of the Bible did not die on Friday evening or rise on Sunday morning. He died on a Wednesday and was buried in a tomb just before sunset. He lay three nights and days in the grave (Matthew 12:40).
He was resurrected near the end of the weekly Sabbath (late on Saturday afternoon), 12 hours earlier than the Easter sunrise services of today. Easter sunrise services deny this historical truth—the only sign that Jesus gave to prove His identity as the Messiah (Matthew 12:40).
Jesus kept and taught early Christians to observe the biblical Passover, not Easter.
Check it out like Jack did!
Follow Jack's example
As a boy, Jack asked questions. He accepted truth and rejected false beliefs carried over from the past—some from as far back as ancient Babylon. He responded to the command: "Come out of her [Babylon the Great, which represents our confused world], my people, lest you share in her sins …" (Revelation 18:4). How about you? Will you search out the truth as Jack did?
You can embark on your fact finding search for the true Jesus and His teachings by requesting, downloading or reading online our free and helpful booklet: Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?