What does the Bible teach about Easter? Is it to be celebrated or not?
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We should ask ourselves several questions to determine whether or not we should celebrate a religious holiday. For example: Is it commanded by God in the Bible? Do we see examples of it being kept by God's people in the Old and/or New Testaments? What is the history of the observance of a given holiday? Do its roots lie in pagan worship, which God commanded His people not to imitate in their worship of Him?
The word Easter is mentioned only once in the King James Version of the Bible in Acts 12:4. Scholars recognize that this is a mistranslation of the word pascha, the Greek form of the Hebrew word meaning "Passover," as it is now rendered in the New King James Version. "Easter," as is noted in The Companion Bible margin, "is a heathen term, derived from the Saxon goddess Eastre, the same as Astarte, the Syrian Venus, called Ashtoreth in the Old Testament."
Easter not only lacks biblical authority, but it was brought into "Christianity" to replace God's commanded festival. Trying to justify this, religious leaders gave this festival a Christian meaning—the celebration of Christ's resurrection. As wonderful as Christ's resurrection is, the Bible tells us to annually commemorate His death (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The Bible says nothing about using rabbits and Easter eggs to remember Christ's resurrection.
Therefore, those of us in the United Church of God, publisher of Vertical Thought, keep the biblical Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, as Jesus Christ and the early New Testament Church did. We do not celebrate Easter.
Given the history of Easter, it is quite understandable why so many people today think of Christianity as only a celebration of what Christ has done for us, instead of the honorable quest to live godly lives.
If you would like to know more of the facts about Easter and other holidays, request our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? Additional information about God's annual Holy Days is also presented in our free booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.