My childhood memories of Easter are few and far between. I remember being bundled up for an occasional sunrise service, and I recall a few Easter egg hunts around the yard, but that’s about it.
As much as anything, though, I remember being puzzled. Who came up with the idea of getting up in the dark to have church services at sunrise? That certainly held no appeal for me. Nor did Easter egg hunts, especially when the kids who were bigger and older than me found all the good ones first. For a while my family kept a few rabbits in cages behind the garage, and even at my young age I had figured out that rabbits didn’t lay eggs, so why pretend that they did?
All in all, Easter was puzzling. My parents found it puzzling, too, and it wasn’t long before they stopped celebrating the holiday.
Their reasons were simple. They found that the only time the word “Easter” is found in the Bible is 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)—but that the actual original word there is the Greek word for Passover. Easter really doesn’t appear there at all, but was inserted by a confused translator. So where did Easter come from?
They looked in several encyclopedias to learn about the origins of Easter and its traditions. They quickly came to see that sunrise services, rabbits and eggs were part of the ancient worship of the Babylonian fertility goddess Ishtar— whose name is preserved today in the word Easter— and that these customs and symbols were common in pagan religion long before Christianity came on the scene.
Digging further into the Bible, they saw in Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Deuteronomy 12:29-32 29 When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land;
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×that God commands His people not to worship Him with the customs and practices that other peoples used in worshipping their false gods, and that God calls such traditions an abomination—something He detests and refuses to accept.
So they stopped. No more Easter for them!
Their search led them to discover that a lot of the practices commonly thought to be from the Bible actually had very dubious origins that had nothing to do with Christianity!
This learning process took time—several years, in fact. They also looked in the Bible to try to figure out how to fit the three days and three nights Jesus promised He would be in the tomb (Matthew 12:40 Matthew 12:40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
American King James Version×) between a Good Friday crucifixion and an Easter Sunday resurrection. They learned that it just didn’t work—that the most you can come up with is two nights, a day, and a small part of another day.
A turning point came when they realized that the Bible reveals a series of festivals and Holy Days that spell out God’s plan for humankind, and how these teach us about Jesus Christ’s role in that plan—and that while Jesus, the apostles and the early Church celebrated these days, they’ve been largely ignored by traditional Christianity for the last 2,000 years. My parents began keeping these instead.
Thanks to their diligence in searching out what the Bible really teaches about such things, and leading me to examine matters for myself, I haven’t had to unlearn a lot of wrong assumptions and teachings that simply aren’t true. I’ve studied these same things in great depth, and we share the key details with you in this issue.
So what about you? Where do you get your beliefs? Have you checked up on them to see if they agree with God’s divinely revealed Word, the Bible? If not, isn’t it about time you started?