Should Christians celebrate Easter?

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Why Does the Date for Easter Change Every Year? 

Have you ever wondered why Easter Sunday can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25? And why do Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on a different day than Western churches? These are all good questions with answers that require a bit of explanation. In fact, there are as many misunderstandings about the calculation of Easter dates, as there are reasons for the confusion. What follows is an attempt to clear up at least some of the confusion.  

The Short Answer

At the heart of the matter lies a very simple explanation. The early church fathers wished to keep the observance of Easter in correlation to the Jewish Passover. Because the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after the Passover, they wanted Easter to always be celebrated subsequent to the Passover. And, since the Jewish holiday calendar is based on solar and lunar cycles, each feast day is movable, with dates shifting from year to year. Now, from here the explanation grows more complicated.

The Long Answer

Today in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year. I had previously, and somewhat erroneously stated, "Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox." This statement was true prior to 325 A.D.; however, over the course of history (beginning in 325 A.D. with the Council of Nicea), the Western Church decided to established a more standardized system for determining the date of Easter.

In actuality, the date of the Paschal Full Moon is determined from historical tables, and has no correspondence to lunar events.

As astronomers were able to approximate the dates of all the full moons in future years, the Western Christian Church used these calculations to establish a table of Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates. These dates would determine the Holy Days on the Ecclesiastical calendar.

Though modified slightly from its original form, by 1583 A.D. the table for determining the Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates was permanently established and has been used ever since to determine the date of Easter. Thus, according to the Ecclesiastical tables, the Paschal Full Moon is the first Ecclesiastical Full Moon date after March 20 (which happened to be the vernal equinox date in 325 A.D.). So, in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon.

The Paschal Full Moon can vary as much as two days from the date of the actual full moon, with dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. As a result, Easter dates can range from March 22 through April 25 in Western Christianity.

What is Palm Sunday? 

On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as "Passion Sunday," marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday. 

The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross.

What is Easter?

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.

Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

History Of Easter

Easter is the name of a Roman Catholic Church ‘holy day’ (modern = holiday) and is associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ by the orthodox traditional sects of Christendom worldwide.  The word Easter is NOT found in the Old Testament or New Testament, except for one verse and only in the King James Version of the Bible (Acts 12:4 - KJV).  This begs a question that must be answered, “Why celebrate Easter to honor the day Christ was raised from the dead if this word and its religious precepts cannot be found anywhere in the Scriptures?”

The average Christian in the 21st has a vast array of information to draw from via the Internet in order to form conclusions concerning the viability of the so-called ‘Christian’ holidays (e.g. – Easter, Lent, Christmas, etc).  A simple query of the word “Christmas,” or the word, “Easter,” in one’s computerized search engine yields a myriad of web sites ready and willing to provide fact-based information.   For example, I did a search for information about Christmas and found it is derived from Roman Catholic liturgy and has been known from its inception as, “Christ’s-Mass,” or as the, “Mass of Christ,” or simply, “Christmass.”  Like Easter, Christmas is no more “CHRISTian” than the Roman Catholic MASS is a legitimate substitution for the sacrificial death of Christ! 

Christmas originates from Neoplatonic ideas, especially the mixture of ancient Greco-Roman festivals that celebrate the role and function of pagan deities and the teachings of the New Testament concerning the birth of Jesus as the Christ-child.  The same holds true for the celebration of Easter, which to those unaware of its’ associated with Greco-Roman demigods, and even more ancient relationship to Mithraism, think they are rejoicing at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Should Christians Celebrate Easter?

Like Christmas, Almost all of the traditional things we celebrate today as part of our Easter celebration were originally pagan beliefs. Here is a breakdown of the beliefs that Christians have been compromised on:

Bunnies: According to Teutonic myth, the hare was once a bird whom Eostre changed into a four-footed creature. Thus, it can also lay eggs. The hare is also the sacred companion and sacrificial victim of Eostre.

Baskets: The idea of Easter baskets for the eggs came from birds nests. See eggs below.

Easter: "Easter" is derived from "Eostre," the pagan Anglo-Saxon goddess, and/or "Eostare," the Norse pagan festival of spring the same goddess is also called Aphrodite, Asherah, Ashtoreth, Astarte, Diana, Eostre, Ianna, Ishtar, Isis, Ostara, Semiramis, Venus God commanded us not to even utter the name of other gods. Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

Eggs: There is much symbolism in eggs themselves. The golden orb of its yolk represents the Sun God, its white shell is seen as the White Goddess, and the whole is a symbol of rebirth. Pagans gathered different colored eggs from the nests of a variety of birds. Coloring eggs in imitation of the various pastel colors of wild birds.

Good Friday: What about the popular belief that Jesus was crucified on Friday night hence Good Friday. If this was the case he would not have been buried for three days and three nights.

For 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. Matthew 12:40
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again Matthew 27:63
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31
For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. Mark 9:31
And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

He didn't actually die on a Friday The Chaldeans offered cakes to Ishtar on the equivalent of the day we know as Good Friday. When the established church wanted to appease the paganistic people in order to “convert" them to Christianity, they moved the dates accordingly! Sounds more like they converted the Christians.

Lily: Asherah (a Sidonian goddess) was frequently represented as a nude woman bestride a lion with a lily (symbolizing grace and sex appeal) in one hand and a serpent (symbolizing fecundity) in the other.

New Clothing: The tradition of wearing new clothing for Easter comes from the superstition that a new garment worn at Easter means good luck throughout the year.

Sunrise Service: The book of Ezekiel shows what God thinks of sunrise services: And 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. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. Eze 8:16-18

Many Christians claim they celebrate sunrise service in remembrance of seeing Jesus resurrecting the gospel of John makes it clear he resurrected prior to sunrise not during it. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher. John 20:1

The reason that sunrise services was blended into this days celebrations is Eostre was the goddess of the sunrise so once again they blended pagan with Christian practices to appease.

The following is an excerpt from a Pagan Web page: "Consider the Christian Easter ritual: -"Mommy, what does Easter mean?" "Well sweetheart, Easter is the day Jesus rose from the grave and went up into heaven." "Did the Easter Bunny bring eggs to Jesus, too?" ", I don't think so..." "Then why does he bring eggs to kids on Easter?" "Um...I don't really know, now go on outside and play." Had mommy been a pagan parent, the child would have had her answer. Year after year, well intentioned Christian's pour forth from their Easter services to hurry home and practice an ancient Babylonian fertility rite, none the wiser. And many pagans in the know rejoice in the Goddess' keen sense of humor. Perhaps a pagan parent would have explained the reenactment this way: The Easter (Ishtar) Bunny (male hare, sacred to Ishtar, Diana, Artemis; high fertility animal) delivers (inseminates) Easter (Ishtar's) eggs (universal symbol of fertility) to children (the product of conception). Happy children (the product of conception) hunt (Goddesses of the Hunt; also the lusty male sex drive in pursuit of the female; the rut) Easter (Ishtar's) eggs and put them into baskets (intercourse and conception; implantation of sperm into the womb as the cycle begins again. Other pagan symbols woven into Christian practices include newborn baby animals, i.e., chicks and bunnies, symbolizing fertility and rebirth after the season of Death; pastel or diluted prism colors indicating a new season of rebirth with the colors growing richer and more vibrant as life cycle continues, and of course, the occurrence of the Easter holiday around the time of the Spring Equinox which was Christianized by the Roman Church as were most Pagan festivals of old."

Who celebrates Easter?

Witches and Pagans who base their celebrations on the phases of the moon, celebrate Easter. Christians, however, are clearly forbidden from observing this pagan celebration

Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. Deuteronomy 12:30-31 30

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Corinthians 10:20-22

Sources and Resources:
Christianity Guide, Mary Fairchild
Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft  
Christian Walk of Faith

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