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MESSAGE TO THE READER
 

Regardless of your denominational affiliation or theological beliefs, please understand that this web page is not against you personally. This information is here to help you and encourage you to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5), “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12), “the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42), “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal. 2:16). “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.... For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:22,26). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9). Please read the following with an open mind and let “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” speak to your heart (Eph. 3:19); “and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:” (Isa. 1:18)

 



EASTER IN ACTS 12:4 REVISITED

"And when he [King Herod] had apprehended him [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."

Why did the KJV translators retain the -- Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible and Bishop's Bible's -- translation of "Easter" rather than "Passover"? The answer is found in Acts 12:1-3, which describes the scene and establishes the time-frame for this passage:

"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)"

According to Exodus 12:6, the Passover lamb was slain on the 14th day of the first month which was Abib. Exodus 12:17 equates the Passover with the Feast of Unleavened Bread: "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore ye shall observe this day in your generations for ever."

Exodus 12:15 requires that Israelites eat unleavened bread for the full week following: "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."

The original Passover occurred on the 14th Abib and the exodus from Egypt began the following day, the 15th. Numbers 33:3 states: "And they departed from Ramses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians."

In Deuteronomy 16:6, however, God changed the day of celebration of the Passover to the 15th of Abib: "But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt."

In the New Testament, Luke 22:1 also equates the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the Passover celebration and other Scripture verses indicate that these interchangeable terms referred to one day which would have been the 15th day of Nisan, which was 15 Abib before the Babylonian captivity. Mark 14:1,2 indicate that the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover were identical and verse 12 refers to ". . .the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the passover."

The week following the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread is referred to in Acts 12:3 as "the days of unleavened bread." It was during this week that Herod imprisoned Peter, whom he intended to bring forth to the people -- not after the Passover, for that day was past -- but after Easter, the pagan festival of Astarte, which was yet to come.

It is important to note that Scripture differentiates between the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread which was only the first day of unleavened bread and the "days of unleavened bread." This explains why the AV translators did not confuse the "feast of Passover" with all seven "days of unleavened bread." [Although modern Jews commonly refer to a full week of Passover observance, there seem to be no Scriptural references to a week-long observance of Passover, but only one feast day followed by the "days of unleavened bread."] For this reason, it would have been less accurate for the translators to state that Herod would bring Peter forth after the Passover, which was already past.




Origin Of Easter

      Centuries before the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, pagan nations celebrated the annual springtime festival of Ishtar (Ashtur, Eastre, Easter), the goddess of fertility. The origin of Easter dates back to ancient times, shortly after the great flood recorded in Genesis 6-9 of the Bible. It was in the city of Babel that the people created a tower in order to defy God. The biblical record tells us that Nimrod created Babel, Ninevah, Asshur and other cities, all known for lifestyles that promoted wickedness and perversion. Nimrod was known as the Sun-god (or Baal), his wife Semiramis was known as the queen of heaven (Ishtar or Easter), and her son Tammuz was known as the savior (or Nimrod reborn). Rites of spring were celebrated in Ishtar's honor at the vernal equinox (first day of spring). The first Sunday after the first full moon succeeding the vernal equinox was also sacred to her, and this pagan holiday was given her name -- Eastre. The full moon represented the "pregnant" phase of Eastre -- she was passing into the fertile season and giving birth to the Sun's offspring. Popular traditions such as the Easter Bunny and the Easter egg can be traced back to the practices established by pagans long before the Christian era. Due to their prolific nature, rabbits have long been associated with fertility and its goddess, Ishtar. Dyed eggs were already being used as part of pagan rituals at the dawn of history in various civilizations. When the Roman Emporor, Constantine “The Great” (A.D. (285)306-337), used the corrupt manuscripts of Eusebius (A.D. 260-340) and Origin (A.D. 184-254) to merge Paganism with Christianity in the fourth century, the Roman church quite naturally incorporated pagan customs and rituals into her many unscriptural doctrines (praying to saints, use of images in worship, purgatory, Mary worship, Sunday sacredness, celibacy of the clergy, etc.). And, unlike the disciples in the New Testament who suffered rejection and persecution for the word of God and their faithfulness to the scriptures (1 Peter 4:3,4), many apostate Christians simply accepted these false doctrines and teachings and chose to observe anti-biblical pagan holy days (holidays), thus limiting or avoiding persecution altogether.

      The Encyclopedia Britannica informs us that the festival of Easter was not observed in the early Christian church:

“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians.” “The name Easter (Ger. Ostern), like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede (De Temp. Rat. C. XV.) it is derived from Eostre, or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month answering to our April, and called Eostur-monath”, was dedicated.(Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed., 1910-1911, p. 828)

      Early English dictionaries concur:

“Easter, Aoster, Oster, a Saxon goddess whose feast they observed in Easter month, April.”
(An English Dictionary, 1717, Elisha Coles)  

EASTER [easter, of eastre, Sax. a goddess of the Saxons, in honor of whom, sacrifices were offered about that time of year, Ostern, Teut.]”
(An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, 1802, Nathan Bailey)  

EASTER, n. [Sax. Easter; G. ostern; supposed to be from Eostre, the goddess of love or Venus of the north, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors, in April; whence this month was called Eostermonath.”
(American Dictionary Of The English Language, 1828, Noah Webster)  

“Easter (easter), n. [AS. easter, eastran, paschal feast, Easter; akin to G. ostern; fr. AS. Eastre, a goddess of light or spring, in honor of whom a festival celebrated in April; whence this month was called in AS. Eastermonao]. From the root of E. east. See East.]”
(Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913, G. & C. Merriam Co.)

      There is not a single verse in the Bible instructing us to celebrate Christ's resurrection, death or even his birth. If God had wanted us to keep these days holy, one would think that at least one verse would mention it. There are no Bible examples of the apostles or the disciples keeping any of these pagan “holy days” or practicing any of these heathen customs. There are, however, a number of scriptures in the Bible instructing us not to borrow the customs of the heathen or pagans to worship the true God: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen... For the customs of the people are vain:”(Jer. 10:2,3). “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them... 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:”(Deut. 12:30,31). “that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”(Lev. 18:30). Just why do so many professing “Christians” celebrate un-biblical/anti-biblical pagan holidays? Compromising the commandments of God with the comfort of the world is almost as old as man himself. It is almost always easier to go with the flow of the world than it is to go against the current of popular tradition. With the exception of a small remnant of faithful Bible believing Christians, practically the whole world (Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish, Pagan, even atheist) celebrates Easter (and Christmas (in some instances the names may have been changed, but the customs are unmistakably pagan in origin). The apostle John said, “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”(I John 4:5,6). The questions now presented to the professing Christian: (1) Is your final authority the Holy Bible which is “the word of God”? Or is your final authority “your tradition” and the desire of your “own heart”? (2) Will you be among the remnant of “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus” who “shall suffer persecution” “for the word of God”? Or will you be among the many compromisers and “seducers” who “shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”? (Prov. 28:26; Matt. 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-16; II Tim. 3:12,13; I Pet. 1:25; Rev. 1:9; 6:9; 20:4)

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).

The following information is from The History of The Reformation of Religion in Scotland by John Knox.

“The establishment by St Columba of a seminary in Iona was highly favourable to the cause of literature both in Scotland and England. How far it tended to promote evangelical religion, does not clearly appear. The form of sound words, and the image of Christian worship, are often long retained after the living spirit of the gospel is gone; and nothing proves more clearly the fact of its departure than an overweening attachment to superstitious practices, and an observance of rites and seasons which God has not ordained. When the apostle Paul found the churches in Galatia observing days, and months, and times, and years, he expressed his fear that he had laboured among them in vain. These things were an evidence of their declining in their spiritual state, and departing from the faith. Long before this period of our history, we find our Christian ancestors stickling about the proper time of keeping Easter, when they ought to have rejected it altogether as an observance which God had not required. In the time of St Columba, the controversy was revived, and after a keen contest the eloquence of those who favoured the church of Rome prevailed. St Columba yielded, whether from conviction, or from some other cause, we are not told; "and the Pope found in the Abbot of Iona himself, a sedulous and devoted convert to the new lunar cycle." Russel's Prelim. Diss. to Keith's Scottish Bishops, p. lxxv.

“About the same time the feast of Christmas was introduced to our ancestors. "The vulgar persuasion is," says Buchanan, "that these festivities celebrated the birth of Christ, when, in truth, they refer, as is sufficiently evident, to the lascivious rites of the Bacchanalia, and not to the memory of our Saviour's nativity." It is probable that this was originally the Gothic pagan feast of Yule, or Zul, so called in Scotland to this day; see Dr Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary on the word, Yule. We know the Popes instructed their missionaries not to abolish, but rather adopt the heathen rites of the people among whom they introduced Christianity, and adapt them to Christian worship. This was the source of innumerable corruptions; and with regard to this festival, it not only opened a door for all manner of licentiousness, but also bound the churches to the acknowledgment of a thing as true which never has been proved,—that Christ was born on the 25th of December, which rests on no credible authority. Our neighbours in the south condemn our reformers for rejecting this holiday. With much more reason we wonder at their retaining it.” (The History of The Reformation of Religion in Scotland, John Knox, 1841, Introduction pp. 13, 14) (see also Acts of The General Assembly of The Church of Scotland, 1638-1842, p. 19)

ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1816
TEXT-BOOK ON POPERY - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1841
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1843
POPERY & PAGANISM - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1847
JESUIT PRIEST IN THE FAMILY - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1852
THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1854
THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN & BAPTISMAL REGENERATION, 1858
THE TWO BABYLONS - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1862
    HOSTORY OF THE CROSS - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1871
THE SOWER, BIBLE TRUTH - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1883
ROMANISN & THE REFORMATION - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1887
PAGANISM SURVIVING IN CHRISTIANITY - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1892
THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, THE GREAT IDOLATRY, 1898
THE SOWER & THE VIRGIN - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, c1900
PAGAN CHRISTS - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1903
PAGAN & CHRISTIAN CREEDS - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, 1921



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