Jesus died at the time of the Passover feast. But the Passover is not Easter, and Jesus did not die at Easter time. Here is information you will want to know. It comes from a publication entitled, "Easter: Where it Came From," printed many years ago, by Southern Publishing Association. An old man is speaking:
"Sunday was held sacred centuries before Sinai; December 25 was highly honored; the time of Easter was religiously observed; and Lent was a time for fasting,--all thousands of years before the coming of the Babe to Bethlehem!"
The children had gathered around the huge, open fireplace. The lights were turned out and the shooting flames of the great wood fire lit their faces. Farther back, in a huge rocker, sat the Wise Man. In the daytime a very prosaic figure known as grandpa, on the special nights when the children were allowed to "stay up" the fire light played on what seemed to be the very soul of the old man, his face, and he became a mystic form, infinitely removed and yet very close to them. They called him the Wise Man then.
This Easter night the children begged for the story of Easter. They did not understand the first part of his reverie, but afterward they understood nearly all of it.
"After the Flood, the Garden of Eden was no longer on the earth. You remember the Lord had placed angels with flaming swords at its gates. As the people came to the gates to worship God, their faces were toward the west, for the gates were on the east side of the Garden. When Eden was taken up to God's dwelling place, and no one knows just when that was, Satan had so confused some that they worshiped the things that God had made, instead of God himself. The next brightest thing men saw was the sun, and they began to worship it. God at creation had given them the Sabbath, to remind them every week that He had made everything, but Satan has always tried to make men forget the Sabbath so they would forget the true God.
THE ORIGIN OF SUN WORSHIP
"One of Noah's great-grandsons was called Nimrod. Nimrod was a great leader, and was the first empire builder. His wife, history says, was named Semiramis, and she was a very great queen. Satan was working to counterfeit God's plan of salvation; and when Nimrod died, the people said he was a god. Semiramis told them that he was indeed the sun god, and that his spirit was still living, dwelling in the sun.
"In order that the people should love her as queen as long as she lived, Semiramis told them that hers was the spirit of the moon, and when she died, she would dwell in the moon as Nimrod already dwelt in the sun.
"Satan was laying the foundation for every system of falsehood and error the world has ever known. The sun god, under different names, was worshiped in Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as conquering nations were conquered by the religion of their captives.
A PAGAN HOLIDAY
"Every year when the cold season began, the people believed their sun god was leaving them. They came to learn that his lowest dip on the horizon, about December 21, was followed by his gradual return, until in midsummer he was directly overhead at noon day. It was on the 25th of December that they noticed, each year, the coming back, a little, of their god. This day they called the birthday of the sun. It was this belief in the annual journey of their god that Elijah alluded to in his conflict with the priests of Baal, the Syro-Phoenician sun god. [1 Kings 18:27]
"After the death of Nimrod, Semiramis never married again--indeed how could the queen of heaven marry an ordinary man?--but some years later she gave birth to a son. His name was Tammuz, and he was born on the 25th day of December! There was wild rejoicing in the nation over which Semiramis was queen. She told the people that the spirit of the sun, her husband Nimrod, was the father of Tammuz, and thus through her sin, Satan persuaded the people of the counterfeit of the birth of Jesus; for Jesus was really born of a virgin.
"Tammuz was hailed as the Son of the Sun, and the first letter of his name became in time the symbol of sun worship. Human sacrifices to the sun god were offered on this initial letter, made of wood, known as the cross. His birthday, December 25, was honored more and more, and the first day of the week was called the Sun's day, or Sunday. The people forgot God's Sabbath, and honored the day of the sun. To honor Semiramis they set aside a time in honor of the moon. This was the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or the twenty-first of March. The first Sunday after this full moon was indeed a gala day.
"While yet a young man, Tammuz, a hunter like his supposed father, was killed by a wild boar. What weeping there was in the kingdom! And the forty days before the time of the celebration for the moon were set apart as days of weeping for Tammuz.
"God's people were constantly being tempted to follow this religion instead of that of the Bible. Often Satan succeeded in his purpose. In the eighth chapter of Ezekiel we read of the women's weeping for Tammuz; and the people's turning their backs on the temple of God, and worshiping the sun toward the east. They also worshiped the moon goddess, making cakes to the queen of heaven [Jer. 7:18]. These were round cakes on which had been cut a cross.
"The great distinguishing mark of the heathen was their Sunday; and the mark of God's people was the Sabbath. [Ezek. 20:12,20.] Side by side through the centuries were God's people, worshiping Him, obeying His commandments, keeping His Sabbath, and the heathen, worshiping the sun, keeping Sunday, and offering their children in the fire as a sacrifice to the sun, or crucifying their human victims to turn away his supposed anger.
"One writer in a noted periodical says that 'Sunday was the wild, solar holiday of all pagan times. 'It was on this day that the worst features of sun worship were practiced. Too often Israel did these things too, but God constantly sent them messages to obey Him.
THE GENUINE APPEARS
"Finally Christ, the Son of God, was born. The exact day of His birth no one knows, but it was probably in October. He was just thirty-three and a half years old when He was crucified, in April, at the time of the Passover. How Jesus loved His people! He loved them so much that He was willing to suffer abuse and mocking, scourging and death. Remember that Tammuz was exalted by Satan to be the great rival of Jesus, and the symbol of the cross was the sign of sun worship. Through all the years it had seemed that the sun god was greater than the true God, for Israel alone followed God, but often even Israel followed the sun god.
"O yes, Jesus loved His people! He came into a world that had forgotten Him, its Creator, suffered every insult at its hands, and finally died upon the symbol of sun worship, 'even,' says Paul, 'the death of the cross.' [Phil.2:8]
"What rejoicing then by the demons! The Son of God, delivered by His own people and crucified by the sun-worshiping Romans on the symbol of sun worship! O the condescending Jesus! How He must have loved His people!"
The old man's face softened, and the children saw tears in his eyes. After a time he went on. His eyes were shining now.
"But God honored that sacrifice! On the third day after His crucifixion, the first day for sun worship, while the spirits of demons were in the wildest orgy of celebration over their victory; for though many men did not realize it, Satan's angels all rejoiced in the victory of false worship; on that very day, set aside and honored by the name of the sun, God raised His Son from the grave a conqueror! As after creation He had rested, so after redemption, He rested in the tomb on His Sabbath, and now on the day of the sun He was raised, eternal victor over the sun worship and all false systems of worship! That was why God raised Him on Sunday. Once more the Sabbath is God's sign between Him and His people. His disciples kept it while they lived. THE MASTER DECEPTION
"But Satan was not yet through with the world. First, he persecuted God's people, and then he tempted them again. The heathen were still keeping Sunday and as the Christians were scattered throughout the world, Satan whispered in the ears of God's people that they should try to gain favor by being more like the heathen. Was not Christ born toward the end of the year? The exact date was uncertain. Why not call it the same date as the birth of Tammuz? So December 25 became Christmas.
"Again, Christ was crucified and resurrected in the spring near the time of the moon festival. Why not have the same time as the heathen, and even do as they did, but call it in honor of Christ's resurrection. The cakes to the queen of heaven became the hot cross buns. The forty days of 'weeping for Tammuz' became Lent, and at the close of Lent came Easter Sunday, a counterfeit masterpiece.
The voice was silent for a time. The old man's face darkened as he seemed to see in the embers of the fire a sinister event against which he would cry out. Suddenly there rang out in the stillness the trumpet-like tones that had called to the men on the battle field, when as a drummer-boy he had snatched up the colors where a dying bearer had fallen, and rallied a regiment that had nearly broken.
"O the cowards! The cowards! They allowed the flag of God, His holy Sabbath, to trail in the dust; they trampled under their feet, they exalted the sun's day, they broke the command of God, and all in the name of the One who had given His life to save His people from that very thing!
"Oh, how Jesus in heaven must have wept when His so-called followers, to gain influence, set up the mark of rebellion against heaven,--Sunday. And how He must weep today when people profess to honor His resurrection by trampling on His day and honoring the flag of the defeated foe. God forgive our nation if she ever passes a law to do that, if she ever passes a national Sunday law." -- Southern Publishing Association