51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Why did Jesus say this? Did He want to cause division? No, what He is saying, is that the road is narrow, and those that follow it will find themselves in the center of controversy even with close family.
With that in mind, here is where I become unpopular. Easter. Where does this come from? In the King James Bible, the word "Easter" is in Acts 12:4, but every other translation says "Passover," That is the actual meaning of the Greek word "pascha", which is the word in question from the Greek manuscripts. When you read the verse in context, you see this is speaking of Herod. Herod was a pagan, and would have been celebrating the 40 days of Tammuz (the Catholics now call this Lent), followed by their Good Friday for Dagon (the Catholics and a lot of Christians falsely observe this as the day Christ was crucified), and then the festival for Astarte on Sunday (known as Easter). Herod was waiting until after his pagan Easter celebration to do anything with Peter. You can easily look at almost any Bible commentary or Greek interlinear. It is never mentioned anywhere else in the inspired text of the New Testament. The 1st Century Christians never observed Easter Sunday. They observed the Passover, just as the original Disciples had done in Jesus' presence. Jesus Christ even kept this Passover celebration (Matthew 26:17-18) and gave clearer understanding of the New Covenant with by using bread and wine (verses 26-29). He is the Lamb of God. He was offered as the true Passover sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus told His followers to continue this observance in remembrance of Him and His death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Where, then, did
Easter come from? There is no record of it in the Christianity until almost
a full century after Jesus died and resurrected. In fact, it wasn't
celebrated by the early church until almost 20 years after John died. He was
the last surviving eyewitness to the crucifixion and the resurrection of
Jesus. Don't you think that if God wanted His people to hold this holiday,
it would have been established well before then? If it really commemorated
the events of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, surely it would have
been observed from the beginning! It was only introduced as a "Christian"
holiday after all who had first-hand knowledge of the facts were dead. That
alone should make us stand up and take notice.
See, long before Jesus walked the earth, the egg was revered as a symbol of rebirth and new life by pagans in several Eastern and Mid-East countries. In this ancient pagan mythology, people believed that the earth was hatched from a giant egg. Crazy isn't it? Others thought that heaven and earth were formed from two halves of an egg. It became common practice for Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians to give one another dyed eggs each spring as symbols of the rebirth of the earth after a long winter.
actually originated from pagan sun worship. The word "Easter" is derived
from "Ishtar" or "Astarte". These names refer to the ancient Babylonian
goddess who was worshiped as the mother of the sun god. Notice this
admission from a catholic scholar: "The motif of the Sun was used not only
by Christian artists to portray Christ [from the third century onward] but
also by Christian teachers to proclaim Him to the pagan masses who were well
acquainted with the rich Sun-symbology. Numerous Fathers abstracted and
reinterpreted the pagan symbols and beliefs about the Sun and used them
apologetically to teach the Christian message" (Bacchiocchi, p. 253).
Most items used in celebrating Easter, including rabbits and eggs, goes back to ancient practices that originated in Babylon and came down to us today by way of Rome. Roman emperor Constantine, a lifelong devotee of Sol Invictus, the sun god, became friends with the Bishop of Rome in the early 4th century. And from this friendship, most of the ways of man that are associated with modern Christianity came to be forced upon the Christian-professing world, yet is not found in Bible Scripture.
You have probably noticed that the date for Resurrection Sunday ("Easter") varies considerably from one year to the next. This date comes from a formula established by Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. You can use the formula to verify the date for Easter Sunday each year.
First, find the
vernal equinox, or first day of spring (about March 21-22), on a calendar
that lists basic astronomical data. Then look for the next full moon,
usually indicated in a corner box of the calendar. Easter Sunday will then
fall on the following Sunday
Does it matter that the name "Easter," and many of the rituals associated with that holiday, can be traced back to ancient paganism? A lot of professing Christians would say that they attend Easter sunrise services to honor Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead, not to worship the sun god. Is it acceptable to take pagan customs and symbols and reinterpret them from a Christian perspective? No! Would you take a celebration from islam or witchcraft that coincide with certain true Christian celebrations, change some of the meanings to say it was for God and practice them? I certainly hope that is a resounding 'no". Why then would you do this with pagan rituals? It makes no sense. God warned the ancient Israelites, as they entered the land of the Canaanites,
"take heed… that you do not inquire after their gods, saying 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way"
He then told them in verse 32:
"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it"
Easter Sunday does not celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It masks what Jesus said was the defining sign of His being the Messiah. That is the three days and three nights in the tomb. Easter, and all its symbols, no matter how you dress them up, is not in Scriptural commands, but in the practices of ancient sun worshipers.
In 1st Samuel. God said He repented making Saul king. There were four reasons why. One was because he did not destroy all the Amekelites and their animals. He (Saul) kept the animals and justified it saying he would sacrifice them to God. It was directly against God's Word. He told Saul what to do and he disobeyed. That is sin. You can't sin, and then find a way to bring praise to God out of it. It means nothing to Him. People will say, we want the kids to have fun. What about them? There are many more fun things to do than hide eggs, have chocolate bunnies, and little baskets. God gave us creative minds, let's use them! Putting scriptures in little eggs and saying it is for Jesus, is taking a sin based on pagan gods, and trying to glorify the One True God with it. Just as with Saul, God will repent that. Worship to God is not to make church into a "feel-good" place where everything is accepted to be politically correct. Stop following the traditions of man and follow scripture!
I challenge you to show me anywhere in the Bible where we are told to celebrate Easter. Use Scripture, not opinion. Your opinion means nothing to God's Word, like it or not, no matter how many people you get to agree with you. And before you say, "Mike, you eat a lot, and that's a sin." Well, yeah, and I'm trying to work on that, but don't try to justify a sin with another sin. That's circular logic.
This is a sore subject, both here and at home; but the Lord has laid this on me, and dealt with me to bring it forth. What you do with it is entirely up to you and God, I am no-one for you to answer to. This is not the gospel of Mike, this is God's Word, and what it says in Scripture. God does not care about the traditions of man, or what people might think of you if you stop participating in them. He does care if you turn your back on Him and sin anyway. I can only hope you have listened.
Now, am I saying we should not celebrate and rejoice that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead after 3 days in the tomb? Absolutely not. It is cause for rejoice. It is cause for hope. But we should also observe Passover, it is not just a Jewish holiday. More-so than that, we should not label this with pagan names and pagan rituals. Call it Resurrection Day. Get rid of the bunnies, baskets, and eggs. Stop turning it into a spring-time Christmas with the buying of gifts, then, I would be convinced it is truly for Jesus, but more than that, God would too.
In closing, I would point you to this scripture…
1 Corinthians 11:31-32
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
With that being said, you will never again see me in a service for the Lord labeled with Easter and celebrating pagan rituals. It is an abomination in God's eyes. I will not sin with anyone, nor for anyone, against God. Celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection, but call it that, and do it. The easy way is the way of man.
In His Grace,
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