Why not just call it Resurrection Day?
This is the glorious season of the year when the church celebrates the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. It is the central tenant of the Christian faith. Without it, the faith of the Christian is in vain. The apostle Paul affirmed such vanity when he wrote his epistle to the church in Corinth.
“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up .... And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19 NKJV)
It is because of the resurrection’s central importance to our faith that I have struggled for some time wondering why the church has continued to use an obviously pagan title Easter instead of the more Biblical title of Resurrection Day or “Firstfruits” Sunday to proclaim and promote our festive celebration. Although I have studied the possibility of the title Easter having a Christian origin by being connected to the German language, it is little doubt the name Easter has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions. On this, most all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated Biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Greek word the KJV translates as Easter in Acts 12:4 is most certainly not the name Easter. It is actually the word “Pascha,” or, in Hebrew “Pesach,” which means “Passover” and this is how all accurate translations show it.
The pagan origin of the title Easter encompasses the worship of the most ‘antichrist’ gods and goddesses in history. Just study the likes of Nimrod, Tammuz, and Queen Semiramis, the Mother Goddess of Babylonian worship. Also Ishtar, and the wife of Baal, Ashtoreth, also known as the Queen of Heaven. Then there is Eastre, the Teutonic goddess of spring worshipped at the time of the spring equinox. Quite simply, Easter is not a good title to connect with anything that should honor our Savior.
It is bad enough that we have moved the celebration and remembrance of the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to coincide with the spring equinox rather than place it where it belongs on the biblical calendar with the Lord’s Passover, but to name it with a title that is not Biblical and probably pagan, robs the Lord of his glory and dishonors his name.
It seems to me it would not be much different than calling Mother’s Day “Prostitute Day,” or calling Veteran’s Day “Hitler Day,” or calling Martin Luther King Day “James Earl Ray Day.”
Why is the church so adamant in keeping the pagan title rather than returning to a Biblical title? Is it because we have too much to lose if we have to let go of some of the extras of Easter traditions? Is it because of pride that we just can’t admit that after all these years we have been wrong and humble ourselves and make the change? Or is it because we just haven’t been taught the truth? I am always reminded of the Scripture from Acts 17:30, that is applicable in a variety of places in the church today as we prepare for the second coming of Christ.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)
The 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica reports that “the first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals (Lord’s Feasts), though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it, of Christ as the true Paschal lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed.”
In Paul’s writing of the resurrection he referred to the fulfilled Biblical title of Christ’s resurrection when he used the Old Covenant feast day title of Firstfruits as found in Lev 23:10. .
Paul writes, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.... But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits , afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:20,23 NKJV)
Thanks for allowing me to share my longing for the day when the church exalts the name of Jesus separated from the things of the world by proclaiming his resurrection with the title Resurrection Day and the Lord’s Feast of Firstfruits.