Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Easter -- Passover's Great Counterfeit
The celebration of Easter anciently honored the queen of heaven and the fertility and procreation she represented, for which springtime, rabbits, and eggs were symbols. It is an Anglo-Saxon word from the name of an old Teuton goddess of spring and sex worship. In Chaldea this heathen deity was Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven. In Babylon, she was Ishtar (pronounced "Aestar").
by HOIM Staff
While I was reading the Book of Acts recently I was struck by the use of several words that were oddly foreign to the text.
A linguist would call them anachronisms, words that are out of their proper place in time. I read "deputy" in 13:7, "serjeants" in 16:35, and "townclerk" in 19:35.
Obviously, some King James translator was simply employing terms common in his day to describe officials of a far more ancient era, who no doubt were called something different.
A similar situation occurs in "Biblical" art, where the 15th-century artist portrays robe-and-sandal scenes with people decked out in garb of the Middle Ages. And the ever popular artist's portrait of a long-haired, effeminate-looking Messiah belies his actual Israelite heritage and reality.
Why is it that we humans like to change and add to historical truths?
Take the second most popular holiday in Christendom. If you could have asked any of the disciples in the year 45 where they were going to celebrate Easter that year their startled looks would have left you quite uneasy.
Perhaps Peter would have asked, "Do you mean Ishtar, the pagan Babylonian deity?" Why such a response? Because at the time the Messiah walked this earth, and for a couple of centuries following, there was no observance even resembling today's Easter.
In reference to Scripture, "Easter" as the observance we know is an anachronism as well. The ONLY place in the King James Version where this word appears is in Acts 12:4. There, the word is the Greek pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew pesach, or Passover.
The error is corrected in modern translations to read "Passover" (see the following: New International Version, The Jerusalem Bible, New American Standard Bible, The New King James Bible, Revised Standard Version, The New English Bible).
If the original observance was none other than Passover, and today's Easter was unknown in Scripture, then from where does Easter derive? And how do colored eggs in baskets with plastic grass, along with Peter Cottontail in a green nest, fit into the resurrection of the Savior?
The answer is simple. Easter simply evolved on mere human authority. Easter is a deliberate merging of pagan beliefs with Biblical motifs.
The following excerpts illustrate (from The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, "Easter," pp. 43-44):
"That the Jewish Christians continued to keep the Jewish festivals is altogether probable, if not certain, from Paul's habit... .
"So far then it would appear that the pascha observance was a time of grief and it is left uncertain whether the resurrection was observed annually by a special day, or, if observed at all, whether it was observed separately from the festival of the death of Christ.
"Eusebius further says that the churches in Asia Minor derived their custom of observing the pascha from the Apostle John and Philip. Without doubt Christian elements were [later] incorporated into the celebration.
"Certainly in the fourth century the term pascha stood for both the resurrection and the death of [Messiah]. It was then called 'the holy feast, the pascha of our salvation' by the Council of Antioch 341.
"Finally, in the fourth century pascha came to be used in a limited sense for Easter Sunday alone..."
One reason for the switch was anti-Jewish bias. Passover was wrongly considered only "Jewish," when in fact it is called "YEHOVAH's Passover," Exodus 12:11, Leviticus 23:5.
The real problem is that Easter is a man-made observance with no Biblical precedent or command.
An eye-opening statement comes from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Macropedia, Vol. 4, p. 601):
"Unlike the cycle of feasts and fasts of the Jewish Law, the Christian year has never been based upon a divine revelation. It is rather a tradition that is always subject to change by ecclesiastical law."
This fact begs the question: if the only grounds for celebrating the popular church holidays is mere tradition of men and not the Bible, isn't it dangerous to keep them over those feasts that ARE specifically commanded by Almighty YEHOVAH Himself? Yes!
Scripture clearly shows that the proper celebration of the resurrection is in the solemn act of baptism. See Romans 6:3-5, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, and 1 Peter 3:21. No special yearly celebration for the resurrection exists!
One problem with popular religious observances basedon human tradition is that much of that tradition is grossly heathen in origin.
It's no different with Easter: "As at Christmas, so also at Easter, popular customs reflect many ancient pagan survivals in this instance, connected with spring fertility rites, such as the symbols of the Easter egg and the Easter hare or rabbit," Britannica, p. 60.
Our English name Easter has nothing to do with the idea of "resurrection. " It is an Anglo-Saxon word from the name of an old Teuton goddess of spring and sex worship. In Chaldea this heathen deity was Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven. In Babylon, she was Ishtar (pronounced "Aestar").
The celebration anciently honored this queen of heaven and the fertility and procreation she represented, for which springtime, rabbits, and eggs were symbols.
One rite is very important in the Easter celebration -- the Easter Sunrise worship service. Why is this service so much a part of the Easter experience? Because the Messiah rose Easter Sunday morning? Not at all.
The real origin of the sunrise service traces to idolatry. It was even practiced by people professing YEHOVAH, and their behavior He strongly condemned. In Ezekiel 8:16 the prophet is shown this abomination taking place right on the steps of the Temple.
"And He brought me into the inner court of YEHOVAH's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of YEHOVAH, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men with their backs toward the temple of YEHOVAH, and their faces toward the east: and they worshiped the sun toward the east."
This abominable practice is the same thing still done in the name of Easter sunrise services today. It is nothing more than perpetuating ancient sun worship. "Learn not the way of the heathen," YEHOVAH God thunders. Who today is listening?
Roots of Lent
Neither Yeshua nor his disciples observed Lent, and they said nothing about it in the Bible. Yet people today do so, thinking it is Scriptural.
The 40-day fast of Lent directly traces to the worship of the Babylonian goddess Semiramis (a.k.a. Ishtar, Easter). This pagan observance was a "preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz," her son and sun-god, The Two Babylons, p. 105.
Weeping over the death of Tammuz marked this celebration, whence sprang the practice of fasting or giving up something in anticipation of the hoped-for resurrection.
You Are Obligated
How can someone be a True Worshiper and indulge in practices firmly grounded in ancient paganism? YEHOVAH calls these things ABOMINATIONS.
Once you know and understand the truth, you are entirely obligated to follow it. "If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries," Hebrew 10:26-27.
Giving up the ways of the world may not be easy, but it is the only way that leads to everlasting life!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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