Easter celebration: Critical thoughts from the Bible by Olatokunbo Odunuga
“Easter”! Easter sounds like Esther, but they have nothing in common. Esther was a queen who did not keep silent at such a critical time when she and her father’s family would have perished in Medo-Persia.
On the other hand, Easter is a global religious tradition that flourishes on a lot of mundane activities and festivities. From the accounts of Bible scholars, it may not be inappropriate to draw the inference that the celebration of Easter is an aberration and not authenticated by the Holy Scriptures.
There are presently over 1,200 versions of the Holy Bible and nearly all of them have expunged the word “Easter” in Acts 12:4 and replaced it appropriately with “Passover”.
Easter has been established to be a pagan festival in existence even long before the birth of Christ. Its origin was from Ishtar, and among the Babylonian titles of the Queen Ashtoreth whose worship was detested by God [1 Kings 5: 33; 2 Kings 23: 13;1 Samuel 7: 3].
A Bible scholar, Rev. Finis Dake further drew attention to the fact that Lent and Easter, etc were borrowed from Babylon and were celebrated hundreds of years before Christ and that strictly, they have no bearing or identification with Christianity or with Jesus Christ.
There is no indication of the observance of Easter in the gospels and in the writings of the subsequent Apostolic fathers who followed after the apostles.
The sanctity of Easter was an idea totally absent from the minds of the early Christians. Neither did our Lord nor His apostles instruct its observance.
Easter has also been linked to Astarte, the Phoenicians’ fertility goddess, the counterpart of the Babylonian Ishtar. We should bear in mind God’s vow that those gods that did not create the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens [Jeremiah 10:11]. So one needs not strain to invest time, energy, and resources for their perpetuation?
By instituting the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to commemorate His death [ 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 ]
And we are also to be witnesses of His resurrection through propagation, and essentially by adopting and conformity to His image (likeness and life-style) as living epistles [Romans 8: 29; Luke 9:23 (Amplified Bible)].
However, I believe there is great wisdom in utilizing the season for other worthy, worthwhile, charitable, and Christ-honouring endeavors rather than preoccupation with profane festivities.
The customs and traditions imposed by some “elders” of the subsequent post-apostolic era, especially during the dark ages ought not to supplant or take pre-eminence over the express words of Christ. It will be further illuminating to read the thought-provoking 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and Colossians 2: 8.
It is to be noted that as Calvary is far remote from Calgary, so Easter, a pagan goddess, and Esther, the queen, were foreign and far remote to one another. Hence our season’s preoccupation ought not to be a celebration of Easter itself with its pagan implications but of charitable and Christian preoccupations during the season.
So in spite of the controversy over the celebration of the ‘Easter’ [Passover] season, without Christ’s death on the cross and His authenticated resurrection which the season signifies to many, life would have been gloomy, dreary, and tragic in tandem with Solomon’s inspired observation in Ecclesiastes 1: 2, “Meaningless! Meaningless!…. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”-NIV. We would not have received eternal life (Zoe).
Now, What is the conclusion of the matter? Christ indeed sacrificed Himself so that we may have Life and be partakers of His divine nature [2 Peter 1: 4].
This He accomplished by His All- inclusive redemptive work and making us His tabernacles [John 1: 14, 1 Corinthians 6: 19]. Thus every one of us who are Christians is privileged to have become one of the many “mansions”, that is, His abodes, His dwellings, His abiding places.
So God the Son died so that man can steadily grow to become like God in resurrected life as we, by grace, conform to the image of His Son [Romans 8:29], growing into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ [Ephesians 4: 13].
As a matter of fact, identification with the Lamb of God and growth towards His conformity was what God predestinated from the foundation of the world [Revelation 13:8]. Anything less is a short-change and a mirage!
Wishing everyone a joyful, flourishing, and fulfilling season as we meditate on 2 Corinthians 5:15. Jesus Christ is indeed the reason for this season and for all seasons as well as the very reason for our very existence in season and out of season.