You know, sometimes we do things out of habit. At other times, we do things from tradition because it was the way we were raised or because it just "feels" like it's right. We don't stop to investigate if what we're doing is really right. We just continue because it's familiar and easy. It's always easier to continue doing the thing that's familiar than it is to do something that's new and unfamiliar. Such is the case with many of the holidays we habitually keep in the so-called Christian western world. I suppose the two most prominent of those holidays are Christmas and Easter. What are its origins and history of Easter? Does it accurately picture the truth about the resurrection of our savior? If it does, then why doesn't our society treat it with sacred solemnity rather than allowing it to become so highly commercialized? If it doesn't accurately picture the truth about the death of our savior, then why do we keep the observance at all?
Ishtar of Assyria was worshiped in Pagan Antiquity
Easter’s Origin & Meaning
The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ's victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. The meaning of Easter also symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all.
However, Easter did not always symbolize Christ's resurrection from the dead and the meaning of Easter was quite different than what Christians celebrate today.
ASHTAROTH, or ASTARTE, a goddess of the Zidonians
Where did very popular holiday called; "Easter" originally come from and did the New Testament believers set a series of days in order to celebrate the Passover? Prior to 325 AD there is no record of what the modern era is now celebrating. In 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine claimed being converted to Christianity but was still very much involved with paganism. His objective as the very first Pope was to unite both pagans, and Christians under his leadership. It's the same concept we see today concerning unity under the current Pope of Rome. In order to try an accomplish this objective, Constantine sought out to add festivals which appealed to pagans and adopt it into to church worship which would appeal to the church community who were making professions of faith in the Lord. So Constantine by making a degree at the Council of Nicaea, Easter became a holiday celebrated which was to be on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.
According to the New Unger's Bible Dictionary, "the word Easter is of Saxon origin, Eastra, the goddess of spring, in whose honor sacrifices were offered about Passover time each year. By the eighth century Anglo-Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ's resurrection."
According to Darryl Conder in Mystery Babylon the Great, "the history of Easter begins not with Christ's resurrection, but in Babylon, 2000 years before His birth… The first thing to be emphasized is that the Easter tradition is a composite history of two men and one woman. As the stories of their lives unfolded in ancient times, the religion they founded was conformed to explain the different occurrences. It is a somewhat complicated story that, as it becomes clear, will present a chilling account of modern day religious practices found, literally, around the world! To understand the Easter custom of the western world, it is important that we basically dissect this festival piece by piece. First of all, where did we get the name Easter, and what does it have to do with Jesus Christ? Most any encyclopedia will mention that the name Easter is derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre (pg. 55).
"What is the meaning of the name "Easter"? You have been led to suppose the word means "resurrection of Christ." For 1600 years the Western world has been taught that Christ rose from the dead on Sunday morning. But that is merely one of the fables the Apostle Paul warned readers of the New Testament to expect. The resurrection did not occur on Sunday! The name "Easter," which is marry the slightly changed English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess Ishtar, comes to us from old Teutonic mythology where it is known as Ostern. The Phoenician name of this goddess was Astarte, consort of Baal, the sun god, whose worship is denounced by the Almighty in the Bible as the most abominable of all pagan idolatry. Look up the word "Easter" in Webster's dictionary. You will find it clearly reveals the pagan origin of the name. In the large five-volume Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, only six brief lines are given to the name "Easter," because it occurs only once in the Bible -- and that only in the Authorized King James translation. Says Hastings: "Easter, used in Authorized Version as the translation of 'Pascha' in Acts 12:4, 'Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.' Revised Standard Version has substituted correctly 'the Passover.'"
Here is another Popish holy-day that has caused many weak believers to sin. But we find no authority for its observance in the Bible. Whence all this annual ado and false concern by the ungodly who care naught for a heart cleansed from sin? And why are so many Christians moved into observing Rome's religious delusion? The answer is not hard to detect. "Good Friday" celebrations appeal to the flesh and the emotions. It is NOT the Crucifixion of Christ that interests people in the passion plays and services. It is the Pope's holy-day with its pomp and ceremony, thrilling the senses, that attracts those who are ignorant of Scripture. Jesus said: "Blessed are they that have NOT seen yet have believed."
And is it not sad how Rome's pagan ritual has permeated nearly the whole lump of professing Christendom? No wonder Jeremiah the prophet once said to apostate idolatrous Israel:
"Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this"' Jer. 9:9.
Tradition of Lent
Coming from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, meaning “spring,” Lent originated in the ancient Babylonian mystery religion. “The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess…Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz” (The Two Babylons). Tammuz was the false Messiah of the Babylonians—a satanic counterfeit of Jesus Christ!
According to Johannes Cassianus, who wrote in the fifth century, “Howbeit you should know, that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist” (First Conference Abbot Theonas, chapter 30). There is neither biblical nor historical record of Christ, the apostles or the early Church participating in the Lenten season.
The traditions of Easter has bits and pieces of truth, but it also has many errors contained in them which are not biblical. The Lent tradition and practice is a typical example. There is no record of the Apostles nor Jesus celebrating 40 days of abstinence which means reframing from their normal worldly activities for a period of time. Basically it's a form of works to attempt to please God for all the other sins committed during the past year. So where did it come from?
Lent which means "spring time" was originally a pagan practice that was first invented by the Babylonians in honor of their "Queen of Heaven and Her son Tammuz".
"He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz" Ezekiel 8:13,14.
The reason why the women were weeping for "Tammuz" was because of his death. The belief also states, "Tammuz" comes back to life from the dead. Sound familiar? It should because it's a distorted belief of of what really Christ did on the Cross (Gen. 3:15) and His victory over Satan when He was risen from the dead. In reality, Tammuz never was really risen from the dead but used as an object of worship for many pagan cultures throughout history.
Eventually Lent was adopted by the Egyptians in honor of one their of gods which happens to be another version of Tammuz named; Adonis. Since there were variants of Lent in the way it was practiced by the ancient pagans, Catholic leaders at the time were in disagreement on how to celebrate the new tradition. It wasn't till the sixth century when the Pope made the official by calling the Lent celebration a 'sacred fast', and ordered the people to abstain from meat and a few other foods for a period of time. The Scriptures plainly condemn such a practice..."Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" 1 Tim 4:2-3. Lent started out as 36 days, but later in 800 AD it was expanded to 40 days and it has been that way ever since.
Believe it or not, Lent was never observed by Christ or His apostles. He commanded His disciples to “Go you therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus never commanded them to observe Lent or Easter. He did, however, command them to keep Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. In fact, during His last Passover on earth, Christ gave detailed instructions on how to observe the Passover service.
Easter Eggs & Meaning
The serpent entwined around the egg, was a symbol common to the Indians, the Egyptians, and the Druids. It referred to the creation of the Universe
The Easter egg takes us back to some of the oldest known civilizations on earth where the symbol of an egg played an important part in mythical accounts of the creation of the world. According to this tale heaven and earth were formed from the two halves of a mysterious World-Egg. The Easter egg is associated with this World-Egg, the original germ from which all life proceeds, and whose shell is the firmament. So there is a heathen connection between the egg and the ideas or feelings of birth, new life, and creation.
Easter eggs do have a very long ancestry. In their modern chocolate or cardboard form they date only from the later years of the last century, but giving real eggs, colored or gilded at Easter and also at the pre-Christian spring celebrations are infinitely older.
Long before the Christian era, eggs were regarded as symbols of continuing life and resurrection. The ancient Persians and Greeks exchanged them at their spring festivals when all things in nature revived after the winter. To the early pagans converted to "Christianity" under Emperor Constantine's rule, eggs seemed the obvious symbols of the Lord's resurrection and were therefore considered "holy" and appropriate gifts at Easter time. Pope Paul V appointed a prayer in which the eggs were "blessed." The eggs could then be eaten in thankfulness to God on account of the resurrection of the Lord. The custom of coloring eggs at Easter continued from paganism with only a change of dedication. These eggs are often red. Scarlet eggs were given in the spring by pagan peoples centuries before the birth of Christ. It is probably the favorite color because, like the egg itself, it is an emblem of life.
The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most ancient pagan cultures. A peasant, would color brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. The ancient Druids believed the egg was a sacred emblem of their idolatrous religion. In Hinduism, they honor the egg as with a golden color. In Japan it was brazen. In China, dyed or painted eggs are used on "sacred" heathen festivals. In America the Easter egg contains numerous colors as the society is mixed blend of different cultures.
Eggs have always been associated with the Easter celebration. Nearly every culture in the modern world has a long tradition of coloring eggs in beautiful and different ways. I once examined a traveling display of many kinds of beautifully decorated egg designs that represented the styles and traditions of virtually every country of modern Europe. Notice the following: “The origin of the Easter egg is based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races…The egg to them was a symbol of spring…In Christian times the egg had bestowed upon it a religious interpretation, becoming a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged to the new life of His resurrection” (Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 233). This is a direct example of exactly how pagan symbols and customs are “Christianized,” i.e., Christian-sounding names are superimposed over pagan customs. This is done to deceive—as well as make people feel better about why they are following a custom that is not in the Bible.Notice the following: “The origin of the Easter egg is based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races…The egg to them was a symbol of spring…In Christian times the egg had bestowed upon it a religious interpretation, becoming a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged to the new life of His resurrection” (Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 233). This is a direct example of exactly how pagan symbols and customs are “Christianized,” i.e., Christian-sounding names are superimposed over pagan customs. This is done to deceive—as well as make people feel better about why they are following a custom that is not in the Bible.
Notice the following: “The origin of the Easter egg is based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races…The egg to them was a symbol of spring…In Christian times the egg had bestowed upon it a religious interpretation, becoming a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged to the new life of His resurrection” (Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 233). This is a direct example of exactly how pagan symbols and customs are “Christianized,” i.e., Christian-sounding names are superimposed over pagan customs. This is done to deceive—as well as make people feel better about why they are following a custom that is not in the Bible.
Finally, the following comes from Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, James Bonwick, pp. 211-212: “Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples. Bunsen calls attention to the mundane egg, the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial.”
There's no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies.And real rabbitscertainly don't lay eggs.
According to University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration -- and the Easter bunny -- can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate. The first Easter bunny legend was documented in the 1500s.
By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.
The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts. Here are two quotes from Francis Weiser about the origin of the “Easter bunny”: “In Germany and Austria little nests containing eggs, pastry and candy are placed in hidden spots, and the children believe that the Easter bunny, so popular in this country, too, had laid the eggs and brought the candy” (p. 235) and “The Easter bunny had its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore…The Easter bunny has never had religious symbolism bestowed on its festive usage…However, the bunny has acquired a cherished role in the celebration of Easter as the legendary producer of Easter eggs for children in many countries” (p. 236).
None of this will stop scores of millions of professing Christians from decorating their lawns and houses with Easter bunnies each spring.
Consider this last quote: “The hare, the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt, a symbol that was kept later in Europe…Its place has been taken by the Easter rabbit” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1991 ed., Vol. 4, p. 333).
Even in modern times, rabbits have remained common symbols of fertility. While their rapid rate of reproduction is well known, another problem arises with rabbits—they do not lay eggs! While both are clearly fertility symbols, there is no logical way to connect them. In a world filled with pagan tradition, truth and logic can be lost. Merging these symbols with Christianity makes an already idolatrous practice worse.
There is nothing Christian about any of these symbols. The true history of these fertility symbols, rabbits and eggs, is completely unknown to all the unsuspecting children who have been led by adults to think them so special.
Hot Cross Buns
The origins of hot cross buns are a mixture of pagan and Christian beliefs. According to the pagan origins, the Saxons worshipped Eostre, the goddess of dawn and spring. At the beginning of the spring season they celebrated a month-long festival, marking the transition from Winter to Spring. During this festival the Saxons offered the buns to the goddess “Eostre”. They marked the buns with a simple cross to represent four phases of the moon. Some historians dated the origin of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ as an Easter Tradition back to the 12th century. In 1361, an Anglican monk named Father Thomas Rocliffe made small spiced buns marked with the cross. He then distributed these buns to the poor visiting the monastery at St. Albans’s Abbey in Hertfordshire, Southern England on Good Friday, known at the time as the “Day of the Cross”. His noble deed was soon spread throughout country.
In England, Protestant English monarchs viewed the buns as a threat for the Catholic belief because they were made from dough that had been kneaded for consecrated bread used at Mass or Holy Communion. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns but they were too popular. Instead in 1592, Queen Elizabeth I issued the law permitting bakers to sell hot cross buns only during Easter, Christmas or at funerals.
When the Christians gained a firmed position in Britain their leaders banned the pagan Easter traditions. However, the leaders soon discovered that it was more effective to give them Christian symbolism rather than completely eliminate them. In 782 A.D., the Christian leaders reinterpreted the meaning of the cross on the buns as the symbol of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified.
Lets see what is written in the bible about this:
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. "Jeremiah 7:18"
God Calls Easter Evil
Now that we know that Easter is the goddess Ashtaroth, we need to look into the Bible and see what God thinks of her. Look at this verse: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth [Easter]” (Jdg. 2:11,13).
The context shows that God allowed His people to be taken from their land into captivity as a result of this sin! It continues, explaining how God delivered His people over and over again through a series of judges. After each deliverance, Israel returned to the same false gods, which in turn brought another captivity, via conquest by the nations around them. They never seemed to learn, as verse 19 makes clear: “And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves…in following other gods…and…they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” In chapter 10, verse 6, Israel repeats this pattern of stubbornness. And God, just as stubbornly, still calls it evil.
Baal and Ashtaroth worship reappeared during Samuel’s time. Samuel told Israel, “…put awaythe strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, andserve Him only…Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served theLord only” (I Sam. 7:3-4). Later, in I Samuel 12:10-11, Samuel publicly recounted Israel’s history to them. He reminded them that they continually returned to obeying God, only to fall backwards into idolatry again and again!
It has been said that “The only thing man has learned from history is that no one learns from history.” George Santayana took it further, saying, “Those who do not learn the lesson of history are doomed to repeat it.”
This lesson describes ancient Israel—but it also describes today’s modern world. Because Israel could not stay on track, they were eventually taken into captivity, becoming lost to history! After one more captivity and punishment, prophecy reveals that Christ will gather them for the last time at His Return.