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I am a member of the church of Christ. I have been writing things since I was little. Some have been printed, some posted. I write to teach or encourage; to blow off steam; and for fun! I had my own motorcycle in my 40s; I was a bluegrass music DJ for about 13 years; I've performed some. I am a member of the NRA. In 2003 (age 59), I became high partial legally blind; in 2005, I had to get hearing aids! Franklin Field said: "Poor eyes limit your sight; poor vision limits your deeds". And no kidding, the picture was made April, 2012!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The ORIGINS of EASTER

I celebrate every Sunday as a very special day. We are commanded to remember the Lord's resurrection every Sunday, not just once a year.

Did you know that Easter, as with Christmas, is rooted in paganism and Catholicism?

Many people celebrate Easter as a very special Sunday, with the same importance they place on Christmas. It is one of two times a year that nearly everyone who claims to be religious attends some kind of church service. In some countries, the whole week from "Palm" Sunday to "Easter" is a holiday, but there is nothing in the Bible that makes this Sunday any more special than any other Sunday.

The word "easter" most likely comes from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and spring, "Eostre". In her honor, sacrifices and gifts were offered at the vernal equinox - the beginning of spring. The word "easter" is used once in the Bible (Acts 12:4) in the King James' Version. Everywhere else, this same Greek word is correctly translated "passover".

Eggs symbolized new life that returns to nature in the spring. Ancient Egyptians and others dyed eggs in spring colors and gave them to friends, to "assure" a fertile, productive year. Like eggs, how appropriate that the rabbit also symbolized new life and fertility.

Often when Christians went into areas where pagan gods were worshipped, instead of encouraging the people to leave their pagan rituals, they were permitted to keep their pagan signs and ceremonies, but with a "Christian" substitution.

Soon after the death of the apostles, many Jews continued to keep their customs and religious practices even after they became Christians. The Passover, an important Jewish feast instituted by God through Moses, commemorated their deliverance from Egypt. It was during this feast that Jesus instituted the "Lord's Supper", thus Passover was then changed to remember Christ's death, as He died during Passover week and was offered as the Passover lamb for our sins (1 Cor. 5:7-8). It became a yearly observance - even though Christ instituted the Lord's Supper (not Passover) as the proper way to remember His death, burial, and resurrection (Lk. 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Biblical and historical evidence indicate that the Lord's Supper was a weekly observance (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20-22; 10:16-17). The annual "Christian Passover" soon included other observances of "Passion" week, beginning with "Palm" Sunday. "Resurrection" Sunday, the day Jesus arose, became known as Easter.

Pope Victor I (A.D. 189-198) was influential in having an annual celebration of Jesus' resurrection on a Sunday. The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) laid grounds for all churches to celebrate on the same Sunday. By the 8th century, nearly all church leaders had begun to apply "Eostre" rituals and symbols to Christ's resurrection.

Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for making traditions take the place of God's laws (Mt. 7:1-13). The apostle Paul observed some Jewish laws when it was expedient (1 Cor. 9:19-20; Acts 15: 1, 5; 16:1-3). If some still wanted to have lamb and eggs and bitter herbs, and to remember how God had delivered them from bondage, and to circumcise their sons, that was fine. The problem arose when some tried to bind practices on others as a requirement for salvation, when the Bible no longer required such. See Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 2:3-5; 5:4-5; Col. 2:16-17.

Having special Easter observances in worship is going beyond the Scriptures - we are to abide in the Doctrine of Christ (2 Jn. 9; 1 Pet. 4:11).

So answer these questions for yourself. Can I observe "Easter" Sunday as a religious holiday? Can I have chocolate bunnies and colored eggs? Can I have lamb for lunch that day? Can that be a special day with my family?

- by Netagene, April, 2001. This has been printed in at least 2 church bulletins. References I used were The Interactive Bibel (http://www.bible.ca/), mostly "Easter: A Historical and Biblical Perspective"; also "Jesus Christ's Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion" by Mario Seiglio (in "The Good News", a publication of the United Church of God, May/June 2000), and The Sierra Reference Encyclopedia.

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