by Ruel Thompson

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“Easter - its origins”

(NOTE:    Thank you to A. Hislop for his research and book, the "The Two Babylons")

What does 'Easter' mean, and from where did this festival originate?

"Easter" was not originally a Christian Festival.
It actually had its origins long ago, in Chaldea, the present Iraq, (the place of Abraham's birth, where many people were idolaters worshipping many 'gods' the place God/Yahweh called him to leave.) The name 'Easter' originally was Astarte, (one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven) whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with Easter. Later, the worship and celebration of Astarte spread across from Chaldea to Europe as Christian scholars and historians relate.
The Venerable Bede was one such scholar.
The Venerable Bede, (672-735CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the Spring Equinox by these people to honour her. Similarly, the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility was known variously as Ostare, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur." Thus, the word 'Easter' has dubious connotations and is rooted deeply in idolatry. Should we be concerned about this?

Here we see a picture of Astarte holding a pomegranate, a fruit full of seeds (reminding us that Astarte was also the goddess of fertility. The Chaldean name for the pomegranate was Rimmon. With the Rimmon or 'pomegranate' in her hand, Astarte is frequently represented on ancient medals, and in the house of Rimmon. Incidentally, the place where the King of Damascus, the Master of Naaman, the Syrian, worshipped, was in all likelihood a temple of Astarte, where this goddess with the Rimmon was publicly adored.
2Ki 5:18 "In this thing may Yahweh pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, My Yahweh pardon thy servant in this thing."
Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were: Aphrodite from Cyprus, Astarte, from Phoenicia, Demeter from Mycenae, Hathor from Egypt, Ishtar from Assyria, Kali from India, Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.
So, we can see that long before the Christian Era, Spring Festivals were observed by pagan peoples, and even the name 'Easter' was given to such festivals, as the name 'eastre' also meant Spring.
Astarte was the Consort of a 'god' named Bel. He was, along with Astarte worshipped in Britain by the Druids. Some of the customs of these 'gods' are woven into our Christian practises. Even as late as the 1940-1950's children were encouraged to dance round a maypole on the first of May, and decorate bicycles prams and toys to celebrate 'Spring'. If the reader is interested in the Druidical worship of Bel or Baal and his counterpart Astarte, then click on this link.

If Baal was thus worshipped in Britain, (and many of the Pagan rites still observed today although it has to be said that perhaps the 'worshippers' should rather be named 'celebrators' and they probably have no idea of its idolatrous beginnings) it will not be difficult to believe that his consort Astarte was also adored by our ancestors, and that from Astarte, (whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar) the religious celebrations of April, as now practised, are called by the name of Easter - that month, among our Pagan ancestors, having been called Easter-monath.
Should we be concerned about this? Our God Yahweh, the Eternal One desires purity of heart and mind. He desires us to worship Him in a separated, sanctified manner. We read this throughout the Scriptures. He desires us to empty ourselves of all that is pagan and idolatrous. Should we then be associated with cultish practices? We say, defending ourselves, 'But we are worshipping Yahshua (Jesus) and celebrating His resurrection, we have eggs to remind us about the stone that was rolled away from His tomb! We give no thought to idols!' True, we are, but would it surprise you to know that many of the very things we do at Easter originate in this pagan worship? If you realised this, would it make a difference? Would you continue to celebrate in these ways?
Would it surprise you to find out that the egg was (and still is in some cultures) a sacred thing? Something to be worshipped? The Druids used the emblem as the sacred emblem of their order. (Davies' Druids p. 208) A short study would quickly enlighten you how ancient cultures all over the world worshipped the egg. From where do you think the famous Faberge egg originated? Astarte ('Easter') was said to have emerged from a giant egg. To quote Hyginus, the Egyptian, (the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of his native country,) said this. 'An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter and in Cyprus (which was the chosen seat of the worship of Venus/Astarte) the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale. (see picture)
The association of the egg relating to the stone rolled away came along when Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th. Century and already merged with ingrained pagan beliefs.
Of course, we would need the conviction of the holy Spirit before we would be willing to give up our enjoyment of the chocolate eggs, and our fun with the children seeking for them, and rolling boiled eggs down hills in competition with each other!
Now what about the Easter Bunny? This appears to be the 'flavour' of the generation in which we live. According to the University of Florida's Centre for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the Easter Bunny can be traced back to 13th Century pre-Christian Germany, when people worshipped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddes of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honour on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal's high reproduction rate. (Sound familiar?) By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets....etc and so the traditions (from Pagan worship) escallate.
Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday sad to say all have pagan and idolatrous origins, but you can do your own research of these things, the truths are not hidden or difficult to find.
Yahweh desires purity of heart and behaviour. Should we be involving our children with all this? How will your children handle the fact that you told them lies about the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, elves and fairies? Again, I know it is not easy to break with such enjoyable customs, and it does take a conviction from Yahweh Himself to give us the strength and determination to purify our worship of Him.
Paul himself had similar problems, breaking away from traditions he had been brought up with and formerly held as precious. Often our 'fight' is not with Yahweh, but with our peers, our friends and our families. To 'do it right' can tip the balance and cause ostracisation from family and friends in our effort to please our heavenly Father. But we know from the scriptures how He hates mixtures in worship. The sons of Aaron offered false fire, the Israelites brought a heathen bull into their worship at the foot of Sinai, and great was their Elohim's judgement and punishment of them. I am sure you yourself know of other scriptures which show His hatred for mixing worship of Him with any other so-called 'god'. We read about those making 'cakes for the Queen of Heaven' namely Semiramis, Nimrod's idolatrous wife in Jer. 7:18 Jer 7:18.  "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."  Yes, Yahweh/God desires purity in out worship, He desires singleness of mind. May He help us and give us both the conviction to change, and the strength to do it.

In view of the above comments about the Easter Bunny, Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th. Century and sadly, it was already ingrained with pagan beliefs. Would it surprise you to know that the early Roman Church allowed many pagan practises to be carried on and included in the worship of God? There was a ploy to swell the church numbers by allowing people to hold on to their pagan fun by merely including their idolatrous practises in the Easter/Christmas stories, incorporating the ideas and weaving them skilfully into them? Practises such as kissing under the mistletoe, having a Yule Log, having a great feast on Christmas day, which incidentally just happened to be the birthday of the newly 'incarnated' son/husband of Semiramis, Tammuz? It's all out there, for us to discover, that is if we are willing to read these devastating truths for ourselves. Christmas is not our subject here, but you can Read about it here on this website. It is filled with all kinds of pagan practises which were never there in the early Church.
Paul urged his converts to leave all their rites and rituals behind to embrace the 'pure religion' of the Gospel. He encouraged his converts to leave their 'former ways' behind, and embrace the truth. Gal 4:9  "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" 
Sadly, the Roman Catholic early church broke away from all things pertaining to Judaism (and of course we know that the early Church was very much a 'branch' of Judaism, not at all a separate religion.) We read from the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) that the 'solemnity of Saturday should be changed to Sunday' Canon 29, "Christians must not judaise by resting on the Sabbath but must work on that day, but should honour the Lord's Day" i.e. Sunday. Nowhere did the Apostles give authority to change the day from Saturday to Sunday. Great efforts were made by the early Roman Church to strip the gospel of all things which pertained to Judaism, and negatively labelled people who were following the teachings of the (Jewish) Apostles as 'Judaisers'.
This of course was going on even in Paul's day, as we read in 1 Thess. 2:14-16 "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, (i.e. fellow Gentiles) even as they have of the Jews who both killed the master, Yahshua, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; ('they' being the Jewish religious leaders of the day) and they please not Elohim, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved..."

  There have been many others over the Centuries who have effectively stripped believers of the true understanding of the Scriptures in relation to these things, taking away the 'Jewishness' of the Gospel.
At the Council of Nicea, held in 325 AD, the timing of the Paschal (Passover) festival was discussed, and the Jewish calendar was rejected. (the early Catholics were replacing Passover with Easter, but were still using the scriptural name - Pas'-khah or Pascha, of Chaldee origin). Note some excerps of Constantine's decree as preserved by the early Church historian Eusebius pp.52-53). He wrote that it seemed, "a most unworthy thing that we should follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this most holy solemnity... rejecting the practice of this people, we should perpetuate...let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews... let us withdraw ourselves, my much honoured brethren, from that most odious fellowship..."
It is plain for us all to see the origins of hatred and rejection of the Jews which perhaps contributed in no small ways to the prolific anti-semitism witnessed around the world over the succeeding Centuries.
Constantine considered himself more knowledgeable about the calendar than the Jews, but his attack was mainly directed at those Christian believers who followed the Jewish calendar, which was the one which the Apostles and Yahshua Himself observed!
Constantine was instrumental in dividing the Church from its Jewish (Biblical) roots which is still very much the position in our day, 2000 years later. These 'evangelists' have certainly reached their goal, the 'gap' between the Hebraicness of the gospel and what it is in our day becomes ever wider. One hardly dare mention the fact that from the beginning, Saturday was and is Yahweh's ordained day of rest, and that in the Millennium all nations will be ordered to send representatives to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. Zech. 14:16. Far from being 'done away with' it will be a observed and honoured by Law, and that Law will emanate from the Jewish capital City, Jerusalem! Isa 2:3  "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." 
Ironically, the Christian faith sprung directly out of Judaism, Yahshua Himself was Jewish, observing Saturday Sabbath, and the annual Feasts, and taught His disciples to do the same.
We need to do our homework. We need to 'study to show ourselves approved' especially in our day when no-one it seems, desires to forego their pleasures for the sake of the Gospel which was paid for by the ultimate Sacrifice Yahshua paid.
Incidentally, in case your argument may include the fact that Easter is written in Luke's testimony in Acts 12:4? the word 'Easter' there, is not actually in the text. The word is pascha pas'-khah which is of Chaldee origin; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it): - Easter, Passover. Surprised? There was no festival called Easter!

Easter or Passover?

The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the English Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. (the name Easter is peculiar to the British Isles) It was called Pasch, or the Passover, (Socrates, talking of Easter observation in different countries of his time i.e. the fifth century says: "thus much already laid down prove that the celebration of the feast of Easter began everywhere more of custom than by any commandment either of Christ or any Apostle")
As we have already mentioned, the name 'Easter' used in our translation of Acts twelve, verse four, refers not to any Christian festival, but to the Passover. (This is one of the few places in the English King James' version where the translators show an undue bias substituting Pasch, Passover, with the utterly unconnected word, Easter.) Passover was observed very early by professing Christians, in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Messiah. The 'new' Roman Church replacement festival of Easter agreed originally with the time of the Passover, when Yahshua was crucified, a period which, in the days of Tertullian, at the end of the second century, was believed to have been around the twenty third of March.
That festival (Passover, Pasch) was not idolatrous, and it was not preceded by Lent. 'It ought to be known' said Cassianus, the monk of Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, and contrasting the primitive Church with the Church in his day, 'that the observance of the forty days had no existence, so long as the perfection of that primitive Church remained inviolate'. In other words, when Pasch or Passover was kept in Britain, there was no period of Lent preceding it.
To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy (through compromising with the pagan masses in order to swell the church and 'make converts' ) took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity - now far sunk in idolatry through similar earlier compromises (see article on Christmas) - in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.

The Truth - should we follow the doctrines of the Roman church 'Fathers' or those of the Apostles?

This heading is something of an anomaly. Surely the early Roman Church fathers should be teaching the Gospel as it is in the New Covenant Scriptures? Why is there a difference?
Yahshua made it plain in John 4:23-24. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. Yahweh/God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Are we teaching the truth about the death and resurrection of our Saviour?
Mark 7:7 states, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Actually, the 'doctrines' or teachings around the Easter story are worse than the commandments of men, they are copied and have their sources in the early evil practises of pagans. In Peter 1:13-16 we read, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Yahshua the Messiah; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behaviour) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." The word holy means set apart, unto Yahweh, and different from the rest of humanity.
If we keep traditions which are not of Yahweh, how can we be holy? From what then are we different if we do as they do? Not everyone has the conviction nor the courage to be set apart from the rest of the world. The sad truth is that mainstream Christianity has, in some areas, sadly lost her way, adopting many Pagan practises and adapting them to the Christian message. This apostate tradition is continued by priests, pastors and preachers, ordained not by Yahweh in the power of the Holy Spirit, but by men in the spirit of the world.
Why is it so difficult to stop telling these lies, when we have clear instructions in Scripture (1. Corinthians 5:7) for Gentiles to keep the Feast of Passover,
1Co 5:7-8 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (there is no mention of any pagan Feast of Easter, but he mentions the 'unleavened bread eaten at the Passover and subsequent Feast of Unleavened Bread, so there is no doubt as to which 'Feast' he is referring.)
Also, Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles states that 1Co 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of Yahweh."
The Biblical Feasts (see Feasts page) are wonderful and liberating times of fellowship with Yahweh and our believing friends. They are filled with references to Yahshua and Salvation, giving a full and perfect picture of Him and the wonderful Salvation He has wrought for us. They are full of light and truth, and the observance of them opens our eyes more fully to Yahweh's plan for mankind, and the fulfilment of it in His Son, Yahshua. Surely we desire the Feasts He has ordained for us to keep, and not something which came from Pagan sources. Let us turn our backs on the lies and deceit which has infiltrated our lives, and seek Him together to show us the truth in the Feasts He has instituted for our instruction, revelation and blessing.

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