Sunday, April 2, 2017

Easter or Passover, Which Is Christian? Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter, What Do They Know? Update.


For Scripture Sunday”:

Easter or Passover,  Which Is Christian?

“Many believe that God's endorsement of Passover ended with Christ's death—and that He has since replaced it with the observance of Easter as a celebration of Christ's resurrection. But is that so?

Easter eggs and a small cup of wine.iStockphoto

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

In April of this year, a billion or more people who identify themselves as Christian will celebrate Easter. The week before, a far smaller number will observe Passover.

How do these two scenarios compare? On the one hand, we have a fun-filled Easter egg hunt, Easter bunnies galore and an Easter Sunday sunrise service. On the other, a solemn Passover service that typically includes participants washing one another’s feet and partaking of unleavened bread and wine.

Easter seems more fun, more joyous; Passover seems old-fashioned and more serious. These are some differences that are obvious on the surface. Many other differences aren’t so obvious.

My own Easter story

My earliest recollections of Easter included searching for colored eggs that I helped paint and my mother hid. Since I loved hard-boiled eggs, finding and eating those colorfully decorated eggs was fun and quite a treat!

I never questioned the Easter season with its Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. This was supposed to be the most holy holiday of the year, but to me it was more about fun—just as merchants hoped it would be.

It wasn’t until my early 20s that I learned about the so-called “Jewish” Passover. The ministers I’d known earlier had given me no hint that Passover was something for Christians.

I now found this curious, since my Bible clearly showed that Jesus, a Jew, observed the Passover with His closest followers and instructed them, and us, to continue to keep it until His return (Matthew 26:26-29). I was also surprised to read that the apostle Paul explicitly told Church members in the Greek port city of Corinth—most of whom were not and never had been Jewish—to observe the Passover as a reminder and memorial of Jesus Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

The Passover has great meaning for Christians, being as current and relevant today as it was when Jesus instituted its symbols and told His followers, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

And try as I might, I couldn’t find anything in the Bible mentioning the apostles or early Church celebrating Easter. No eggs or rabbits anywhere. I even found that the one place where the word Easter is found in the Bible—Acts 12:4 in the King James Version—the original word there is actually Pascha, the Greek word for Passover!

I was at a loss to explain this. How was it that millions upon millions of people celebrated a holiday that clearly isn’t found in the Bible, while dutifully ignoring a holy observance that is in the Scriptures?

A valid replacement?

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

Either we obey God or we don’t. He sanctioned the true Christian Passover and not the pre-Christian and man-made tradition called Easter. Are you willing to follow what He says?”

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Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter,  What Do They Know?

“Easter is the most important holiday for hundreds of millions of believers around the world. Yet thousands of Christians don't observe it. Do they know something that others don't?

An open Bible with a pen resting on the page and a notebook with notes.Aaron Burden/Unsplash

If you want to be a true disciple of Christ Jesus, you need to carefully examine whether your beliefs agree with the Bible.

Every spring, the anticipation and excitement of Easter is electrifying for many people. Churches prepare elaborate Easter programs that illustrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Parents take time to color Easter eggs and hide them so their children can hunt for them.

If Easter isn’t found in the Bible, where exactly did it come from? And just exactly what does the name Easter mean?

It’s typical for TV movies this time of year to depict Easter as an enjoyable occasion of renewed happiness. Television advertisements and commercial businesses also get very involved with Easter as they offer colorful Easter baskets, Easter costumes and chocolate rabbits to celebrate this great religious event.

It was only natural to the peoples of the ancient Middle East to incorporate symbols of fertility—such as eggs and rabbits, which reproduce in great numbers—into those pagan celebrations for their gods. As The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes above, Easter eggs and the Easter rabbit are simply a continuation of these ancient spring fertility rites.

Nineteenth-century Scottish Protestant clergyman Alexander Hislop’s work The Two Babylons is still considered a definitive work on pagan customs that survive in today’s religious practices.

On Easter, he wrote: “What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by [early archaeologist Sir Austen Henry] Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar” (1959, p. 103).

The name Easter, then, comes not from the Bible. Instead its roots go far back to the ancient pre-Christian Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, known in the Bible as Astarte or Ashtoreth.”

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This is the last week that we will have four trash pick-ups at Roni’s old place (now mine).  It was just too much to keep up with that, and most of the garbage has been thrown away, so we are back down to two pick-ups.  My helper and I got the last of the paneling up in the mini-house (guest house).  Now it needs to be painted, but we have more important things to do to make the place functional.  We have everything ready to install the kitchen Formica now, then the sink, stove and the kitchen plumbing. 

We found a large solid oak headboard at Roni’s which we are going to slice up with my table saw and make it into trim for doors and windows in the Mini-house.  Also there is a great big wooden shelf unit that is 6’ high and 4’ wide that we can use in the workshop.  That will be so much better than using metal, plastic or fiberboard shelves. 

For the church potluck I made Corned Beef and Cabbage, and German Potato Salad, (made with Turkey Bacon) served it in crockpots. (German Potato Salad is supposed to be served warm.) The pastor’s wife’s knee still isn’t better, so I had to get the rest of the other dishes ready for serving.  One of the elders always brings a large crockpot ready-dish, like I do, but my crockpots are smaller.  We prepare it on Friday (Preparation  Day) and then just plug it in when we get there.  But some folks bring things that have to be cooked, which is not really right, as it is the Sabbath, and we shouldn’t be working on the Sabbath.   Actual cooking is not supposed to be done on the Sabbath, it is supposed to be done the previous day.

“This emphasis on people ceasing work on the Sabbath is foremost in the primary commandment that instructs us how to keep the Sabbath:  “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.”  Deut 5:12  

Now you must feed and water your animals on the Sabbath, and if you have to get your oxen out of a ditch, that is expected, too.

“The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?” Luke 13:15.

And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” Luke 14:5.

The Bible readings were Exo. 38:21-40:38, 1 Kings 7:51-8-21 and Rev. 15:5-8.  The Teaching was “Saints Fellowship”, about the fellowship between people of the congregation.  1 John 1-3,6,7 is about fellowship with the Father, his Son, and others.

The weather was mild and it was an enjoyable day.

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