Easter

Each year Easter is celebrated by people from all over the globe.

The term ‘Easter’, as far as I can find in scripture, is only in the KJV of the Bible.

Some, as followers of the resurrected Christ, celebrate with special services, special time of dressing up,  an extra special time of ‘communion’, etc.

Others celebrate with bunnies, egg hunts, and so forth.

Then some don’t celebrate at all.

In my thinking, we should be celebrating His resurrection daily in our lives.

We should be reflecting His life in ours to everyone around us and in so doing draw others to Christ.

Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  the next verse says, “He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”(John 12:32-33) I truly believe He also meant folks will be drawn to Him [or pushed away from Him] by what they see in us.

Anyway, as I was reading this morning, I came across an article that lays out the history of the holiday. I knew some of it but was surprised at what I did not know. So, here are some questions.

How many folks really know the meaning of Easter?

Why is there only one Bible translation with the word ‘Easter’ in it?

What is its history and how did it start?

You mean there was controversy about the day?

I will enjoy some feedback on this too!

Here is a portion and a link to the article.

An Empty Shell – History of Easter

Most professing Christians celebrate Easter as one of the two holiest days of the year, yet neither the apostles nor the early Church observed it. In fact, it isn’t even mentioned in the Bible, except as a mistranslation.

How can it be that the book the Christian world calls holy is silent on one of traditional Christianity’s most important celebrations?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The name Easter is actually derived from the name of an ancient goddess. In Europe she was known as Ostara, the goddess of spring. The Phoenicians called her Astarte, and her name also appears on Assyrian monuments found by 19th-century archaeologist Sir Henry Austen Layard in excavations at Nineveh. The Assyrians and the Babylonians called her Ishtar; in fact, the Assyrian pronunciation of her name sounds just like the English word Easter.

For more than a thousand years before Jesus’ birth, a festival to this goddess was celebrated each spring to mark the budding of new life—the resurrection of nature after the dead of winter. It was a feast of regeneration. Throughout the inhabited world in ancient times, spring festivals and various related sex rituals honored the sun’s welcome rays as they once again imparted life and warmth.

Professing Christians in the second century and later saw Christ’s resurrection to new life as a parallel to these pagan spring rituals. Gradually they incorporated the customs surrounding worship of the spring goddess into Christianity in the festival we know as Easter.

But the acceptance of Easter as a celebration within traditional Christianity did not come easily. Indeed, much controversy surrounded its integration into the Christian calendar.

Historical references show that the early Christian Church did not observe Easter. In his book The Primitive Church, Maurice Goguel noted that “those Christians of Jewish origin continued to celebrate the Jewish feasts, particularly the Passover.”

The New Testament itself states that Jesus Christ and the apostles kept the Passover. Just before He was crucified, however, Jesus introduced the emblems of bread and wine into the Passover celebration (Matthew 26:26–29), thus changing the manner in which it should be observed. After Jesus’ crucifixion, the apostles and the early Church continued to observe the Passover, with these new emblems, on the eve of Nisan 14 (on the Hebrew calendar) as an annual memorial of His death.

According to the record of fourth-century Roman Catholic cleric Epiphanius, there was no change in this practice as long as the leaders in Jerusalem were of Jewish background. Eusebius, a bishop and church historian around the same time, confirmed in his History of the Church that there were 15 successive bishops over Jerusalem up to the time of Hadrian and his destruction of the city in A.D. 135. “All are said to have been Hebrews in origin, who had received the knowledge of Christ with all sincerity,” Eusebius wrote. “For at that time their whole church consisted of Hebrew believers who had continued from apostolic times down to the later siege in which the Jews, after revolting a second time from the Romans, were overwhelmed in a full-scale war.” As “Hebrew believers” who had “received the knowledge of Christ with all sincerity,” they would have followed His example and observed the Passover on Nisan 14 each year.

A FORK IN THE ROAD

During the second century, the paths of the congregations in the West, centered at Rome, began to diverge from those in Asia Minor.

The two groups generally agreed that Jesus Christ ate the Passover on the 14th day of Nisan. The Christians in Asia Minor, who made up what came to be referred to as the Eastern church, stuck to that date for partaking of the bread and wine that symbolized Christ’s suffering and death. However, as Fernand Mourret pointed out in his five-volume…..read the entire article.

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2 responses to “Easter

  1. you said easter was in the king james? does this mean no one else celebrates it as that name? what do others call it

  2. Well Terry, as far as I know everyone calls it Easter.
    However, the actual term from which it is translated ‘pascha’ pronounced pas’-khah or from the Greek πάσχα. Of Chaldee origin; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it).
    Evidently the original scrolls did not have the word ‘Easter’ in them and so the ones translating into the King James Version simply added it.

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