My friend Ernie Carrasco posted this on his blog, and because it is timely, I thought I’d repost it.
… when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [they] took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. (John 12:12-13)
Recently there has been a big uproar in the conservative media about the “war on Easter.” Bill O’Reilly, who believes the Bible is allegorical, “lambasted President Obama and the White House for empowering ‘secular progressives’ to pressure school districts around the country to decide not to use terms like ‘Easter bunny’ and ‘Easter egg’” (from MediaMatters). My question is, what do the “Easter bunny” and “Easter eggs” have to do with Easter anyway? The bunny and eggs are pagan fertility symbols that were used to celebrate the vernal equinox and the beginning of new life – not in a spiritual sense, but simply the time when trees bud, green returns to plant life, the time for planting of new crops, etc. Even the name “Easter” is a derivative of the fertility goddess Ishtar (Babylonian), Astarte (Phoenician), or Ashtoreth (Canaanite). So, the White House wants to stop Easter egg hunts or remove these symbols from public schools – so what! Christians should not be offended by this. More offensive is the expulsion of God and His Word from the public schools. That boat has sailed never to return to port again. The outcry and outrage should have been sounded four decades ago, and now we are whining about the Easter bunny and Easter eggs!
As we enter this Holy Week, Christians should reject paganism in all its forms. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Aw, what’s the harm in taking the kids out for an Easter egg hunt? Well, what does that teach them about Christ’s death on the cross, His three days in the tomb and His victorious resurrection? Instead of “Easter Sunday,” why not start calling it “Resurrection Sunday”? Instead of Easter eggs and Easter bunnies, why not celebrate what Christ has done to save us? Now, that really is a big deal!
On Sunday morning, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt (Matthew 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15). That in itself is miraculous! Matthew, citing Zechariah 9:9, says that the donkey was a “foal” – really too young yet to bear a heavy burden – and yet this little donkey carried our Lord without complaint. Zechariah had prophesied this presentation of the King of kings, and within a few short days the King would be rejected and crucified as a common criminal. But then came Sunday! And soon, He will return as a conquering king, riding upon a white steed (Revelation 19:11-16) – no longer a Lamb to be slaughtered, but a Lion to conquer His enemies and rule with a “rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
So, kill the Easter bunny. It is of absolutely no value. We have a greater truth to defend and a greater message of hope to share!
Over the last century there has been a lot of controversy over the inclusion of the word “Easter” in Acts 12:4
(3b) (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
The problem here comes from the assumption of modern “Christians” that Easter is a Christian celebration. The truth is that many Christians did not celebrate Easter until the council of Nicaea banned the Christian celebration of Passover in 325 AD. During the writing of the New Testament Easter was unknown as a Christian celebration. It was not until many pagans began entering the Church, that Easter and Passover became confused.
The problem the translators had was what to do with the Greek word “Pascha”. In Greek this word can be translated as either Passover, or Easter. It depends on the context. The context is actually set out for us in verse 3 “Then were the days of unleavened bread.”
The days of unleavened bread actually occur in the week following Passover, and thus Passover was already over when Herod put Peter in Jail. So what was Herod waiting for, to put Peter to death? The only celebration left was Easter, which always comes around the same time as Passover.
Easter is not, and never was, Christian. Herod, in spite of being the king of Israel, was actually an Edomite, an Arab descended from Jacob’s brother Esau. Herod was a pagan, from a family of pagans, who had no regard for the celebrations of either the Jews or the Christians.
Easter, however, was not known as a Christian celebration at the time, since the Christians were still celebrating Passover with the Jews. Herod was celebrating the pagan Easter, not Passover.
So we know that the KJV inclusion of “Easter” in Acts 12:4 is the correct translation, and all translations which use the word “Passover” here, are in error.
For further information see http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158_02.asp