The word “Easter” in acts 12:4 of the King James Version is a mistranslation of the Greek pascha. All other translations have subsequently rendered it correctly as “Passover”. The well-known Barnes Notes comments on this mistranslation in this single occurrence of the word “Easter” in the King James Version, as follows, “There was never a more absurd or unhappy translation than this.” Not only is the name “Easter” incorrect, but also the time of the feast. No one would ever think of keeping his own birthday every year on the same day of the week. If I was born on a Sunday, I would not think of keeping my birthday on a Sunday every year. I will keep it according to the day of the yearly calendar and and not according to the day of the week. This is exactly what happened when Easter Sunday was instituted by Constantine’s Church. The passover dispute between the Western Church and the more Scripture-adhering believers of the Near East was finally settled by Constantine’s Council of Nicaea in the year 325, where it was decided that Easter was to be kept on Sun-day, and on the came Sun-day throughout the world and that “none should here-after follow the blindness of the Jews.”58 Prior to that, Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle John, had learned from the apostle himself that the 14th Abib was the Scriptural day of the year, which had been legislated in the Old Testament to determine the onset of the Passover, which Yahusha kept the night that He was betrayed. Polycarp, Polycrates, Apollinarius and others contended for the correct calculation of the Passover Memorial Supper (and the events following it), to be reckoned as beginning from the 14th Abib (Nisan). Now, with Constantine taking the lead, the Council of Nicaea decided to reject the Scriptural way of determining the correct date according to the yearly date, in favour of Easter Sun-day, according to a day of the week. Constantine exhorted all bishops to embrace “the practice which is observed at once in the city of Rome, and in Africa; throughout Italy, and in Egypt.”59 Another fragment records that Constantine urged all Christians to follow the custom of “the ancient church of Rome and Alexandria.”60
The case for the yearly Easter Sun-day was held in common with the case for the weekly Sun-day. Origen wrote, “The resurrection of the Master is celebrated not only once a year by constantly every eight days.”61 Eusebius also stated, “While the Jews, faithful to Moses, sacrificed the Passover Lamb once a year … we men of the New Covenant celebrate our Passover every Sunday.”62 Pope Innocent I wrote, “We celebrate Sunday because of the Venerable resurrection … not only at Easter but … every Sunday.”63 But wherefrom did this Easter Sun-day originate? Any encyclopaedia or dictionary, such as The Oxford English Dictionary, will supply the answer: Easter had a pre-Christian origin, namely a festival in honour of Eostre, the Teutonic dawn-goddess, and as Usha or Ushas, the Hindu dawn-goddess. This Eostre was also known to be the spring goddess and the goddess of fertility. Thus, another form of Sun-worship, another variant in the form of a dawn-deity, Eostre, also called Eastre, Eostra or Orstara,64 became fused with Christianity. This same dawn-goddess was also well known in the Greek Classics (Homer, Hesiod) as Eos (the Roman Aurora) and the Assyrian Ishtar, goddess of the morning. In classical mythology Eos was an amorous deity and the idea of fertility with its fertility-symbols of eggs and rabbits was to be expected. Any reference work will testify to the fact of the origin of Easter eggs and the Easter rabbit or bunny, because “Easter” was not only goddess of dawn but also goddess of spring with all its fertility-symbols and fertility-rites. This word Eos, Eostre, Ostara, is related64 to the Sanskrit and Vedic usra or ushas, the Zendic ushastara and the Lithuanian Ausra, the old Teutonic austron, and the male spring or dawn deity of the Norwegians, Austri, of which we read in the Edda. Most likely this Eostre, dawn deity/fertility deity, is the same as Astarte, which is recorded in the Hebrew of the Old Testament as Ashtaroth and Ashtoreth (the latter being changed because of deliberate Hebrew misvocalisation).65 The name of Astarte was Ishtar in Nineve. She was also known as the “queen of heaven”.
Let us further examine the festival of this dawn – or spring-deity. Just like Eostre, the dawn-diety of the Germanic tribes, we find Eos, the dawn-deity of the Greeks, who, although married to Tithonus, was consistently faithless to him, which accounts for the blush of dawn.66 She was known to be the sister of Helios, the Sun-deity, and represented in sculpture with radiant sun-rays around her head.67 Similarly, and probably the same origin of this Eos and Eostre, we find in Hindu mythology the goddess of dawn to be Ushas, daughter of Heaven.68 Other spring festivals were celebrated, with the rites of Adonis or of Tammuz (well known as the youthful Sun-deity) which were held in summer in some places, but held in spring in others, such as in Sicily and Syria, our dead and risen Annointed One being assimilated to the pagan celebration of the dead and risen Adonis (Tammuz). This “weeping for Tammuz” is exactly what YHWH included amongst His verdict of “wicked abominations”, as we read in Eze. 8:9 and 14 Rev. Alexander Hislop comments on this fusion of the Scriptural Passover Memorial (and the events following it in the New Testament) with that of the pagan spring celebrations: “To consiliate the pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get 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 – in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.”69 Sir James Fazer similarly comments, “When we reflect how often the Church has skilfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen The Annointed One was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis … Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals.”70 Adonis was known also as the Phrygian Attes, Attis, Atys.71 Attis was beloved by Cybele, the “Mother of the Gods”, the great Asiatic goddess of fertility, who had her chief home in Phrygia. Some held that attis was her son. The worship of Attis and Cybele was adopted in 204 B.C.E. by the Romans where the great spring festival in their honour became well known. This festival lasted from the 22nd to the 25th of March, the last day, when the mourning was turned to joy fro the resurrection of the dead Attis. Attis was also identified with the Sun.72 The 25th March was regarded as the vernal (spring) eqinox, and we can easily see how the pagan worshippers of many different pagan religions were reconciled with the Messianic Faith, by means of assimilating a similar commemoration, but which had a different date, according to the day of the year, and not according to the day of the week, the Sun-day. Easter Sun-day, year after year. This was the decision taken by the Council of Nicaea.
Furthermore, not only was the time of the Scriptural feast supplanted by the pagan day’s date, but also the rites of the pagan Easter took over, namely the fertility pagan symbols of Easter eggs and Easter rabbits (bunnies), and also the Easter buns, the hot-cross buns. The “buns”, known by the identical name boun, were used in the worship of the Queen of heaven already 1500 years before the Christian era.73 They were also known amongst the Teutonic tribes as osterstuopha and moon-shaped ostermane.74 The Mighty One warns His people against this “abomination”, as He called it in Jer. 7:10, and as is described in Jer. 7:18. Even the round shape of them with the cross on top represents exactly the very ancient symbol of the sun, namely the cross with a circle around it.75 this was especially known to be the symbol of the Babylonian Sun-deity. The circled cross was also later found on a coin of Julius Caesar, 100-44 B.C.E., and subsequently on coins struck by Caesar’s heir, Agustus subsequently on coins struck by Caesar’s heir, Aufustus 20 B.C.E., and by Hadrian and other Roman emperors.76
How then were these things ever permitted to enter in? In an attempt to justify this, the Church uses the term “Christianisation”. The adoption of these pagan emblems of Easter eggs, Easter rabbits and Easter buns, are explained by The Catholic Encyclopedia, “a great many pagan customs celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter … The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.”77 This is in direct contrast to the Word of YHWH in Jer. 10:2, “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles,” and in Deut. 12:30, “do not inquire after their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? I also will do likewise.'” Israel was commanded to keep the worship pure and undefiled by destroying everything pertaining to pagan worship, even to destroy the names of the pagan deities (Deut. 12:3), and not even to “mention the names of other mighty ones, nor let it be heard from your mouth,” Ex.23:13. The whole subject of Easter, its Sun-day – emphasising date, and its pagan emblems and rites, such as Easter sunrise services, is crowned by the general admission that the word “Easter” is derived from the name of a goddess, the dawn-goddess, the spring-deity, the goddess of fertility.
Let us rather commemorate Yahusha’s Memorial Passover and the subsequent happenings according to the Scriptural calendar, starting on the evening of 14 Abib, and repent of, and eliminate the pagan Easter festival.
Yahusha the Messiah said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth your word is truth.” This powerful statement sets the standard for all who would be True Worshipers, those sanctified or set apart by the truth of Almighty YHWH’s pure Word. They know the truth and have been set free by it, John 8:32. It is their goal to follow the narrow pathway of truth and righteousness and leave the broad way of lawlessness, sin and error. They follow the instruction of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:17-18 where he said, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Sovereign and Savior Yahshua Messiah. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
As seekers of truth, we must constantly be on guard against the errors that have been put forth by law-loathing men. One such error that has caused many to lose their spiritually secure position is the doctrine of Easter.
Origin of Easter
Surprisingly, Christian history is very candid about the origin of Easter. The ancient records clearly show that it originated from paganism and that it was substituted for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread observances. Let’s take a look at some of the verifying evidence.
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary explains, “Easter was originally a pagan festival honoring Eostre, a Teutonic (Germanic) goddess of light and spring. At the time of the vernal equinox (the day in the spring when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length), sacrifices were offered in her honor. As early as the eighth century, the name was used to designate the annual Christian celebration of the resurrection of Chr-st. The only appearance of the word Easter (KJV) is a mistranslation of pascha, the ordinary Greek word for ‘Passover’ (Acts 12:4).”
This source agrees completely with the Catholic Encyclopedia, which states, “[Easter] The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda (Simrock, Mythol., 362); Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh.”
Why did Easter become a substitute for Passover and who had the authority to make such a drastic change? Certainly not the Apostles. The Apostolic congregation in Jerusalem and all other locations always observed Passover and never Easter. The Apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians wrote about the Passover observance, exhorting them to keep the feast.
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8; NKJV).
Paul had instructed the Corinthian brethren in the proper observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread that follow it. He never switched the Biblical observances to Easter or even intimated or envisioned such a thing for the future.
Eastern Bishops Disagree
A controversy developed in the 2nd century C.E. concerning when to observe Passover. A Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Easter Controversy,” quotes Eusebius, a 4th century writer on church history: “We read in Eusebius Hist. Eccl., V, xxiii): ‘A question of no small importance arose at that time [i.e. the time of Pope Victor, about A.D. 190]. The dioceses of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch.’”
The eastern believers were, at this time, still observing Passover on the 14th of Abib (the first scriptural month). In a letter from Polycrates (the head of the eastern bishops) to Victor the bishop of Rome, Polycrates insisted that they observe the ancient tradition that was passed on to them by a long line of bishops all the way back to the Apostles.
They refused to observe any day for Passover other than the 14th of Abib. For their refusal to break from keeping Passover and switch to the unscriptural Easter, Victor, bishop of Rome, excommunicated the eastern bishops.
The Roman Church had taken a sharp turn from the narrow way of truth and started down the slippery slope’s broad way to destruction. The church had no scriptural mandate or authority to make such a switch. YHWH Word tells us that the Passover observance is everlasting. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to YHWH; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever… You shall observe this rite as an ordinance for you and for your sons for ever” (Ex. 12:14, 24: RSV).
The correct opinion of the eastern bishops, as well as the truth put forth in the sacred Scriptures, had no effect upon those who favored the pagan Easter over Passover. The controversy continued for the next 135 years when, at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Emperor Constantine imposed his view that all the various congregations should observe Easter, on Sunday, in opposition to the Jews whom he held responsible for the Messiah’s death.
Once again we read in the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The text of the decree of the Council of Nicaea which settled, or at least indicated a final settlement of, the difficulty has not been preserved to us, but we have an important document inserted in Eusebius’s ‘Life of Constantine’ (III, xviii sq.). The emperor himself, writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: ‘At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin. . . for we have received from our Saviour a different way. . . And I myself have undertaken that this decision should meet with the approval of your Sagacities in the hope that your Wisdoms will gladly admit that practice which is observed at once in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment,’” “Easter Controversy.”
At this time in his life Constantine was a sun worshiper. It is understandable that he would give his support for this “Sun”-day observance.
Why the break from thousands of years of tradition and embrace Easter over Passover? In a bid for new converts, Roman Church leaders integrated heathen customs of the masses with their worship. Their disdain for anything they deemed Jewish was clear as well, making certain that the church calendar never had Easter fall on the same day as the Passover. Apparently they forgot that Yahusha the Messiah and all the Apostles were Jews who kept the Passover as an example for us. They had forgotten what Yahusha told the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.”
Easter’s Pagan Past
As shown, the Easter celebration was originally a heathen fertility rite for the worship of the female deity Eostre or Estre. The pagan celebrations attached to this deity were quite offensive to True Worshipers.
In the book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop provides eye-opening information about Easter and its pagan practices.
In chapter three, section two, we read, “Then look at Easter. 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 Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, “the priests of the groves.” Some have imagined that the Druidical worship was first introduced by the Phoenicians, who, centuries before the Christian era, traded to the tin-mines of Cornwall. But the unequivocal traces of that worship are found in regions of the British islands where the Phoenicians never penetrated, and it has everywhere left indelible marks of the strong hold which it must have had on the early British mind. From Bel, the 1st of May is still called Beltane in the Almanac; and we have customs still lingering at this day among us, which prove how exactly the worship of Bel or Moloch (for both titles belonged to the same g-d) had been observed even in the northern parts of this island.”
Hislop links Easter to Astarte, Beltis (the queen of heaven), Ishtar and Bel (or as known to the Israelites, Baal). Astarte and Baal were two of the most reprehensible idols that the Israelites worshiped. These idols competed with Yahweh as Elohim. In 1Kings Chapter 18, the story of the Prophet EliYah and his competition with the priests of Baal and Asherah shows how serious a threat they were to the true worship of Yahweh. Ancient Israel’s proclivity for leaving the worship of Yahweh for the abominable worship of Baal and Asherah continues today in the rites of Easter.
Hislop describes how these ancient pagan traditions became part of the Easter celebration. “Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character. The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The ‘buns,’ known too by that identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the g-ddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens—that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. ‘One species of sacred bread,’ says Bryant, ‘which used to be offered to the gods, was of great antiquity, and called Boun.’ Diogenes Laertius, speaking of this offering being made by Empedocles, describes the chief ingredients of which it was composed, saying, ‘He offered one of the sacred cakes called Boun, which was made of fine flour and honey.’”
The prophet Jeremiah took a strong stand against these abominations: “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 7:18).” He then goes on to describe in more detail the pagan practices which have been attached to Easter. The Jewish people of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day had incorporated sun worship into the worship of YHWH. We have already read of their worship of the Queen of Heaven and Tammuz, but YHWH also showed Ezekiel other abominations that were going on.
After revealing the women weeping for Tammuz, YHWH said to Ezekiel, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of YHWH’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of YHWH, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of YHWH, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east,” Ezekiel 8:15-16.
As the sun rose in the east the Jewish leaders were turned to face the east, worshiping the rising sun. Judah was corrupting the true worship of YHWH by introducing false, paganistic sun worship into their fellowship.
YHWH’s temple was built facing eastward just as the tabernacle in the wilderness faced east. This positioning was for a purpose. Sun worshipers would begin their daily worship by facing the rising sun in the east. YHWH’s temple and tabernacle faced the east so that a True Worshiper would turn away from the rising sun in the east to face the temple or the tabernacle in the west. This was a symbol of repentance. One had to turn away from sun worship to the True Worship of YHWH.
Such is the status of those steeped in paganistic Easter sunrise worship today. One must turn, repent of such things, and shift to the True Worship of Yahweh. “Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated.” The Two Babylons.
These revolting customs were ushered in by the Roman Catholic Church without even the slightest admission of wrongdoing. Once again we quote the Catholic Encyclopedia in the article “Easter.” “Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, colored red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by J-sus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter.” Concerning the Easter rabbit, the Catholic Encyclopedia says in the same article: “The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility” (Simrock, Mythologie, 551).
How sad it is that mainstream Christianity has left the truth to follow the fables of ancient paganism. The Apostle Paul warns Timothy of such happenings in 2Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” The facts speak for themselves. The Easter celebration has more to do with pagan fertility rites than it does with Yahusha’s death and resurrection as the Son of YHWH.
No Mandate for Resurrection Celebration
Nowhere in the Scriptures exists a command or example for observing the Savior’s resurrection. He indeed was slain, buried and resurrected, but it is not a matter to be celebrated after the ways of the pagans. The resurrection is not justification for devising our own observance, nor is it grounds for Sunday worship. There are, however, clear mandates for observing the day of His death.
The Scriptural way we remember the Savior’s resurrection is through our own baptism. Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-5: “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Paul repeats to the Colossians that the believer is “buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of Elohim, who has raised him from the dead,” (Col. 2:12). As we come up out of the watery grave into a new life in the Savior, we portray His rising from the tomb and changing to spirit.
Lent: Loaned from the Heathens
Another custom linked with Easter is Lent. The word is derived from the Old English lencten, meaning spring. Today it is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter, reserved by churchianity for penitence and fasting.
Most of the self-denying practice of fasting during Lent has given way to giving up something—usually something that should be given up anyway, like tobacco or drinking to excess. But where did this custom of Lent originate? The Two Babylons explains, “The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshipers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, ‘in the spring of the year’ is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshipers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians….Such a lent of forty days was observed in Egypt…held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god,” pp. 104-5.
Osiris’s counterpart is the Greek Demeter and the Babylonian Tammuz—both deities of fertility and life. As Hislop observes, “Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing…To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgameted, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity—now far sunk in idolatry—in this as in so many other things, to shake hands,” p. 105.
YHWH’s Salvation Plan in His Observances
Observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread holds the key to understanding Yahweh’s plan of salvation. It was never Almighty YHWH’s intention to link His Son’s death and resurrection to a pagan festival in honor of a fertility idol. Instead, Almighty YHWH ordained the observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread to point toward the salvation that comes through His Son.
By dying on Passover day and being resurrected during the Days of Unleavened Bread, Yahusha became the Savior of mankind. YHWH never tells us to observe the Savior’s resurrection. Nor is Easter commanded anywhere in the Scriptures. We never see Yahusha or His disciples coloring and hiding eggs, eating hot-cross buns, or worshiping the rising sun. Nor did it ever happen among the Savior’s apostles even after His death and resurrection. The simple, verifiable fact is that Easter is man-made, not YHWH inspired.
Yahusha’s death to pay the penalty for our sins is memorialized by the Passover, and this observance is explicitly commanded, honored, and kept throughout the Bible. The New Testament included. The Scriptures are the inspired Word, 2Timothy 3:16. The words were breathed by Yahweh as if He were talking face-to-face with us, which is the meaning of inspiration in this passage. If He commands us to keep certain days at certain times then we simply have no authority to do anything differently.
Yahweh’s feasts fulfill their intended purpose of pointing to Yahusha’s redemptive work. As True Worshipers we must do as the Apostle Paul taught in 1Corinthians 5:7-8, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (NKJV).
Choosing the Passover Lamb
As sanctified believers we must choose Yahusha as our Passover lamb. In order to find salvation we must recognize him as the Lamb of YHWH who takes away the sin of the world, John 1:29. Without Passover, Yahusha could not have fulfilled the Scriptures which pertain to His Messiahship. To reject Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread is to reject Yahusha as the Messiah. Let us look at some of the crucial scriptures that prove this point. First, as the Lamb of YHWH, Yahusha fulfilled the scriptures regarding the first Passover observance in Egypt. The Passover Lamb of Exodus chapter 12 prophetically points to our Savior as the Lamb of YHWH. Let us look at this passage and learn how Yahusha fulfilled it. “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat” (Ex. 12:3-4).
Just as the lamb was selected on the 10th day of the month, so the Lamb of YHWH was selected by the Jews to be their offering on the same day. In Christianity this is referred to as Palm Sunday. This event actually took place on the weekly Sabbath that preceeded the Passover. We read about this in Matthew 21:6-11, “The disciples went and did as Yahusha had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Yahusha sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHWH! Hosanna in the highest!’ When Yahusha entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Yahusha, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
The people were totally unaware that they were in fact choosing Yahusha as their Passover Lamb. Four days after this occurred some of the same people who heralded Yahusha’s entrance into Jerusalem were crying out for His death. How ironic!
We next learn how the Passover lamb was to be killed on Passover day (Abib 14) and how its blood was to be applied to the lintel and side posts of the door of the house where the lamb was eaten (Ex. 12:5-7). Prophetically this points to Yahusha’s suffering and death on Passover day. Consider Yahusha’s suffering.
Yahusha began the day (scriptural days begin at sundown) by gathering with the Apostles to eat the Passover. “They left and found things just as Yahusha had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Yahusha and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” It was at this time that he humbled Himself as a servant and washed His disciples feet thereby giving us the example of humility (John 13:1-20).
Then Yahusha instituted the new Passover meal and emblems. He gave His disciples unleavened bread to represent His Body and the juice of the grape to represent His shed blood. “While they were eating, Yahusha took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of YHWH’’ (Mark 14:22-25).
After discoursing and praying with His disciples, they all departed to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Here is where His suffering as the Passover Lamb began. All of those events took place on Passover day. From the time that Yahusha began to sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane until His death on Golgotha, Yahusha shed His blood as atonement for sin. He fulfilled the scriptures regarding the Passover Lamb and proved Himself to be the Lamb of YHWH who takes away the sin of the world.
His blood was upon the torture stake just as the blood of the Passover lamb was placed upon the side posts of the Israelite’s dwellings. To separate Yahusha’s sacrifice from Passover and to relink it with Easter is a sacrilege of immense proportion and an insult to Yahusha. The observance of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread was ordained by Almighty YHWH in perpetuity as the memorial of Yahusha’s death and resurrection.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to YHWH throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance…So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance… And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever” (Exodus 12:14, 17, 24; NKJV). Through Yahusha’s sacrifice we are freed from the bondage of Egypt (sin—Heb. 11:25).
Yahusha ordained that His followers observe Passover with the new emblems of His body and blood. “For I received from the Master what I also passed on to you: The Master Yahusha, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Master’s death until he comes” (1Cor. 11:23-26).
More Evidence Against Easter Sunday Resurrection
One of the main arguments put forth to support Easter is the erroneous belief that the Messiah was resurrected at sunrise on Easter Sunday morning. The truth is revealed by a close examination of Matthew 28:1-2. Here we read, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of Yahweh descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (KJV)
Notice the underlined words in the passage. In Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary of the New Testament this is No. 2020— epiphosko (ep-ee-foce’-ko); a form of NT: No. 2017; to begin to grow light: It has been translated in the KJV as: begin to dawn, draw on. This word is used twice in the New Testament, here and in Luke 23:54. There we read, “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on” (KJV). Again it must be pointed out that the scriptural (Jewish) day begins and ends at sundown. In Luke 23:54 the statement “and the Sabbath drew on” obviously means that it was close to sundown. The same can be said about Matthew 28:1, “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.” Once again, this would refer to sundown. That being the case, Yahusha was resurrected when the earthquake took place at the end of the weekly Sabbath and not Sunday morning at sunrise.
This is very significant because it further proves that we must observe the Days of Unleavened Bread. Concerning Yahusha’s resurrection, we read in 1Corinthians 15:20-23, “But Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Messiah, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.”
The Messiah is the first of the firstfruits of the resurrection from the dead. As such, by being resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath, He was presented to Almighty YHWH as the firstfruit wave sheaf. The wave sheaf of cut barley was waved, as an offering, by the priest on the day after the weekly Sabbath which fell during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Consider Leviticus 23:9-14, “YHWH said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before YHWH so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to Yahweh a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil — an offering made to Yahweh by fire, a pleasing aroma — and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your Elohim. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.’”
No Wave Sheaf on Easter
Yahusha the Messiah is our spiritual, firstfruit wave sheaf offering. After His resurrection from the tomb, He presented Himself to Almighty YHWH on the day after the weekly Sabbath and thus gave new significance to the wave sheaf offering. As the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:15-17; Psalm 110:4), Yahusha also would have offered a physical wave sheaf to YHWH. He must have still been holding it when He was met by Miriam Magdalene, as she assumed that He was the gardener.
“But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Yahusha’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Master away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Yahusha standing there, but she did not realize that it was Yahusha. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Yahusha said to her, ‘Miriam.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Yahusha said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my Elohim and your Elohim.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Master!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her” (John 20:11-18).
Yahusha would not let Miriam touch Him at this time because He had not yet ascended to His Father to present Himself as the first fruits offering.
Once again, the scriptures are very clear in showing the significance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Yahusha, as our spiritual, first fruits wave sheaf, presented Himself to Almighty YHWH as our offering. Because He has been resurrected from the dead, we have hope for our own resurrection when Yahusha returns.
The Apostle Paul declared this in Romans 6:3-11: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yahusha were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was impaled with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Messiah was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to YHWH. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to YHWH in Messiah Yahusha.”
Obviously from these Scriptures Yahusha was not resurrected on Easter Sunday morning. He was resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath just before sundown. As the first day of the week began, He cut the firstfruits wave sheaf and, as YHWH’s High Priest, He offered it. Then, He ascended up into the heavens and presented Himself as our spiritual wave sheaf, the first of the firstfruits of the resurrection, before Almighty YHWH our Father. To reject the Days of Unleavened Bread, and especially the wave sheaf offering day, in favor of Easter is to reject Yahusha as our resurrected Messiah. Our hope of the resurrection lies in Yahusha’s fulfillment of the scriptures in regard to the Lamb of YHWH that takes away the sins of the world.
Three Days and Three Nights Mystery
It is truly ironic how mainstream worship has abandoned Yahusha’s Messiahship by embracing the observance of Good Friday and Easter. Despite all the great miracles that our Savior preformed that showed that He was the Messiah, He stated that there was only one sign that would prove Him to be the Messiah. That sign was that He would spend three days and three nights in the grave. Let’s consider this as found in Matthew 12:38-40: “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.’ He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
No matter how you count it, it is impossible to get three days and three nights from a late Friday afternoon death and burial to a Sunday morning resurrection. Appendix 144 of Dr. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible states the following: “The fact that ‘three days’ is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the common way of reckoning, just as it was when used of years. Three or any number of years was used inclusively of any part of those years, as may be seen in the reckoning of the reigns of any of the kings of Israel and Judah. But, when the number of ‘nights’ is stated as well as the number of ‘days,’ then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact.”
This is a surprising statement in light of what is taught by most. All the confusion comes about because Christianity has mistakenly believed that the day after the Passover (Abib 14) was the weekly Sabbath. In fact, it was the first high holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This can be verified in John 19:31, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the torture stake on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
The error that the day after the Passover impalement was the weekly Sabbath disappears upon examining YHWH’s command concerning the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Leviticus 23:6-8, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to YHWH; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it” (NKJV).
How clear the sequence of days becomes when you understand that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a high holy Sabbath day like the weekly Sabbath. We have already learned that, according to Matthew 28:1-2, our Savior was resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath. Now, by counting backwards three days and three nights, we learn that Yahshua died on a Wednesday afternoon and was placed in the tomb just before sundown. Wednesday at sun down would have begun the first high holy day of the feast. Friday was the preparation for the weekly Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath was a holy day.
We count the three days and the three nights as follows: Wednesday just before sundown to Thursday just before sundown—day one, Thursday just before sundown to Friday just before sundown—day two, and Friday just before sundown to Sabbath just before sundown—day three. This completely agrees with what is found in Matthew 28:1-2. Yahusha was resurrected from the tomb when the earthquake took place toward the end of the weekly Sabbath.
When it comes to the question of Easter or Passover the simple facts speak for themselves. Christianity openly admits to having taken an ancient pagan fertility celebration and applied its meaning and customs to the resurrection of the Messiah. This is totally contrary to what is found in the Bible and opposes what was taught and observed by our Savior, the Apostles, and the saints of the New Testament.
After examining the Scriptures concerning Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, it is clear that Almighty Yahweh intended for these days to be celebrated by all True Worshipers in remembrance of Yahusha’s death and resurrection as the Lamb of YHWH. The true meaning of the plan of salvation can only be fully understood by the observance of YHWH’s sanctified feast days. Yahusha is the first of the first fruits. Because He died and was resurrected according to the Scriptures we have a hope of being in the first resurrection when He returns at His second coming. The apostle wrote, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the good news I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this good news you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Cor. 15:1-4).
Those who believe in Yahusha as the Messiah will remain in the truth of His Word and will be found worthy as His disciples. All sincere followers of truth will be in the first resurrection when Yahusha returns. They have gained freedom from the false teachings of this world. Because they have chosen to follow the teaching of Yahusha, they observe Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread rather than the pagan feast of Easter. “To the Jews who had believed him, Yahusha said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32).
True Worshipers must hold to the teachings of our Savior. Yahsuha’s life, death, and resurrection are based upon the truth of YHWH’s Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread and not upon the pagan customs of a fertility rite.