Christians and Easter
Since so much of the Easter celebration, including its name, is steeped in paganism, should a Christian keep the commemoration?
Yes, and no! We should indeed keep the observance of the death and resurrection of our Lord-for Jesus himself asked us to observe it-but we shouldn’t observe it wrapped as it is in pagan custom. There is a Day coming in which we will stand in judgement for those things we have done, and it would take some explaining why we have observed pagan festivals, albeit with sound intentions. Any worship of Baal was abhorrent to God, and continues to be.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth explaining how a Christian should celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection-in taking the bread and wine as applicable symbols.
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, 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 Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This practice was called ‘breaking bread’, and became a regular feature in the lives of the Christian true believers.
“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.” Acts 20:7
The death of Jesus was timed by his Father to coincide with the death of the lamb used for the normal Jewish Passover. The date for this was the 14th of Nisan (with the Passover being celebrated a few hours later on the 15th).
The Jewish day began at sunset, and the lamb was slain from 3pm onwards the next afternoon, and eaten later that evening (which would be the 15th Nisan). This implies that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday afternoon, and was resurrected some time after sunset following the Sabbath day. This would then agree with the prophesied statement that Jesus would be dead for three days and three nights.
“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.” Matthew 12:40
The tradition of a Friday crucifixion has been long held, but cannot be substantiated from an accurate reading of the New Testament. Nevertheless, one point is clear-the time of the crucifixion was at least within 24 hours of the Jewish Passover
This followed the express wish of Jesus:
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:19,20
Unlike the Jewish Passover celebrated but once a year, the Passover that Jesus initiated was to be celebrated weekly, or whenever it was needed.
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26
Often called ‘The Last Supper’, or ‘The Lord’s Supper’, this was the celebration that Jesus expected his disciples to follow-not the pagan celebration masquerading as Easter. The latter belongs to Babylon, concerning which Jesus warned:
“The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.” Revelation 16:19
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” Revelation 18:4,5