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Passover or Easter?
Which is Scriptural?
The time of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread can be viewed as the first of three harvest seasons. One of the major crops at this time of year was barley because it was used for a specific reason. It is also a time of year when we are commanded to gather together:
Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before Yahweh Elohim, Ex 23:14-17.
Passover- Feast of Unleavened Bread - 8 Days
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein, Lev 23:5-8.
Passover occurs on the fourteenth day of the first scriptural month, Abib, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth day of Abib and lasts for seven days. The word “servile” is the translation of the Hebrew abodah, meaning work of any kind.
Some celebrate Passover on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the Encyclopedia Judaica tells us: “The Feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover Ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately, but at the beginning of the exile they were combined” (vol. 13, “Passover,” p. 169).
|Passover-A Memorial Day|
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of the land of Egypt will I ececute judgment: I am Yahweh. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever, Ex 12:12-14.
The word “memorial” comes from the Hebrew (Strong’s #OT:2146) zikrown (zik-rone'); from OT:2142; a memento (or memorable thing, day or writing); and is translated memorial or record in the King James Version of the Bible. The root word of zikrown is Strong’s #2142, zakar (zaw-kar'). Zakar has numerous translations in the KJV, among them being “remember’ or to make “to be remembered.”
Does Christianity today celebrate, as a memorial, the day of Passover? The day in which Yahshua died? No, certainly not! Instead, they celebrate Christmas and Easter, the supposed days of His birth and His resurrection into heaven.
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth, Eccl. 7:1.
Passover – Its Meaning
Ex. 12:42 reads,
It [is] a night to be much observed unto Yahweh for bringing them out of the land of Egypt: this [is] that night of Yahweh to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
The Jewish Tanakh gives the following reading for this verse:
The word translated “observed” is Strong’s #8107 (shimmur), from #8104 (shamar), meaning an observance. On #8104 Strong says “A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc.: beware, be circumspect, take heed, keep, mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save, sure, wait, watch.” Clearly the meaning is watchings.
The Greek word translated “watch” is Strong’s #1453, gregoreo, and means to be vigilant and wide-awake; to be alert: be or stay awake, to keep awake, be alert, i.e. ,watch.
Can we fathom in our minds what the Israelites were feeling during the night of the Passover? It seems reasonable that they could not sleep because they knew that the destroying angel would be coming to kill all the firstborn. They were told to place the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the doorposts and lintels for protection from the avenging angel. They were warned to remain within the protection of their blood-marked houses the entire evening. Ps. 30:5 is referring to this:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The Israelites did leave Egypt by night – the night after Passover:
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto Yahweh thy Elohim: for in the month of Abib Yahweh thy Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night, Deut. 16:1.
Some believe Deut. 16:1 says that the Israelites left the land of Egypt to start their trek to the Promised Land. However, the Israelites kept the Passover after the sun set beginning the 14th of Abib as recorded in the Scriptures.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship Yahweh as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. Yahweh had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians, Ex. 12:31-36 NIV.
After the Israelites spent the entire night portion of Passover in their houses, they did as they were instructed to do by Moses, including spoiling the Egyptians:
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And Yahweh gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians, Ex 12:35-36.
The events of the day portion of Passover are relatively easy to reconstruct. On the morning of the 14th the remains of the sacrificial lamb were taken out, the people began gathering their families, flocks, and herds and assembled at Rameses, some 30 miles from Goshen.
And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians, Num. 33:3.
Passover is indeed a preparation day.It is a day when one is to prepare for the Days of Unleavened Bread by cleansing their houses of all leaven. The day following Passover is a High Sabbath. So the followers of Yahshua wanted to take His body down before the first day of Unleavened Bread began:
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the [tree] 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, John 19:31.
Cleansing of Our House and Body
The first day and the last day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread are two of Yahweh’s seven annual Holy Days.
To properly keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread we must do so both physically and spiritually. During this period of time no leaven is to be found within the house nor is to be eaten. We are to remove all leaven products from our homes. Actually, these verses also state that one is to eat unleavened bread at this time.
Physically, leaven is that which produces fermentation in a mass of dough.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, Gal 5:9.
The word “leaveneth” is the translation of the Greek zumoo meaning to cause to ferment.
Leaven breaks down flour, causing decay in the dough.
On the other side, there are two verses, Lev. 7:13 and Lev. 23:17, which show that the showbread and a praise offering to Yahweh both contained leaven, which sweetened the bread.
Where leaven is the translation in the Old Testament of the King James Version, it refers to the physical usage (yeast).
Spiritually, we are to remove any and all things that may cause us to be led astray.
Where leaven is the translation in the New Testament of the King James Version it may refer to the physical usage at times, but it usually will have a spiritual meaning also.
Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, Matt. 16:12.
And He charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod, Mark 8:15.
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, He began to say unto His disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, Luke 12:1.
“Hypocrisy” is a translation of the Greek hupokrisis (Strong’s #5272), whose root word means to play a part, deceitful pretending.
The Significance of Leaving Egypt
Each Passover we celebrate the salvation of Israel from Egyptian bondage. It was a time of joy as the slaves were given their freedom and loaded down with gifts from their former masters. They were starting on their way to the Promised Land. By accepting Yahshua’s shed blood for the remission of our sins, we are, likewise, freed from the bondage of sin.
Israel had the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night to guide them. We have Yahweh’s promise and His guidebook in the Old and the New Testaments to direct us and give us instruction for every facet of life. We are also given the promise by the Savior that He would never leave us nor forsake us, provided we abide in the Truth and keep His commandments. The Holy Spirit from Yahweh continues to guide and keep us in the narrow way. When we are immersed into the name of Yahshua Messiah and have hands laid on us by the eldership, Yahweh promises a token of His Spirit to indwell in us and help us along the straight and narrow way.
Easter – Satan’s Substitute
In Eccl. 7:1 Yahweh tells us that,
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth, Eccl. 7:1.
This scripture tells us that it is better to remember the day of one’s death (Yahshua’s death on Passover) than to remember the day of one’s birth (xmas). What Satan has managed to do is to have the world celebrate a day which supposedly commemorates the day when Yahshua was resurrected from the dead – the day which has been labeled Easter.
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are not celebrated by the Christian world today. Instead, they celebrate Easter, which has its pagan origins. Satan has managed to downplay the significance of Passover and to base the celebration of Easter on pagan worship traced back to the ancient days of British, Irish, Germanic, Greek, Persian, Mayan, Roman, Saxon, Iranian, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Indian civilizations. One needs only to google names like Ashtoreth, Astarte, Demeter, Hathor, Ishtar, Kali, Ostara, Attis, etc., to find out their origins.
One can also use the internet to find information on the origins of numerous Easter traditions:
“The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
“As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians. From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs - those made of plastic or chocolate candy.” (Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wilson. Used with permission.)
“Easter Rabbit and Eggs: The symbols of the Norse Goddess Ostara were the hare and the egg. Both represented fertility. From these, we have inherited the customs and symbols of the Easter egg and Easter rabbit. Dyed eggs also formed part of the rituals of the Babylonian mystery religions. Eggs ‘were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and the egg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god.’
“Easter Lilies: ‘The so-called “Easter lily” has long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with the reproductive organs. It was considered a phallic symbol!’
“Easter Sunrise Service: This custom can be traced back to the ancient Pagan custom of welcoming the sun God at the vernal equinox - when daytime is about to exceed the length of the nighttime. It was a time to ‘celebrate the return of life and reproduction to animal and plant life as well.’ Worship of the Sun God at sunrise may be the religious ritual condemned by [Yahweh] as recorded in:
“Ezekiel 8:16-18: ‘...behold, at the door of the temple of [Yahweh], between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of [Yahweh], and their faces toward the east; and they were worshipping the sun toward the east. Then He said unto me, Hast thou seen (this), O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have turned again to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in wrath; mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.’ (ASV)
“Easter Candles: These are sometimes lit in churches on the eve of Easter Sunday. Some commentators believe that these can be directly linked to the pagan customs of lighting bonfires at this time of year to welcome the rebirth/resurrection of the sun God.” (Copyright 1999 to 2003 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.)
“Easter's connection with spring and nature. Diana (the Ephesian goddess of sex, fertility, virginity and motherhood) was said to be the source of nature. Eostre (an Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic goddess) was the goddess of the sunrise and spring. Ostara (a Norse/Saxon goddess) was the maiden goddess of spring.
“Origins of Hares (Bunnies) and Eggs. According to Teutonic myth, the hare was once a bird whom Eostre changed into a four-footed creature. Thus, it can also lay eggs. The hare is also the sacred companion and sacrificial victim of Eostre. Astarte (a Phoenician/ Syrian goddess), on the other hand, was believed to have been hatched from a huge egg which fell into the Euphrates.
“Origins of Good Friday. Did you ever wonder why Good Friday is recognized as the day [Yahshua] died and Sunday as the day he arose but yet had trouble explaining how he could thus be buried for three days and three nights? (Matthew 12:40; Matthew 27:63; Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34.) The answer is simple: He didn't actually die on ‘Good Friday.’ The Chaldeans offered cakes to Ishtar on the equivalent of the day we know as Good Friday. When the established church wanted to appease the paganistic people in order to ‘convert’ them to Christianity, they moved the dates accordingly.
“Origins of Hot Cross Buns and Fires. Cakes bearing a cross-like symbol representing the pair of cow-horns on the moon goddess, Isis, were offered by ancient Egyptians. The cakes which Greeks offered to Astarte and other divinities were called bous or boun, from which the word ‘bun’ is derived. The Babylonians/Chaldeans offered similar cakes to the ‘Queen of Heaven.’ Fires were lit on top of mountains and had to be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction. The fire was then used to bake cakes in sacrifice to Semiramis, the ‘Queen of Heaven.’ This practice, along with burning incense, was used in conjunction with baking the cakes and is mentioned specifically in the Bible (1 Kings 11:8; 2 Kings 17:7-16; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 23:4-15; Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 8:7-12; Jeremiah 7:16-19; Jeremiah 44:19, 25). In addition to the cross imprinted on these cakes representing the horns of the goddess, it also sometimes represented the four seasons or four phases of the moon. Cakes were also offered to or eaten in honor of Apollo, Diana, Hecate, and the moon (also Diana's symbol).
“Origins of Lent. The word ‘lent’ is of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning ‘spring.’ Lent developed from the pagan celebration of weeping, fasting, and mourning for 40 days over the death of Tammuz (one day for each year of his life). Tammuz (the son/husband of the Babylonian idol Ishtar) was killed by a wild boar and then allegedly resurrected. This mourning of Tammuz is specifically prophesied by Ezekiel in the Bible and is characterized by [Yahweh] Himself as being detestable (Ezekiel 8:13-15).
“Origins of the use of the lily. Asherah (a Sidonian goddess) was frequently represented as a nude woman bestride a lion with a lily (symbolizing grace and sex appeal) in one hand and a serpent (symbolizing fecundity) in the other.
“Origins of wearing new clothing for Easter. The tradition of wearing new clothing for Easter comes from the superstition that a new garment worn at Easter means good luck throughout the year.” (Copyright © 1998-2001 Timothy A. & Kimberly B. Southall.)
“Easter Bonfires: “In ancient Greece the deities of the sun were Helios and Apollo. The worship of Helios was widespread; temples were built in Corinth, ┴rgos, Troezen (no longer in existence), and many other cities, but the principal seat was on the island of Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, where four white horses were sacrificed annually to the god. A similar sacrifice was offered on the summit of Mount Hagios Elias, in the Ta´yetos Mountains, in Laconia. In time virtually all the functions of Helios were transferred to the god Apollo, in his identity as Phoebus. Sun worship persisted in Europe even after the introduction of Christianity, as is evidenced by its disguised survival in such traditional Christian practices as the Easter bonfire and the Yule log on Christmas.” (“Sun Worship,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000.)
Yahshua Kept Passover
Yahshua kept the Passover at the right time and thus fulfilled all righteousness up to the time of His death. His disciples did not have any difficulty keeping Passover at the right time.
And He[Yahshua] sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto Him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And He said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as He had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of Yahweh, Luke 22:8-16.
Paul Kept Passover
Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee. He was an apostle to the Gentiles and he taught them to observe what some call the “Feasts of the Jews.”
Corinth was a Hellenistic, metropolitan community and a crossroads of trade and commerce. In 1 Cor. 5:7-8, Paul tells the people of Corinth that Yahshua is the Passover Lamb sacrificed for us:
Purge out therefore the old leaven that you may be a new lump as you are unleavened. For even the Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast...
For Paul to write this it is quite evident that these days are not done away with by Yahshua’s death. It is obvious that Passover and the feast days referred to are still obligatory.
Bible verses do confirm that the Feasts will be observed in the Kingdom. Yahweh said that His Feasts would be kept by an ordinance forever.
In the New Covenant era we are to observe Passover as a memorial of the Savior’s death - having given His life for the sins of the world. Passover is not a Feast day (Hebrew = chag, joyous, happy time), but along with the annual Feasts it will be observed again, but likely with a deeper and new meaning.
Now that you have read many ideas concerning the false and pagan background of celebrating Easter, are you willing to believe the Scriptures and to follow the truths given to us in those Scriptures? Study the Scriptures because what is contained in the Scriptures will set you free.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer
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