The Roots of Easter
Opening texts: 2Cor. 2:9-11; Romans 15:4
I. Where the name “easter” comes from
A. Dictionary says: Originally the name of the pagan vernal (spring) festival commemorating the dawn goddess Eastre (Eostre in Norse; Oester in German)
B. Who was this Eastre?
1. She was the consort/wife/sister of the sun-god of the Babylonians, Baal
2. Roots go back to ancient civilizations of:
a. Assyria – known as Ishtar
b. Chaldea – known as Astarte or Beltis, the “queen of heaven” read Jer. 44:15-18
c. The Israelites named her Asherah or Ashtaroth
3. She was the goddess of fertility and her celestial sign was the planet Venus. (the Roman equivalent of Ashtaroth)
4. It was this Goddess that Satan used to cause the Israelites to drift away from worshipping Jehovah (see Judges 2:11-13 & Judges 10:6; 1Sam 7:3)
5. So we see a Christian holiday or great day named for a heathen goddess!
II. So how did this come to be in the church?
A. History of this “tradition”
1. Instituted in it’s beginning by Constatine at the Council of Nicea in 325AD insisting the church have nothing to do with anything Jewish.
2. A decision in the church made by a Roman Emperor. Read Rev. 18:3-5
3. Remember what God’s word says about the daughters of the great Harlot Rev. 17:1-5
III. What about Lent? Where did it come from?
1. The period of fasting which proceeded the pagan festival of easter was a period of forty days of alternating rejoicing and fasting
2. Let’s look at an example of this recorded in the Bible: Ezekiel 8:13-14
B. Who brought these two festivals into the church?
1. A Catholic priest by the name of Dionysius the Little, amalgamated these two pagan festivals into the church to appease the pagans. He made complicated but skillful adjustments to the calendar to get catholicism and paganism to shake hands on these days.
IV. Sunrise services
1. As the vernal equinox came, the pagans would rise early on that morning and await the sun’s rising to worship it and the return of season of light and fertility (Astarte or Easter!)
2. Scripturure passage: Ezekiel 8:15, 16
3. The apostate church has even instituted the pagan “sunrise service” thinking it is the very time Christ arose from the grave. read John 20:1
4. Notice God’s feelings regarding what is going on. Ezek. 8:3,4 & 17, 18
V. Easter Eggs and Bunny rabbits
1. The ancients believed that Ashtaroth fell to the earth from the heavens inside a giant egg. (see reference in Acts 19:35-37) From this, in ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. From Egypt can be traced the myth that an egg of wondrous size feel from heaven into the Euphrates river where the fishes rolled it to the bank where it was carried away and hidden by doves who sat on it and hatched it.
2. The rabbit, also being a pagan symbol of fertility, has thus been joined with the symbol of the egg. So it’s only natural we would have a rabbit that lays eggs and hides them, right?
3. Now listen to this prayer which was instituted in the Roman catholic church by Pope Paul the V to be said at easter: “Bless O lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may be wholesome sustenance unto Thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Boy, can Satan seduce or what?
VI. Hot Cross buns
1. Emanate from the pagan worship of the Assyro-Babylonians and Egyptians.
a. Cakes were offered to the moon goddess which had a pair of horns, symbolic of the ox which they sacrificed at the altar (the goddess Ishtar, ie: easter of Babylon)
b. The Greeks offered such sacred cakes to Astarte (easter again)they called these cakes bous, (means ox) an allusion to the ox horns on it.
c. From this Greek word bous we get the English word “bun”
2. The Romans also ate cross-bread at their public sacrifices, this bread being purchased at the doors of their temples.
a. Some believe Paul is making reference to this in 1Cor. 10:28
3. This cross-bread was eaten by the Saxons (by which we directly get the name easter) in honor of Eoster. their goddess of light.
4. Read scripture verses: Jer 7:18 & Jer. 44:19
VII. This is a relatively new development in America
1. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Easter wasn’t observed in America except in a few predominantly catholic states such as Louisiana until near the end of the Civil War.
VIII. So what are we to do?
A. Learn the lessons the LORD has taught us. Read the following verses in closing:
1. Jeremiah 10:2
2. Joshua 24:14-15
3. Matthew 15: 8-9
4. Matthew 7:21-23