Should Christians Celebrate Passover Or Easter?

Should Christians celebrate Passover or should they celebrate Easter?  The answer may seem quite obvious to some of you, but in reality this question has become quite a controversy in the Christian community over the past several years.  As Christians have learned more about the history of each holiday, an increasing number of Christians have been choosing to celebrate Passover rather than Easter.

But why would that be?

After all, isn’t Passover a “Jewish” holiday and Easter a “Christian” holiday?

Well, that is not really the case.

In fact, the earliest Christians did not celebrate a holiday called “Easter” at all.

Rather, they all celebrated Passover.

Even after the original generation of apostles died off, many of the early church leaders still continued to observe Passover as described in the Torah, but other early church leaders of that next generation slowly started to move the celebration of Passover to Sunday.

In a letter to the head of the church of Rome, Irenaeus mentioned the controversy that took place when Polycarp tried to persuade Anicetus (a previous bishop of Rome) that the celebration of Passover should not be moved to Sunday…..

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other [with regard to the matter in hand], not willing that any quarrel should arise between them upon this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always [so] observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetusto keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace withthe whole Church, both those who did observe [this custom] and those who did not.

You see, Polycarp was one of the greatest leaders of the “2nd generation” of the early church. He had been a disciple of the apostle John himself, and Polycarp insisted that the church should continue to celebrate Passover on the 14th day of the Jewish calendar as the apostles had always done.

In fact, the church historian Eusebius wrote that Polycarp observed Passover this way because “he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, 1995, pp. 210-211).

After Polycarp, another early church leader named Polycrates argued with Victor, the bishop of Rome, over this same issue.

The following are some excerpts from what Eusebius recorded regarding what Polycrates had to say to Victor:

—–

“There was a considerable discussion raised about this time, in consequence of a difference of opinion respecting the observance of the paschal season. The churches of all Asia, guided by a remoter tradition, supposed that they ought to keep the fourteenth day of the moon for the festival of the Saviour’s passover, in which day the Jews were commanded to kill the paschal lamb”

“The bishops … of Asia, persevering in observing the custom handed down to them from their fathers, were headed by Polycrates. He, indeed, had also set forth the tradition handed down to them, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome. ‘We,’ said he, ‘therefore, observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints”

“Moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord; … also Polycarpof Smyrna, both bishop and martyr. Thraseas, … Sagaris, … Papirius; and Melito … All these observed the fourteenthday of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of all of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have followed. For there were seven, my relatives [who were] bishops, andI am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people (i.e., the Jews) threw away the leaven.

“I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the Lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world, and having studied the whole of the sacred Scriptures, am not at all alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I, have said, ‘we ought to obey God rather than men’”

—–

So although there was an effort by the church of Rome to move the celebration of Passover to Sundays, those who were determined on practicing it as the first apostles had could not be moved off of the original observance.

But eventually, during the time of Constantine, the leaders of the institutional church were strong-armed into observing Passover on a Sunday.

Later this celebration came to be known as “Easter”.

But why should Christians celebrate Easter?

After all, when did Yahshua die on the cross? (On the eve of Passover)

When did Yahshua rise from the dead? (On First Fruits During the Feast of Unleavened Bread)

What holiday foreshadowed the sacrifice of the lamb of God for hundreds of years before it happened? (Passover)

So why do Christians celebrate a holiday known as Easter?

In fact, do you even know what the word “Easter” means?

Have you ever wondered where the word Easter originated?

The truth might just shock you.

Many of the old reference books actually contained the truth.

The Britannica Encyclopedia (1934) defined Easter this way:

“EASTER (es’ter). Ostara, or Eastre, was the goddess of Spring in the religion of the ancient Angles andSaxons. Every April a festival was celebrated in her honor. With the beginnings of Christianity, the old gods were put aside. From then on the festival was celebrated in honor of the resurrection of Christ, but was still known as Easter after the old goddess.”

So if this is the case, then why do Christians celebrate “Easter”?

Well, the truth is that the story goes back a long way – all the way back to the ancient Middle East.

Perhaps you have heard of “Isis” or “Ishtar” or “Ashtoreth” or “Asherah”.  They are ancient names for the same pagan fertility goddess. In fact, if you trace the various pagan fertility goddesses back far enough, they all trace back to Semiramis of ancient Babylon.

Over time, “Ashtoreth” and “Asherah” became “Ishtar” which eventually became “Eastre” and then finally “Easter”.

Some other names of “Easter” over the centuries included Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus, Astarte from ancient Greece, Demeter from Mycenae, Kali from India and Ostara, a Norse goddess of fertility.

In fact, pagans and Wiccans celebrate a holiday called “Ostara”to this very day.  In fact, “Ostara” was celebrated on March 20th in 2009.

Well what about Easter eggs and Easter bunnies?

Easter “eggs” and Easter bunnies are pagan fertility symbols that celebrate this pagan fertility goddess, and they have been used as symbols for her for thousands of years.

The truth is stunning, eh?

You see, ”Easter” has nothing to do with Yahshua (Jesus).

Yahshua (Jesus) died on the eve of Passover.

In fact, the festival of Passover was a stunning prophetic picture of what would happen to the Messiah.

In the “Old Testament”, God had His people go up to Jerusalem three times per year. One of those times was for Passover.

During the very first Passover, God had the Jews take the blood of a lamb and put it on their doorposts so that the death angel would pass over their houses.

But why the doorposts?

What are doorposts most commonly made of?

Wood.

Where does wood come from?

From a tree.

So the message of that very first Passover was that the blood of the lamb on the tree covers us from the wrath of God.

Does that sound familiar?

It should.

It is the message of the cross – the blood of the lamb on the tree covers us from the wrath of God!

So for centuries upon centuries, God had His people gather in the exact city where Christ would die, at the exact time of the year when He would die, and He had them celebrate a holiday that perfectly foreshadowed the sacrifice of Yahshua (Jesus) the Messiah.

So why have Christians rejected the festival of Passover?

After all, it is a fact that Jesus celebrated Passover.  The Last Supper was actually a Passover meal (just look it up in the Scriptures).

During the Last Supper Jesus said that from now on we were to celebrate that meal in memory of Him.

And all of humanity will celebrate the Passover during the 1000 year reign of Yahshua. If you don’t believe this, just read Ezekiel chapters 45 and 46 which describe what life will be like during the 1000 year reign of the Messiah.

But instead of celebrating Passover, most Christians today celebrate ”Easter” just as ancient civilizations such as the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, and the Philistines did.  In fact, ritual pagan sex acts were often involved with the celebration of “Easter” in ancient times.  That doesn’t sound like much of a Christian holiday.

So why have Christians forsaken a holiday which predicted the sacrifice of Jesus, which is full of symbolism about Jesus, which is during the precise time when Jesus died and rose again and which God tells us in the Scriptures to remember?

Why have Christians instead been celebrating a pagan fertility festival that is named after a pagan fertility goddess and is filled with pagan symbols and traditions?

For more information on the pagan origins of Easter, we would encourage you to check out this YouTube video that we produced…..

We hope that this article has been very eye opening for you.  The reality is that there is a lot more to the holidays that we have been celebrating than we have ever been taught.

Don’t just take “holidays” for granted.  Learn where they came from and why you celebrate them.  Learn what the first Christians did and why they did it.

Perhaps there are reasons why we don’t see the same type of power and miracles that the early Christians did.

Perhaps it is time to try to recapture the faith and practices of those early Christians.

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  • DAVID OVERSTREET

    I AM READING YOUR VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ON PASSOVER OR EASTER. I SEE THAT YOU SAY JESUS DIED ON THE DAY BEFORE PASSOVER BUT I SEE WHERE HE SAID HE WAS KEEPING THE PASSOVER ON THE LAST NIGHT OF HIS HUMAN LIFE.

    I WENT BACK TO EXODUS AND OTHER OLDER TEXTS. I SEE THAT PASSOVER IS ALWAYS ON THE EVENING OF THE 14TH ABIB/NISSAN. NUMBERS 9:1-5 SAYS THAT PASSOVER IS TO BE KEPT ON THE 14TH WITH ALL RITES AND CEREMONIES THEREOF.

    THIS SAYS THAT NO PART OF IT CAN BE ON ANY DAY OTHER THAT THE 14TH.

    I AM AWARE THAT THE GOSPELS SAY THAT THE LEADERS COULD NOT GO TO SEE PILATE BECAUSE IT WAS THE PREPARATION DAY FOR THE PASSOVER. BUT WE MUST REALIZE THAT THERE ARE THREE PASSOVER NAMED IN SCRIPTURE.

    THE FIRST IS THE LORD’S PASSOVER. IT WAS INITIATED IN EGYPT AND CELEBRATED LEGALLY UNTIL THE LAST TIME MESSIAH ATE IT AND CHANGED THE RITUALS.

    THE SECOND IS “OUR PASSOVER”, MESSIAH.

    THE THIRD IS “THE PASSOVER OF THE JEWS”. THIS REFERS TO THOSE JEWS WHO WERE INSISTING THAT PILATE MURDER MESSIAH, THE SAME ONES MESSIAH TOLD “YOU DO ERR NOT KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES OR THE POWER OF GOD”.

    THESE INSTIGATORS OF FOUL MURDER WERE ATTEMPTING TO CELEBRATE PASSOVER ON ABIB 15, ONE DAY LATE.

    MESSIAH KEPT IT PROPERLY AND AT THE CORRECT TIME OR WE HAVE NO MESSIAH.

    IF HE HAD THAT CELEBRATION EARLY HE WOULD HAVE SINNED SINCE HE MADE NO CHANGE AS TO TIME OR EVENTS UNTIL AFTER HE HAD FINISHED SUPPER.

    I DO THANK YOU FOR THE ARTICLE.

    DAVID OVERSTREET

  • John Brown

    Thank you for your article. For the past decade or so I have felt lead to celebrate the Passover and Easter while not correlating them. Eating the sader and making sure that all that was eaten was Kosher. I feel even more inclined to celebrate only Passover and ignor Easter. I think that within the true Christian realm this would be a good thing however Easter is one of two times a year that the not so frequent Christian come to celebrate the Lord and we have yet another chance to help them to see the saving Grace of our Lord Jesus. That said, I’m afraid to view the article about Christmas … but I will! We all know that Easter isn’t about chocolate bunnies and eggs and Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus and trees. I know that these come from pagan pratices and that the early church used them to provide a way to celebrate Christ for the newly converted Christians that wanted to celebrate those “feast” days. Just like we do in this country with the many holidays just to have something to celebrate. I plan to visit this site often and tell my friends also.

  • Jeff

    Michael, what are the main celebrations Christians should be keeping, can you summarize? For traditional Christians who are reading your articles and learning about the truth, all of the Old Testament celebrations may seem confusing. Thank you.

  • Michael

    Jeff:

    The main ones to be kept are found in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28….

    -Sabbath
    -Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
    -Pentecost
    -Feast of Trumpets
    -Yom Kippur
    -Feast of Tabernacles

    All of them are actually about Y’shua (Jesus), and at first it can seem a bit confusing to keep them, but they are actually a great blessing once you get the hang of it.

    Does that help?

    Michael

  • Jeff

    that does help, thank you. are there any denominations that still follow there festivals?

    BTW, I found this site through a Twitter posting you sent out about a week ago – ‘Pagan Christmas’. I sent the article to a bunch of Christian friends and even pastors. Talk about stirring things up! :)

    Jeff.

  • Michael

    Jeff:

    There are lots of “Messianic” and “Hebrew Roots” congregations that follow these things. My wife and I believe that God is raising up His Remnant in these last days that will keep His Commandments, that will boldly proclaim the gospel and that will see signs, wonders and miracles just like the early apostles did.

    Michael

  • Jeff

    thanks, I will have to look some of those churches up. You might be interested in an email I sent out today to some family and friends. I used some of your ideas :)

    ————–
    Thanks for your response ____________. My only concerns are these things (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong):

    -Jesus, the apostles and Paul still kept the traditional Sabbaths and holy days
    -no where were we commanded to give them up (even though Jesus came to fulfill the law)
    -the early Church did not celebrate the 25th or Easter, meaning that we have blended the true festivals with pagan customs
    -and if so, can this be why we do not see the miracles that the early Church did?
    -why was God angry at Aaron for using the pagan cow icon and then using it to declare it ‘a day of the Lord’? Is this not kind of like taking the Wicca/pagan wreaths and trees and adding a manger scene?
    -what about verses that tell us that the Sabbaths and Holy days will still be celebrated even after Christ returns? For example:

    Zechariah 14:16-19: “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”
    -Even though this is found in the old Testament, we believe that Jesus is also God, and therefore these are His words as well
    -I know we are saved through faith in Jesus, but have we alienated God via foreign customs, and therefore have not found his full power in our lives and in the world around us?

    Sorry if this offends anyone, I am just looking for the truth.
    ——————
    I eagerly await their responses.
    Jeff.

  • Jeff

    Oh, and Michael feel free to contact me or send info to my unpublished email address. I am a big fan of your Economic Collapse blog as well.

  • Michael

    Jeff:

    Those are some really great questions. That should get them really investigating these issues.

    It just doesn’t make sense that if these festivals have been done away with that we will be observing them in the future (see Ezekiel 46-46, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 66:22-23, etc.).

    One book you might really enjoy is “Time Is The Ally Of Deceit” by Richard Rives. Really interesting historical stuff.

    My wife and I believe that God is raising up the Remnant described in Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 14:12. It is a Remnant that will keep His Commandments, that will boldly proclaim the gospel of Y’shua (Jesus) and that will see signs, wonders and miracles that confirm the message that is preached.

    Michael

  • Jeff

    The only response I received was the article below which argues that the imagery in Zech 14 cannot be taken literally such as the survivors of all nations going to Jerusalem (couldn’t fit), and therefore the actual keeping of the feast isn’t literal either. Plus we would require horses with bells and holy pots to do it correctly and follow it literally

    http://www.gci.org/law/festivals/zech14

    Perhaps with your legal mind you can tease this article apart. But even I noticed one inconsistency. The author states that the Feast of Tabernacles was limited to just taking place in Jerusalem under the old law (which we do not do) but states later , “Jesus revealed that true fellowship and worship are not restricted to a holy place in Jerusalem (John 4:21-24)”. So this means those following the holy days outside of Israel are fine.

    The author also mentions that “there is not a single instance in the letters of Paul, Peter or John to the church of a command to keep the annual festivals of ancient Israel”, but nor were we commanded to give them up.”

    Hmmm, the debate continues.

  • Michael

    Jeff:

    One section of Scripture that I like to show people is Romans 3 where Paul says that we are saved by faith but that the Law has not been done away with…

    28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

    And in Acts 21 we see that keeping the Torah was extremely important to the Christian leadership in Jerusalem and that Paul himself kept the Torah…

    18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

    19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

    20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

    21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

    22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

    23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

    24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

    As far as the passage in Zechariah goes, this is a description of life during the 1000 year reign of Christ after Y’shua returns to earth.

    I don’t see where anyone would dispute that there will be “survivors” from the Tribulation period. Yes, believers will have their new bodies by then and the forces of antichrist will have been destroyed, but there will be “survivors” that do not fit into either category that Y’shua will reign over on earth for 1000 years from Jerusalem.

    A lot of people want to say that we should not take the Bible “literally” because they do not like what it says. But the truth is that the Bible is almost always more “literal” than we think that it is.

    Michael

  • Jeff

    Thanks Michael. how do you respond to traditional Christians then who quote Col 2:16-17: “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality”?

    And in the same line of thought, could the tearing of the temple veil at Jesus’ death represent that these old paths to salvation (appeasing the Lord) were finished?

  • Michael

    Jeff:

    Salvation has always been by faith. Paul’s letters make that clear. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. The Old Testament saints were looking forward to the Messiah and we are looking back on the Messiah.

    And that translation of Colossians 2:16-17 is a bit misleading. I think the King James is much better…

    “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.”

    Paul was writing to Gentiles that had come out of paganism. Many of them had no history of celebrating these festivals.

    One thing that Paul is warning of here is the man-made traditions of the Jews. They piled mountains of rules and regulations on to God’s basic commands. This is why Jesus (who kept the Law) was so hard on the Pharisees, and this is something that Paul talked about over and over in his letters.

    But there is a very clear distinction between the man-made traditions of the Jews and the commandments of God.

    Also, many Jews even to this day say that Gentiles should not be celebrating their Sabbaths or their festivals because they were “only given to them”.

    But the Scriptures say that these are “the Feasts of the Lord”, and indeed they are a shadow of the good things that are coming as Paul alludes to.

    Even many mainstream Christians today agree that someday we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air at “the last trumpet” on the Feast of Trumpets.

    Also, Yom Kippur has some tremendous prophetic implications. Please see this article….

    http://signsofthelastdays.com/archives/yom-kippur-in-the-book-of-revelation

    If you really want to be blown away, read Revelation chapter 19 along with the book of Joel some time, and as you do so look for parallels with what happens during Yom Kippur.

    All of the festivals were always about looking back AND about looking forward. The Spring feasts were fulfilled during the first coming of Y’shua and the Fall feasts will be fulfilled during His Second Coming.

    And as Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19, there is still much to be fulfilled.

    Michael