I’ve celebrated Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter) my whole life. When I was younger I loved getting candy each year in a cute lil’ basket, and as I got older I saw the beautiful meaning behind Easter – Christ dying for me to set me free.
However…something has changed now. I found out a couple years ago that Easter started out pagan and has somehow shifted to become “Christian.” Last October, I decided I wasn’t going to celebrate Christmas, due to it’s pagan origins and some other various reasons. (To read a post where I explain in depth why I don’t celebrate Christmas, click here.) After that, I remembered how my mom had told me Easter had pagan origins, and because of that, I had thought I would not celebrate when Easter came around. However, I didn’t actually look up the story of Easter’s origins until I went to write this post, and I was shocked with what I found.
Rewind the clock to Biblical times, after the flood. There was a man named Nimrod, who was married to a lady named Semiramis. When Nimrod died, his wife made him a deity, the Sun-god/Life Giver. People later on called him Baal and worshiped him with things such as human sacrifice, demon worship, and other terrible things. Further, Semiramis believed that her son Tammuz was Nimrod reborn. Because of this, people saw Tammuz as their savior who was promised in Scripture. Later on, people also worshiped Semiramis and, get this, they called her Ishtar, Ashtur, and even Easter. Once Tammuz died, Semiramus created Easter as a time to celebrate spring beginning, because she believed that the new plants springing up were her son “resurrecting.”
Yeahhh…pretty weird. I don’t know about you, but reading about this honestly disgusted me. Somehow today, we have turned this holiday around and made it a day to honor and remember Christ’s death. We don’t see the reasons Easter even began…not because of Christ, but because of people following what they thought was right.
You might be wondering, is there harm in celebrating Resurrection Sunday with the right intentions? We aren’t worshiping Tammuz or Semiramus, but Jesus, so what’s wrong with that?
Here are a few Scriptures that talk about our hearts + traditions:
2 Thessalonians 2:15 (emphasis mine) // So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter.
Colossians 2:8 (emphasis mine) // Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 // The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? I, Yahweh, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
Deuteronomy 12:29-32 // When Yahweh your God cuts off the nations from before you, where you go in to dispossess them, and you dispossess them, and dwell in their land; be careful that you are not ensnared to follow them, after that they are destroyed from before you; and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.” You shall not do so to Yahweh your God; for every abomination to Yahweh, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it.
I think it’s easy to see Easter in a good light, and even a seemingly Biblical light, because for most of us it’s what we’ve grown up in. However, when we read Scriptures like the ones above, the Truth becomes clear.
Paul encourages us in the first passage to strive to hold onto the traditions we have been taught in Scripture. Think for a second: Christ’s death and resurrection was never something that we are told in His Word to celebrate each year, or keep as a traditional feast/festival. YES, we should celebrate and praise Yahweh for sending His Son to die for us and giving us salvation! That is the only reason you and I are alive today! His spring feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First. Fruits are all amazing times when we celebrate what Jesus did on the cross, to become our Lamb of salvation, as well as what God did in the old testament in the first Passover! These are things the Father intended us to celebrate!
The second passage tells us to be careful that we don’t let anyone rob us through traditions of men. Easter might not seem like a tradition of men, but if you think about it, it’s not a tradition of God.
Don’t get me wrong – Jesus’ death is an amazingly wonderful thing that continually blows me away. I am so thankful for God sending Yeshua Jesus to die for my sins and make me whole. Each day is a gift from Him and because of His love and mercy; and it’s all because He died for me. But celebrating His resurrection and death on Easter was never something He wanted us to do. Deuteronomy 12:29-32 tells us we shouldn’t take something that is pagan and use it to honor our Savior. God commands against it, and it is wrong.
I’ve heard people say that although the origins of a holiday are bad, that doesn’t matter – what matters is the state of our hearts and our reason to celebrate it. But Jeremiah 17:9 tells us something that is shocking – our hearts are deceitful and corrupt. If we go by our heart’s intent and longings, we will fall. Even if we say “I’m celebrating this holiday and my heart is in the right place” that is simply not right. We should celebrate a holiday because it’s what God encourages us to do in His Word, and not take pagan things and use them to honor God. We cannot make something our Father sees as wrong right by having the right intentions. Imagine going to a store and thinking it is right to steal, simply because we are poor and need food. That doesn’t make stealing right, and having our intentions for Easter right doesn’t make it right. We can’t honor God with sin.
I hope and pray that this post has been an encouragement to you. I’m not trying to force you to not celebrate Resurrection Sunday, or try to make you see things “my way.” I’m simply trying to open your eyes to see Easter in a new light, and encourage you to search out Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, and apply it’s Truth to your life. Don’t just take what I’m saying and automatically believe it – pray about it, study the Word for yourself, and don’t be afraid of God challenging and convicting your heart. I know Yahweh will guide you and help you as you make decisions and strive to honor Him by following His ways!