Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Origins of Easter

Do you have questions about Easter? Do traditions like easter eggs have pagan origins? Learn why Christians shouldn't celebrate Easter.


[03:51] What do people know about Easter and do they really think these practices come from the Bible?

[06:04} Historical origins of Easter

[07:54] Where did the practices being done during the so-called Holy Week originate?

[13:34] Is knowing the specific origins of Easter insignificant or unimportant?

[14:49] What are some of the elements of Easter that we really have to consider before just applying Easter practices with the intent then to honor Christ?

[15:26] Celebrating Easter is a service to a goddess Ishtar. Should we be practicing it?

[17:35] What is the proof that God does not allow idolatry or worship of false gods or goddesses?

[19:40] Is it safe to consider all these pagan practices that have been incorporated into the culture of Easter today, harmless? 

[21:49] Where did the term ‘Easter’ come from?

[22:26] Who is Baal?

[23:52] Where did the Easter eggs and the other Easter practices originate? 

[28:39] Should people overlook the pagan origins of Easter, and just let it be enjoyed by the children, enjoyed by the family?

[31:57] Should people follow Easter practices just to avoid criticism from friends and/or family?

[34:21] How dangerous would it be if someone surrendered to peer pressure to participate in pagan religious practices?

[36:55] What’s the guiding divine principle by which all true servants of God should base their service to God, and upon which they base their way of life?

[40:28] Does the Catholic Church deny that the teachings and practices that they’re implementing with Easter and the Holy Week came from the pagans?

Proof of Easter’s Pagan Origins

[Show Opens]

[On-screen text graphics]

Topic: Easter, Is It Christian

Bob Pellien

San Francisco, California

Minister of the Gospel

Brother Bob Pellien: Hello. I’m Bob Pellien, and this is the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition. Today’s topic: Easter. Is Easter Christian? And, dear friends, as the answer to that question seems so very obvious to you, but should we all be celebrating and participating in the practices of Easter? Should we all be hiding Easter eggs, coloring Easter eggs, and, by the way, who is the Easter bunny anyway? And do these things have any spiritual relevance at all in our services to God? 

Well, today, we will take a look at all these things, what the Bible says about them, or more importantly, what the Bible does not say about them nor about Easter. All of this and more, today on the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition. And joining us today in our discussion in the Philippines—Quezon City, Philippines, Brother Greg Worthen; in Toronto, Canada, Brother Donald Pinnock; and in Washington, DC, Brother Jojo Bayani. Welcome, brothers, to our discussion. 

[On-screen text graphics]

Greg Worthen

Quezon City, Philippines

Minister of the Gospel 

Donald Pinnock

Toronto, Canada

Minister of the Gospel

Jojo Bayani

Washington, DC

Minister of the Gospel

Brother Greg Worthen: Thank you, Brother Bob. Thanks for having us. 

Brother Donald Pinnock: Hello, Brother Bob.

Brother Jojo Bayani: Hello, Brother Bob. 

Brother Bob: Well, today, brothers, there’s a lot of traditions, as we all know, being practiced during this holy week that leads up to Easter, and of course on the actual Easter Day itself. There’s so many traditions, and so many things being done. What are some of the things that—inasmuch as we’re all spread around the world here—what are some of the things and practices and traditions in your places that you may have noticed that we can include in our discussion for today? 

Brother Greg: For example here, Brother Bob, we mentioned Easter bunny—you mentioned that at the outset—it’s not so prevalent here. What’s more prevalent here is the Ash Wednesday or the penance that the people are doing in this particular season. The Lenten season, for example, wherein they would flog themselves or they would, you know, crawl on their knees as part of their having a share of the alleged sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, for example, leading up to that Easter Sunday.

Brother Bob: How about in your places, brothers?

Brother Donald: Well, here in Toronto, Canada, Brother Bob, many people are towards the commercial side of Easter. We have confectioners. They are mass-producing their own individual design of the chocolate eggs to be snatched up by the buying population. When it comes to different organizations and even schools, they have Easter egg hunts that are not just limited to a building per se, but sometimes it will cover a vast region, a municipality. We’ll have the members of such a community going out, looking for Easter eggs in certain specific areas. 

Brother Bob: Focus seems to be, in your area there, on Easter eggs—coloring Easter eggs and stuff like that. How about in Washington, Brother Jojo? 

Brother Jojo: Brother Bob, here in the US, we see a lot of family-oriented activities during this time called Easter, where the families will color the eggs and hide them in the park or there in their backyards. And it seems that the bunny, the Easter bunny, just takes prominence.

Brother Bob: Popular figure.

Brother Jojo: During this time of year. Yes, brother. 

Brother Bob: Popular figure, that Easter bunny.  


Brother Bob: You know, there’s a lot of opinions about where all of these practices have originated. But first, you know, we went out and we asked some people what they thought about Easter and if they really think these practices come from the Bible and take a look at some of the responses that we got. 

[Video starts]

Man: I know it’s a religious holiday, and that’s pretty much all I know about Easter. 

Woman: It’s like Christmas. It’s like Christmas, really. Jesus Christ—He passed away and was reborn again, and people celebrate this. He’s reborn. That’s what we celebrate.

Man 2: Easter is an appropriated pagan holiday used by the Christian religion to tell a sunrise story. It’s not something that I personally celebrate within a context that is socially discussed or talked about.

Man: I don’t know anything about Easter eggs and bunnies. I just know we hide them, and kids find them. [laughs]

Woman: No, I have no idea where the rabbit comes [from]. [laughs] I know they have, kids love hunting for eggs and things like that, but I don’t know where the rabbit comes in.

Man 3: I don’t know why the egg hunt is a part of it, but I think it is fascinating that it is. Easter has incorporated a lot of the even earlier pagan rituals for spring and the celebration of spring into the Jesus story. 

Man 2: Well, both egg hunt and rabbits are known to be symbols of fertility which is also a sunrise reference, a sunrise metaphor—sun rising from an old death to a new life. 

Man 3: The rabbit, of course, is more of a pagan type of celebration of the Easter celebration, representing the richness and the renewal of spring. 

[Video ends]

Brother Bob: Brothers, there seems to be a wide range of knowledge, a wide range of opinions as well, regarding this whole topic of Easter and some of the practices, like the bunny or the rabbit, egg hunts and all these things. Well, let’s take a look at the opinion, this time, that’s derived from history. 


Brother Bob: Let’s take a look at the historical origins of Easter, and let’s begin our discussion, our research together before turning to the Holy Scriptures. Let’s look at one of the opinions mentioned in this additional video clip. Let’s take a look.

[Video starts]

[On-screen text graphics]


Narrator: Now, do you think the apostles and the early Church celebrated the resurrection of their Messiah every year by observing the feast of Easter? Do you think the apostles had a mass on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox? When Samraemus fell from heaven into the Euphrates river in a giant moon egg? Do you think the apostles would have dyed Easter eggs in a sacrificed baby’s blood and then have some orgies surrounded by rabbits with temple prostitutes to make new sacrifices? No matter how loyal you are to any system, you know the true answer to that question. 

[Video ends]

Brother Bob: Brothers, that’s one opinion that [is] rooted in the events of history, wherein it points to these various practices, having very definite pagan roots. 

Brother Jojo: Yes, Brother Bob, that’s one of those opinions among the many that point to the fact that the root or the origin of the so-called Easter has come from pagan goddesses. It has nothing to do with the true worship of God. Not at all. 

Brother Bob: So, brothers, before we get to look deeper into these statements made—which were pretty provocative statements made in this video about Easter—let’s take a look at the events that lead up to Easter. For example, the Catholic Church calls that week leading up to Easter as “Holy Week.”


Brother Bob: Brothers, can you discuss some of the practices being done during that so-called Holy Week and the time leading up to Easter, and where do those really originate? Do they also have such pagan origins as mentioned by the individual in the particular video? What can you say, brothers?

Brother Greg: Brother Bob, of course, each day of the week prior to Easter is, for them, a special day. 

Brother Donald: That’s very true, Brother Greg. In fact, for example, the Sunday before Easter is recognized as Palm Sunday by those who observe it. And for them, it has great significance, as we can glean from a Catholic Dictionary, page 385. And by the way, when it comes to the said publication, it has a nihil obstat and also an imprimatur, meaning to say the contents of the said book is in accordance with the doctrines, the practices of the Catholic Church. We can read the following: 

[On-screen text graphics]

A Catholic Dictionary

Nihil Obstat by Arthur Scanlan and imprimatur by Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Arch Bishop of New York, pg. 385

“Palm Sunday: The Sunday next before Easter, on which is commemorated our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem by the blessing and procession of palms before Mass.”

Brother Donald: So, according to Catholic authorities, Palm Sunday is to commemorate the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. 

Brother Greg: And notice also, brothers, that that’s not based on the Bible since there’s no instruction in the Scriptures for palms to be used in a so-called Easter celebration or festival. Where do they say the origin of the palm practices have their root? We’ll also read a book entitled The Visual Church, page 171 by Reverend John Sullivan with a nihil obstat as well as an imprimatur, and this is what is stated: 

[On-screen text graphics]

The Visual Church

Pg. 171 by Rev. John Sullivan (nihil obstat by Arthur Scanlan Imprimatur by Patrick J. Hayes

“It is likely that the use of palms in our churches began in the early Middle ages,

The palm is the symbol of victory. Among pagan nations, victorious armies decked themselves and their chariots with palm-branches.” 


Brother Greg: So, the use of palms finds its roots not in the first century Church or during the apostles’ era, but instead in pagan practices. 

Brother Jojo: So this is clearly and admittedly of pagan origin, Brother Bob. 

Brother Bob: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for that, brothers. I’m wondering, Brother Jojo, are there any other practices being done during that week leading up to Easter that are worthy to note before we discuss the actual Easter traditions and practices?

Brother Jojo: Yes, brother. There was a study in one of our recent episodes here in our show with regard to Lent. I think it’s important to note that ashes are also used in what the Catholic Church calls Ash Wednesday, and that plays a significant role in this time of the year or season called Easter. Here is what they have to say in their own Catholic book, and I’d like to read that to you. From the book entitled The Visible Church, here on page 170, they go on to say the following, and I quote: 

[On-screen text graphics]

The Visual Church

Pg. 170 by Rev. John Sullivan nihil obstat by Arthur Scanlan Imprimatur by Patrick J. Hayes

“the use of ashes to express sorrow and humiliation was common in ancient religions.”

Brother Jojo: Therefore, it’s important for us to point out that the use of ashes has its roots not in our Lord Jesus Christ’s teachings, not in the teachings of any of His apostles, but it is also of pagan background of pagan origin as well. 

Brother Bob: You know, brothers, many of our viewers joining us in our study, they want to say that these details that we are discussing and reading are not really important, and that it’s okay if we ignore that the origin of these practices may have come from paganism as long as we have good intentions. Dear friends, is that okay that we would ignore the roots and origins of these things? That’s where we’re going to pick up our discussion when the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition returns in a moment. Stay with us.    

[On-screen logo graphic]

INC International Edition

Brother Bob: Welcome back to this program, the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition, where we’ve been discussing Easter and, more specifically, the practices—the common practices and traditions that have come about in the Easter season—bunny rabbits, coloring Easter eggs and all such other things concerning Lenten season as well. Others may say that to know the details of the origins of these practices is insignificant. Let’s continue our discussion.


Brother Bob: Brother Donald, what would you say to those who would say that really knowing the specifics of these things is not important? 

Brother Donald: Well, Brother Bob, to just say that what one practices is intended for the Lord our God does not mean to say that it is going to be accepted by Him. And, in fact, we can read the following here in Matthew [chapter] 15, and the verse is 9: 

And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

[Mathew 15:9 New King James Version]

Brother Donald: So, please notice when it comes to this proclamation of the Lord our God, there is a form or kind of worship and service that is in vain, or would not be accepted by Him. What kind of worship or service will not be accepted by the Almighty God? That which is based upon the teachings, the practices, the doctrines of men, and not on the teachings of the Lord our God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, it’s not okay in the sight of God when it comes to practices and customs that are, for others, intended for Him, but in reality not accepted by the Creator. 

Brother Bob: Okay, brothers, to move our conversation along, to further our discussion, brothers,


Brother Bob: what are some of the elements of Easter that we really have to consider before just applying Easter practices with the intent then to honor Christ. Before we answer that question, take a look at this video as well. 

[Video starts] 

Narrator: We take them down in the local cathedral and observe the ancient mass of Ishtar—

[On-screen text graphics]


“Ishtar: is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex.” 

Wilkinson, Philip. Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology. NY: DK, 1998. P.24

Narrator: The Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, and sex. Now, does something about this seem a little strange to anyone else out there? I mean, is that a little weird? 

[On-screen text graphics]

Easter: derived from Eostre, or Eosrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. 


Narrator: So, what is this Easter deal anyways?

[Video ends]


Brother Bob: We saw the video. They’re saying it’s a service to a goddess Ishtar. Is that okay with you?

Brother Jojo: No, Brother Bob, because as we know, Ishtar is not the true God. Ishtar is a goddess of pagan origin. So, it’s definitely not suitable to follow something like that. You know, they say that Easter is for kids to have fun, Easter is for family to get together, but if it’s going to go against the true worship of God, then we should not adhere to it. 

Brother Bob: Right, right.

Brother Greg: The sad part about that also, Brother Bob…

Brother Donald: Also, if I can add, brother….

Brother Bob: Go ahead, Brother Donald, if you have some input there. Go ahead. 

Brother Donald: Yes, excuse me, Brother Greg, but I was just going to say that all the more this proves that that kind of knowledge or lack of knowledge when it comes to what one is practicing, well, that cannot be utilized when it comes to a service that is intended for our Lord God and, in turn, for Him to be accepted. He will not accept it. 

So, tragic indeed is the situation of many people who are going through the ritual. Perhaps they adopted it from their parents or grandparents, and they practice it year after year after year—considering for themselves that this is something good, this is something pleasing. But, if they were to trace the origins of the Easter practices, they will definitely see that it has its origins in pagan practices. 

Brother Bob: Right, you can’t kiss someone with a sledgehammer. Brother Greg, you were about to say something. 

Brother Greg: Yeah, you can see how it’s woven not only into the fabric of people in the United States or there in Canada, but I noticed in the video earlier that the woman had a particular accent, maybe from Europe. I mean, this is a worldwide kind of event that people are just embracing as part of a religious culture. 


Brother Greg: That’s something that is done every year, and they all participate in it even with their families, when in fact, dear friends, that is clear idolatry or worship to false gods or goddesses. And that is what God does not allow, and to prove this, God once again teaches us through the Holy Scriptures here in Exodus [chapter] 20, [verses] 4 through 6:

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,… but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

[Exodus 20:4-6 New International Version]

Brother Greg: So, God will not tolerate any service rendered to other gods or goddesses like Ishtar. That is what’s being done here when people participate in this festival known as Easter. 

Brother Bob: Right, right.  

Brother Jojo: And, Brother Bob, and to our viewers—if I may just add something—in verse 5, God said, ‘I am a jealous God.’ Jealousy means sadness brought about by being replaced by something else.

Brother Bob: But, brothers, Brother Jojo, the point that many are making is, “That’s not what we’re doing”—they would surely want to inject—and say, “That’s not… we’re not trying to replace Jesus or replace God or any of those kinds of things. All of these practices,” they would say, “are just harmless fun.” 

Brother Greg: Yes, Brother Bob. Many would ask, isn’t it possible just say, “Well, having an Easter bunny and such, it’s just fun for the children, and it’s really harmless”?

Brother Bob: Yes, but consider this as we continue our discussion and let’s implant it in our mind for just a moment that question:


Brother Bob: Is it safe to consider all these pagan practices that have been incorporated into the culture of Easter today, harmless? Take a look at this.

[Video starts]

Narrator: I remember being a bit confused as a kid. I mean, what’s up with the Easter bunny? What does that have to do with the resurrection, you know? Although we convince our kids that rabbits like colorful eggs in the bushes, we know that this is not reality. This story is not as innocent and cute as many think. So, what’s going on here? 

[On-screen text graphics]

Keep Eostre in Easter

Narrator: Where does this all come from anyways? I don’t want to make up any more fictional stories than there already are floating around out there. So, let us just consult the mother of all churches and see what she has to say about all this.

[On-screen text graphics]

“Easter: The English term – relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring.” 

Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Narrator: “Easter: the English term, relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring.” That’s interesting. Okay, so what does that have to do with the resurrection, that goddess here. You know, some of the other names for the same Teutonic mother goddess, they include Ishtar, Eastre, Astarte, 

[On-screen text graphics]

“the Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.” 

Larry Boemler “Asherah and Easter,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 18, Number 3, 1992-May/June

Narrator: Ostare, Ostara, Astareth, these are all names that originated from the original mother goddess Semiramis, the mother of Tammuz. In short, Ishtar was the wife of Baal. 

[Video ends]

Brother Greg: We can notice that, of course, all of these practices have nothing to do with what Christ taught, what the apostles taught. You can’t find these finding Easter eggs or the Easter bunny comments and things like that. You cannot find that in the Holy Scriptures, which is why it’s really sad to note that all of these people are just embracing it as part of religion. 

Brother Bob: Exactly, exactly. 

Brother Donald: And also, we could notice… 

Brother Bob: Go ahead, Brother Donald. 


Brother Donald: Okay, I was just going to say, Brother Bob, Brother Jojo, that even when it comes to the name or the term ‘Easter,’ as was mentioned in the video, we can trace its roots to the name ‘Ishtar’ who is the wife of Baal. Now, it just goes to show that this is not a Christian practice. 

Brother Bob: For sure. Brother Jojo, sorry, go ahead. 

Brother Jojo: Yes, thank you, Brother Bob. I just wanted to add the fact that, you know, Ishtar is a pagan goddess who’s married to some guy named Baal. 


Brother Bob: Brother Jojo, who is this Baal anyway? The gentleman on the video seemed kind of concerned, or that historical declaration really had some significance that we should really consider in our evaluation of whether or not Easter is a good thing or a bad thing. So, hold that thought, and let’s continue to watch a bit further. 

[Video starts]

[On-screen text graphics]


Ishtar (Easter) was the wife of Baal. 

Narrator: Also called the Queen of Heaven. Wait a second here. Ishtar was the wife of Baal? 

[On-screen text graphics]

Another version of the demon Baal is Beelzebub, or more accurately Ba’al Zebûb or Ba’al Zǝbûb (Hebrew) it might refer to a high-ranking devil or to Satan himself. 

Narrator: Ba’al Zebûb, Satan’s wife? That’s just great; I mean, I’m really glad for Ishtar, you know, she made a good choice. 

[Video ends]

Brother Bob: Who’s Baal, Brother Jojo? 

Brother Jojo: Satan.

Brother Bob: And who’s Ishtar? 

Brother Jojo: She’s a pagan goddess. Never mind she being considered by history as a pagan goddess, but anyone married to Satan, Brother Bob. 

Brother Bob: And imagine, then they incorporate…

Brother Jojo: That can’t be any good. 

Brother Bob: They incorporate the things that are done in ancient pagan cultures to worship that individual, and they’re going to try to Christianize that into an Easter festival, attach it to Christ and try to convince us to participate? I think not, Brother Greg. 

Brother Greg: I don’t think so. That can’t be done, period. 


Brother Bob: Absolutely not. So, brothers, what about the Easter eggs, and what about some of the other Easter practices? Let’s take a look at another opinion also derived from history. 

[Video starts]

[On-screen text graphics]


Narrator: In Germany, for example, they worshiped Ostara, the Germanic fertility goddess, on this day. The English word for Easter was derived from her name. Let’s look at some of the symbols that are associated with Easter today. The Easter bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Estere. The goddess Estere was worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. And what about Easter eggs? The Druids use the Easter eggs as the sacred emblem of their order. In China, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred heathen festivals. In the idolatry of ancient Egypt and Greece, eggs were used in their religious rites. And the list goes on and on. There is no doubt that this celebration has pagan roots and has nothing to do with Jesus. 

[Video ends]

Brother Bob: The gentleman says these practices have nothing to do with Jesus, brothers. 

Brother Donald: If only people could come to this knowledge. If only other people, Brother Bob, Brother Greg, Brother Jojo, could really come to the truth when it comes to what they are inadvertently doing year after year after year. I mean, it’s profound, so far, what we’ve seen goes to show that this is not only unscriptural, un-Christian but even, it has its roots in pagan practices and even affiliated with our enemy, the devil. 

Brother Bob: Is that what you were going to say, Brother Greg? Sorry.

Brother Greg: Yes, you can see the cross-section of people involved here. He mentioned that you’re talking about the Druids and their practice for the egg, and you have the Chinese, and you have other cultures that are also involved here. Again, as Brother Donald said, it’s really sad to note that all they have to do is just take the time to examine where these things are coming from and then just compare it to what the Bible says. 

Brother Bob: Absolutely. Really, Brother Donald, all these things seem to all be able to trace back to pagan origin, right? 

Brother Donald: Even when it comes to the Easter egg, Brother Bob, as was mentioned in the video… And please also permit me to read from the Catholic Dictionary, here on page 169, and again, it has the nihil obstat and the imprimatur of the Catholic Church, and this is stated, a book written by Patrick Cardinal Hayes.

[On-screen text graphics]

A Catholic Dictionary

Nihil obstat by Arthur Scanlan and imprimatur by Patrick Cardinal Hayes. Arch Bishop of New York, pg. 169

“Easter Eggs may possibly be a “baptized” pagan custom since they are an obvious symbol of fertility. In many places, it is still the practice to paint the eggs and bring them to church in decorated baskets for a blessing before or after Mass. Chocolate eggs and such-like fooleries are a degeneration of no significance.” 

Brother Donald: So whether it is from records or history or from statements of the Catholic Church themselves, it is clear that the practice of Easter, including the giving, the accepting, the hunting for Easter eggs, these are not teachings given by God nor His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It was not taught by the apostles. It was not practiced by the first Christians. 

Brother Bob: But again, brothers, “Can we not just overlook these pagan origins?”—one may want to ask—and “Just let it be enjoyed by children, let it be enjoyed by everyone. It’s just a fun holiday,” so many would say. Is it safe to have that mindset, is still the question we’re addressing, dear friends. And we’ll continue with that question as the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition continues. 

[On-screen logo graphic]

INC International Edition

Brother Bob: Welcome back, everyone, to the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition, where we continue our discussion now regarding Easter and the practices and the traditions, and so many of them, as we’re learning, have their roots in pagan practices. But Brother Jojo, 


Brother Bob: We’re asking before we went to the break, if there’s any way at all that any of our viewers could just enter into their mind that well, it would be alright to overlook the pagan origins and just let it be enjoyed by the children, enjoyed by the family and forget about the pagan, those practices being of pagan origin altogether. Is that okay, Brother Jojo? 

Brother Jojo: That question has been asked many many times throughout this program thus far, but we can’t just ignore the warnings given to us by the Bible. For example, the warnings of the apostles with regard to this matter. As we can read from the Book of Colossians, chapter 2, and the verse is 8: 

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 

[Colossians 2:8 New King James Version]

Brother Jojo: We cannot say that something is innocent, that it’s done out of fun, that it’s family-oriented, when one doesn’t know the truth and one refuses to listen to warnings. This is a clear warning from the apostles. Don’t let anyone cheat you through what they said was philosophy or empty deceit. If it is according to the traditions of men, and especially if these philosophies and ideologies go against the teachings of our Almighty God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which are found in the Bible. We have to be careful. Here is the warning. Listen to the warning so that we can benefit from these teachings that we read from the Holy Scriptures. 

Brother Greg: And brothers, it’s also worthwhile to note that there’s a specific kind of tradition that we must avoid above any other. What is that? Jesus Himself spoke of it in these particular terms written here in Matthew [chapter] 15 and [verse] 3: 

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 

[Matthew 15:3 New International Version]

Brother Greg: So here, Christians are questioned not to observe sinful traditions that break God’s law and commandment. 

Brother Bob: But, brothers, consider this. There’s a lot of you, our friends viewing this program. But let’s consider all these viewers, what if there’s someone out there viewing our program today, and they would feel that if they won’t observe the holiday like Easter along with their family, well they would be condemned by the family they love so much. 

For example, what if the family would say to them, that “the holidays are the time that we share together, that’s what we want to focus on. It’s different from the traditional beliefs and practices, especially from paganism. It’s just our family gathering”. 


Brother Bob: What if a person viewing our program will find themselves at the receiving end of such kind of a discussion from family members, at the time when the family is celebrating these kinds of festivals like the Holy Week and Easter?

Brother Donald: Well, Brother Bob, if I could be permitted to answer that question, because, for sure, some of our viewers are in that situation. They feel compelled when it comes to participating, joining in such family activities that they believe is going to make them better or enhance their relationship with the Lord our God. But rather, they should stand firm when it comes to what the Bible teaches. Here in Colossians [chapter] 2, [verse] 16, the apostle Paul makes known the following: 

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. 

[Colossians 2:16 New Living Translation] 

Brother Donald: So, for our friends, our viewers, who might find themselves in that predicament—being compelled or even coerced when it comes to joining in family activities, joining together when it comes to such festivities or season, including Easter—well, we should stand our ground when it comes to following what is written in the Holy Scriptures. We should not participate, especially when it comes to such activities or festivities that have their roots in pagan practices. 

We should always remember that we are to serve the Lord our God, and to worship Him in accordance with His laws or His commandments as written in the Holy Scriptures. When it comes to our salvation, we cannot base it upon the whim and will of our friends, our acquaintances, and even our family members. Because if what they are going to compel us to follow goes against, or violates the will, the statutes of the Lord our God, well, we should stand our ground when it comes to obeying God, so that all the more, we can be accepted by Him and we can attain eternal life. 


Brother Bob: Well, just how dangerous would it be, Brother Jojo, if someone surrendered to peer pressure to participate in pagan religious practices in such—maybe because of family pressure or whatever other kind of peer pressure, whatever other influences there may be—just how bad or dangerous would that be? Is there anything specifically mentioned in the Scriptures on that? 

Brother Jojo: Yes, Brother Bob. And to our viewers who are currently watching our program right now, there’s a powerful pronouncement of the Apostle Paul with regard to joining these popular pagan practices—another warning, if you will—with regard to participating in any of this. Allow me to read that from the Book of I Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 20:

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 

[I Corinthians 10:20 New International Version]

Brother Jojo: Oh, that’s another warning there, Brother Bob, Brother Donald, and Brother Greg, with regard to joining these popular pagan practices, you know. Granted, Brother Bob, that someone may say, “well, my family, they’re going to turn their back on me if I don’t join them in these so-called wonderful and fun-filled activities,” but here’s the warning of the Bible: the sacrifices of pagans, they’re not  anything. It has nothing to do with God, but the Bible says they’re offered to demons, not to God. And the fair warning of Apostle Paul is, “I do not want you to be participants with demons.” 

So, let’s say we have to sacrifice, let’s say that our family and friends turn [their] backs on us because we refuse to follow these pagan practices which we know, obviously, go against the will of God—then so be it. Because our priority should be to obey the teachings of God which are written in the Bible. As difficult as it may be at times, when the Bible says no, then that is a prohibition from our Almighty God. When the commandment says ‘don’t do it’, then we stand our ground. We do not practice these pagan festivals and holidays because it goes against the will of God, brother. 


Brother Bob: Because, Brother Greg, what’s the guiding principle that Brother Jojo is referring to? A guiding divine principle by which all true servants of God should base their service to God, upon their way of life should be based upon that principle. What principle is Brother Jojo describing and speaking of here? 

Brother Greg: Yes, it’s written here in I Corinthians [chapter] 4, [verse] 6. The Apostle Paul teaches us the following. 

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written” then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 

[I Corinthians 4:6 New International Version]

Brother Greg: That is the guiding principle that the apostles teach us. A very direct instruction, which we as members of the Church Of Christ take very seriously, and we implement this in our daily lives. As Brother Jojo mentioned, no matter how difficult it is, that is what God is teaching through His apostles, let’s take it seriously if we really want to come to know and serve the true God. 

Brother Bob: Brother Donald, let’s take a look at an example. What would be a clear cut example of exactly what our two brothers just read—An example of going beyond what is written? Can you clarify that a little bit more? 

Brother Donald: Yes, with that which is written here in Titus [chapter] 1 and the verse is 14: 

Don’t pay any attention to any of those senseless Jewish stories and human commands. These are made up by people who won’t obey the truth. 

[Titus 1:14 Contemporary English Version]

Brother Donald: Therefore, if there are those who are trying to teach us or instruct us to follow stories, fables, hearsay, non-Christian traditions that have been passed from one generation to another, and even when it comes to human commands, human teachings, we should not follow them because that is going beyond what is written in the Holy Bible. 

Brother Jojo: So, dear friends, viewers who are closely paying attention to our studies of God’s words today, let’s be careful. If there are Easter practices or any other pagan practices for that matter that are being practiced, for example, in your religion, then the Bible is giving us a warning. Do not participate in that. Do not take any part in those pagan practices because if one does, then one would go against God and His will. 

Brother Greg: So, if the apostles are teaching us, of course, to be careful not to follow these paganistic religions and paganistic practices because it’s against God’s will, it’s prohibited by God, then how do they instruct us then to live our lives so we would be in accordance with the will of God? Apostle Paul teaches us again in Ephesians [chapter] 4,  [verse] 17, the Complete Jewish Bible, this is what’s written here: 

Therefore I say this- indeed, in union with the Lord I insist on it: do not live any longer as the pagans live, with their ways of thinking.

[Ephesians 4:17 Complete Jewish Bible] 


Brother Bob: Does the Catholic Church deny that the teachings and practices that they’re implementing with Easter and the Holy Week and Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season, and all those other things with the eggs and the bunnies, all the things. Do they deny that these practices came from the pagans? 

Brother Donald: Brother Bob, and also when it comes to our viewers, you may be very surprised that, in fact, when it comes to the Catholic Church, the authorities of said church, they do not deny—in fact, they admit—when it comes to such practices. One proof we can read from the book, “The Externals of the Catholic Church,” written by John F. Sullivan on page 156. 

[On-screen text graphics]

The Externals Of The Cath. Church

John F. Sullivan, p. 156

“It is interesting to note how often our Church has availed herself of practices which were common use among pagans, … Thus it is true, in a certain sense, that some Catholic rites and ceremonies are a reproduction of those pagan creeds; but they are the taking of what was best from paganism, the keeping of symbolical practices which express the religious instinct that is common to all races and times.”

Brother Donald: That is why it is not surprising, at the time of Emperor Constantine, when he came to people that they subdued and brought into the empire at that time, they had their religion—Christianity at that time—that was intermixed with certain pagan rituals and/or practices. In order for those who were conquered and became members of the empire, they in turn will be compelled to accept the state religion, we can call it, at that time. 

Brother Bob: Yes, that’s really quite shocking what you read there Brother Donald. Wow. It’s not like they don’t know. They know it, and they still teach it and participate and practice all those things and admit openly in their official writings. I find that amazing.  

Brother Donald: What’s so sad, Brother Bob, is that when it comes to the followers of the Catholic authorities, they are in the blind. It seems as if they have not come to that truth yet or that knowledge yet. 

Brother Bob: Right.

Brother Greg: Or if they have an idea of it, they have an idea that maybe these practices aren’t really in the Bible, but we just participate in them, then they’re still following anyway. And that’s the sad part. They’re not taking a stand for God. When in fact, the Christians were warned not to live as the pagans do because they are ignorant of God’s teachings through Christ. 

But as Christians, we are bound to obey what we learn from our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of this is recorded in the Holy Scriptures which is why it’s so important that people, Brother Bob and the other panelists, people just take the time to examine these things and they would be more inclined to understand what God is really trying to tell them through His words. 

Brother Bob: So, brothers, after considering all the things that we have discussed, all of the various books that were read and the review of history, we have just a few brief more seconds in our program, brothers. What would be your message to our viewers today concerning the practices of Easter? In summary, Brother Jojo, let’s go to you first, what would be your message? 

Brother Jojo: Yes, Brother Bob, to our viewers who are out there, we hope that this will remain deeply embedded in your hearts and in your minds, the Church of Christ, the Church that’s serving you.

[On-screen text graphics]

To learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), log onto and

Brother Jojo: Today in this program, is the true Church that teaches the teachings of our Almighty God. And if you will continue to further your studies with us, you will find out that the true Church and the true messengers, they do not contradict the teachings of God. They do not add to the teachings of the Bible. They do not take away from the teachings of the Bible. They do not change or alter what is there in the Bible. So, if the Bible says and God says “Don’t follow these pagan practices, don’t participate,” then that is what we have to adhere to in order to continue to do His will, and in order to have that right and that privilege, and continue to have that right and that privilege for the rest of our lives to be able to serve the true and the living God. 

Brother Bob: Thank you. Thank you for that summary, Brother Jojo. Brother Donald, last few seconds.

Brother Donald: Yes, Brother Bob. I’d like to refer to what was the common theme through our study this evening that you mentioned often, also, Brother Bob, is that when it comes to so many people, well for them it’s just innocent. They’re just going with the flow when it comes to society. They’re just having fun with their friends, acquaintances, and their family members. For them, it’s just innocent. 

But the truth of the matter is, not only are they inadvertently serving or giving homage to false gods, but most especially, they are even entertaining evil spirits per se. We can never forget that when it comes to our enemy, he wants to keep as many people as possible away from coming to the knowledge of the truth. And that is why, even when it comes to so-called religion, he would strive to utilize it. That is why one needs to hear the truth of the gospel, understand and also believe in it and obey it, in order for one to have the hope of attaining salvation. 

That is why, just like Brother Jojo mentioned, when it comes to the Church Of Christ that is bringing this program to you, beloved viewers, you are more than welcome to ask your questions, whatever they may be, when it comes to the ministers of the Church in a congregation closest to you. We have many means by which you can communicate with us. 

INCMedia for example, we have many programs. And you will be able, with the help of the ministers of the Church, to come to the full knowledge of the truth so that your eyes can be opened, you can be enlightened, you will loosen that shroud of obscurity that the enemy may have been placing before you so that you can understand just how indispensable the true Church Of Christ is in our time. 

Brother Bob: Thank you very much, Brother Donald. And finally, Brother Greg. 

Brother Greg: Brother Bob, I just want to take this opportunity to really invite our friends who always join us in this program. You can probably notice a lot of the panelists here, we’re converts to the Church too. When we were younger, we used to participate in these things. We used to have fun looking for Easter eggs and wait for the day when we can have our chocolates and eat all of those things. But, the time  came that we began to really question and examine these things in the light of the Holy Scripture as taught to us in the Church Of Christ or Iglesia Ni Cristo. 

So, I just want to take this opportunity, as a convert to the Church, just take the time. Just give a few moments of your day to examine. As Brother Donald mentioned, there are many ways and means by which you can contact us, we can contact you. We can teach you even online Bible studies if your schedule is so tight and you have so many things to do. We can make a way. All we need is just a few moments of your day  to teach what the Bible really teaches, so that all of us would be enlightened through God’s words, and live as He wants us to live, not only in this life, but preparing us also in obedience to His commands for the life which is to come. 

Brother Bob: Thank you, Brother Greg. Dear friends, we invite you, our viewers, to attend the worship services

[On-screen text graphics]

To learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), log onto and

Brother Bob: of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) nearest you. And you can find out where that may be by visiting our website where all the local congregations are listed there as long, as well as with maps and addresses. Well, we would like to thank Brother Jojo Bayani in Washington, DC, Brother Donald Pinnock in Toronto, Canada, as well as Brother Greg Worthen in Quezon City, Philippines, for giving to us today Bible-based answers, so that as the Apostle Peter said to the members of the Church Of Christ, “you will be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you are living the way you are,” in I Peter 3:15. Well, dear friends, that does it for us here on the Iglesia Ni Cristo International Edition for today. We hope you’ll join us again next time. This is Bob Pellien. Thanks for watching and we invite you to join us for a short closing prayer. 

Brother Jojo: Our heavenly Father, we humbly approach You before we leave each other and our friends. We thank you for this wonderful opportunity. We were once again able to share our faith with our fellowmen. We humbly beg, reach out to the hearts and minds of our fellowmen who were able to watch this show this day. 

May these truths that we were able to share with them remain deeply in their hearts and in their minds. If this is their first time tuning in to our program, may it not be the last. And if they live in a local congregation of the Iglesia Ni Cristo close to their homes, may You allow them to also be able to reach those local congregations and chapels. Allow them to further their studies with regard to Your teachings that are taught only inside the Church Of Christ or the Iglesia Ni Cristo. 

We humbly beg, dear Father, that You continue to open the windows of the understanding of our fellowmen. If necessary, if we need to make sacrifices along the way, and even if our very loved ones would not be able to accept, we know that if we follow Your will and Your teachings, we shall be able to not only continue to study Your words, but to also be saved upon the second advent of Your begotten Son. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, we also pray to You, and we ask that Your gospel may be shared to as many of our fellowmen as possible during these last days. Please utilize not just the ministers, but also all of the brethren inside Your Church in the different parts of the world, so that more people will have the opportunity to be saved upon Your return. 

Our Father, we ask that You allow everything we do to be linked with the Church Administration so that they can continue to lead us in the proper way of service to You. Again, we thank You. In the name of our Lord and of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

[On-screen text graphics]

INCMedia Services

© All Rights Reserved 2017


Available downloads

Origins of Easter