Voiceover: Next on That’s in the Bible!
Patrick (Michigan, USA): Why is Easter in March?
Nida (Phoenix, Arizona): What does Palm Sunday have to do with Easter?
Brother Bob Pellien: The Bible’s response is simple and direct.
Julie (Sydney, Australia): Hi, my name is Julie, and I’m from Sydney, Australia. And my question is “Should Christians really be celebrating Easter?”
Brother Bob: How can we, in the true Church Of Christ participate in what comes from service to an ancient pagan goddess?
Brother Bob: Hello, I’m Brother Bob Pellien. Thanks for joining us on this special episode of That’s in the Bible, where today we’ll answer people’s questions about the Easter holiday.
When is Easter weekend?
Our first question for today comes from Patrick McDonald in Michigan. Let’s hear what Patrick asks about Easter.
Patrick: Why is Easter in March?
Brother Bob: Thank you for your question, Patrick. You know, Easter is not always in the month of March. In fact, let’s take a moment to quote an excerpt from a book entitled My Catholic Faith written by Louis LaRavoire Morrow, and he writes—on behalf of the Catholic Church—their explanation about the choosing of the date of Easter. Here’s what’s cited in that book on page 81:
[On-screen text graphics]
[Source: My Catholic Faith, pg. 81]
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring; the feast therefore is moveable, and can fall between March 22 and April 25. The Paschal season lasts till Trinity Sunday; till then joyous alleluia resounds.
Brother Bob: So here, Patrick, the Catholic Church writes not only about the moveable date of the Easter, here in this book My Catholic Faith, they also write about a season that they have created that begins with Ash Wednesday, which is also a moveable season.
But what is that season they call Lent? What’s it all about? They answer that in another of their books entitled The Visible Church. On page 184, they write:
[On-screen text graphics]
[Source: The Visible Church, pg. 184]
Lent is a season of penance set apart by the Church in memory of the fast of our Lord in the desert,… The date of the beginning of Lent varies from year to year, according to the date of Easter. In Latin it is called Quadragesima (fortieth), from which are taken the Italian Quaresima and the French Carame. The English name is from Anglo-Saxon Lenten, which means Spring.
Brother Bob: So there they speak of the season beginning with Ash Wednesday, which they call Lent. It’s a season of penance and that week [actually] leads up to Easter Sunday. They have Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. And during that week they have what they call Holy Thursday. They have also Good Friday, they have Holy Saturday, which are special holidays inside the Catholic Church all pertaining to Easter.
Easter and Palm Sunday
Which brings us right into the next question, which is a question specifically about that Palm Sunday from Nida who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Let’s listen to her question.
Nida: What does Palm Sunday have to do with Easter?
Brother Bob: Thank you, Nida. Palm Sunday, one week prior to Easter, is what was made by the Catholic Church and they write about it also in this book entitled The Visible Church. Let’s turn to page 171 where they write:
[On-screen text graphics]
[Source: The Visible Church, pg. 171]
It is likely that the use of palms in our churches began in early Middle Ages… The palm is a symbol of victory. Among pagan nations victorious armies decked themselves and their chariots with palm branches. The Jews used palms to express rejoicing especially on their great Feast of Tabernacles.
Brother Bob: Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, is a Sunday which they use a lot of palms in their mass, and it has its roots in ancient pagan culture wherein their pagan armies would use palms as a symbol of victory with their armies. And maybe they would say, “Well, we would want to use that ancient pagan custom and attach it to Christ for a victory. Let’s call it a victory of Jesus and let’s also use that pagan cultural tradition. Let’s turn to Holy Scriptures for the Bible’s response to that way of thinking. In Titus chapter 1 verse 14:
Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
[Titus 1:14 New King James]
Brother Bob: When the Jews of the first century incorporated those pagan practices and began to use them during the time of our Lord Jesus Christ—that being the use of palms—which is currently being used today, and Palm Sunday in the Roman Catholic Church, the Bible’s response is simple and direct. We should not implement, we should not use or give heed to such kind of Jewish fables and such and the commandments of men and not of course most especially the commandments and traditions of ancient pagan cultures. Palm Sunday is something that we should not participate in inside the true Church.
Should Christians celebrate Easter?
Another question submitted by Julie from Sydney, Australia. Julie asks this:
Julie: My question is should Christians really be celebrating Easter?
Brother Bob: I think of all, that’s the most important question. Should we be celebrating it? Even if we will master all of its history, master all of the traditions attached to Easter, and understand all of their roots and origins, it follows [that] question that you ask. Should we participate in it? Should we incorporate that mindset that “well because it’s fun and because children enjoy it by having Easter eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies, and we have Palm Sunday, and we have Easter celebrations. Should true Christians of today participate?
It’s important to understand the origins of the whole Easter [tradition]. The Catholic Church wrote inside their Encyclopaedic Dictionary on page 161 a very important piece of information that we have to consider when answering that question “Should we participate in it?” They wrote:
[On-screen text graphics]
[Source: The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary, pg. 161]
EASTER (etymology uncertain: St. Bede derives it from Eastre, a forgotten dawn goddess). The English name for the Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord,… Meat, eggs, and other foods formerly forbidden in Lent are blessed and there are still numerous local customs, some of pagan origin.
Brother Bob: In this Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary, they write about Easter, [mentioning] that it is derived from Eastre, a forgotten dawn goddess. Should we, whether it’s from Eastre or it’s from Ishtar, from Babylonian and ancient Egyptian times and if it has such kind of origin, how can we in the true Church Of Christ participate in what comes from service to an ancient pagan goddess? What does the instruction of God through the apostles have to say if there’s a tradition or if there’s something that is absent from the Bible (which Easter is absent from the Bible) if there is a holiday being practiced today called Easter with a season of Lent leading up to it having various practices of pagan origin? What are the instructions of the Lord for all who want to serve the Lord properly today?
Apostle Paul wrote the following, I Corinthians chapter 10 and beginning in verse 20 it says:
No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.
[1 Corinthians 10:20 New International Version]
Brother Bob: That’s a very powerful response of the Lord here, dear friends, through the apostles. “I do not want you to be participants with demons” and if in the eyes of the Lord participating in traditions and practices that have their origin and roots in service to ancient pagan goddesses—if he considers that a demonic practice, then as members of the Church Of Christ, we’ll follow that instruction of God through the Apostle Paul when he said, “I do not want you to be participants in that.”
Here inside the Church Of Christ, we will not participate in the practices that are correlated with Easter traditions of today not found in the instructions of our Lord in the Holy Bible. In fact, there is another instance wherein Apostle Paul was addressing such things in his letter this time to the Ephesians. What did he write to them about these pagan traditions and pagan cultures? Should we allow them to be incorporated into Christian practices in service to the one true God?
Here is what he wrote in his letter to the Ephesians. I quote 4:17:
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 sterile ways of thinking.
[Ephesians 4:17 Complete Jewish Bible]
Brother Bob: Dear friends, the instruction is clear. Do not live in the ways of paganism. If these practices of Easter—being it with the rabbit, and the egg, and the Palm Sunday palms, and the various other elements and such holidays as Easter have their roots in paganism—God prohibits his people from participating.
Response of someone: “Hey, it’s no big deal. We’re just going along with the tradition for fun. We’re not connecting ourselves to its roots in paganism. We just want do it because it’s fun for the children,” they would say. Or “It’s just something that’s part of our lifestyle of today in service to the Lord.” If we will violate these principals of God and then try to call it a worship to Him, will He find it acceptable?
God’s answer was written in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Here in chapter 2 in verse 22 as well as 23. He writes:
These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
[Colossians 2:22-23 New International Version]
Brother Bob: If we would put into practice that Lenten season, whether it’s to be fasting and self-abasement, allegedly, in service to the Lord in attempt to prepare for Easter, the Lord calls such regulations that are imposed by human traditions in such things is that, He said they will have no value. They teach that it will restrain a person from sin and it will give glory to God. It will cleanse them from their human iniquities. The Bible is clear. It has no value in such ways.
Well, dear friends, members of the Church Of Christ, therefore, do not participate in the practices of the Easter and Lenten season. Instead, we give thanks to the Father for sending His Son to redeem us through his shed blood on the cross and we will worship Him with all our heart and soul in compliance with the laws and ways of worship given in the Holy Bible. That’s all we have time for today. Dear friends, what you have heard is just an introduction to the teachings of the Bible taught in the Church Of Christ.
We invite you to learn more and join with us. And if you have questions you’d like answered on this show, email them to us and we’ll use the guidance of the Holy Scriptures to help you find your answer, the truth that’s in the Bible. Thanks for watching. I’m Brother Bob Pellien and we’ll see you again next time.