Easter

All Scriptural references are from KJV unless otherwise stated

I see that the shops have begun to fill up with the annual display of Easter eggs and fluffy yellow chickens (evolution – which came first?), Easter bunny’s (rabbits?) and all the other paraphernalia that announces that the Christian observance of Easter is soon to be upon us.

Is there a Biblical foundation for celebrating this annual event in the Christian calendar, or is it a man-made tradition? Well, let us have a look.

I have tried as far as possible to base statements made on what the Bible actually says, and not on what many people have been taught to believe.

Man-made traditions

 Just a few of the many examples of what the Bible reveals us about man-made traditions?

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD (Yĕhovah), Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

 Matt. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

 Mark. 7:6  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Jeremiah also mentions that the man-made Christmas tree tradition was very much in evidence centuries before Christ was born in the flesh – Jeremiah 10:3 – 5

Easter or Passover?

 What does the Bible say about observing Easter? – NOTHING – The word does not exist in the Bible. It is used once in the English version of the authorized version of KJV (Acts 12:4) but it is an incorrect translation of the Greek word ” PASCHA” (Strong’s G3957) meaning the paschal feast, the feast of the PASSOVER. The same word pascha is used in all other references to Passover in the NT. Why the word Easter was used in this instance (Peter’s imprisonment) can be left open to speculation.

Passover was observed by Jesus Christ, and the apostles continued to observe it after His death and resurrection. The early Christian Church also continued to observe Passover.

The majority of (but not all) Christian churches do not observe Passover today. They have instead substituted a man-made tradition called Easter.

So what is wrong with observing Easter, and calling this celebration by another name?  Does it matter what exact day of the year we observe the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus?

Death and Resurrection

Matt. 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here.

NOTE: The word WHALE in verse 40 above is translated from the Greek word kētos, which is probably from the root word chasmameaning – a gaping opening, a chasm, a gulf.

The word BELLY in same verse is translated from the Greek word koilia, from koilos (“hollow”), cavity. Also can meanfiguratively, the heart: – belly, stomach, womb.

The Book of Jonah does not mention a whale, using the word fish (Jonah1:17-KJV).

Something to consider perhaps?

 Day and Night

Jesus made it very clear that He would die and stand up again AFTER 3 DAYS – That is 3 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS.

Now this matter of the 3 days and 3 nights has been a contentious topic among commentators. Mathew makes it clear that it was 3 days and 3 nights whereas Mark’s statement leaves some doubt when it states 3 days – does it mean 3 whole days (including night) or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.

Some commentators claim that Eastern usage of this term at that time would appear to differ from our western usage. Any part of a day is counted as a whole day, hence the expression “three days and three nights” may not necessarily mean literally three whole days, but at least one whole day plus part of two other days.

Well, let us delve further into this problem.

According to the Easter man-made tradition Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon and resurrected on Sunday morning – That is not 3 complete days and 3 nights.

The scribes and Pharisees wanted proof of Christ’s claim to be the Messiah – Just as human nature – of itself – always wants physical proof of everything. Faith is held in low esteem by the deceptions imposed on mortal man.

Therefore, it could be said that those who accept Easter as one of God’s annual Holy festivals are denying (through error) the only sign that Jesus gave regarding His claim to be the Messiah in Mathew.12?

Let us therefore try and prove, through the Word of God, the time scale of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Was Jesus Christ crucified on a Friday?

The main reason that most people believe that Christ was crucified on a Friday is that he was crucified on the day before a Sabbath. It is therefore assumed, by many, that the Bible is referring to the weekly Sabbath – sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Although the Saturday weekly Sabbath(sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) is accepted in this instance, most Christians today only accept Sunday as the weekly Sabbath – even though it has no Biblical authority!! Should a true follower of Jesus Christ (Christian) alter the ordained Holy Sabbath days. It would appear that it is clearly acceptable for the majority of Christians to substitute man-made days instead?

Mark 14:1, tells us the time of year when plans were being made by the chief priests and scribes as to how to bring about the death of Christ – After two days was [the feast of] the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put [him] to death.

The Spring Holy Days were about to commence. A full list of God’s Annual Holy Days is given in Leviticus 23.Jesus Christ did not change or alter these God given days, and observed them Himself during His earthly ministry.

Example: Mark 14:12  And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?

God’s Spring Holy Days – Passover – 14 Nisan – In 2018 will be March 30 (observed the previous evening after sunset – Mark 14: 16,17)

Days of Unleavened Bread – 15 to 21 Nisan – In 2018 will be March 31 to April 6.

Jesus partook of His final Passover meal (Commonly referred to as Last Supper) during the previous evening after sunset – according to our calendar. Note: God’s day begins at sundown and is completed at sundown on the next day according to our calendar.

Mankind has changed times and laws to suit himself!

Dan. 7:25 And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The Passover is NOT an annual Holy day or Sabbath – but it is a feast day.

However, the next day – 15 Nissan was, and is, a Holy Day – a Holy Convocation is to be held.

Many people believe that these are Jewish observances, but they were commanded to be kept by ALL the children of Israel – not only Judah. – Exodus 12:42 It [is] a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this [is] that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

Jesus and the disciples ate the Passover meal and afterward, during the same evening, went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. That same night Jesus was arrested and taken before the chief priests. – Mathew 26:57

The next morning the Sanhedrin decided to send Jesus to Pilate. – Mathew 27:2

The Crucifixion

As is generally known, Pilate passed sentence on Jesus and He was taken away to be beaten and scourged before being led to the place of crucifixion.

Mark 15:24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

Mathew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Time, as measured in those days, was after the Roman method and was associated with military watches and the rising and setting of the sun

Hour – Strong’s 5610 hora {ho’-rah} a twelfth part of the day-time, an hour, (the twelve hours of the day are reckoned from the rising to the setting of the sun)

The third hour would therefore be early morning

Mark 15: 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

The ninth hour would be middle to late afternoon.

Days of Unleavened Bread

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day [there shall be] an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save [that] which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

The first day of Unleavened Bread shall be a HOLY CONVOCATION – One of God’s Annual Sabbath Days.

The day after Passover is a Holy Sabbath Day – It was therefore necessary for any crucifixion victims to have been removed from the cross before this annual Sabbath.

This day began at sundown on the day following Passover.

Luke 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.

Joseph of Arimathaea was given Christ’s body and He was interred on the preparation day for the Sabbath. The Sabbath referred to here was the first day of UNLEAVENED BREAD – NOT THE WEEKLY SABBATH – as many sincerely believe.

Find that difficult to believe? – Let us see if we can prove it? – Through the Word of Scripture, and not my words.

Sabbath Day – Which One?

Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

The day after the Sabbath the three women had purchased herbs to embalm Jesus, as this could not be done on the Sabbath day.

We now come to the part that causes a problem for many, and is found in the Book of Luke

Luke 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

“Took it down” – the body of Jesus Christ

Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

We appear to have two contradictory statements from Mark and Luke.

Mark states that the ladies purchased spices AFTER the Sabbath had come to an end.

Luke tells us that they prepared the spices BEFORE the Sabbath and then rested until after it was past.

The Word of God is never incorrect – so what is the solution? Could there have been two Sabbaths during the same week?

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and [that] they might be taken away.

‘On the Sabbath day, for that Sabbath day was an high day’–or “great” day–the first day of Unleavened Bread. A most solemn season of the ecclesiastical year.

 Only annual Holy Days are referred to as High Days or Great Day – Not the weekly Sabbaths.

TIMELINE

Sundown – Passover (remember that Passover is not a Sabbath Day) Jesus partakes of Passover meal – arrested same evening. During the day (ninth hour) – Jesus dies and is removed to a sepulchre for burial before sundown.

Day 1. Sundown – First day of Unleavened Bread – Annual Sabbath Day – Holy convocation – Continues until sundown the following day according to our calendar.

Day 2. Sundown – Only the first and last days of Unleavened Bread are Holy days – work permitted on other days. The ladies purchase spices to embalm Christ’s physical body – Mark 16:1. They then prepare them before the beginning of the weekly Sabbath – Luke 23:56

Day 3. Sundown – The weekly Sabbath (Saturday) begins – A day of rest and a Holy convocation.

Sundown (Sunday)Early on Sunday morning, near sunrise, the ladies came to the tomb to find that Jesus had already risen from the dead.

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them…3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:… 6  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,7  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Note that these verses DO NOT say that Jesus had risen on Sunday morning(first day of week) – only that He HAD risen – it does not say when He had risen.

However, we do know that the only sign Jesus gave before His death was that He would die and rise again after 3 days and 3 nights.

Mark 16:9 is often quoted as proof that Jesus Christ arose on a Sunday – first day of the week according to Jewish calendar – Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

It would appear that the ancient Greeks did not have any equivalent to our modern method of punctuation. Sentence punctuation was invented several centuries after the time of Christ. The oldest copies of both the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament are written with no punctuation. They used no spaces between words or paragraphs. Texts were a continuous string of letters, with an occasional blank line inserted to mark the end of a major section, though even this was not always done. Texts were written in capitals – no lower case. There would therefore appear to be an element of subjectivity in the translationof ancient Greek to punctuated English!

If, perhaps, the punctuation in above verse (Mark 16:9) is incorrect, then by adding a comma after the word risen, and removing it from after the word week, Jesus would then have appeared to Mary early on the first day of the week. This would then agree with the translation according to Luke?

 Looking at the timeline it would appear that Jesus was resurrected on the weekly Sabbath day late in the afternoon – Saturday ;  He could not therefore have been crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday as many Christian churches teach (deceive) their members to believe.

2 Corinth. 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of the Messiah. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

The End (at last –sigh of relief perhaps?)

Now, if you are still with me, you may be of the opinion that celebrating Easter, instead of Passover (not an annual Sabbath) and Days of Unleavened Bread, makes no difference to a Christian believer – it is recognition of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and more importantly his resurrection that we need to concentrate on. Then be assured that it is not my mission to change anyone’s religious beliefs.

Math.24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Not the end of the world as a goodly number of misguided people would have one belief – but that is another Hi(s)tory.

The gospel is be preached as a WITNESS, so that all will know that the truth has been in the world, but the majority of the world saw it not – for a reason!

A study of the symbolism and meaning of the two above named God ordained festivals and Holy Days gives an insight into the framework of God’s Plan, or at least the first steps or phases of it. They also give an insight into the mysteries, as far as God has deigned to reveal them to those who are willing to ‘see’ and ‘hear’.

God’s Plan is also further revealed through an understanding of the other annual and weekly Sabbaths – both on a physical (material and visible) and spiritual (unseen) level.

Thanks for taking this journey, even though you may not be happy with the final destination?

P.S. It may be of interest to note that God’s year (Sacred Year) begins in the Spring, when light is once again bathing His creations and removing the darkness of Winter. The secular New Year (man-made) begins in darkest Winter when light is at a minimum. In 2018 the Sacred Year occurs on 17 March(1 Nisan)

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