While the world is engaged in Easter celebrations around this time, members of the Church of God are not. WHY? Why would anyone claiming to be Christian not celebrate the most important festival of the “Christian” world, purportedly memorializing the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ? Simply put, because Easter is neither Christian, nor does it memorialize the death and resurrection of our Savior.
Christ was neither crucified on a Friday, nor was He resurrected on a Sunday. If He had been, He would not be our Savior, as He would not have fulfilled the only sign that He gave for His Messiahship — that is, to be dead and buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40). The period from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning does simply NOT constitute 72 hours. The Bible and historical records prove, instead, that Christ was crucified and buried late on Wednesday and that He was resurrected late on Saturday, just before sunset.
What about Easter and its customs? Where did they come from?
“Easter” is the name of the pagan goddess of spring who was worshipped under the names “Eastre” or “Eostre,” “Astarte,” “Ostara,” “Ishtar” and “Istar.” It is from these names that our modern word “Easter” is derived. Especially the name “Ishtar” is associated with the Babylonian “Queen of Heaven.” The egg-laying Easter hare or Easter rabbit and colored Easter eggs were associated, as symbols of fertility, with Eastre, the pagan goddess of spring. Any good encyclopedia will prove the accuracy of these statements.
In addition, the pagans also celebrated at Easter time the passion and resurrection of pagan gods who died on a Friday and came to life again on the following Sunday. Some of these gods are known as Marduk, Attis and Mythra. Again, many history books prove this fact beyond doubt. For example, Arthur Weigall writes in “The Paganism in our Christianity”: “The clergy… could not prevent the people in various countries celebrating the great holiday at Easter in honor of the resurrection of Attis and other gods.” “The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” has this to say about “Attis”: “Attis’ passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the festival of his birth, the 25th of December… The day of Attis’ death was black Friday… The god died and was buried. He descended into the underworld. On the third day [a Sunday] he rose again from the dead.”
Have you ever wondered why it is commonly believed — contrary to the Bible — that Christ died on Friday and rose on Sunday? Here you have the answer. It’s derived from the worship of the pagan god Attis.
The early Church did not keep Easter. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, Vol. 8, p. 828 confirms that “there is no indication of the observance of the Easter Festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic fathers.” Arthur Weigal and other historians confirm that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals such as Easter “to Christian ideas,” rather than suppressing them. Calvin, for example, considered the annual church festival of Easter so paganized that at one point, he did not observe it, either.
Many Scriptures command us not to worship God in the way of the pagans. The Bible also specifically condemns the worship of the “queen of heaven” in Jeremiah 7:18 and other places. The Ryrie Study Bible identifies the queen of heaven with the “Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar” — in other words, with Easter.
Jeremiah 10:2 tells us: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.” Lamsa states in an annotation that the word “way” describes “religion.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32 commands us not to “inquire after their [that is, pagan] gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way.” The Ryrie Study Bible comments: “The Israelites were not even to inquire about the worship of the Canaanites, lest they be tempted to incorporate aspects of it into their worship of God.”
Who can doubt that modern Christianity has done exactly what God forbids — they have incorporated quite a few pagan aspects into the worship of God, including Easter and its customs and rites. But God says, “You shall NOT worship the LORD your God in that way!”
This is why members of the Church of God do not participate in Easter celebrations. The question is always the same: Whom are we going to obey — GOD or the customs and traditions of man?