The only verse in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible that mentions the word “Easter” is in Acts 12:4. But it is a flagrant mistranslation of the original Greek word pascha, meaning Passover. Almost all other translations correctly render pascha as Passover in this instance. In every other place in the New Testament where this word is used, it is always translated “Passover”(Matthew 26:2, 17-19; Mark 14:12; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Thus, we have no biblical record of Christ’s apostles or the New Testament Church ever observing Easter.
Secular writings bear out this fact. One example is the Encyclopedia Britannica: “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. … The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals [actually, God’s festivals—Leviticus 23:1-2], though in a new spirit, as commemoration of events which those festivals had foreshadowed” (11th edition, “Easter”).
Luke 22:8, 13-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 show us that Christ clearly instructed His apostles to observe the date of His death, not His resurrection. The very evening before His crucifixion, Christ established the New Testament Passover for Christians by introducing the symbols of unleavened bread and wine in place of the slaying of a lamb. 1 Corinthians 11:25 says, “This do … in remembrance of me.”
Another elementary reason why the early Church did not celebrate “Easter Sunday” is found in the fact that Christ was not resurrected on a Sunday morning. Jesus said in Matthew 12:39-40 and Mark 8:31 that the only sign of His messiahship would be the length of time He would be buried. In Matthew 28:6, the angel answered, “He is not here: for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Christ said that He fulfilled this three-day, three-night sign. Mr. Armstrong’s booklet The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday soundly proves that Christ died on Wednesday and rose late Saturday afternoon.
Easter, an English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian goddess “Ishtar,” was observed nearly 2,000 years before Christ, according to the New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. The traditions associated with Easter such as colored eggs, hot-cross buns, the Easter bunny and attending sunrise services are pre-Christian and pagan in origin!
As a matter of fact, the Prophet Ezekiel made reference to such a practice occurring during his time—more than 500 years before the birth of Jesus (Ezekiel 8:16). Verses 15, 17 and 18 emphatically explain that God does not approve of this ancient heathen custom of gathering at sunrise and worshiping the rising sun. Judah had “borrowed” some of the heathen customs in spite of God’s strict command not to follow pagan practices in worshiping Him.
Mr. Armstrong’s booklet The Plain Truth About Easter (now out of print) will further explain this subject if you are able to obtain a copy of it. God’s true Church must never compromise with the “faith once delivered” by adopting such worldly traditions. If it does, then it can no longer call itself God’s one and only true Church!