Can we truly honor our Savior by rejecting His example and His teachings?
Should Christians egg on a pagan festival?
I believe in the risen Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of mankind. I believe that after His crucifixion on Passover, He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth—as He said He would be. I believe He was then resurrected by His Father, restored to the glory He had with His Father before the world was.
He was the perfect Passover Lamb. He also became the perfect wave-sheaf offering, accepted by His Father as the first of the firstfruits. In His resurrection, I see confirmation of the promise made to all those who truly follow Him that they, too, will one day be resurrected, to live forever as He now does.
Consequently, I do not keep Easter.
How can I make such a statement? It may not make sense to those who take Easter for granted as a celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection. However, any unbiased look at the history of the Easter holiday, and at the customs now surrounding it, will reveal plainly that the Easter observance is of pagan origin, introduced long ago into "Christian" worship as established Christians more and more began failing to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered" (Jude 3).
Most who call themselves "Christians" today are unaware of how "Christianity" has "evolved" over the years—even in the very first centuries of its existence. For instance, we could speak of ancient Polycarp and Anicetus, of Polycrates and Victor, and of how the churches of the East strove to maintain the apostles' practice of observing Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Polycrates wrote of the Apostles Philip and John and others who "always observed the day when the people put away the leaven," as opposed to the corruption of Rome and others who wished to blend Christian doctrine with heathen practice. The history of it all is fascinating reading, to be sure.
But history is not Scripture. And it is the Bible—and the word of Jesus Christ—that compels me not to keep Easter. My human mind can come up with lots of reasons to ignore the Bible and to discount its scriptures (Jeremiah 17:9 has a lot to say about that), but every argument I have ever heard, whether from others or from my own imagination, is always rooted fundamentally in faulty human reasoning that ultimately contradicts God's word. And Scripture reminds me that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). I cannot honor Christ by disobeying Him.
If you are interested in reviewing some of the pagan elements associated with the keeping of Easter, nearly any reputable encyclopedia will reveal a history behind the holiday that many will find shocking. Unlike the biblical Holy Days, Easter is plainly pagan in origin. Despite—or, actually, in a sense, because of—its pre-Christian roots and widespread popularity with non-Christians, it was seized upon as a Passover alternative by a great false church that considered itself qualified to overrule God's own biblical injunctions in order to gain new members.
From the Bible's perspective, the choice is simple. Jesus Christ told us never to violate God's laws and commandments in favor of human traditions, regardless of how sincere or "religious" those traditions might be (Mark 7:6–9). God clearly does not want us to adopt pagan customs to worship Him (Deuteronomy 12:29–31; Jeremiah 10:1–2).
So, it may seem contradictory given popular "Christian" culture and practices, but I see no alternative. I passionately believe in the risen Christ, and in the power and truth of His resurrection. And to believe in Christ as Lord is to believe in His teachings, to desire to follow Him, and to seek to obey Him. Therefore, I do not keep Easter. And neither will you, I hope.