The Church of the Twenty-First Century carries a lot of baggage in the form of traditions. The First-Century Church did not have Church buildings, they met in the home of Believers. The First-Century Church did not have professional preachers, pastors or priests. The leaders were simply Believers. These traditions are not necessarily negative, but we do them because this is what we have received from our past.
However, there is a tradition the Church received in the Fourth Century. In that century the Church was forcibly merged with Roman paganism. One of the results of this merger was the Christianization of formerly pagan rituals. One of the pagan rituals was the celebration of Spring and new life. Some of the symbols of this new life were and are eggs, chicks and the notoriously fertile rabbits. The god ruling over this ritual was the fertility goddess, known variously as Ishtar or Astarte. The name of this goddess is the basis for the name “Easter.”
So today, out of this forced merger, we have all the traditional symbols of this pagan ritual; Easter eggs, chicks and the Easter Bunny. Pagans actually make fun of Christians for using their symbols and naively perpetuating the remembrance of their pagan goddess. Perhaps the true meaning of this ritual would be more obvious if we spoke of Ishtar eggs instead of Easter eggs.
Satan, the great counterfeiter, must rub his hands with glee as the Church uses natural symbols of springtime and unknowingly celebrates a pagan ritual on the most special day of the year for Christians, the day commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. It is a time of celebration and of new life only because of Jesus. But, now that you know the truth, please do not call it “Easter” Sunday, and may there be no Ishtar eggs in or around the Church. Please call this Resurrection Sunday in honor of our Lord.
This may seem more strident than my usual lessons, but the Church cannot continue to honor a pagan goddess and provoke the Lord to anger. “They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.” (Deuteronomy 32:16 - New King James Version). We must get back on track and focus on worshiping Jesus and saving souls through the spreading of the Gospel. Time is short.
Praise the Lord for Jesus and the wonderful hope we Christians have because of Him.
Here are other quotes from Scripture showing what the Lord, the Holy Creator, thinks of having anything to do with other gods and perpetuating pagan traditions that have nothing to do with the saving of souls.
You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me. (Deuteronomy 5:7 - New International Version)
Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did. (II Kings 17:41 - New International Version)
. . . but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. (Psalm 106:35-36 - New International Version)
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (Satan)? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (II Corinthians 6:14-17)