Easter is a day that is honored by nearly all of contemporary Christianity and is used to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The holiday often involves a church service at sunrise, a feast which usually includes an "Easter Ham", decorated eggs, bunnies and copious amounts of candy.
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday.
The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is one of the foundational tenets of the Christian faith.
That being so, why then do we include bunnies and eggs in the Easter celebration, what’s the connection?
History of Easter and Integration into Christianity
Contrary to popular belief, the history of Easter does not represent the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In reality, it reflects the annual crossing of the sun through the vernal equinox (known as spring), at which time the sun is "resurrected," as the day begins to become longer than the night.
Easter celebrations date back into history much farther than the life, death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter dates back into remote antiquity and is found around the world, as the blossoming of spring did not escape the notice of the ancients, who revered this life-renewing time of the year, when winter had passed and the sun was "born again."
In Anglo-Saxon history, Easter (or Eostre) is the goddess of the dawn, corresponding to Ishtar, Astarte, Astoreth and Isis. The word "Easter" shares the same root with "east" and "eastern," which is the direction of the rising sun. Make no mistake about it, Easter is a pagan festival.
How did Easter morph into a Christian holiday
Jesus rising from the dead?
A simple study of history concerning conquering nations will reveal that it was common practice to absorb the culture of their conquests. Others times the ones conquered accepted the customs and religion of their conquerors. Either way, a blending of cultures would occur. The tactics of the Roman Catholic Church followed suit in that the church absorbed the customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and nation they conquered in their efforts to increase the number of people under their control.
Early Christianity under went a gradual and pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan religious practices and traditions such as Easter and Christmas as a matter of self preservation.
Examples of Resurrection Lore among Pagan Religions
The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth thus overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world among myth and legend. There are plenty of parallel resurrection stories among various pagan religions throughout history.
- The Sumerian goddess Inanna was hung naked on a stake, and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the underworld.
- One of the oldest resurrection myths is Egyptian Horus. Born on 25 December, Horus and his damaged eye became symbols of life and rebirth.
- Mithras was born on what we now call Christmas day, and his followers celebrated the spring equinox. As late as the 4th century AD, the sol invictus, associated with Mithras, was the last great pagan cult the church had to overcome.
- Dionysus was a divine child, resurrected by his grandmother. Dionysus also brought his mother, Semele, back to life.
The Origin of Easter
In Genesis 10:8-10 the Bible tells of a man called Nimrod, who lived approximately 4,800 years ago. "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."
Nimrod was the grandson of one of Noah's sons named Ham. Ham had a son named Cush who married a woman named Semiramis. Cush and Semiramis then had a son named him Nimrod. From here on, written history is spotted at best and unreliable. What is real, has been mixed with legend and embellished upon by myth. This tale has congealed throughout various cultures over the millennia. While accuracy may be lost to history, legend and myth grew and permeated cultures forming the basis of modern traditions we hold today.
According to legend and myth, after the death of his father,
Nimrod married his own mother and became a powerful King.
Nimrod became a god-man to the people and Semiramis his wife became the powerful Queen of ancient Babylon. Nimrod was eventually killed by an enemy. Semiramis was a liar and a con artist hell bent on total royal/political nomination. To remain in royal power and authority she told the people of Babylon that Nimrod had ascended to the sun and was now to be called "Baal", the sun god.
Queen Semiramis also proclaimed that Baal would be present on earth in the form of a flame, whether candle or lamp, when used in worship.
Semiramis was creating a mystery religion, and with the help of Satan, she set herself up as a goddess.
Semiramis then claimed that she herself was immaculately conceived. She taught that the moon was a goddess that went through a 28 day cycle and ovulated when full. She further claimed that she came down from the moon in a giant moon egg that fell into the Euphrates River. This was to have happened at the time of the first full moon after the spring equinox.
Semiramis became known in another language as "Ishtar" which is pronounced "Easter", and her moon egg became known as "Ishtar's egg." Ishtar soon became pregnant and claimed that it was the rays of the sun-god Baal that caused her to conceive.
The illegitimate son that she brought forth was named Tammuz. Since the child could not have been physically conceived by her dead son/husband, to avoid scandal, she claimed Tammuz was born of Nimrod through a supernatural conception and that the baby was Nimrod himself reborn.
Tammuz was believed to be BOTH the son of the sun-god, Baal and Baal himself.
Semiramis reigned as sovereign over the land until Tammuz came of age to rule. The she married her son (again, like she married Nimrod) in order to remain in power as Queen. Tammuz, like his supposed father, became a hunter.
One day, when he was 40 years old, Tammuz was hunting wild boar and was accidentally killed by one. Queen Ishtar told the people that Tammuz was now ascended as Baal, and that he would be with the worshippers in the sacred candle or lamp flame as Father, Son and Spirit. Tammuz was noted to be especially fond of rabbits for their fertility, and so they also became sacred in this ancient religion.
Ishtar, who was now worshipped as the "Mother of God and Queen of Heaven", continued to build her mystery religion.
The queen told the worshippers that when Tammuz was killed by the wild pig, some of his blood fell on the stump of an evergreen tree, and the stump grew into a full new tree overnight. This made the evergreen tree sacred by the blood of Tammuz. As a side note, this is the origin of why we decorate pine trees at Christmas. In the old days they used real candles, the flame signifying the presence of their god, now we use colored lights.
She also proclaimed a forty day period of time of sorrow each year for the anniversary of his death; one day for each year Tammuz lived. During this time, no meat was to be eaten. They ate sacred cakes with the marking of a "T" or cross on the top. Worshippers were to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of Baal and Tammuz, and to make the sign of the "T" in front of their hearts as they worshipped.
Semiramis also led the people to practice child sacrifice to Baal by slaying 3 month old babies on the alter of Baal then burning them. Since she perpetuated the lie that she herself was a goddess born of a celestial egg, she encouraged the people to dip eggs in the blood of the slain babies to honor herself as the "Queen Mother of God" and to symbolize the rebirth of Nimrod (AKA Baal) into Tammuz.
Ishtar's (Easter) Sunday Worship of the Sun God Baal
Whether real or legend and myth, it certainly grew into a powerful religion. Every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, a celebration was made. It was Ishtar's Sunday and was celebrated with rabbits representing fertility and colored eggs representing rebirth. Since Tammuz was killed by a pig, then a pig was killed in effigy and eaten on that Sun-day.
Therefore "Ishtar", which is pronounced "Easter" was a day that commemorated the resurrection and subsequent ascension of an ancient pagan god named "Tammuz", who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess and the sun-god Baal.
The Truth about Easter
The truth is that Easter has nothing whatsoever to do with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some have wondered why the word "Easter" is in the King James Bible. It is because Acts, chapter 12, tells us that it was the evil King Herod, who was planning to celebrate Easter, and not the Christians. The true Passover and pagan Easter sometimes coincide, but in some years, they are a great distance apart.
So much more could be said on this subject but this brief article is not meant to be an exhaustive study. Hopefully this information has shed a light on the pagan roots of the holiday we celebrate as Easter.
We know that the Bible tells us in John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
The truth is that honoring rabbits, eggs and eating ham (unclean to the Jews BTW) have everything to do with the ancient pagan religion of Babylon.
The devil is a master deceiver and has found ways to fill the lives of well-meaning Christians with idolatry by making pagan customs of Baal worship integral to Christian holidays, both Easter and Christmas.
Instead of celebrating the REAL son of the TRUE living God in heaven we are honoring the memory of an ancient dead pagan god.
The customs of Easter honor Baal, a pagan god. These rituals are still practiced and worshipped as the "Rising Sun"; Baal’s house is the "House of the Rising Sun."
- How many churches have "sunrise services" on Ishtar's day and face the rising sun in the East?
- How many will use colored eggs brought by Ishtar's (Easter) bunny, as they did in ancient Babylon?
I realize this information is likely new to you, the reader, and when you celebrate Christian holidays you are celebrating with good intentions having Jesus and God in your heart. But please be aware of the origin of and the original heart behind the traditions that we keep during the celebration of our holidays.
Instead of celebrating “Easter” maybe we should call it what it really is to us in our hearts, “Resurrection Sunday”, as we celebrate our risen Lord Christ Jesus. If you are so inclined, enjoy your ham, eggs and chocolate candy; but enjoy it with thanks in your heart to God, our father in heaven. Enjoy the holiday and your time fellowshipping with family and loved ones. Do it with thanksgiving for all the good that God has done for you through your risen Lord and savior, the Lord Christ Jesus. Amen!
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About Daniel Sweet, Minister of Christ:
Daniel Sweet is an ordained minister of Jesus Christ, a world renowned author on the subject of Leadership and very well versed in bible history. He is an avid dirt biking enthusiast who makes the bible easy for everyone to understand by using humor and fun personal stories from his own life experiences. Daniel enjoys sharing with others how to gain strength through the knowledge and truth of God’s Word