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Lent, Ashes, Easter, Rabbits and Eggs — What's it all about?

Just WHAT is "Easter"? What does the NAME mean?
Have you ever WONDERED WHY you believe and practice certain customs?
You'll be surprised to find the PLAIN TRUTH about Easter!


Illistration by Bob McGuinness

AS CHILDREN, to most of us the word "Easter" always meant bright, colorful, egg-shaped jelly beans; grass nests, with cute little Walt Disney-type bunnies; and newsreels about the big parade on Fifth Avenue in New York.

The name didn't bother us, especially. It seemed to rhyme with "yeast," or perhaps have something to do with a direction, like "East." But EVERYONE seemed to figure it was mighty important to pay it some special attention, and, being normal people who were inclined to get starry-eyed over brightly lit candy counters and beribboned store windows, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.


But What Does It Have to Do With Christ?

Following the crowd is a tremendous pull on little children.

But Easter wasn't invented by children — and it's not child's play!

What about it? Did YOU ever wonder about some of the strange customs being observed by "Christian" societies today?

Just what do eggs have to do with Christ, and His resurrection? What DO rabbits and eggs have in common? Rabbits most assuredly do not lay eggs — even though millions of little children are taught to assume they do!

And why "hot cross buns"? Why not cold triangle ones, or just plain bread? And what was there about Wednesday that led to putting ashes on one's forehead, and what is really "good" about FRIDAY? And IF Friday was the day Christ was crucified, then WHY did He keep INSISTING (Matt. 12:40) He was going to be THREE complete days, and THREE complete nights in the tomb?

He couldn't have been — IF He was resurrected on Sunday morning, could He?


Pagan Festivities

You would be literally SHOCKED if you read the true HISTORY of the "hot cross bun," the Easter bunny, the eggs, the practice of bowing toward the East as the sun rises! You would be still MORE shocked if you knew of the purely PAGAN festivities, the heathen orgies, the licentious rioting associated with "Lent" in many countries RIGHT NOW, TODAY!

In Germany several years ago, the usual riotous "Mardi Gras" was taking place in Cologne. People were acting as if insane — drunken revelry was taking place — hideous masks, weird costumes, idiotic dancing and noise-making were everywhere.

We asked passersby what it all meant! One man said, vaguely, "Oh, it's for the CHILDREN!" Another said it had no "special" meaning. Only one man out of several seemed to know it was the pre-Lenten RIOTING that accompanied the days of "fasting" prior to EASTER!

After all — who needs an excuse, people reason, to attend a party?


It's Easter — But Why?

On one Sunday morning each spring, a strange and bewildering phenomenon takes place in cities, towns, and country sides around the world. Instead of sleeping late as usual, many thousands will get up early on this day — very early. They must be at their destination well before sunrise.

The occasion? A game of golf? A fishing trip? No, not on this particular morning.

Instead, they will meet with friends and, of all things, watch the sun rise! And as if this were not strange enough, this is all part of a religious service!

On this very same day, millions of others will be preparing to do something unusual, too. This is one of the two or three times during the year when they will darken the door of a church! Or perhaps it would be better to say decorate the door of a church, for they will have purchased fashionable new clothes especially for the occasion.

Some, because their forty days of partial abstinence called "Lent" are over, will once again freely indulge themselves. Others anticipate a family reunion, a big ham dinner or, perhaps, a fashion show or a parade.

And the children? They are absolutely delighted with the chocolate rabbits, the colored eggs, and the prospect of exciting egg-hunting and egg-rolling games on the lawn!

This is Easter — one of the big holidays of the Western year!

But what is its purpose? What is it supposed to commemorate? And why all these incongruous activities? Why watch the sun rise on this day? Why purchase new clothes for it? Why eat ham for dinner?

Why rabbits? Why not a puppy or a kitten? They can lay just as many eggs as a rabbit. But then, WHY eggs? Wouldn't oranges or onions roll just as well?

To a world steeped in tradition, these customs seem normal. But when you stop to think about it, what real sense do the activities of this day we call "Easter" make, anyway?

And why is Easter observed on a Sunday? Why not on a Tuesday, Thursday or Monday?

To this question many will immediately reply that Sunday was the day on which Christ rose from the dead and that His resurrection is the very reason for observing Easter.

But is it?

WAS Christ resurrected on a Sunday?

Are you sure? Have you ever proved it from the Bible?

And what has the Easter rabbit to do with Christ's resurrection?

Where did the "Good Friday — Easter Sunday" tradition come from? How did it find its way into the professing Christian Church? Why is it observed throughout the entire Western world today?


Where Easter Came From

Believe it or not, Easter was observed thousands of years before the time of Christ and the beginning of the Christian era!

"Easter" is merely the slightly changed English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian goddess, Ishtar. It was pronounced by the Assyrians exactly as we pronounce "Easter" today.

Hislop says in The Two Babylons that Easter "bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the 'queen of heaven,' whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country" (p. 103).

In the Bible, God condemns the worship of Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven," as the most abominable of all pagan idolatries. In connection with the Easter celebration, God specifically condemns sunrise services (Ezek. 8:13-18) and the making of "hot cross buns" (Jer. 7:18-20; 44:19).

How did this pagan celebration ever become one of the two most important holidays of the professing Christian Church?


Easter a Counterfeit of God's Passover

Now read the facts for yourself. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, article "Easter," says: "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 [the original TRUE Church of Jesus and the apostles) continued to observe the Jewish [that is God’s] festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it, of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first-fruits from the dead, continued to be observed."

Of course! The Passover and all of God's Holy Days were ordained by God to picture God's PLAN of salvation.

Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament Church — both Jewish- and Gentile-born Christians — kept these festivals. Read it for yourself in Acts 2:1; 18:21; 20:6 and 27:9. Then open your Bible to these instructions of Paul to the Gentiles in I Cor. 5:7-8; 11:2034 and 16:8.

These scriptures prove that the New Testament Church continued to observe the days God made holy, including the Passover, long after Christ had ascended into heaven.

Hislop states, "The festival, of which we read in church history, under the name of Easter, in the third and fourth centuries . . . at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called . . . Passover. . . . That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ was crucified. . . . That festival was not idolatrous, and was preceded by no Lent" (p. 104).

God's Passover pictured Christ's death.

Contrast this with Easter. It falsely claims to commemorate Christ's resurrection — not His death.

When did this clever counterfeit creep into the professing Christian Church?