Intending After Easter

The celebration of Easter is "a Christian festival marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Encarta Dictionary). Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox (with the exception of the Eastern Orthodox Church which uses a different time table for calculating the date). For most people Easter is a Biblical observance in accordance with Luke's account in Acts 12:4 which reads, "And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternion of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." Herod had "killed James the brother of John with the sword" and arrested Peter to meet the same fate. Luke writes of Peter's deliverance from prison by the angel of God and Herod's violent death (Acts 12:5-24).

If you tell a lie long enough people will believe it to be a truth. Remarkable as it may seem with many people, Easter is not in the Bible. It is found in the King James Version of the book of Acts but true Bible students understand the gross misrepresentation of the text by the King James translators. Albert Barnes writes, "There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover. The word 'Easter' now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Savior. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles."

Paul warned the church at Colosse of those who would establish "festivals" and "not holding fast to the Head" (Colossians 2:16-19). With the exception of Christmas, celebrating Easter is one of the most important religious holidays enjoyed by the Christian religious world. Neither Christmas nor Easter were celebrated by the New Testament disciples, ordained by the apostles, suggested by Christ, instituted by the Holy Spirit and yet many professing Christ pretend these celebrations are Biblical. It is only a pretense without Biblical authority.

The result of attitudes that embrace Christmas and Easter is a view toward what is written in the Bible and what is not written in the Bible. The Lord told the people of Israel not to add too nor take away from His law (Deuteronomy 4:2). John affirmed in the Revelation that man should not add or take away anything from that message (Revelation 22:18-19). Yet every year thousands of people add Easter to the Bible and celebrate it as if the Lord instituted it. Is it wrong to celebrate Easter as a religious holiday inspired by God? No more than adding anything else one desires to the Bible.

Jesus did institute one celebration that most of the religious world fails to observe in accordance with divine scripture. "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:26-29). The New Testament disciples celebrated the resurrection every first day of the week.

By Kent Heaton

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