Because He is risen, I don’t keep Easter

None for me, thanks. (Image via Wikipedia)

The title may sound strange to some, and, while it is not intended to be, the following content may be offensive. But I hope it is at least clear, and I will try to make it brief (which, for me, is quite a challenge).

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.  Then I believe He was resurrected by His Father, restored to the glory He had with Him 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.  And 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.

This probably seems contradictory, given that Easter is ostensibly about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, any unbiased look through the history of the day, accentuated by its current customs, demonstrates that it is a custom of pagan origin, introduced into “Christian” worship long ago as more and more began failing to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3).

From the Bible’s perspective, the facts are simple.  Jesus Christ condemned violating God’s laws and commandments in favor of our traditions, regardless of how “religious” those traditions might be (e.g., Mark 7:6-9).  God clearly does not want us to adopt pagan customs to worship Him (e.g., Deut. 12:29-31, Jer. 10:1-2).  Consequently, as a follower of Jesus Christ and a believer in the power and truth of His resurrection, I cannot observe Easter.

We have a recent commentary on this subject that some might appreciate: “Easter Bunny or Eostre Hare” by Roger Meyer.  Also, I express essentially the same principle concerning observing Christmas in several past posts (the most recent were, I think, “Christmas and God’s Opinion” and “Why I don’t keep Christmas, stated briefly”).

There is certainly much more that could be said.  We could speak of ancient Polycarp and Anicetus, of Polycrates and Victor, and of how the churches of the East strove to maintain the Christian keeping of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and the teachings of the apostles (as Polycrates wrote, concerning the apostles Philip and John and others who “always observed the day when the people put away the leaven”) versus the corruption of Rome and those who wished to introduce blends of Christian doctrine with heathen practice.  The history of it all is fascinating reading, to be sure.

But history isn’t Scripture.  And it is the Bible and the word of Jesus Christ that compels me not to keep Easter.  My human mind comes up with lots of reasons to ignore the scriptures and to discount the scriptures (Jeremiah 17:9 has a lot to say about that), but every argument I have ever heard–whether from others or my own imagination–is always rooted fundamentally in human reasoning that, ultimately, contradicts God’s Word. And I am told 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 Cor. 10:4-5).  I cannot honor Christ by disobeying Him.

So, it may seem contradictory given popular “Christian” culture and practices, but I see no alternative.  I do passionately believe in the risen Christ.  Therefore, I cannot keep Easter.

12 thoughts on “Because He is risen, I don’t keep Easter

  1. Linda Patterson

    Very good Mr. Smith. I agree with you, because He is risen I don’t believe in Easter either.

  2. Robert McMinn

    Paul appealed to people’s rationality when he asked, “Doth not even NATURE itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him” (1 Corinthians 11:14)? Likewise, doesn’t even nature teach you that rabbits don’t lay eggs?

    It is baffling why anyone would honor such ridiculous and un-natural observances, particularly those who call themselves Christians.

  3. Steven

    The article by Mr. Smith is excellent and to the point. It ANGERS me to no end when I see and hear “so-called” Christians observe Easter. The whole issue reminds me of what Mr. Richard Ames once stated in a Tomorrow’s World telecast “You can’t be a Christian pagan”. You are either one or the other.

    Our goal as Christians should be to constantly strive to be more like God. Jesus has shown us the example, now it is up to us to do our best to try and come as close as humanly possible to achieving that standard. We have all sinned and thus, need the blood of Christ (who is the one who cleanses us from sin) in order to be accepted into His Kingdom. The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread clearly show that these TRUE feasts of God are for that purpose.

    God bless!

  4. Greetings, Steven, and thanks for the comment and the very kind words. At the same time, I don’t know that I would get angry. They don’t know what they don’t know. Christ, Himself, moderates such feelings when statements such as Luke 12:47-48 are taken into account, not to mention the first part of 1 Cor. 6:11.

    Angry that the devil has confused Christianity over 2000 years such that pagan institutions would be confused for Godly ones? I can understand that, but only if one is motivated by that anger to seek out the true Church and join in the celebration of the true Holy Days. (They are holy convocations (Lev. 23:2, 4), thus obeying God in keeping them requires assembling with His people at those times when humanly possible.) And only if that anger motivates one to support Christ’s efforts to preach His gospel in the world. But angry at the people who practice it in ignorance? I hope not.

    Thanks, again!

  5. So why not keep a “Wavesheaf” service during the Days of Unleavened Bread, which Leviticus 23:9-14 calls a “lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live”? (NIV)

  6. Good question, Richard. God does not command an assembly on that day, and we will not add to His commands (Deut. 12:32). As for the Levitical service concerning the wavesheaf, I expect that it or something like it will be instituted when the Levites are recomissioned for service in the Millennium as described in beautiful detail by Ezekiel (as, apparently, many of the “lasting” Levitical ordinances that passed temporarily with the passing of their priesthood will return with their restoration). As we look forward to the throne of David being given forever to Jesus Christ, we should look forward, as well, to the reestablishment of the Levitical service and the purposes for which God will use it.

  7. To add to Mr. Smith’s comment, we aren’t authorized to offer the Wave Sheaf – that was for the Aaronic priests to do. And that means we have no power to determine when the fruit of the new harvest could be eaten, either. We can say what the Law would ordain for the situation, but outside the context of the physical sanctuary and of civil and religious government over the nation, we have no way of actually carrying out the Law.

    All the same, for many years I’ve always heard the ordinance discussed at that time of year and by all means we should do that.

  8. Thanks, Mr. Wheeler. I agree: it is in the Church that I first learned of Christ’s fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering. One of my sermonette fellows gave a great message on the topic and had discussed it with me, beforehand — definitely meat in due season.

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