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.

Christians Shouldn’t Keep Easter

I know… The title scarcely makes sense, right?  Christians shouldn’t observe the day that is supposed to celebrate the definitive event in their religion?

But it’s true.  If one wishes to follow and obey Jesus Christ — He who was resurrected almost 2,000 years ago — then he or she will stay far away from Easter.

The fact is that, like Christmas, Easter celebrations have come to mainstream Christian faith from paganism.  For those with eyes to see, much of this should be obvious: such as the eggs and the bunnies — ancient pagan symbols of fertility.  For those willing to do a little more digging, the less obvious connections to a pre-Christian past begin to emerge.  Finally, for those brave enough to seek out the whole truth, a question eventually comes to mind: Is any aspect of Easter actually, truly, and purely Christian?  The facts are there for anyone to see. Anyone, that is, who is willing to see — those whose eyes are not governed not by self-will or by rationalizations, but by the mind of Christ.

And all of this is in violation of the Bible’s clear instructions.  The God of the Bible commands us to “learn not the way of the heathen” in Jeremiah 10:2 (KJV).  In Deuteronomy 12:29-32, He commands that we should not worship Him using pagan customs and traditions.  Far from giving us “free reign” to worship Him as we see fit, He commands that we worship Him as He sees fit.  (If we disagree, we can stop by Leviticus 10:1-3 to see if Nadab and Abihu have anything to say on the matter.)

Of course, once Jesus came all this changed, right?  After all, he’s the God of Relaxed Standards, no?  He just lets us “baptize” any ol’ custom we like, right?

Nope.  In fact, Jesus had harsh words for those who violate God’s commands in order to keep their traditions (Mark 7:6-9).

Not that there are not real, Biblical celebrations and observances during this time of year.  In fact, in just a few weeks Christians all over the world will be gathered together to celebrate one of them: the Passover.  Then, after that they will celebrate the Days of Unleavened Bread.  And when they do, they will be following in the footsteps of their Lord and of the chuurch of the first century (e.g., Acts 20:6, 1 Cor. 5:8).

If you’ve ever wondered what all the trappings that surround Easter have to do with Christianity, you’re on to something.  If the explanations about the “Christian” symbolism supposedly behind all the eggs and the bunnies have always seemed a little forced to you, you’re on the right track.  But whether you’re willing to go any further than that — that’s what makes the difference.  (Think of it as choosing between the red pill and the blue pill.)

If you are interested in going further, we have some resources that may help.

Concerning the holy days of the Bible, you might consider reading our free booklet, The Holy Days–God’s Master Plan.

We also have numerous articles from our free magazine, Tomorrow’s World, as well as resources on our website.  Here are a few:

Also, here are two of our television broadcasts which relate to the subject:

While on the cross, Jesus Christ’s last words were a quote from Psalm 31:5 — a verse which describes our God as the “God of truth.”  May that same God help you to seek for the truth.