Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Ishtar! No wait, I mean Happy Astarte, or is it Eostre or Ostera?

Sorry for the confusing title, but I just can't seem to get my pagan goddess names right.

Probably better that I use the English translation of those names and say "Happy Easter!"

Wooooaaaahhhhh! Did I just say that Easter is the English translation of a pagan goddess’s name?!

Yep, it’s true, so I can't really tell you “Happy Easter” in good conscience because in essence I would be saying, "Happy pagan fertility goddess day!"

That's because, "The word (Easter) comes from the name of a pagan goddess - the goddess of the rising light of day and spring. Easter is but a mere modern form of Eostre, Ostera, Astarte, or Ishtar..." (Babylon Mystery Religion, Ralph Woodrow, 135).

Therefore, proclaiming Happy Easter is the equivalent of a pagan blessing, which obviously goes against everything our God stands for.

As we continue to follow our theme begun with the blog "Taking Inspiration from Hosea,” I would like to address the Easter tradition as another “Christian” practice that does not line up with the Word of God. Just like Christmas, Easter finds much of its roots in paganism.

Before I begin I would first like to state that honoring: 1) the sacrifice that Christ made as our Passover Lamb by dying on the cross and 2) His amazing resurrection do not amount to idolatry in any way.

However, with this blog, and with the Lord's merciful help, I plan to uncover how that many of the "Easter" traditions that much of the Church honors are actually based on lies and paganism.

I certainly am not the first person to do so. I am basically regurgitating the readily available research you can find in most any library or encyclopedia. My hope is that this blog can help expand the audience of people who are exposed to the truth about Easter and encourage each reader to do their own research in order to come to their own corroborated conclusions.

To begin my attempt at exposing Easter I would first like to reveal that the day on which Easter is celebrated is based on an easily disproved falsehood. It is a deception that Jesus died on a Friday and was resurrected on a Sunday morning.

Some of you may be shocked to read that Jesus wasn't crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday, but if you'll bear with me this can be easily proven from the New Testament Gospel accounts.

Let us first establish that in God’s way of thinking a day actually begins at sundown, “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). The Jews, since the beginning of their relationship with God through the time of Jesus to this very day, honor Sabbaths beginning at sundown and ending at sundown the following day.

Next, we must scripturally establish that two Sabbaths occurred between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection: 1) the annual Passover Sabbath and then 2) the regular weekly Sabbath.

The Passover Sabbath began at sundown at the conclusion of the daylight hours in which Jesus was crucified,

“And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour…then delivered he (Pilate) him (Jesus) therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away...” (John 19:14…16).

So we see that on the day the Jews prepared for the Passover, a celebration which would begin that same evening at sundown, they crucified Jesus.

Then, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away" (John 19:31).

The mention of the Sabbath being a high day is referring to the fact that it was the Passover Feast Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath. As sundown was quickly approaching and therefore the Passover Sabbath, the Jews wanted Jesus and the two thieves off the crosses before the actual Passover Sabbath began.

So Joseph of Arimathaea came to help, putting Jesus’ body in his own new tomb. Then the whole nation rested and celebrated the Passover (John 19:38).

Further inspection of the Gospels also uncovers that in addition to the Passover Sabbath, a normal weekly Saturday Sabbath occurred in the time between Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We know this because the women waited for the weekly seventh day Sabbath to end before returning to Jesus' tomb the morning of the first day of the week to spice His body.

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun” (Mark 16:1-2).

Now, how do we determine which day Jesus was crucified based on the fact that two Sabbaths, the annual Passover Sabbath, and the weekly Saturday Sabbath, both occurred? Was the Passover Sabbath on Wednesday-night/Thursday-day or a Thursday-night/Friday-day? Or , could it have fallen on the same day as the weekly Sabbath, which does actually happen from time to time?

To find our answer, we must turn to Jesus’ own words about how long he would be dead before resurrecting. He said,

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Jesus’ plain words tell us he would be three days and three night, or 72 hours, in the grave before resurrecting. There’s no way around it.

This scripture alone rips all legitimacy from a Friday-Sunday death to resurrection event because this faulty scenario has Jesus in the grave only two nights and one day (and possibly a very little part of another day). Nope, if Jesus' words are true, and they most certainly are, Friday to Sunday is impossible.

Are you still with me? I hope so.

Now, remembering that Jesus entered the tomb just before sundown as the Passover Sabbath was to begin, we can deduce from Jesus' statement about how long he would be in the grave that He must have resurrected around the time of an evening as well. 72 hours later would be an evening, NOT a morning!

If we take into account that on the first day of the week, Sunday, all who went to see Jesus’ tomb found it empty, it is logically safe to presume that He resurrected the evening before that Sunday morning in order to fulfill His 3 days/3 nights prophecy. So Jesus must have resurrected on Saturday evening at the conclusion of the weekly Sabbath.

When exactly was Jesus placed in the tomb then? If we count back three days and three nights from Saturday evening, Jesus must have died and went into the tomb on the Wednesday evening just before the Passover Sabbath began at sundown. Therefore, Jesus must have been in the tomb for the nights that began on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as the daylight hours of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Church, can you now see that Jesus was not crucified on a Friday nor was He resurrected at sunrise on Sunday? There's no other way to interpret the scriptures.

Not only is Resurrection Sunday a fallacy, but "Good Friday" is also a complete misnomer if in calling the day as such you are saying that Friday was the day Jesus was crucified.

(NOTE: I always find it ironic that Satan has tricked the Church into a) saying Friday was the day of the Lord's crucifixion and b) calling the day of His crucifixion good! While, of course, what Christ did for us was amazingly good and we could not have salvation without Him doing so, in the eyes of Satan and his demons that day was a really “good” day for them and probably the day they enjoyed most in all history! To them, it was definitely "good" to see God's own creation, the best of His creation, His human beings, beat and murder His only begotten Son while He also bore the spiritual punishment of the weight of our sins. In honoring "Good Friday" we have not only been duped into believing Jesus was crucified then but have joined in with demons in calling the day of His crucifixion "good." Could you imagine watching your own family member savagely beaten and murdered and ever calling it good? Yes, the resulting salvation was good, but how can we say it's a good day when a person we love was beaten and murdered? It is a shame on humanity that this day even had to happen. Can't you see the upside down nature of the name “Good Friday”?)

A Saturday evening/end-of-Sabbath resurrection also makes complete sense when you consider that it is God's way to be exquisitely perfect in His timing, so perfect that He would resurrect His only begotten Son at the end of a Sabbath Day, a day of rest, and also at the end of the seven day week. Jesus finished the Sabbath and the seven-day week in the grave and began anew right at the commencing of a new day and a brand new week!

Please, Church, this is not rocket science. I am not that smart. I didn't figure this out all by my lonesome, but once seeing other dear Saints writings that pointed to these facts it was easy for me to do my own Biblical homework and see how the scenario I'm presenting works out perfectly.

Many Christians, including most of your Pastors, who have done any Biblical reading at all and have accomplished even the smallest amount of research on this matter, have long ago come to the same conclusion. A person would really have to CHOOSE to remain in ignorance if he was to do the Biblical legwork and still believe the Friday-Sunday scenario. He would have to purposely put blinders on, or already be so blind and obstinate against the truth and normal logic, to be able to continue in the Friday-Sunday belief.

So, why, if so many Pastors know this, do they continue to allow for the "Good Friday" to "Easter Sunday" tradition if they know those days are based on falsehood? I suppose the only answer would be that they, like their Pharisaical predecessors, have put the traditions of man above the Word of God! Jesus could describe our leadership today in the same way He described the leadership when He was here bodily:

"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men...And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God...Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition...” (Mark 7:6…9).

So, by honoring the lie that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday morning, many who have full knowledge of this falsehood who continue to honor it as if it is truth are in effect worshipping God in vain and teaching others to do the same. It's the same as saying Jesus was born on December 25th; it's an easily proven untruth.

How on earth do we continue in these obvious lies? Don't we see that we're playing into Satan's hands, the father of lies (John 8:44), by propagating lies ourselves? Can't we see that when we do so we are in agreement with lying demons?

It is literally maddening.

So what is at the root of a Pastor allowing this to continue even he knows better? The answer: fear.

Fear that going against the accepted tradition will cause his congregation to diminish in size.

Fear of losing what he's attained.

Fear of losing power and position.

All the same reasons that the Pharisees feared Jesus: because He uncovered their anti-scriptural traditions that they perceived kept them in power.

But you know what, the truth is far more important than numbers. While Jesus did see great crowds of people, there were times when He spoke the truth and people left off following Him. For example, when He publically declared that only those who ate his flesh and drank His blood would have eternal life, many of those who didn't understand His meaning who had faithfully followed Him “high-tailed it” and left Him (John 6).

Jesus knew that the truth is not a popularity contest. The old maxim states, "The Truth hurts," and so often truth does sting, especially those who choose to walk in darkness and lies and would rather not have the light of truth uncover their motives, deeds and actions. No one can expect those who can't stand the light to remain if they refuse the words presented to them because as the scriptures surmise, two can’t walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3). But does having loads of followers even matter if the truth must be compromised in order to retain them? No man alive should go into ministry worshipping at the altar of numbers when serving God has nothing to do with how many people are on your roll.

If you're a minister who is leading and teaching others, your life is tied up first in loving God, and thus loving the Truth, and then in sharing that truth with all who God gives you to minister to. No more no less. It's about honoring God above man by walking in truth, no matter the consequences.

So I tell you here and now, any Leader who teaches Friday/Sunday is teaching a lie, whether out of ignorance or foreknowledge, and by doing so he is keeping his congregations from the Truth, and thus keeping them, at least in part, from Jesus Christ, who is the Truth (John 14:6).

Ok, now that we've clearly established the truth about the timing with regard to Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, let us move onto the symbolism surrounding the "Easter" Celebration. Let's do so by first returning to the word Easter and its meaning, as well as the meaning of the fish, the eggs, and the bunny rabbits.

The Word "Easter" is actually used once in the King James Version of the Bible, but incorrectly so. Take a gander at this excerpt from the book Babylon Mystery Religion by Ralph Woodrow,

"The word "Easter" appears once in the King James Version: ‘...intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people’ (Acts 12:4). The word translated Easter here is pascha which is - as all scholars know - the Greek word for Passover. It is well known that the word Easter is not a Christian expression - not in its original meaning” (BMR, pgs 135-138).

As we learned at the beginning of this blog, the word Easter is the English translation for the name of a pagan fertility goddess.

Ok, so we now know the origin of the very word Easter is pagan and we must also realize that this alone is enough for us to consider it an abomination. Remember how the Christmas blog pointed out that God commands us in Jeremiah 10:2 to, " Learn not the way of the heathen"? The very name Easter and its pagan origin is enough to say that something is seriously wrong with this tradition, that it is heathen in nature, and that's enough to cease and desist honoring it, and that's without even understanding the falsity of a Sunday resurrection.

Church, how on earth are we so blind as to allow the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior to bear the name of a pagan sex/fertility goddess? Are you kidding me?! How can we let this continue? That alone is a major "strike one" in a list of the many indicators of paganism’s presence in the Easter tradition.

Let's move now to strike two: the “Easter” egg. Why are they so important to this celebration? Well, it all began with ancient Babylon where the people believed a fable that a giant egg had fallen from heaven and landed in the great river Euphrates. It was from this egg that the pagan goddess Astarte (Easter) was supposedly birthed and thus the egg began to symbolize her. Many civilizations have honored the egg since Babylon as it is also a symbol of fertility (BMR, pgs 135-138).

Like I said, strike two!

Which brings me now to strikes three and four: fish and bunny rabbits, also symbols of fertility.

Some fish can spawn hundreds of thousands to millions of eggs. The fish made it into spring festivals of old for this very reason, as it was a time when fish laid their eggs and the earth seemed to come back to life (BMR, pgs 135-138).

Strike three!

The rabbit's place in Easter comes from Egyptian paganism,

"…The Egyptian word for hare, um, means also open and 'period,' the hare came to be associated with the idea of periodicity, both lunar and human, and with the beginning of new life both the young man and young woman, and so a symbol of fertility and of the renewal of life. As such, the hare became linked with Easter...eggs." Thus both the Easter rabbit and Easter eggs were symbols of sexual significance, symbols of fertility" (BMR, pgs 135-138).

Strike four!

This tradition should have been “out” at strike one, but we can just keep going on and on if we need to. Need I mention the 40 days of Lent and its "fasting" and fish Fridays? Are these practices found in the Bible? No! But they sure were a part of pre-Christian paganism!

Just as Christmas mixes in the pagan tree, Santa Claus and flying reindeer, mistletoe, Advent, etc., here we are again seeing the mixture of pagan symbols into so-called Christian worship.

How Church? How can we do this to God? How can we worship our Holy God in such a blatantly unholy manner? Seriously, how many of us realize how much trouble we are in as a people for dong such things?

Please do not wonder why judgment is going to begin with us when we can't even honor God enough to drop paganism's obvious influence in our worship. Do you know that when we worship God in a mixture that we are not even worshipping Him? We might not realize this, but we are actually worshipping devils who try to parade as our God when we do so. It is a travesty, a shame, and a pox on our house.

I'm telling you right now that if any of us can't see this to be the case, we are in GIANT, GALAXY-SIZED trouble. What are so many of us going to do when we get to our judgments and God says that He never knew us and that we never knew Him because we worshipped and served a perversion that wasn't even Him, all because we continued to dishonor Him and His Word through these man-created, demon influenced traditions? What in the world are we going to do? It will be too late then, I tell you. It's almost too late now. We had better right the ship soon before dire consequences take hold.

Don't go down with the sinking ship of mixing paganism with the Christian faith. If your Church is honoring Christmas and Easter, leave. If the only Churches in your town you can find not doing so are one of the many cults like 7th Day Adventism and Jehovah's Witnesses who somehow figured out these truths but are caught up in so many other falsehoods, you can’t go to them either because they are off in so many other ways.

You may have to start your own home service for yourself. More and more people are leaving the "mainstream" Church for the truth every day while starting home Churches. Even if that means worshipping alone or among family and close friends who believe the Truth, it is far better to be one of the pioneers off by yourself or with a small group who also insists on keeping the scriptures as God presents them than with a large group who drowns in the sins of anti-Biblical paganism.

My ship and drowning metaphors brings to mind to a group who used a ship to flee from a mainstream Church who had distorted true Christianity. The Puritans, who came over on the Mayflower and other ships, actually split away from the Church of England and fled to North America in order to worship the Lord in scriptural truth. Did you know that they didn't celebrate Christmas or Easter either? (See http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/holidays/xmassin.htm and http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1994/issue41/4102.html). The Puritans knew it was idolatry.

We need that same pursuit of purity in our lives to get at the holiness God would have us walk in. There's no way around it, we must shed ourselves of every vestige of paganism and impure worship. I hope if you haven't yet, you'll begin right now. Stop making excuses and join in fellowship with God, rather than with man and his pagan traditions.

But, you might think, “If I give up Easter, how do I honor Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection?”

Well, rather than honoring Easter, why not simply honor the Biblical Passover celebration, especially since Christ is its fulfillment? He sacrificed Himself on the day of preparation for the Passover at just about the same time the lambs would have been sacrificed for the Hebrew's feast. He shed His blood which is spiritually applied to our lives just as the lamb’s blood was applied to the doorposts of the Hebrew's homes on the evening of the Passover. Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover. He is our Passover lamb.

This spring, Tuesday, March 30, 2010, marked the Passover Sabbath; we Christians could have and should have honored that day as a Sabbath, just as Christ and His disciples did. Surely we as a people can honor Christ through the God given feasts rather than by taking a pagan festival and trying to Christianize it. Am I a little nutty to think this way? I think not.

Church, we need to understand that God is not the counterfeiter. Satan is. Since God has already created seven separate feasts as listed in His Word (Leviticus 23) we should honor these feasts if we're going to honor any at all.

You might counter, these are Jewish feasts - not Christian. Very well, I reply, but did you know that during Jesus' soon coming millennial reign that every person on earth will honor the feast of tabernacles and will actually go up to Jerusalem to do so?

"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain" (Zechariah 14:16-17).

I don’t see any reference in the Bible to Christmas or Easter being celebrated during Jesus' 1,000-year reign. Why? Because Jesus is the fulfillment of the feasts already presented to us by God in the Torah. He is NOT the fulfillment of the pagan-mixture celebrations that the majority of Christians are honoring today.

If all those who live through the tribulation and remain on the earth are required to observe the feast of tabernacles, a feast started among the Jewish people, how is it that we would not honor those feasts now?

Even without knowing about the millennial-reign tabernacles observance, should we not do as Jesus, our Leader and Savior, did and honor these feasts now? How can we say that we ought not do so because they're supposedly "Jewish" when our Savior honored them?

In addition, by adopting the scriptures of the Jews, we are made the "strangers" that have attached ourselves to Israel by faith in the Word of God, and being so, the following scripture applies:

And if a stranger sojourn with you (the Hebrews)...one ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you" (Numbers 15:14...16).

Ok, you say, but we are not "sojourning among the Jews." I respond that we have been given God's Word, the same word He gave them, and we have all the same information about God's likes and dislikes. So how is it that we could, having that information, choose to do anything at all that we know He doesn't like, such as activities that God goes as far as to call an abomination before Him (like combining paganism in our Christian worship), rather than honoring the very feasts and traditions that He Himself provided to the Hebrews? It just doesn't make sense.

Finally, if the Easter version of our celebration, as has been shown in this blog, truly does smack of paganism and being that The Old Testament is replete with examples of God severely chastening Israel for incorporating false gods and paganism into their worship, how on earth do we think we are exempt and can do such evil ourselves without consequences?

God has given us a Biblical means of doing everything and we have the Passover and Unleavened Bread feasts to honor Christ's atoning work and the resurrection during the Spring season. Remember, just because God doesn't want us doing something (such as honoring paganism), this doesn't mean He's a "spoilsport" or that he "doesn't want us to have any fun." He does have celebrations for us found in the Torah and specifically in Leviticus 23, and they’re loads of fun and far more exciting because they’re based in truth and in God's love.

Church, it’s time for us to shed all vestiges of paganism and to embrace doing things God’s way. I know the traditions I've addressed in the past few blogs have been engrained in the Church for centuries, but it’s high time we deliver ourselves from them.

We are in the last days, and Christ is returning for a Bride that is without spot or blemish. Can’t we in the meantime get rid of all the beliefs and practices that He abhors so that we may be pleasing to Him on His return?

The Church and the world have already entered the birth pangs of the forthcoming tribulation. If you’re wondering what to do to get your act together as you see the world going to pieces around you, start with getting rid of the traditions of man that have infiltrated the Church and Christian practice. Your faith in God will grow tremendously as you experience positive feedback from Him, even though the world and much of the Church itself will try to punish you for doing so.

The love and safety of abiding in God will keep you and help you to overcome the world, even as He overcame the world (John 16:33).

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Give up that which separates you from Him and you shall inherit the kingdom and everlasting life in paradise. Hold onto evil and paganism and you may forfeit the promise. May it not be so. Amen.

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