Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 14, 1960

Things Concerning Easter

H. Edward McCaskill — West Columbia, Texas

On April 17th of this year, many people of the so-called "religious" world will again celebrate a day known as "Easter." However, to those of us who seek the truth of God's word on all matters and wish to give a "thus saith the Lord" for all that we teach and practice, this particular Lord's day will be of no more special significance than any other. The commonly accepted idea that "Easter Sunday" is the resurrection day of our Lord has no Biblical foundation whatsover. The Bible teaches without doubt that "Jesus was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4) and this event took place upon the first day of the week. Such is evident by inference from reading the following:

In Luke 24:1 we read of the women going to tomb on the first day of the week.

In Luke 24:13 we read of two going to Emmaus on the same day.

In Luke 24:21 we read of these two rehearsing the events surrounding the crucifixion to Jesus, whom they thought to be a stranger, saying "Today is the third day since these things were done."

In Luke 24:47 we hear Jesus saying, "it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day".

The third day was the same day spoken of by the two which was the same day the women to the tomb, being the first day of the week.

There is no authority from God to bind a special Lord's day as 'Easter Sunday" and declare that that is the day of resurrection or should be observed in any fashion as a commemoration of that day. Beloved reader, we are commanded not to add anything to the book of inspired language. (Rev. 22:18.) What the New Testament reveals concerning the matter of the resurrection should be adequate for any lover of truth.

The indefiniteness of the day upon which "Easter" falls shows one glaring inconsistency of the doctrine. Observe the statement: "Easter day is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on March 21 or on any of the 28 days following that date. (The date of the full moon is calculated, for this purpose, in accordance with certain rules, and occasionally vanes slightly from the date of the astronomical full moon.) The earliest date on which Easter can fall is March 22, and the latest is April 25." (Funk and Wagnall's College Std. Dict, p. 365) It is the only event, to this writer's knowledge, conceived by man for celebration, that changes the date from year to year. This of course, excluding the other man ordained days connected with the same event. If there is a special celebration to be kept known as "Easter" why does the word of God not give us the date? Furthermore, the above "rule" was not adopted until the 7th century and even in the 2nd century bitter controversy raged over which day of the week was to be kept. It was observed by some during other days of the week. "The council of Nice (Nicea), 325 A. D., decreed that it should be Sunday, but did not fix the particular Sunday." (The International Std. Bible Encl., II, p. 889). Incidentally, this was the same council that gave the first humanly written creed, (an addition in itself to the word of God), the apostate name "Catholic" and numerous other innovations. Again, the Richard's Topical Encl.

Vol. 6, p. 205 quotes, "even the festival of Easter is much older than Christianity, and may have taken its name in the first place from old German deity". Something observed today as a matter of Christianity which is older than Christianity itself is just too old, isn't it? It would also be an addition to the will of God, hence in plain violation of II John 9, 10; I Pet. 4:11 and other passages. Then to add to the mockery there is every possibility that the name "Easter" derived its name from some false deity.

Someone has said, "Well, Easter is mentioned in the New Testament, in Acts 12:4, so we should be permitted to observe it." The mistranslated word "Easter" is found in the common or King James Version, but is not so translated in the American Standard, the Revised Standard, or even the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (Catholic). In each of these the word is correctly translated passover. The word "pascha" (Acts 12:4) is the same "pascha" (a passing over) found in Matt. 26:2; Mk. 14:1; Luke 2:41; John 2:13, 23 which in each case is translated passover. In all (Acts 12:4 included) it is used with reference to "the paschal festival, the feast of passover." (Thayer, a Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T. pp. 493 -494 ).

If you will turn and read Acts 12:4 in the King James Version you will notice that King Herod was holding the apostle Peter in prison and was intending after "Easter" to bring him forth to the people. Would the reader actually believe this old tryrannical king, who had previously killed James with the sword, (Acts 12:2) had any respect for a day that was to honor the resurrection of Christ as moderns so claim? Why then would he kill one apostle and put another in prison who were preaching the resurrected Christ? No, this king was hoping to gain prestige with the Jews and was honoring their day, passover, in holding Peter until after the Jewish festival.

Still we might ask, if Easter were the correct translation in Acts 12:4 in all versions, what would it prove? Would it prove the resurrection of Christ on that day? Nothing is so indicated. Would it indicate authority for special observances? Nothing is so indicated. "There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christian." (Encl. Britannica, 14th ed., VII; P 859)

The whole idea of "Easter" is humanly concocted just as was "Ash Wednesday", "Lenten Season", "Palm Sunday", "Maundy Thursday", "Good Friday" and a host of other things presently observed by millions. "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain." (Gal. 4:10, 11)