Oh how I've begun to loathe the word Easter. I've actually come to despise that word! I mean where does Christ fit into the word EASTER? To me it stands for all too many worldly rituals and notions. Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies...what does this holiday mean again?
It does have something to do with Christ right? Oh yeah, I believe some Catholics allowed the pagan religions to intertwine THEIR beliefs with those of the Church. Does anyone except me feel infuriated that Christ would have to play second to anyone or anything? What a fool idea these early "men of God" had- to believe that the only way to convert others was to let them keep some of their old lifestyles and beliefs!
Isn't God very explicit in His language when he teaches us that to be born again is to, in essence, DIE to our old selves? We're not to bring old sinful behaviors (especially pagan ones!) along for the ride. We're not to try and mingle the world with the Cross. That is the beauty of the gospel. We cannot be successful in ridding ourselves of the old man by ourselves. We DEPEND on an act of God to save us.
It requires an act of God to rid us of our native, in-born, fleshly desires- which leads us to the truth that no man can cause another to be born of God. We can't force them to mean the sinners prayer or to repent. We can't make church more entertaining or appealing to gain converts. We cannot allow them to keep 'some' of their pet sins in order to entice them into God's kingdom. God does not bargain for your soul. God himself, in his true and purest essence is more than enough for those who seek Him in truth.
But back to the competition we've set up between a day that should honor God's most precious gift to mankind and the pagan observance of Easter. Did you know that the first Easter celebrations were held shortly after the flood? Here's an excerpt from a history book...
Nimrod, a grandson of Noah, had turned from following his grandfather's God and had become a tyrannical ruler. According to the biblical record, as king, Nimrod created Babel, Ninevah, Asshur, Calla and other cities, all known for lifestyles that promoted unspeakable evil and perversion. When Nimrod died, his wife, Queen Semiramis, deified him as the Sun-god, or Life Giver. Later he would become known as Baal, and those who followed the religion Semiramis created in his name would be called Baal worshippers. They became associated with idolatry, demon worship, human sacrifice and other practices regarded as evil.
The origin of Easter involves the birth of Semiramis' illegitimate son, Tammuz. Somehow, Semiramis convinced the people that Tammuz was actually Nimrod reborn. Since people had been looking for the promised savior since the beginning of mankind (see Genesis 3:15), they were persuaded by Semiramis to believe that Tammuz was that savior, even that he had been supernaturally conceived. Before long, in addition to worshipping Tammuz (or Nimrod reborn), the people also worshipped Semiramis herself as the goddess of fertility. In other cultures, she has been called Ishtar, Ashtur and yes, Easter.
The origin of Easter goes back to the springtime ritual instituted by Semiramis following the death of Tammuz, who, according to tradition, was killed by a wild boar. Legend has it that through the power of his mother's tears, Tammuz was "resurrected" in the form of the new vegetation that appeared on the earth.
According to the Bible, it was in the city of Babel that the people created a tower in order to defy God. Up until that time, all the people on the earth spoke one language. The building of the tower led God, as recorded in Genesis 11:7, to confuse their tongues to keep them from being further unified in their false beliefs. As the people moved into other lands, many of them took their pagan practices with them.
Contemporary traditions such as the Easter Bunny and the Easter egg can also be traced back to the practices established by Semiramis. Because of their prolific nature, rabbits have long been associated with fertility and its goddess, Ishtar. Ancient Babylonians believed in a fable about an egg that fell into the Euphrates River from heaven and from which Queen Astarte (another name for Ishtar or Semiramis) was "hatched."
Do you see how the christian message has been mixed with(watered down by)the beliefs of this pagan message? Is it harmless for Christians to go along with it and all of the pagan symbolisms that come with it? Quite simply, I direct you to the first two of the 10 Commandments:
1. Do not worship other gods.
2. Do not worship idols.
But you say..."but I'm not really worshipping other gods or idols by doing the whole Easter Bunny thing...lady you're in bondage...you're a legalist!"
My response to that, is how much MORE time are you giving Christ this holiday than you are giving to the pagan rituals that compete with Him? Shouldn't it be ENOUGH to honor CHRIST alone without mixing ANYTHING else in to make it more FUN? If God is not enough for you, if you feel the need to dress up HIS church, His holidays, His word, His laws...maybe you have some soul searching to do. Anytime some THING, an activity, a person, a notion etc. consumes more time or effort or devotion than you are willing to give to God, it is idolatry. It is placing something worldy above God.
The church (especially in America) has done a pathetic job of educating its members of the sanctity of the Christian walk. But we live in the age of information and we no longer have excuses on why we remain ignorant on certain things.
I always exhort people to begin to THINK for themselves. Stop allowing yourselves to be spoonfed anything and everything! As Christians we are called to "come out from the world and live separately...i.e. DIFFERENTLY..." II COR. 6:14-18
But today, I'm constantly disheartened to see people claiming to be Christians who chase after everything the world has to offer. Christ is NOT enough for them.
Again, I exhort everyone to start questioning if what you do or what you're observing is pleasing to the Lord. Don't just do the Easter egg hunt because it's what you did when you were a kid and what your parents and grandparents did when they were kids.
I'll wrap this up with another scripture found in Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Serving the Lord is a choice that you must make for yourself and your household everyday. This Easter you must choose whether following the Lord is more important to you or if including your kids in worldy activities that only lead them away from Christ is more important.
And one more side note for those of you (if any) who really care about what Christian SHOULD be doing on Easter (there's that vile word again), I recommend studying the parallel between the first Passover Feast and the Last Supper/ Crucifixion of Christ. I found a tiny Facebook group that has a wonderful solution to we Gentiles...it can be found here
If you're reading this, you obviously have the internet, so you have every research tool available to you to find out how you can better serve/worship Christ this week. Don't feign ignorance any longer!
While you're at it, you should investigate Halloween as well as Christmas! ;o) Remember...
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free