The Truth About “Easter Sunday”

Jess Whitlock

Some things are conspicuous by their absence, and such is the case with what millions celebrate annually as “Easter Sunday.” You cannot find that term nor the terms: Fat Tuesday, Good Friday, or Lent (Lenten) et al. During that period called “Lent” many are forbidden to eat any meat; therefore, we find fulfillment of prophecy (1st Tim. 4:1-5).

Easter in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has this:

The English word (Easter jw) comes from the AS Eastre or Estra, a Teutonic goddess to whom sacrifice was offered in April, so the name was transferred to the paschal feast. The word does not properly occur in Scripture, although the AV has it in Acts 12:4 where it stands for Passover, as it is rightly rendered in RV. There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament…

God has placed in the Bible precisely what He wanted and God has not placed Easter in His Word!


The name Easter, like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the Old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede it is derived from Eostre or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring, to whom the month answering to our April, and called Eostur-monath, was dedicated. There is no indication of the observance of the Easter Festival in the New Testament…the date (for Easter jw) is fixed in accordance with the tables prepared by Clavius for Pope Gregory XIII, when he reformed the calendar on February 24, 1582, and is an attempt to reconcile the solar with the lunar year… Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VII, 858-859).

Notice please, each authority observed that an Easter celebration was unknown in the times and practices of the New Testament (Rev. 22:18-19).

Christ condemned all who would put man made traditions and holidays ahead of His Truth (Matt. 15:8-9). The death of Christ was never intended to be observed one day of the year—rather, every “first day of the week.” A careful study of First Corinthians 11:23-29 indicates those brethren were having trouble (not just one Sunday of the year); but Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day. The church at Troas met on the “first day of the week” (and what week of the year does not have a first day?); when Christians came together to remember the death of Christ in observance of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10-11; Matt. 26:28).

Why then, in Acts 12:4, does the KJV have the word Easter? James was the first apostle to be killed. Herod saw that this pleased the Jews. He had the apostle Peter apprehended. We are told that “then were the days of unleavened bread” (Acts 12:3); and that Herod was “intending after Easter to bring him (Peter) forth to the people” (Acts 12:4). The King James translation stands alone, insofar as I can tell, in rendering the Greek pascha as Easter. Most other translations render this word as Passover just as the King James Version does in 28 other occurrences of the word pascha. The context of the “days of unleavened bread” clearly shows that the word should be Passover.

The early church did not observe Easter as a religious holiday. The Lord arose on the first day of the week (Luke 24:1-3; Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-9); so the early church met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). Departures from God’s pattern began to take place and in the corrupted church an annual celebration of the resurrection was added to the meeting on the first day.

The name “Easter” originated with a pagan festival honoring the goddess of Spring. Since this feast to a pagan goddess took place in the Spring, it would appear the King James translators rendered the word pascha as Easter; not so much to indicate approval of that pagan feast, as to allow the readers to know the approximate time of the year concerning events covered in Acts 12. To this day, in modern Greece their word for Easter is pascha, which literally means the Passover.

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Author: Editor

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