by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
"You shall worship YHVH your Elohim and Him only shall you serve ." Matthew 4:10 (quoting Deuteronomy 11:16)
"For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties and all lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you, but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." 1Peter 4:3-5
To understand scripture properly, it becomes essential to recognize the fundamental approach from which the words on the page were written. When we remember that all of the books of the Book were written by Hebrews out of a Hebrew mindset influenced by Hebrew culture and were primarily addressed to other Hebrews; then, from a strictly Hebraic perspective, we find there are only two categories of people contained in scripture - Hebrews and others. These others are called Gentiles (click on highlighted words to view content) - those who worship gods other than the the Hebrew Elohim of Israel - not the "god of mankind". The term "Gentile believer" is oxymoronic and does not exist in a Hebraic world view. Yeshua even reinforced this perspective in Matthew 18:15-17. Christians may not think of the traditions they embrace today as being pagan, Gentile in nature, but if they are not in accordance with this scriptural Hebrew perspective - by definition, they are distinctly pagen.
So, how did these pagan traditions become part of the Christian framework? Some may not even consider what they embrace to be classified as "tradition" (perhaps the reason for "surprise" in 1Peter above?). Yeshua gave us the definition of tradition in Mark 7:13 as that which has been "handed down" to us by others - supposedly, by learned men. So much tradition has been intertwined into what we believe over several millennia that, for most of us, we are not even aware of its existence in our lives or from where it came. Many would be "surprised" to learn that much of what they simply accept as "truth" today comes from a Greek Westernized mindset with its roots in the Council at Nicaea in 325 AD (see My Big Fat Greek Mindset Part One and Part Two for an explanation of this phenomenon). This was a council of bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine specifically for the purpose of adopting a separate, anti-Semitic, New Pauline Religion which has come to be known as "Christianity" (a quick history search will show this Council to be the foundation for the Catholic Church and subsequent attempts to "reform" it still kept intact the traditions adopted here). This event occurred hundreds of years after the deaths of the Hebrew witnesses to the Resurrection. It was here the tradition of "Easter" was formally adopted for the purpose of making it easier for new Gentile converts to join their ranks with a ritual that was similar to what they had already been acquainted with in other worldly religions. (see Keeping the Sabbath for more detail).
Easter has become one of several traditions celebrated as "Christian" whose roots can be historically traced to ancient pagan rites. The actual origin of Easter dates back to not long after the global flood recorded in Genesis 6-9. Nimrod, a grandson of Noah, had turned from following his grandfather's God and had become a tyrannical ruler, believing the original clothing of animal skins of Adam he had acquired through thievery elevated him to godlike status. According to the biblical record, as king, Nimrod created Babel (in which came the infamous tower - Genesis 11:1-9), Nineveh, 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 which later would become known as Baal, the Great Life Giver, the god of fire, Baalim, Bel, Molech, etc. and those who followed the religion Semiramis created in his name would be called Baal worshippers. They became associated with idolatry, demon worship, child sacrifice and other evil practices.
The origin of Easter involves the birth of Semiramis' illegitimate son, Tammuz. Somehow, Semiramis convinced the people that Tammuz was actually Nimrod reborn. Since the people had been looking for the promised savior since Adam (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 - going 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 new vegetation that appeared on the earth. Because of their prolific nature, rabbits have long been associated with fertility and the goddess Ishtar, thus contemporary traditions such as the Easter Bunny and the Easter egg can also be traced back to the practices of ancient Babylonia established by Semiramis and still worshipped today in Iraq.
The anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the biblical dating of Passover is clearly expressed by Constantine in his letter to the Christian bishops at the Council of Nicaea (325 AD). In this conciliar letter to all those not present at the Council, the Emperor urges all to follow the example of the Church of Rome in adopting Easter Sunday, because, he wrote: "We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way; our worship follows a more legitimate and more convenient course (the order of the days of the week); and consequently, in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Savior, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? To celebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people (the Jews). Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Savior has left us only one festal day of our redemption, that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired (to establish) only one Catholic Church…". (Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20)
Seeking to distance themselves from their Jewish heritage so as to become politically aligned with the Roman empire that was heavily persecuting Jews at the time and to make "Christianity" more palpable to the increasingly non-Jewish believers of the world, the pagan rites of Easter were embraced by the Council of Nicaea, given a "Christian face-lift" and became assimilated into what this new "Christian" religion now refers to as "Easter." Separating from and compromising the commandments of God with the comfort of the world is as old as the tower of Babel. To give ourselves to the rites of Easter is to worship the pagan god of the Gentiles - not the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To say, "Well, I don't worship an idol. I am really just worshipping Jesus in my heart. After all, outward appearances don't mean anything" is to say to the God of Creation that you know better than He about what it means to worship something. Yeshua repeated what the Father originally said that what we serve, what we give ourselves to, IS what we worship (Matthew 4:10, Deuteronomy 11:16). The Easter "sunrise" ritual is directly associated with this pagan worship of the sun-god, Baal. The reality of the Hebrew Yeshua's Resurrection actually occurred at night, just after sundown - as seen in the article, 3 Days and 3 Nights.
While pagans celebrate the rites of spring, calling it "Easter", Hebrews celebrate Pesach (Passover), the anniversary of the day the God of Israel delivered them out of Egyptian bondage. The "Last Supper" referred to in Christianity was actually the Hebrew Pesach (Passover), the first day of what is known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts for seven days. YHVH had demanded the firstborn male from every household as a judgment upon the Egyptian gods (Exodus 12:12), but had promised to "pass over" any house with the blood of a perfect lamb smeared on its doorpost. He then commanded a remembrance of this deliverance with the Pesach memorial at the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was on Pesach Yeshua became that perfect lamb by spilling His Uncorrupted Blood to fulfill the Covenant of bringing life out of death promised by the Father. To appropriate the Blood of the Hebrew Lamb over the doorposts of our life means to separate ourselves from the worship and bondage of the false gods of the world. The biggest problem we have with the pagan rite of Easter is that, in distancing itself from the Hebraic origin, it obliterates the Truth of the Resurrection. Yeshua said the only sign given to validate His anointing would be the sign of Jonah who was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40). Easter's ritual reduces that time to two days and two nights - from Good Friday to sunrise Easter Sunday morning thus invalidating Yeshua's claim.
"You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, YHVH, your Elohim am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who despise Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me
and keep my commandments ." Exodus 20:4-6
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.