One, if not, the most important day for any person who is a believer of Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus), would be the day He rose from the dead. The whole Christian Faith hangs on this single fact. The fact that His body did not decay, and that He was victorious over Death, bringing Life after Death, to all of us.
Our findings on the day of His Death known and commemorated as “Good Friday” led us to see that, He actually could not have died on a Friday, and how the Gospels provided us with the necessary information to conclude that He, in fact died on a Passover eve(which was not a Friday at all), becoming our spotless and unblemished Passover Lamb.
In the same way, we need to check the Bible for necessary clues on our Messiah’s Resurrection and also find out answers for some of the questions such as: What is the Origin of Easter? Did Yeshua rise on Sunday? Does it matter what we call His Resurrection day? In addition, we will also study the Scriptures to find out how Father God had given the Feast/Appointed Days to His people, to signify the coming Messiah.
Origin of the Name Easter
Most writers assert that “Easter came from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre. based on the writings of a scholarly monk known as St. Bede (672 or 673–735). Other researchers suggest that the word Easter comes from Eostur, an old Norse word for spring. Another asserts that it comes from an old Germanic and Anglo-Saxon word for “east.” Some early scholars delved even further back into the history of the word Easter. For example, nineteenth-century folklorists discovered striking similarities between the Germanic root words for “dawn” and the name of the goddess Eostre. They noted, too, that the names for the ancient Roman, Greek, and Indian dawn goddesses, Aurora, Eos, and Ushas, evolved from the same root word. Encyclopedia of Easter Carnival & Lent by Tanya Gulevich, Easter – Origin of the word, Pg92,
Others claim that Easter is connected to a Pagan Goddess named “Astarte“, “Ashtaroth“, “Semiramis” and “Ishtar” in different cultures, according to “Alexander Hislop – The Two Babylons“, “Athenagoras – Legatio” and “Lucian – De Dea Syria“. Ashtaroth, called the goddess of the Zidonians, is specifically mentioned in Judges 2:13, 10:6, 1Sam 7:3,4, 12:10, 1Kin 11:5,33, 23:13. Traditions taught to children like “Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies” have no foundations in scripture, and may even have connections to Pagan deities of Fertility.
The word Easter in the Bible
The word “Easter” is only seen in the English KJV Bible in Acts 12:4. It is substituted for the Greek word “pascha” (Strong’s Greek Conc. – G3957 – πάσχα – pascha – pas’-khah – Meaning the Passover -the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it). This means that the word “Easter” was a later addition to the English Translation of the Bible, which did not exist in the Original Greek Manuscripts. Acts 12:4 should read “… intending after Passover to bring him forth to the people”, not as “… intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people”. With this verse out of the way, there is no mention of “Easter” anywhere in the Bible.
I do not claim to know for sure that “Easter” originates from a name of a Pagan god. But we must agree on the fact that calling our “Messiah’s Resurrection”, “Easter” was a tradition later adapted to Christianity. If it does originate from Pagan goddess worship, we are in danger of using something that was used to worship other gods, to worship Our Creator – God Almighty. In Deut 12:30,31 God specifically instructed His People not to worship Him, in the ways other people worship their Gods.
Some could say, Is God so petty? Will God really care? Doesn’t the commemoration of the day matter more than what it is called? Each of us will have to make that Decision for ourselves. I would be safe than sorry, and stand clear of anything that can be Pagan, when it comes to worshiping God Almighty.
Did Yeshua Rise on Sunday?
As we discussed earlier on the post, “Good Friday or Passover”, we learnt that Yeshua in fact, died on “Passover” which was not a “Friday”. (I highly recommend that you read this post before moving onto “Easter”, as some of the things discussed here will have strong connections to facts studied on that post). Given below is a short summary for whoever thinks of skipping that Article.
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A few Biblical Facts
1) A Biblical day consists of 12 Hours of Day and 12 Hours of Night (John 11:9)
2) The Biblical day is from one Sundown to the next Sundown (Lev 23:32, Neh 13:19, Judge 14:12,18, Luk 23:54, Joh 19:31)
3) We know that Yeshua for a fact died on the Evening of the Passover. (John 18:28, 19:14)
4) Yeshua died around the 9th Hour of the Passover day (3pm in Modern day time)
(Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
5) Yeshua said that He will be in the Tomb for 3 days & 3 nights (Mat 12:40, 17:23, 20:19, 26:61, 27:40,63,64, Mar 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, 14:58, 15:29, Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7,21,46, Joh 2:19)
A very brief look at the Feast/Appointment of Passover which God gave Israel
1) God told Israel to Kill the Passover Lamb on the Evening of the 14th day of the 1st Month (Ex 12:2,6, Lev 23:5, Num 9:3)
2) God told Israel to eat the Lamb with Unleavened Bread and Bitter Herbs
(Ex 12:8, 13:3, Num 9:11)
3) God told Israel to eat bread that is Unleavened for 7 days after the Passover
(Ex 12:15, 13:7, Deut 16:3)
4) God told Israel that the 1st day and 7th day of this week of Unleavened Bread were days where you rest from regular work (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:6,7,8, Num 28:18,25) Special Sabbath*
Yeshua died before the High/Special Sabbath(John 19:31). His body was in the Tomb for 3 Days and 3 Nights(Mat 12:40). He rose after the Fixed Saturday Sabbath(Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2).
Since Passover can fall on different days of the week each year, “in that Particular year in which Yeshua died”, for all the Scriptures to not have any inconsistencies, Passover would have fallen on a Wednesday. (Passover does not fall on Wednesday each year. I am in no way saying that we should start commemorating Yeshua’s death on Wednesday instead of Friday. My thought is that we should commemorate Passover which does not fall on Friday each year, which is a commemoration given by God in Lev 23).
Wednesday – 14th of 1st Month – Passover (Yeshua dies and is buried before Sundown/start of Sabbath)
Thursday – 15th of 1st Month – 1st day of Unleavened Bread – High/Special Sabbath
Friday – 16th of 1st Month – 2nd day of Unleavened Bread
Saturday – 17th of 1st Month – 3rd day of Unleavened Bread – Fixed /Regular Sabbath
Sunday – 18th of 1st Month – By the time the women came, Yeshua had risen
Wednesday Sundown to Thursday Sundown – 1st Day (1Day + 1Night)
Thursday Sundown to Friday Sundown – 2nd Day (1Day + 1Night)
Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown – 3rd Day (1Day + 1Night)
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So, did Yeshua Rise on Sunday?
Definitely. As we studied on the subject of Passover, we see that Yeshua dies on a Passover eve (Passover can fall on any day of the week). He is put into the tomb in the evening as the Sabbath was about to start (This is a High Sabbath and not the Fixed Saturday Sabbath). He is in the tomb for 3days & 3nights (As He proclaimed in Mat 12:40). He is Risen by the time the women go to the Tomb after the Sabbath (This is the Fixed Saturday Sabbath).
So what falls at the end of the Fixed Saturday Sabbath? Sunday, of course. By Saturday Sundown, the 3Days & 3Nights were complete. And Yeshua would have risen at the end of the Sabbath. (According to the Biblical Day, Sunday or the 1st Day of the week starts at Sundown on Saturday).
So whether we choose to call Yeshua’s Resurrection as “Easter Sunday” or “Resurrection Sunday”, it was definitely Sunday, the 1st Day of the Week. But wait, there’s more! We actually have a better name for this Commemoration, which throughout the ages has been forgotten and called a Jewish Feast/Commemoration. To dig for this truth, we must again delve into the “Feasts” proclaimed in Lev 23 by God, as “My Feasts”.
Resurrection Day and the FirstFruits of God
In Lev 23:10&11, God tells “His People – Israel”, that they need to offer up the First Fruits of the Harvest to Him the Day after the Sabbath on the Week of Passover, each year. The people had to bring the Firstfruits to the Priest, who would lift up the offering to God. Some would think of this Appointment/Feast Day that God Instituted, as some sort of “Archaic” Law or Tradition. What most fail to see is, what God was trying to teach His People through these appointments. Each of these days had some meaning in them. (Previously, we saw that Yeshua died on Passover and was buried on the First Day of Unleavened Bread) It was the same in the case of the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast day of Firstfruits fell on the Sunday after Passover. And what important event happened on the Sunday after Passover? Yeshua’s Ressurection!
Let’s take a quick look at these Feasts that were instituted in Lev 23, again. (We will do a separate study on the Feasts of God in the near future, where I will cover all of the feasts mentioned in Lev 23, including Passover.)
1) Passover -14th day of the 1st Month – (Ex 12:2,6, Lev 23:5, Num 9:3)
2) Week of Unleavened Bread – 15th day to 21st day of the 1st Month – The 15th was a Special Sabbath (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:6,7,8, Num 28:18,25)
3) The Day after the Fixed Sabbath after Passover – The Sunday after Passover (Lev 23:10,11)
The Fulfillment of God’s Feasts through Yeshua’s Death & Resurrection
In Lev 23, God ordered Israel to commemorate specific things on specific dates of the year. What would be the chance of Yeshua dying, being buried and risen on these same specific dates? I do not think this is an accident. But some could say, that I am still forcefully trying to fit the pieces. Let us look at the connections again.
He died on Passover eve, as the Passover Lamb was killed, signifying that He was our Passover Lamb, and because of Him, death would not enter into our homes/lives (We saw enough proof for this on the article “Good Friday or Passover”)
He was buried on the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, when all Leaven was asked to be put out of the houses signifying He had started the work of Removing Leaven/Sin (1Cor 5:7,8) from our homes/lives. (The day He was buried, He started the work of defeating death and removing Sin from our life)
He Rose from the dead on Sunday after Passover, The Day of Firstfruits, signifying that He is the Firstfruits of all who is risen from the dead(1Cor 15:20-23, Acts 26:23, Col 1:18, Rev 1:5).
(The word Translated as FirstFruits in Lev 23:10 can be used as “first” and “first fruits”
H7225 – ראשׁית – rê’shı̂yth – ray-sheeth’ – the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit): – beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.)
Remember also, how Yeshua compared the people to the Harvest. (Mat 9:37,38, Luk 10:2, Joh 4:35, Rev 14:15) So it is not an alien thing to consider Him as the FirstFruits of that Harvest. In other words, the First to Rise, from all who would taste death and rise unto Life Everlasting.
Easter or FirstFruits
Unlike “Good Friday” and “Passover” which are completely different dates commemorating His Death, “Easter” and “Firsfruits” are the same day commemorating His Resurrection. The important thing to note through all this is, that Yeshua worked according to His Father’s Calendar and His Father’s Appointed Feast dates.
So now that we know, that Yeshua’s Resurrection also was in perfect synchrony with God’s Feasts/Appointed Times, what should we do? Should we call it “Easter” and stick to all it’s traditions? Or should we call it “First Fruits” and commemorate His death as the fulfillment of another of God’s Appointments? Passover was a Fulfillment. Unleavened Bread was a fulfillment. Now First Fruits. The evidence is mounting up that God knew what He was doing and what He was saying through all these commandments to His People. Or do you still think that it is pure coincidence and that God gave these Appointments for no reason?
I have laid the evidence in front of you. It is upto you, to make the decision whether it is of value or not. Just like the fact is, that Jesus’ true name is Yeshua, The day of His death coincided with only 1 Biblical Feast/Appointment which was mentioned long before His Death. and that is not Easter, but “FirstFruits”!