Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter: Holy Day, or Idolatrous Sabbath Desecration?

Some hold that Easter's origins trace
back to a pagan holiday in honor of
the goddess Ostara. If true, this would
not be surprising, but even if it isn't,
in its idolatry Easter as we know it is
pagan in practice.
by Steve C. Halbrook

Is Easter a holy day? The answer is simple. No, because it is not part of God’s law. By the nature of the case, something is holy because it derives from the Holy God.

Thus since God is the source of holiness, when men attempt to make something holy (such as Easter)--and therefore do what only God can do--they attempt to be gods themselves. So we can say from the outset that Easter is idolatrous.

(Some hold that Easter’s origins trace back to a pagan holiday in honor of the goddess Ostara. If true, this would not be surprising, but even if it isn't, in its idolatry Easter as we know it is pagan in practice.)

Celebrating Easter in corporate worship is also idolatrous, as it violates the regulative principle of worship

And there is more.  Easter Sunday’s focus is on Christ’s resurrection. But according to the Bible, the focus of every Sunday, or Lord’s Day (a true holy day), is on Christ’s resurrection. And so since Easter attempts to focus on Christ’s resurrection just as the Lord’s Day does, celebrating and recognizing Easter implies one of two things:

1)       That Easter is the only true resurrection day 
2)       That the Lord’s Day is a flawed resurrection day that needs improvement. Otherwise, why bother celebrating Easter, since it would be redundant to celebrate two days with the same focus--unless one was flawed?[1] 

Since God’s word does in fact recognize the Lord’s Day as a true resurrection day, the first reason has no basis.

And the second reason likewise has no basis: Since The law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 19:7a), the Lord’s Day is perfect. Therefore, the Lord’s Day needs no improvement. If any special day can occur on the same day as the Lord's Day, it must be warranted by God Himself, through Scripture--not by man's traditions.

In either of the two implications given, Easter heinously holds that the Lord’s Day is an insufficient resurrection day.

But as we noted, God's law is perfect, and therefore the traditions of men cannot improve upon the Lord's Day, also known as the SabbathTo celebrate Easter then on the Lord’s Day is not holy, but Sabbath desecration, since the Sabbath is at best minimized, while the traditions of men are exalted.

The following is an example of Christ’s attitude towards such a mindset:
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, "What you would have gained from me is given to God," he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:   "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Matthew 15:1-9). 
Note how the Pharisees thought they could improve upon the command to honor one's parents, with the result being the sinful neglect of one's parents. Likewise, to attempt to improve upon the command to honor the Lord's Day results in the sinful neglect of the Lord's Day itself. On this day we are not to seek our own pleasure (e.g., our own traditions):

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
   from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
   and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
   or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the LORD,
   and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
   for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13, 14)

According to G. I. Williamson,
[W]herever the emphasis on such holy days as Christmas, Easter, etc., has increased, there has also been a corresponding decline in the observance of the Sabbaths of God. (And conversely, where there has been a serious attempt to keep the Sabbaths of God, there has been a rejection of those holy days which are without warrant in the Scripture.)[2] 
We would do well to remember that God does not share His glory with another, and as such, He does not share his holy days with idolatrous Sabbath desecrations such as Easter: 
“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:8)   

     [1] One might argue that, while Easter recognizes resurrection day, what makes it extra special is that it recognizes the actual date of Christ's resurrection. But first, one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt what that date is, without speculating; second, even if he determines this, he must account for the fact that the church regularly keeps Easter on different dates of the year; and third, he must show from Scripture that God sanctions Sunday Easter celebrations. On this latter point, if the Easter-advocate cannot, then he is attempting to improve upon God's perfect holy day (the Lord's Day, or Sabbath) with the traditions of men, insofar as he recognizes something about the date that makes the Lord's Day more holy or special. 

     [2] G. I. Williamson, Holy Days of Man and Holy Days of God (Blue-Banner Faith and Life, July-September 1962). Retrieved April 23, 2011, from

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