Is Easter a Pagan Holiday?

Origins of Easter

The word “Easter” is found only once in Scripture and has a different meaning than the generally accepted meaning of the word “Easter.”

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Acts 12:4

In this passage, the King James translators mistranslated the Greek word pascha, which denotes the Passover. Thus, in Acts 12:4 the phrase after Easter should read “after the Passover” signifying the whole festival of Unleavened Bread. Peter was incarcerated throughout the entire festival with the intent of Herod (Agrippa) to bring him out for public trial after the Passover period had ended. (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. II, p. 292).

The term “Easter” is not of Christian origin. In fact, it is another form of the word “Astarte,” one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess known as the queen of Heaven. The actual festival of Pasch held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast of Unleavened Bread — the Passover. This Pasch and the pagan festival of Easter were quite distinct, yet they were introduced into the apostate Western religion as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity (this was not instituted by Christ). (VINE’S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WORDS, pp. 344-345).

Some historians point to the origin of Easter as being the spring festival in honor of Eastra or Ostara, the Teutonic goddess of light and spring. As early as the eighth century, the name “Easter” was transferred by the Anglo-Saxons to the Christian festival designed to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. (DAVIS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, p. 193).

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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