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Easter and Easter Sunrise Services
I am Jessie Mills, Ph.D.
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Easter and Easter Sunrise Services

 

Introduction

After a lengthy investigation into ancient works regarding the celebration of “oestre” (English “Easter”), and the Easter Sunrise Service, I am fully convinced that God has never authorized this festival for Christians.  In the beginning of this “oestre” celebration, or Easter as we today refer to it, only Heathens occupied themselves to this festival.  However, it was not long before this changed and God’s people soon applied themselves to the worship of the Sun Goddess on the 14th day of the moon.  At the beginning of this lesson I must say that I am cognizant of the fact that I have chosen to write about a subject in which I will gain no popularity.  That be as it may, I shall proceed.  To proceed I must say to the best of my ability I will not present the following evidence in an indignant or ludicrous way, knowing first of all that there are many nebulous ideas regarding this subject.

 

A. What constitutes Easter Sunrise Service?

It is Christians arising early before dawn, going atop some high place, or grave yard, on the east side of some church and face the east to await sunrise in order to pay tribute to the resurrection of Christ, sing songs, and pray.  Seems very innocent, but where is the authority for such?  Think seriously.  This amounts to sun worship, not Christ Worship.  Since such practice is not God ordained it stands to reason that man ordained the practice, therefore it has come down to us by way of tradition.  The Apostle Paul speaks to the Church at Colossae regarding such tradition.  Col. 2:8-10. 

B. Did ancient people before Christ practice such things?

In Ezekiel 8:1-18, God shows Ezekiel what Israel was committing – sun worship – a sin which never should have been.  However, God allows no sin to go unpunished.  Now notice carefully verse 16.  Israel was doing the same thing that people today are doing, but they did not call it “Easter Sunrise Service.”  It was sun worship according to heathen gods. 

C. Whence comes the phrase and practice of “Easter, and Easter Sunrise service?”  A visit to a good library will confirm the following:

1. The annual festival observed throughout Christendom in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the name Easter [oestre] like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the old Testament Teutonic Mythology.  Bede, ECCL History of England, chapter 15, 8th Century AD.

2. “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter Festival in the New Testament or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers these ideas was absent from the minds of the first Christians.”  St. Augustine, Joann, track 55. 329 AD.

3. Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, ch. 5, v. 22 states “with perfect truth, that neither the Lord nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival, further the Apostles had no thought of appointing festival days.”

4. The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5 under the word “Easter” confirms the above.  1907 edition.

5. The Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 8, 1908 edition confirms the above.  Notice the 1911 edition was the last edition to carry religious events.

6. Have you ever looked up “Lent” in history books or encyclopedias?  Ever wondered why fasts, drunken, drug induced chaos, vandalism and crime punctuate such pre-Easter celebrations as “Mardi Gras?”

7. The word “Teutonic” meaning an ancient idol goddess which has come to us, is a term with ancient roots beginning in ancient Babylon and Assyria and among other pagan races.

D. We might ask how can a thing seemingly so innocent be so wrong for God’s people to observe?  First, we must find in God’s Word authority for observing such festivals.  Second, we need to study the past history of the celebrations which is common in our day, and look closely at the effect it can have, especially on children.

E. Teutonic Goddess–As was mentioned in the introduction, this festival of worshipping the Sun Goddess was practiced several hundred years before Christ.  It did not take long for God’s chosen people to begin to worship the Teutonic goddess.  We find the proof of this in Ezekiel Chapter 8:16-18.  Verse 18, spells out what God intends to bring upon Israel for such practice–seventy years of slavery in Babylon.  We must notice at this time God dwelled in the Holy of Holies among his people, but in Ezekiel 9:3, we begin to see God leaving the people because of their sins.  Ezekiel 10:4, God  moves further away, 10:18, God moves, 11:23 God moves away from the people of Israel.  He has turned his back upon them and their doom is at hand, as he calls upon King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Ezekiel 21:18-32. Even this early in the lesson can we as Christians afford to follow the festival celebrations which God has not authorized simply because the majority does?  We see what God has done to his chosen people!  Yet we (like they) say as they did, “God does not see.  After all, there’s nothing wrong with such innocent acts!”

F. Innocent as it may seem, God and Christ instituted no such festival as we have just seen in Ezekiel.  And once for all, let’s study God’s Passover when Christ and the Apostles observed it their last time together, as was commanded by the Law of Moses.  Luke 22:7-20 informs us that Jesus ate his last Passover meal with the apostles, and after the Passover meal he took the bread and blessed it, and gave to the disciples with instructions to eat.  Then he took the wine [fruit of the vine] blessed it and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Drink ye all of it, for as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me.”  The new converts of Acts chapter 2 took of the communion daily, and daily heard the apostles’ teaching.  There is nothing to be found in the Apostles’ teaching that even slightly infers festival activities to be practiced on the first day of the week when Christians observed the Lord’s Supper.  Acts 20:7. And of all things, if the festival activities were authorized, it would be authorized each time Christians observe the resurrection by taking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, and not just once a year.

G. Now we go to the tomb on the first day of the week, the resurrection morning the women came at early dawn but Jesus had already risen.  No mention of the women facing to the east and paying homage to the Sun as it rose in the eastern sky, no mention of bringing colored eggs, no rabbits were brought to sacrifice to the goddess of fertility.  Of course, the women coming to the tomb of Jesus had nothing to do with the present day celebration of Easter or Easter Sunrise Service.  The reason was that as a festive celebration to observe the resurrection of Christ, the event was unknown!  Those who are afraid of the truth should read no further!  For the truth is that Easter is pagan!

H. Important is the case of the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:1-11. Verse 6,7 Paul sailed from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, that is the Passover and the Passover and the 14th day of the moon is what many today use to justify the celebration of Easter!  But it will not stand, for Paul makes it very clear as to his intentions on the first day of the week at Troas, his reason was to celebrate the Christian Sabbath, in which they commemorated the resurrection of our Lord, and which among all Christians, afterwards took the place of the Jewish Sabbath.  Verse 7.  The celebration consisted of breaking bread, [Communion] preaching and having a common meal together.  The scripture intimates that the people were accustomed to receive the Lord’s Supper on each first day of the week.  Here again, nothing is said in regards to an Easter celebration or of observing the Passover on the 14th of Nissan, the first month of the year according to the Jewish sacred calendar.

I. But even now you will hear someone say, “What’s the big fuss?”  Others will say, “Are we to take away such innocent things, the excitement of children searching the lawn for colored Easter eggs?  After all, we are not doing it with pagan things in mind, we are simply doing it as a Christian ceremony.”  Jesus, Peter nor Paul ever authorized it.  So what did God say to Israel for being involved in this thing?  Ezekiel 8:17,18. Their doom was at hand.  The English term “Easter” relates to “Oestre” a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which is deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda.  [Simrock Mythol, 362]  Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5, page 224.

J. About 190 AD as Eusebius records there being a considerable discussion regarding the observance of the Paschal season celebrated among the Jews left after the destruction of Israel.  Those who remained under law and Judaism continued to observe the Passover.  And so the new founded churches of our Lord desired also to keep the 14th day of the moon as festival day to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.  The Church Fathers quickly drew up an Ecclesiastical decree, stating, “that the Lord’s resurrection would be celebrated on the Lord’s day, and no other.  Each first day would be observed.”  Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, book 5, ch. 23, page 207. No mention of Easter Sunrise Service as an approved festival!

K. In Catholic-controlled countries people celebrated Easter [oestre] by putting out all the lights in churches and buildings on Saturday night before Easter Sunday and building huge fires on high places, mountains, hill tops, believing this would prevent Baal and the natural hazards from harming them or their crops.  When the fires burned out, the people would march to the church.  Three times they would march around the church then break up.  Girls would give the boys painted eggs.  In some countries of Europe squirrels were burned in the Easter bon fire.  In Scotland the Easter bon fires were known as the Beltane fires, where human sacrifices were clear and unequivocal.  The Golden Bough, pp. 251-254.  “Roots of Religion and Folklore.”

L. History of Nations Article Easter, or Teutonic of Babylon.  So as long ago as 606 BC the Israelites began to practice the religion of the pagan nations around them.  Ezekiel 8 spells out their sin, 70 years as slaves in Babylon.  They forsook God and served Baal and Ashtaroth which constituted sun worship.  They served idols, and God said “Ye shall not do this thing.” 2 Kings 17:7-11. Ashtaroth the fertility goddess demanded worship of phallic idols.  Please look up the word “phallic.”

 

Conclusion

“After buying all my Easter outfits, spending money on the girls for their new Easter bonnets and dresses, you have the nerve to tell me that if I engage in an Easter sunrise service that I am guilty of practicing heathen celebrations?”  The answer is an emphatic “Yes!”  What God has not ordained we have no right to become involved in.  In all the writings of the early Apostolic Fathers, “Easter Sunday” and Easter Sunrise Service were never mentioned as Christian observances, and since it was originated by heathens, then let heathens celebrate it.

 

 


 

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© Copyright 2014 by Jessie Mills. All Rights Reserved by the author, Jessie E. Mills, Jr. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior express written permission of the publisher, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or other publications. Such quotations must be used with proper reference to their context and give appropriate credit to their authorship.