We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


He is risen indeed!
I think this is a very appropriate day to expose some gross errors about this day.  Is the date of Easter of pagan origins, and is the name “Easter” pagan? To both questions, the answer is a hearty “NO!”
Many, many years ago I read that the name “Easter” was a variation of the name for a Pagan fertility goddess, and that the date of Easter was made to align with pagan spring fertility celebrations.  Well, I already knew that the date of Easter was based on the date of the Jewish Passover, but that fertility goddess thing really made sense to me.  After all, the comparisons to the names Ishtar, Ashtoreth, etc certainly looked like that’s where the name came from.
Many, many years later, and many, many authors later, I’m still reading how Easter is an Anglicized version of Ishtar, etc.  Over the years we have refused to use the word “Easter,” and instead celebrated “Resurrection Day.”
I know two books used in the many writings/books I have read were Babylon Mystery Religion and The Two Babylons, the former book citing the latter as its source.  I bought the former in 1994, while the latter was given to me about 10 years later.  By the time I read Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons, I had been studying apologetics for a long time, including the Roman Catholic Church - the object of Hislop’s book - and recognized there were problems with many of his claims.  But I never gave another thought to the claim about the origin of the name of Easter, and have actually been propagating that story as late as a couple weeks ago!
Well, the wonderful ministry Answers in Genesis put out a couple articles this week examining the source of the date of Easter and the origin of its name.  The first article didn’t give me any new data (as noted, I already was aware of the date origin), but the second one was a real eye-opener!
It seems the best explanation of the word “Easter” has nothing to do with the names of pagan goddesses, but is instead based on the German word for "resurrection"!
If you are still being told that the Romanist church made the date of Easter to make the pagans happy, or that the name of Easter was chosen by the Roman church also to give succor to the pagans, I suggest you review the two articles by AIG.   And get rid of your Alexander Hislop book!

5 comments:

Jim W said...

Thank God for Easter! Have a blessed day, Glen (and to your family as well).

Dan said...

This is funny. (as in weird) Just yesterday we had a long family discussion about the origin of the word Easter. I taught my children Hislop's version and explained the rabbit, eggs, and pagan fertility fixations.

Still, not able to bring myself to saying "resurrection day" I pointed out that words have meanings and we are conveying information when we say words. I asked my children and wife, when you hear the word Easter, do you think of a fertility goddess, or do you think of a spring day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus? Their answer, of coarse, was that latter. So therefore we didn't dissuade the use of the word "Easter" in our house.

In instances like this I always like to consider historical Christians and their approach to this "dilemma". There didn't appear to be one. This thought didn't escape me. Now I know why.

It was so awkward hearing people today say happy resurrection day. I'm so glad that I can with a free conscious say Happy Easter. Thank you. Happy Easter

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

In my post about the nonsense of churches doing the Easter bunny/egg thing, I had a parenthetical remark about the origin of the name, so that was deleted today!

Hislop was given lots of credence by many people, but mainly because he was attacking Rome, and any thing useful to attack Rome is grabbed up by bigots against Rome. These people, including the likes of Jack Chick, don't seem to have any intention of winning people from the false teachings of Rome, or to warn people against going into the RCC, rather all they seem to want to do is just attack it. While doing so, they will make up stuff to make Rome look bad. I say there is enough TRUE stuff about the RCC that we don't have to make stuff up!

Hislop has been torn apart by many apologists I have read over the years, although right now I couldn't tell you by whom and when; all I know is that reading about Hislop's poor research led me to toss his book.

Lois said...

Glenn, sort of an unrelated question, and I don't have time or energy right now to look it up, but the KJV has one use of the word Easter, I think in one of the gospels. Supposedly the KJV onlies use that as proof that all the other versions are in error which use "Passover." Can you expound on that? I only heard it once from a pulpit in passing.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Lois,

Well, from my understanding, Passover was the the particular Jewish holiday being celebrated when Jesus was crucified, so to use that name in relation to the days is just fine.

Easter, which as noted derives from the German for "resurrection," was used in the Anglo-Saxon language of the day. It is really no more than an Anglicization of the German word. So, while Passover can refer to the week of the celebration, Easter can only apply to the actual day of the resurrection. IF KJVOs want to make an issue of that, then they really have a problem! (Of course, they have a problem anyway :oD )