The Sunday that most Christian's celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is called the name of the pagan goddess of fertility - Easter. Did the church convert the pagan holiday, and transform it into the most precious Christian holiday?
Christ’s Resurrection and Easter by Jeanne Chatman
The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important event in the Christian calendar, because the Savior brought eternal life to mankind by defeating Death and Hell. The Glorious Kingdom of God is perfect. There is no sin in Heaven, only love and happiness. God is perfect love, but mankind has chosen to reject God by sinning. Sin is the absence of perfection, and the absence of love. Human beings were created in the image of God. However, they were given a choice to love God or reject God. Perfect love is given only by a person’s free will. God did not create human beings to be robots in order to live a perfect life. Mankind has choices. Unfortunately, men reject God by going against His will and committing sins. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the World, came to earth. He was a part of God clothed in flesh. As a man, He never sinned, but He took the sins of mankind as his very own, when He allowed men to crucify Him. He wanted to die for the sins of mankind to save them from eternal separation from God. Spiritual and physical death is the result of sin. Sin destroys our souls, and separates us from God and life in His eternal Kingdom. The Messiah took our sins and paid the death penalty for them in our place. Then He resurrected from the dead, conquering death and hell. He took our sins and removed them from us. His death for our sins can make us clean and pure in order to have everlasting life in Heaven. Mankind can have this gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ’s death for our sins and believing in His resurrection. Repentance and accepting Jesus as the Savior is also essential. That is why the resurrection is so important. It is the act of the Lord Jesus Christ’s victory in the Resurrection that gives us eternal life in His joyous, everlasting Kingdom of Heaven.
Why is the wonderful event of Christ’s resurrection called Easter? It is because most people do not know the history of the word Easter. In their lack of knowledge about that word, people have accepted it to mean the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without meaning to insult the Resurrection event, people use the word Easter. In reality, Easter is a word that insults Christianity and the Resurrection of Jesus.
The word Easter is found in only one place in the Bible, and that is in Acts 12:4-7. This account records that Herod killed the Apostle James with a sword in his persecution of the church. Herod, an Edomite, had been appointed to the position of King of the Jews by Caesar. It was his duty to control the Jewish nation. He made alliances with the Jewish leaders to help him do his job. The Jewish leaders were also in high positions in the Jewish temple. They hated Jesus, because he had exposed their hypocrisy. They were also jealous, because Jesus performed miracles,and had a great following of Jewish people. The Jewish leaders felt threatened in their leadership positions. So, they began the process of having Jesus crucified. It also pleased them to have Herod persecute the followers of Christ. Knowing this, Herod had the Apostle Peter captured. He was going to have Peter put to death, but it was at an inconvenient time. The Jews were getting ready to celebrate “the days of unleavened bread.” The Bible also states that it was Easter time. The Bible does not describe what Easter was. In their lack of historical knowledge, some readers have interpreted Easter to mean a time when Christians celebrated the Resurrection. That was and still is a very wrong interpretation. (2)
Herod did not care about any of the celebrations of the followers of Jesus. He despised Christians. However, he loved Easter, because he was a pagan who enjoyed participating in the celebration. He looked forward to the Spring celebration of Easter, because it included a huge drunken orgy. The worship of Easter not only included perverse sexual acts, it also had the sensationalism of human sacrifice using babies. It was Satanism, and it was an abomination to the Lord God.
Today some in the Christian community believe that the word, Easter, has been converted and cleansed to represent the Resurrection. Other Christians despise the word, because they believe it is a representation of evil. Many Christians will not use the word in reference to the precious act of salvation and victory of the Lord over death and hell.
The Easter egg and the rabbit have been well known symbols of fertility in Egypt, in China, and in Europe. The goddess of fertility was called Oestre, Ostara, and Eastre in Europe. She was called Ishtar in ancient Babylon, and Isis in Egypt. (5) The coming of Spring and the celebration of the goddess of fertility has been celebrated by pagans around the world for thousands of years. As Christianity began to spread throughout Europe, the spring festival with colored eggs and young rabbits was converted to symbolize new life. The coming of new life in the Spring came to represent the new life Christ brought to mankind with His resurrection from the dead. Thus, the term Easter was transformed to mean the celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ bringing eternal life to His followers. However, some Christians do not approve of the converted term. Most Christians don’t know the history of the term Easter, and use it innocently.
The following is a brief history of the beginning of the origin of Easter. Ishtar(pronounced Easter) has also been called Eostre, Astarte, Ostera, and Eastre in a variety of ancient cultures. She was the wife of the pagan god Baal, and the goddess of fertility. She was worshiped with sexual orgies using temple prostitutes. She has been known as the moon goddess, and Mother Nature. She has been called the Queen of Heaven and the Mother goddess. Symbols such as rabbits and eggs have been used in Spring time fertility rituals.(5)
The ancient story of Ishtar began in Babel after the great world wide catastrophic flood. Before she became a goddess, her name was Semiramas. She was the young wife of Cush, the son of Ham who was the son of Noah. Cush and Semiramas had a son named Nimrod, who was a mighty man. (1) He established himself as a god-king. He claimed to know all the mysteries of civilization before the flood. Nimrod was very powerful and had a great following of people who worshiped him. Wanting to share the power, Semiramas married her son and became his queen. She was considered to be the most beautiful and desirable woman in the world. Shem, the son of Noah, killed his nephew Nimrod for introducing paganism to the people, and defying the great Creator God. Shem and his army waged a war against Nimrod. They captured him and killed him to prove that he was not a god, but a mortal man. His body was cut up into pieces, and sent to all the cities in his kingdom to testify that Nimrod was just a man and not a god. Semiramas was furious and was not going to let her power be diminished.(6)
Determined to prove that her son/husband was a living god, and not defeated by death, Semiramas had a baby (father unknown). She proclaimed that he was the reincarnated Nimrod, the sun god. She established herself as the mother goddess, and the queen of heaven. She had images made of herself with her baby son in her arms. She had temples built for the worship of the new idols of herself and her son. In the temples perverted sexual acts with prostitute male and female priests were performed as part of the worship with the congregation. The human sacrifice of babies was also included in the ceremonies. The Satanic practices became the beginning of pagan worship. Semiramas became known as Ishtar, the goddess of fertility. The sensuality and sensationalism of the evil practices of pagan worship spread throughout the world. The murder of infants and the sexual orgies as part of the goddess of fertility worship spread like wild fire throughout the world. (6)
The goddess Ishtar became the goddess Isis in Egypt. The legend of Isis and Osiris developed. It was told that Osiris brought civilization to Egypt, which can be compared to Nimrod building a kingdom of many cities and having the knowledge of the mysteries of the preflood world. Osiris’s evil brother Seth killed him and cut his body into many pieces, which is similar to the story of Nimrod’s uncle Shem who killed him and cut his body into pieces.(4) Isis, Osiris wife, found the pieces and brought him back to life. Ishtar brought Nimrod back to life by giving birth to him in the form of a baby. A festival of Osiris’s new life was celebrated in the Spring. A festival of new life and fertility in the worship of Ishtar was celebrated in the Spring, also.(6)The Spring festival became known as Easter. Therefore, Herod’s use of the word Easter was not intended to be synonymous with the word Resurrection.
1.The Holy Bible, The Authorized King James Version, Genesis 10:7-12,The World Publishing Company, 1913,Cleveland and New York
2. Ibid. Acts12: 1-4
3.Biblical Encyclopedia Concordance, Dr. George H Sandison, Holy Bible, King James Version, 1913, The World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York
4.Glencoe WORLD HISTORY, 2005 McGraw-Hill Co, Inc. USA,
pp. 46 & 47
5. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, p. 867, Chicago, 1967
6.The Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, Vol. 1, 1949, Funk and Wagnall