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(By Crystal Holmes)

Acts 12:3-4. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 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.

This one translation has caused a lot of misunderstanding. The word here translated as “Easter” is from the Strong’s word 3957 “pascha”, meaning “passover”, and it was correctly translated 28 of the 29 times used in the Bible.

There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover, meta to pasca. The word Easter now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honour of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that; nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. …The word Easter is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from Eostre, the goddess of love, or the Venus of the North, in honour of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April.” (Barnes’ New Testament Notes. 1870. Volume XI. p. 190.)

Recall the Biblical Passover. Ancient Israel was enslaved to the Egyptians. God, through Moses, asked Pharaoh to release His people, but Pharaoh refused. So God sent plagues upon the Egyptians, and the tenth plague was the death of the firstborn, of man and of beast. But those that had sacrificed a lamb and placed its blood upon their door posts did not receive this plague – God’s spirit passed over those houses.

The Biblical Passover remembers the time when God overlooked their sins through the sacrifice of the lamb. In the New Testament, Jesus took the place of that lamb, becoming a sacrifice for sins and buying spiritual freedom from the slavery of sin.

When you observe the Biblical Passover, you recall these events and their meaning, but when you observe Easter, you are celebrating something different entirely – a different god!

Easter = Eostre = Astarte = Ishtar = Queen Of Heaven {1}

“Easter” comes from the Norse name of a springtime fertility goddess. Easter “is derived from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility”. (Funk and Wagnall. Standard Reference Encyclopedia. 1912. Vol. 8. p. 2940.)

“The name Easter comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Eostre or Ostara, in whose honor an annual spring festival was held. Some of our Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals.” (Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. p. 140.)

Notice that Compton admits that certain present-day Easter customs come directly from this pagan spring festival, as well as from other pre-Christian spring festivals!

“Easter, for instance, a time of sacrifice and rebirth in the Christian year, takes its name from the Norse goddess Eostre, in whose honour rites were held every spring. She in turn was simply a northern version of the Phoenician earth-mother {2} Astarte, goddess of fertility.”

The Reader’s Digest Association links the Norse Eostre with the ancient Phoenician Astarte (Reader’s Digest Association. The Last Two Million Years. 1981. p. 215.). Both were goddesses of fertility and had their festivals at the same time in the spring. And Astarte has been identified with Ishtar and Inanna:

“Ishtar is identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna and with Astarte of the Phoenicians and Babylonians.” (Coulter, Charles Russell and Patricia Turner. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. 2012.)

The same writer gives over 30 names for this goddess as well as the following information about her in his work Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities:

“…Ishtar is generally thought to have originally been the earlier Sumerian goddess Inanna. Ishtar is a mother goddess, fertility goddess, the goddess of spring, a storm goddess, a warrior and goddess of war, a goddess of the hunt, a goddess of love, goddess of marriage and childbirth, goddess of fate, and a goddess who is the divine personification of the planet Venus. She is also an underworld deity. Her predominate aspects are as the mother goddess of compassion and the goddess of sex and war…. The sexual aspect of her persona is linked to the earth’s fertility.” (Coulter, Charles Russell and Patricia Turner. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. 2012.)

Another writer links Astarte and Isis with Beltis, the Queen of Heaven:

“Isis [is] the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven…. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country [Great Britain]. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar.” (Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons.)

Easter really is the same as Ashtoreth or Ishtar, and she is simply the personification of fertility, the great mother goddess, the queen of heaven of ancient pagan religions. As a goddess of fertility, there are many myths about her vital role in the fertility of the earth and about the death of vegetation and the lack of libido in the animal world during her absence.

“The myth of the abduction of the vegetation goddess is Pre-Greek as evident in the Syro-Mesopotamian mythology of the abduction of the goddess of fertility and harvest, Ishtar (also Ashtar, Astarte and Inanna)…. Persephone is an old chthonic [or, underworld] deity of the agricultural communities, who received the souls of the dead into the earth, and acquired powers over the fertility of the soil, over which she reigned.” (Wikipedia. “Persephone”. https://web.archive.org/web/20140723060137/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persephone)

But, Easter, as celebrated today, has no reference to a female deity. Only the name of Easter refers to a female deity. So how did an ancient goddess’ name get connected to the modern so-called Christian celebration of the resurrection of a male savior? To answer that question, we need to travel to ancient Sumer, in southern Babylon, around 3,200 years before Christ.

“The greatest female deity in Sumer was… Inanna. She was known as Ishtar in Assyria and Astarte or Beltis in Babylon. Inanna’s chief city of worship was Uruk, or Erech, in central Mesopotamia; her fame was universal. It extended to Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, parts of Turkey, Persia and ultimately Egypt, Greece and Rome. Ultimately she became Venus, Isis, Diana and of course, Aphrodite.” (Alfieri, Anthony. The Darkness At The Crucifixion. 2005. p. 288.)

There was a myth associated with this Inanna – that of her descent to hell, and this myth formed the basis for later Assyrian and Babylonian myths.

“In both Sumer and Assyria, Inanna and Ishtar are said to have been lovers or wives of the Sun god Tammuz. At one time, most scholars believed that Inanna’s descent into hell was prompted by her desire to rescue a lover from a savage and ignominious death. Today, fewer subscribe to this, but the idea still has supporters.” (ibid. p. 289.)

Scholars bicker over exactly why Inanna went into hell, but regardless of her motives, upon her return to the land of the living, the earth would again be brought back to life – making this clearly a death and resurrection myth… recognizably called “Easter” and observed in the same season as the supposed Christian festival is today. Is that a coincidence?

Like all religions, beliefs changed over time to fit the mood of the people and the needs of the rulers. What began as the myth of Inanna gradually changed to emphasize her husband:

To extol the dramatic new fortunes of the city of Babylon, a new version of Inanna’s descent and Tammuz’ death was invented just for that city [circa 650 B.C.], in which the gods of that city, Bel and Beltis, took over the roles in the Inanna myth. The one major difference seems to be that the male figure, Bel, now assumed the prominent role of the crusader who ventures into hell. Bel dies in hell and the details of his death and Beltis’ rescue, show an even more uncanny resemblance to the events of the Crucifixion.” (ibid. p. 291.)

The ORIGINAL Easter focused on a WOMAN’S descent to the underworld and her return with her formerly-dead husband – which is why it bore her name, Ishtar or Easter. But over time, the story was adapted to keep up with the changing customs and religion of the people and ultimately focused on a MAN’S descent to the underworld and subsequent return to life.

The Passion Of, And The Weeping For, Tammuz

According to ancient mythologies, the vegetation god had been killed by his great enemy, who cut his body into pieces and sent them to all the provinces of the land. Ishtar sought all of his parts with tears and toil to reunite them and bury the corpse.

“The indications are that all of Babylon and the surrounding cities were involved in acting out the death and resurrection of Bel during the New Year’s festival [Nisan 1 – Nisan 12; Passover, you recall, is on Nisan 14]. People thronged the streets in mock anguish for three days and rejoiced at his deliverance on the third day….” (ibid. p. 300.)

In the spring every year, you will see advertisements for passion plays. They are re-enacted at many churches. Like in ancient times, participants today still bleed in their mock anguish and follow other ancient practices of “piety”, such as mourning their dead savior on Good Friday and rejoicing in his resurrection at sunrise of the third day!

“Buried in their shrines they keep an image of Osiris, over which they mourn in anniversary lamentations, wherein they shave their heads so that the ugliness of their disfigured polls may show their grief for the pitiful lot of their king. Also they beat their breasts, tear their upper arms, and break open the scars of old wounds, so that the anniversary lamentations may ever renew in their hearts the memory of the death effected by gruesome and pitiable murder. And after performing these rites on set days, next they feign that they are questing for the remains of the mutilated corpse, and rejoice on finding them as if their sorrows were lulled….” (Maternus, Julius Firmicus. De Errore Profanarum Religionum.)

Images of the god were made and dressed, and his burial was re-enacted as women wept for him for days. Sir James George Frazer, considered to be an expert in mythology and religion and one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology, wrote in his famous 12-volume work The Golden Bough:

“At the festivals of Adonis, which were held in Western Asia and in Greek lands, the death of the god was annually mourned, with a bitter wailing, chiefly by women; images of him, dressed to resemble corpses, were carried out as to burial…” (Frazer, Sir James George. The Golden Bough. 1914. Volume 5. p. 224.)

And the weeping wasn’t enough. Worshippers had to shave their heads for the death of their king. If women would not consent to that, they were required to prostitute themselves in honor of the god and dedicate the wages of that deed to their queen, Astarte. Frazer continues:

“In the great Phoenician sanctuary of Astarte at Byblus the death of Adonis was annually mourned, to the shrill wailing notes of the flute, with weeping, lamentation, and beating of the breast; but next day he was believed to come to life again and ascend up to heaven in the presence of his worshippers. The disconsolate believers, left behind on earth, shaved their heads as the Egyptians did on the death of the divine bull Apis; women who could not bring themselves to sacrifice their beautiful tresses had to give themselves up to strangers on a certain day of the festival, and to dedicate to Astarte the wages of their shame.” (ibid. p. 225.)

Sunrise Services

Khani didn’t like to get up while it was still dark, but he eagerly did it for this once-a-year celebration. Every year, in the spring, there was a big celebration at sunrise. Members of his church would gather first at the graveyard to remember the death of the god, and then they would walk through the chilly, moist air by candlelight to the highest peak around. And they would wait. Wait for the lightening sky to finally offer up the rising Sun!

As the rays would break over the hills, Khani would tell his children: “Look to the East! Our savior is rising!” And he and his family would give praise to god for being released from the chains of death and for sharing his life-giving powers with mere mortals.

Shouts of excitement and joy would ring against the buildings of the city and all over the hillside as worshippers reveled in the glorious occasion. For days they had wept at the loss of their savior, and now they would rejoice in his return! Music and songs of merriment would fill the air for hours. Families would share tasty food and treats with their friends and neighbors. God had defeated death yet again and would reign over the earth for another year; thus, the earth, and they, could live another year through the magnanimity and power of god!

*****

“The custom of a sunrise service on Easter Sunday can be traced to ancient spring festivals that celebrated the rising sun.” (The New Book of Knowledge. 1978.)

The indigenous peoples of Peru had a spring celebration at sunrise before the introduction of Christianity there:

“Eagerly, they watched the coming of the deity, and no sooner did his first yellow rays strike the turrets and loftiest buildings of the capital, than a shout of gratulation broke forth from the assembled multitude, accompanied by songs of triumph, and the wild melody of barbaric instruments, that swelled louder and louder as his bright orb, rising above the mountain range towards the east, shone in full splendour on his votaries.” (Prescott, William. History of the Conquest of Peru. 1855. Volume 1. p. 69.)

But what does God say about these observances?

Ezekiel 8:13-14. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

Here God specifically condemns weeping for Tammuz. This includes passion plays and their related “holy week” celebrations. He calls these things ABOMINATIONS. In other words, things He HATES. But that’s not all! Today, just as in those days, people commit even greater abominations!

Ezekiel 8:15-16. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

These people were at the Lord’s house and turned their backs on the true God of the Bible so they could worship the sun! It wasn’t enough to worship a false god; they had to go to the house of the Lord to do it! Talk about rubbing someone’s face in something! They observe pagan customs in God’s house, that is, a church of God… just like almost every Christian in the world today!

Ezekiel 8:17-18. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thingto the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger…. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

Observing Easter is a very serious offense! It is a great way to provoke God to anger and make Him want to deal with you as He did with the ancient Israelites – keeping Easter makes Him want to ruthlessly destroy you! Is this starting to make Easter sound a little less fun? Is it really worth risking God’s wrath just so your children can hunt Easter eggs and bite the ears off of chocolate bunnies?

*****

Now we’ll look at some of the most common symbols of Easter and discover their true meaning and origin.

“…at Easter, popular customs reflect many ancient pagan survivals connected with spring fertility rites, such as the symbols of the Easter egg and the Easter hare or rabbit.” (Encyclopedia Britannica. “Easter Bunny.”)

Eggs

Eggs are a fertility symbol, and eggs were used prominently in many pagan fertility rites.

“…the egg is a powerful symbol of fertility, purity and rebirth. It is used in magical rituals to promote fertility and restore virility; to look into the future, to bring good weather; to encourage the growth of crops and to protect both cattle and children against misfortune. All over the world it represents life and creation, fertility and resurrection… (and) was linked with Easter.” (The Encyclopedia of Religion. 1987. p. 37.)

The egg is one of the symbols of the goddess Venus (Ishtar). According to mythology, she was hatched from an egg that came from heaven. It fell upon the Euphrates River. Venus/Ishtar was conceived when the penis of Osiris/Tammuz, which had been cut off by his enemies, was cast into the river. Because Venus/Ishtar came from an egg, the egg was a sacred Easter offering in ancient Egypt, and they are still considered to be sacred offerings in China and Europe today.

Even though the Roman Catholic Church knew that the egg was a pagan symbol, used in fertility rites by pagans for centuries, they adopted it as a symbol of the resurrection.

The church did not oppose this, though many egg customs were pre-Christian in origin, because the egg provided a fresh and powerful symbol of the resurrection and the transformation of death into life.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition. p. 227.)

Bunnies

Rabbits do not lay eggs, but they breed like, well, rabbits. And that is how they are connected to Easter. They, too, are a symbol of fertility, but they also represent lust.

“Children’s stories in many countries tell how Easter eggs are brought not by a chicken but by hares and rabbits. These long-eared hopping mammals have represented fertility in many cultures because they breed so quickly. In traditional Christian art the hare represents lust, and paintings sometimes show a hare at the Virgin Mary’s feet to signify her triumph over temptations of the flesh. Yet as a symbol of life reawakening in the spring – often portrayed as the innocent and cuddly Easter bunny – the rabbit co-exists in many places with the solemn Christian rites of Easter.” (Readers’ Digest Book of Facts. 1987. p. 122.)

“Like the Easter egg, the Easter hare came to Christianity from antiquity. The hare is associated with the moon in the legends of ancient Egypt and other peoples… The hare came to be associated with… the beginning of new life in both the young man and young woman, and so is a symbol of fertility and the renewal of life.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, “Easter Bunny”)

Even the Catholic Church reluctantly admits that the bunny is a pagan symbol of fertility:

“The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring (and therefore directly related to SUN-worship), gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring… the Easter rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.(Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition. “Easter”.)

The Easter bunny has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. It is a pagan symbol of fertility and rebirth.

Easter Lilies

A beautiful flower with a wonderful fragrance. To church-goers it is a symbol of purity and a welcome harbringer of spring. But how did this particular flower become associated with Easter? Unger’s Bible Dictionary provides some extraordinary insight.

“Characteristically Canaanite, the lily symbolizes grace and sex appeal…” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary. p. 412.)

As a symbol of grace and sex appeal, it has no place in the worship of the True God. It, like the other symbols, was borrowed from the pagan world.

Conclusion

The ancient Israelites never really gave up the pagan gods they had always worshipped. When they realized they needed God’s help, they said they would obey Him, but they never truly repented. Those left in Judah after Israel was carried away to Assyria still served Ishtar and her consort Tammuz.

Jeremiah 44:17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

They insisted on following these customs, much like mainstream Christianity does today. If you happen to be in a Latin American country during “holy week”, you will see groups of people walking through the streets carrying a puppet image of the god on the cross. They are imitating Ishtar’s search for the parts of Osiris’ body, and then rejoicing at finding them and his being “restored” to life. Very little, if anything, has changed since Nimrod’s time regarding this springtime lamentation and celebration. God condemns these practices in the Bible, instructing His followers not to learn the ways the heathens used to worship their gods (Jeremiah 10:2, Deuteronomy 12:30).

It was easier in ancient times to see who was serving the sun-god and who was serving the God of the Bible. But Satan is deceptive, and he has had a few thousand years to improve his tactics. Mainstream Christians don’t know that they are serving false gods; these things are hidden from them. Because they don’t have a love of the truth, they are blinded and deceived (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

But now YOU know the truth about Easter, and now YOU can decide if you will obey God and stop serving His enemy or if you will continue to “cry aloud and cut yourselves with knives and lancets, till the blood gushes out upon you” (1 Kings 18:28) for the sun-god.

 

{1} earth-mother = mother earth = Gaia. And if the Phoenician earth-mother is Astarte, then Gaia is simply another name for her.

{2} Ishtar. Also known as: Absusu (Sumerian), Abtagigi (She Show Sends Messages of Desire), Agasaya, Ashtart, Ashtoreth, Athar (Arabic), Aya (Babylonian), Banitu (possibly), Belti (Semite), Bisi-Bisi, The Bride, Dilbar (The War-Provoking Evening Star), Gamlat (Babylonian), Gumshea, Hanata (Middle Eastern), Inanna (Sumerian), Innini, Irnini (possibly), Kilili (Queen of Harlots), Meni (possibly), Minu-anni, Minu-ullu, Nin-kar-zi-da, Nin-khar-sagga, Nin-si-anna, Ninkarrak (Sumerian), Ninkasi, Ninlil (Phoenician), Sharis (possibly an ancient name used by the Armenians), Shaushka (Hittite), Shimti (Akkadian; goddess of fate), The Shrieker, Zanaru (Lady of the Islands, Zib (evening star who stimulates sexual desire).

 

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The Real Origin of Easter


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