~ (See part one here, part three here, and a Video of part one and two here and a Video of part three here)
By Nick Sayers
After writing two articles concerning Easter and why it is a Christian celebration in its entirety, after some criticism, it dawned on me that most people will not read long winded articles, and even after a few minutes of sharing my articles with people on the internet, instead of them taking time to read and examine them, most would speedily respond by copying and pasting something about a pagan goddess from some obscure website. So after some time I created a video on the topic, which is basically a one hour reading of the two articles with several pictures to keep people’s interest. Although the video was a bit rushed, it gives a good visual account of why I believe Easter should remain in Acts 12:4, and also remain part of the annual Church service.
When I first wrote my Easter article, world leading expert on the English language David Crystal gave me some pointers about Easter and it's German connection and mentioned that the article was accurate and good. Although both slightly disagreeable on certain minor points, Christianity Today has since published a similar article on Easter being Christian and also Johnathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International has used the information to confirm my stance on Easter. When I approached James White from Alpha and Omega ministries who wrote the book “King James Only Controversy,” he speedily rebuked me and called me a Ruckmanite for making such claims and banned me from his forum. On the flip side, D. A. Waite who wrote Defending the King James Bible printed parts of the articles in his newsletter after having formerly taught that Easter was pagan. His contemporary Jack Moorman also read the articles and said that the information had taken the matter forward considerably from his former article on the topic.
In fact the majority of the animosity has surprisingly come from King James Only supporters who have swallowed the false King James Only concept that Easter is a pagan festival. I mentioned to one KJV supporter that if Easter in the KJV is pagan, and yet the underlying Greek text says “Pascha,” that would make the KJV a PARAPHRASE and not a literal translation. I cannot understand the logic behind many King James Only people, who should have naturally gravitated towards the revelations in my former articles, but it seems their allegiance to and defense of cultic figures such as Peter Ruckman, Sam Gipp, and Gail Riplinger is stronger than their allegiance to and defense of the truth. Although many who are not in the hyper King James Only camp, but still believe the King James to be an accurate translation of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, have accepted the teaching as orthodox. In conclusion to the responses, all I can say is that I still thoroughly believe what I have written to be factual and correct and my steadfastness in defending my position has only further strengthened my stance.
If you simply go to Google translate, and choose to translate from “English” into “Greek” and type in the words "Passover" and "Easter," the answer in Greek for both is Πάσχα Πάσχα (Pascha Pascha). One Pascha (Passover) is the Old Testament type, and the other Pascha (Easter) is the New Testament fulfilment. This has been the same in Greek for 2000 years. Only the context formulated the difference. This is evident in the Church fathers writings who often used Pascha for both the OT and NT feasts. Tyndale invented the word Passover, and thus we Englishmen no longer had one word for theOT feast & NT feast, but two (previously we only used Easter - sometimes 'pask' but rarely). In Scripture, Passover was practiced before the resurrection occurred, and Easter, meaning resurrection, was practiced by the church after the resurrection occurred. Acts 12:4 occured after the cross, being the only scripture befitting the post resurrection context of Easter and not Passover.
Over the years, I have been asked repeated questions by people who have tried to cling to the pagan goddess myth. It was qualified in the previous two articles that Easter was considered by the reformers to be the celebration of the resurrection and never once referring to a pagan goddess. But what about the English historian the Bede, and the goddess Eostre claims? The Venerable Bede (672-735) claimed that the word Easter came from Eostre, the goddess of the Saxons:
The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath [...]
Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated 'Paschal month' and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.
While many now understand that Hislop’s phonetic connections between Easter and Ishtar is without any solid linguistic evidence, they still have questions and doubts about English Eostre, the goddess. Is the Easter/Eostre theory based upon some linguistic data? Bede notes that the native Old English month Ēostur-monath (Old English “Ēostre-month”) was equivalent to the month of April, yet that feasts held in the goddess's honor during Ēostur-monath had gone out of use by the time of his writing and had been replaced with the Christian custom of the “Paschal season.”
In the English language there are things called homophones. Some examples of homophones are: ‘stalk’ (part of a plant) and ‘stalk’ (follow/harass a person). ‘Left’ (past tense of leave) and ‘left’ (opposite of right). ‘Rose’ (flower) and ‘rose’ (past tense of rise). Words such as ‘carat,’ ‘caret,’ and ‘carrot,’ or ‘to,’ ‘two,’ and ‘too,’ apply here also. In our case we have English “Easter” and “Eostre.” Although spelt slightly differently, many English dictionaries have placed them under the same title of “Easter.” It must be noted that any definition that appears in a dictionary is separate from another entry. The two entries are separate and not under the same entry.
Many English Dictionaries mention both a pagan and a Christian definition for Easter
1717 English dictionary states that:
“Easter, Aoster, Oster, a Saxon goddess whose feast they observed in Easter month, April.”
But below it is the definition:
“Easter, the Christian Passover, in remembrance of Christ's death and resurrection...etc” (An English Dictionary, 1717, Elisha Coles)
Noah Webster's dictionary in 1828 has
“...Eas"ter [AS. eáster, eástran, paschal feast, Easter; akin to G. ostern; fr. AS. Eástre, a goddess of light or spring, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated in April; whence this month was 1. An annual church festival commemorating Christ's resurrection, and occurring on Sunday, the second day after Good Friday. It corresponds to the pascha or Passover of the Jews, and most nations still give it this name under the various forms of pascha, pasque, pâque, or pask. 1. The day on which the festival is observed....Easter day, on which the rest of the movable feasts depend, is always the first Sunday after the fourteenth day of the calendar moon which (fourteenth day) falls on, or next after, the 21st of March, according to the rules laid down for the construction of the calendar; so that if the fourteenth day happen on a Sunday, Easter day is the Sunday after.” (American Dictionary Of The English Language, 1828 (through the 1911 edition), Noah Webster)
Nathan Bailey in his 1802 An Universal Etymological English Dictionary:
“Easter Easter, of eastre, Sax. a goddess of the Saxons, in honour of whom, sacrifices were offered about that time of year, Ostern, Teut.]” and then has “a solemn festival appointed in commemoration of Christ's death and Resurrection.” (An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, 1802, Nathan Bailey)
These examples above show that English Easter SEEMS to come from Eástre or Aoster. How can one reconcile this and justify the use of a pagan word?
When one does a study on Easter in English, Easter and Eostre are etymologically related to the word east, but that is as far as it goes. In reality, there are many words that come from east (which is akin to German “ost” pronounced ‘oost’). East and ost simply have similar roots meaning “the dawn” or “sunrise.” To Christians, this word is related to the resurrection, and the “rising of the sun” at which time of day the Lord Jesus was discovered to be risen!
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to DAWN toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Matthew 28:1)
“And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the RISING OF THE SUN.” (Mark 16:2)
Some scriptures point to Christ resurrection being a great dawning:
"But unto you that fear my name shall the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ARISE with healing in his wings;" (Malachi 4:2)
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a LIGHT THAT SHINETH in a dark place, until the DAY DAWN, and the DAY STAR ARISE in your hearts:" (2 Peter 1:19)
"I am the root and the offspring of David, and the BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR. (Revelation 22:16)
While pagans obviously named their goddess after the “east” for whatever reasons they did, it must be made abundantly clear that the word “east” is totally NEUTRAL and is neither Christian or pagan, good or evil. There are several examples of neutral words being related to east, one being the Germanic “Österreich” which is simply known as the country of “Austria,” from Oster (East) and Reich (Kingdom), which includes the word “Oster” being the same word Luther used for Easter in his bible, and the same word claimed to be a pagan goddess. “Austria,” while having “Oster” in it, is not related to the Christian “Oster” or the pagan “Oster,” but simply means “East Kingdom.” Many words in all languages can have a similar root, like undertaker, understanding, or undermine, but this does not mean these words are exclusively associated. There is nothing evil about “east” and words that derive from it should not be seen as close relatives of each other with good or evil meanings. “Oster” simply means “East” in German and because a goddess is named after such a common term should not taint any other common word related to “Ost.”
Just because a pagan goddess existed does not mean that Easter derives from Eostre in any shape or form. From my research I have concluded that is Easter derived from the German word to resurrect and remains so today, as I expressed in my earlier articles.
“Our word Easter is of Saxon origin and of precisely the same import with its German cognate Ostern. The latter is derived from the old Teutonic form of auferstehen / auferstehung, that is - resurrection.”
But for arguments sake, lets amuse ourselves with the concept that the name Easter originated from a pagan goddess, what is the worst case scenario of such an association? Well, etymologically the name of the goddess Eostre simply means “morning.” If a local witch called her cult the “Dawn of the Morning” relating back to this goddess, I wouldn't stop using the word ‘morning’ even if I found that it had derived from the same ‘evil’ place. Christ even uses “morning” as part of his title (Revelation 22:16). Old High German “eostarum” which means “to dawn.” “East” is not evil, “morning” is not evil. In fact does Satan own any words? Are any words his to claim and are we forbidden to use them? What if perhaps the early English Christians took the entire idea of Easter to slap the pagan goddess in the face and proclaim that Jesus is the only resurrection, as a testimony of the Anglo-Saxon Christians' rejection of this goddess?
Realistically many words come from pagan concepts such as the days of the week. “Friday” means “Day of Frige” – “Frige” being the name of a Norse goddess. “Wednesday” and “Saturday” are also derived from the names of the pagan gods “Woden” and “Saturnus.” When we evaluate the pagan roots concept it really comes down to the Hebrew roots and Sacred Names movements. Books like “Pagan Christianity” label almost everything as pagan. Well of course it is! No culture and language was sanctified except the culture of the Hebrews of the Old Testament! Therefore, everything non Hebrew is thus by default, pagan! So unless we are all planning on becoming Jewish and practicing their customs and language, we use the languages of those around us, as the New Testament writers used the THOROUGHLY PAGAN Koine Greek with words like “Theos” which was used to describe Greek gods, or concepts like “Hades,” which in the New Testament which is translated as “Hell,” but in Greek mythology was the god of the underworld. If the writers of sacred scripture under the INSPIRATION of God didn't see any evil conspiracy to borrow such pagan words and to use them for the glory of God, nor should we! How can a translation be done into any culture if we cannot use the common words of that culture?
But I personally don't think such a thing happened. England and Germany are large places and traditionally had a rich culture. Just because a word is a homophone does not mean that the meaning is shared. East simply referred to the dawn or sunrise, and we need to recognize that both pagans and Christians wished to use the word “east” for their respective purposes. Perhaps, as I assume, these two factions may have even been in SEPERATE LOCATIONS in the Germanic speaking world and merely have the neutral word “east” as their common bond.
So not everything with German “Ost” or English “East” is related to a pagan Easter nor for that matter a Christian Easter. If I did this in the English language to a word like “Allah,” and said, anything with the "Al" sound is evil, like "ALexandria", "ALien", ALchemy" etc... I would be laughed at by linguists. Now just suppose Satan worshipers worshiped on a hill called the “Western Mount” just because the term “West” is in the name of the mount, doesn’t mean that it is related to “Westminister,” and is etymologically absurd to think so. “Osterberg” in German simply means “Eastern City” from “Oster” (Eastern) and “Berg” (city or town). Places like “Westminster” and “Southampton” are simply names related to a particular direction. I suppose soon people will these phoney phonetic comparisons to rationale that “Australia” is “Ostralia,” the wicked nation of sex and eggs... We wouldn’t naturally assume that “George Bush” has etymological links to the “burning bush.” We don't think that “Youth in Asia” is “euthanasia” or that “example” is a type of “egg sample!”
So shall we reject Easter? Dr.Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, observes that
"...if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of THE FIRST Easter.
1. Why We Should Not Passover Easter (Part 1 & 2)
2. Wikipedia Article on David Crystal
3. “Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?” The historical evidence contradicts this popular notion. by Anthony McRoy a Fellow of the British Society for Middle East Studies and lecturer in Islamic studies at Wales Evangelical School of Theology, U.K.
4. “Easter and Good Friday: questions and answers.” Does Easter have a pagan derivation? Was Jesus really crucified on a Friday? by Jonathan Sarfati B.Sc. (Hons.), Ph.D., F.M. Creationist Physical Chemist and Spectroscopist
5. James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries
6. D. A. Waite, head of the Dean Burgon Society
7. Jack Moorman “Easter or Passover”
8. Google Translate
9. The Venerable Bede, The Reckoning of Time (Latin: De temporum ratione)
10. Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Translated by C.F. Cruse, Hendrickson Publishers, p437