Before the sunset of March 31st, I received a text message from my mother. The text message reads:
“As you consider your life, consider how good and faithful God has been to you! His love, grace, and mercy endures forever! Good evening! God bless us! HAPPY EASTER. Love, mom.”
What a sweet comforting message from my mother, reminding me to be thankful to God. I replied my mom with a short text message saying like this: “Mom, Easter is a pagan god [or goddess]. The god of fertility. We should not worship Pagan gods.”
The following day (April 1), my mom messaged me again:
“When our mind is clear and our HEART is pure. When our CHARACTER is Godly and true…that’s WEALTH! True wealth is really what we are, not what we have. A bountiful and abundant day! God bless and good morning! Never mind my faith. You cannot persuade me. This is what I’ve learned from my ancestors. They live for so long and died peacefully. Respect my being your mother. We adore and worship same God Jesus Christ. I hope you (with my brother) will become like apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and you can evangelize many while you are alive. Sorry if I use again words outside your knowledge. Thanks.”
I remember during my childhood years, my mom taught us to jump during early morning of Easter Sunday when we hear the clanging of church bells. My mom told us (with my younger brother) that by jumping, we are joining the Lord Jesus in the resurrection and we will become taller. Easter Sunday is a day of obligation for Catholics. Many in our town attend early morning mass (around 4:00 a.m.), celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah.
With my journey in reading the Bible and hearing from various Christian preachers (non-Catholics), I started to learn about Easter. I messaged my mom back:
“Then we should call it the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, not Easter. Easter was mentioned in Acts (Gawa) 12:4 [in the King James version] but some says [according to some Bible scholars], it is a mistranslation. In other Bibles, it’s not Easter rather Pesach or Passover. If our ancestors were celebrating them, then the God in the Bible is instructing His people not to (Jeremiah 7). I will stand for that faith [referring to Easter as not a Christian celebration].”
I haven’t received any reply from my mom on this matter. Indeed, I agree with some of the message of my mom. But somehow I come to think of them in a deeper level. Indeed, as Christians, we must have a pure heart. In the Sermon in the Mount of our Lord Yahshua (Jesus Christ), he said “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 (KJV)
Anyone can claim to be a Christian, particularly at this age. However, not everyone who profess to be Christians, are Christians indeed. The Lord Yahshua (Jesus Christ) told us in Matthew 7:11 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” For Christians to enter the gate of eternal life, we need to unlearn the worldly ways and enter into the narrow gate to everlasting life.
Matthew 5:8 (KJV): Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
It is indeed a Holy Week [or Holy Days] for Christians. From March 25 to April 1, some Christians [and Messianic] do celebrate the Passover followed by the Days of the Unleavened Bread. I searched for the word Passover in the Bible that I am using and I found the following:
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (KJV)
And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. – Luke 22:15-16 (KJV)
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. – Lev 23:5-12, Num 28:16-18, Deut 16:1-8, Exod 12 (KVJ)
Filipinos are known to have strong faith in God. It is the biggest (and only) Catholic country in Asia with more than 80% of its 90 million citizens born into this world with Catholicism as their religion. And if we consider Catholics as Christians, then it is indeed the biggest Christian country in Asia. However, if we looked at the Bible, the traditions and/or celebration of Catholicism seems to have variations with the events or teachings of the Bible. And one, which is of interest during the Spring season, is the Easter Sunday celebration.
I searched again for the word Easter in my KJV Bible and verify if it is indeed a mistranslation by looking at another Bible. Fortunately, I got an answer. God is great! He gave me something I can use to do some comparison when I got another Bible from my sister, this time it is the 2nd Edition (2002) of Today’s English Version (TEV) of the Good News Bible. I believe it’s God’s answer to my question if indeed Easter is a mistranslation, and later to understand that Easter is not an authentic early Christian celebration/festival or has nothing to do with Christian faith as written in the scripture.
Acts:12:11 in the King James version (KJV) mentioned Easter but not the TEV of the Good News Bible, it’s Passover. I CAPITALIZED both words below:
Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 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. – (KJV)
About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread). After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after PASSOVER. – (TEV)
So I got this other version of the Bible in my hand (which I believe a Catholic one since it has signatures of a Bishop and a Priest) that confirms that Easter was indeed a mistranslation or something that wasn’t really there since I haven’t read it in other verses as compared to the word ‘Passover’. Since it is a teaching mainly in the Catholic church, I searched online another Catholic version of the Bible and I found the word “Passover” instead of Easter. So where did the word Easter came from? And why many people across the world, even some Filipinos, celebrate Easter (the supposed to be the Resurrection of Jesus Christ for Catholics), now with easter bunny and eggs? A friend of mine shared an interesting video.
Although I read some literature from Christian groups that discuss the same concerns with the video presented above, I haven’t really dig into the details of Easter, particularly in the teachings of the Catholic Church, the biggest church today that openly claims it is Christ’s church founded by the Apostle Peter.
We may not be around throughout the ages to witness the events of the world and to know the truth. One thing that I am sure, the living God hates the worship of Pagan gods/goddesses (see Jeremiah Chapter 7). As Christians, we should not just go with the traditions of our elderly if we really believe in a living God, but rather search for the holy scriptures. The words of God are something we should hold into, particularly in this peculiar time. God gave us the Holy Scriptures (The Bible), as the foundation of our understanding and faith. It survived throughout the ages despite the attempt to destroy it and the persecutions of those who believe on it. It can only made possible with the protection of the Almighty God for our own good.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
Many of us Filipinos have been raised without reading the Bible. We have been under the power of Spaniards for 333 years and they left us with Catholicism and strong Marian faith. We had our independence as a nation but we cannot deny that we are still under the power of our colonizers. Many of us nowadays consider ourselves Christians and spiritual Israel but we do not follow the commandments of God to keep His Holy Days. Some of us mix it with other creative worldly ungodly celebrations (which I did) such as outing and vacation in Puerto Galera and Boracay with all drinking and partying. A time that supposed to be, a dedication to the Lord for our spiritual growth, but instead we use as a time for pleasure.
I myself, I grow up without knowing the scripture. It was only for the past two years that I started reading it. I have so many realizations, until now. The empty life I had lived in the past makes me sorrowful. Looking at the former circle of my friends, it griefs me to see that it is not only me who are in this kind of situation, but many. I started to tell myself, my old self has to die. But where should I start in this very broken life?
I struggle with my Christian faith and to overcome the ways of life I had lived before, I need the LORD God to work in my life. I believe there is nothing impossible with God. We definitely need to repent for our sins, ask for forgiveness, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in our lives, to live in us. The shedding of the blood on the tree/cross of our Lord Yashua (Jesus) more than 2,000 years ago for the remission of our sins, symbolizes the love of our Heavenly Father. He is the sacrificial lamb who overcome the world. It is Him and the love of the Supreme God that Christians should be celebrating the Passover and not the desires of this world. That in Him, and in following God’s commandment (Psalm 19), we have that faith that though we have sinned and the wages of our sins is death, we will be resurrected into eternal life. That gift of God, that faith towards the narrow road of eternal life, is worth dying for.
May our Father in Heaven and the Lord Yahshua (Jesus Christ) lead us Filipino people to the spirit of truth. Blessings to everyone!