Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easter or Pesach

In most Bibles the term paskha is understood to mean Passover; it occurs twenty-nine times in the Renewed Covenant Writings. There is good reason for this: It is the same exact word for Passover from the Greek, the Hebrew original being pesach. However in Acts 12:4 the King James Bible adds the word “Easter”: “intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people”. Most Bible scholars assume that the word “Easter” is derived from the Greek paskha but this is certainly not the case.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines paskha as: pas‘-khah Noun. Neuter Definition: the paschal sacrifice (which is accustomed to be offered for the people’s deliverance of old from Egypt) the paschal lamb, i.e. the lamb the Israelites were accustomed to slay and eat on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan (the first month of the year) in memory of the day on which their fathers, preparing to depart from Egypt, were bidden by God to slay and eat a lamp, and to sprinkle their door posts with its blood, that the destroying angel, seeing the blood, might pass over their dwellings; Christ crucified is likened to the slain paschal lamb the paschal supper the paschal feast, the feast of the Passover, extending from the 14th to the 20th day of the month Nisan. King James Word Usage – Total 29 – Passover 28, Easter 1.

Paskha is mentioned in: Matthew 26:2, 17-19; Mark 14:1, 12, 14, 16; Luke 2:41; Luke 22:1, 7-8, 11, 13, 15; John 2:13; John 2:23; John 4:45; John 6:4; John 11:55; John 12:1; John 13:1; John 18:28; John 18:39; John 19:14; Acts 12:4; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:28. Note that in John 19:14 that Pesach (Passover) is clearly being addressed. If “Easter” was being referred to as the “holiday” it could hardly pose a security threat for Herod. However, a Jewish festival that commemorates freedom from a foreign power obviously forced Rome to take extra measures to prevent riots and an uprising against them. This is also why Pilate offered to free one prisoner during Pesach to placate a potentially violent situation. The NIV renders paskha in Acts 12:4 as Passover. In fact, KJV stands alone in scholarly dishonesty by inserting Easter, as the root and usage of paskha/pesach is self evident.

Tracking the origins of Easter

Easter is an occasion that happens in the early Spring and is described in considerable detail within Scripture. It is not something that would have been foreign to people in the land of Israel during the First Century. It is an occasion replete with imagery relating to life, death and resurrection. Two of the most prestigious Christian Bible dictionaries define “Easter” as follows:

Easter [S]: Originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honor of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover. Hence the name came to be given to the festival of the Resurrection of Christ, which occurred at the time of the Passover. In the early English versions this word was frequently used as the translation of the Greek paskha (the Passover). When the Authorized Version (1611) was formed, the word “Passover” was used in all passages in which the word paskha occurred, except in Acts 12:4. In the Revised Version the proper word, “Passover,” is always used. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

… intending after Easter – rather, ‘after the Passover’; that is, after the whole festival was over. (The word in our King James Version is an ecclesiastical term of late date, and ought not to have been employed here). (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Jamiesson, Faucett and Brown), (Acts 12:4)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary states that Easter was the name of a Saxon goddess that was applied to the resurrection of Y’shua. The timing of pagan sacrifices were synchronized somewhat to Passover. Jamiesson, Faucett and Brown state that the King James translators should not have adopted the Easter reading in what is for them the “Authorized Version.” The Catholic position on this matter is as follows:

“The English term, according to the Venn. Bead (De tempo rum rationed, I, v), relates to Ester, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Eddo (Smock, Mythio., 362); Anglo-Saxon, Easton; Old High German, rostra, strata, stratum; German, Astern. April was called easter-monadh…”

“Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, colored red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. “The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by Jesus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring. Easter eggs, the children are told, come from Rome with the bells which on Thursday go to Rome and return Saturday morning.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Catholic literature clearly states that some facets of it Easter celebrations were derived from paganism; however, most “reform” movements still follow their “mother church” by using the detestable name Easter and practicing fertility rites.

Tanakh makes reference to Easter

By transliterating the word Eostre/Ester into Hebrew, we arrive with the name and root word of Astarte/Ishtar, a pagan fertility goddess who is also known as Asherah and Ashtoreth in the Tanakh. Ashtoreth was a moon goddess. The moon was linked with fertility; Ashtoreth was Baal/Molech’s consort. From Easton’s Bible Dictionary:

Ashtoreth: the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male deity (Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4; 12:10). These names often occur in the plural (Ashtaroth, Baalim), probably as indicating either different statues or different modifications of the deities. This deity is spoken of as Ashtoreth of the Zidonians. She was the Ishtar of the Accadians and the Astarte of the Greeks (Jeremiah 44:17; 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:12). There was a temple of this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Samuel 31:10). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte. Solomon introduced the worship of this idol (1 Kings 11:33). Jezebel’s 400 priests were probably employed in its service (1 Kings 18:19). It was called the “queen of heaven” (Jeremiah 44:25).

The variances between these goddess’ names in terms of pronunciation are directly related to the region and dialect of Israel, Canaan and Babylon, respectively. Easton’s Dictionary states:

“Asherah, and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of “grove” and “groves” of the Authorized Version. This was the name of a sensual Canaanitish goddess Astarte, the feminine of the Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the ground. Such religious symbols (“groves”) are frequently alluded to in Scripture (Exodus 34:13; Judges 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings 16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; “the graven image of Asherah,” RSV).

Brown, Drivers Briggs Hebrew Lexicon states: Ashera(h) = “groves (for idol worship)” a Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite goddess (of fortune and happiness), the supposed consort of Baal…sacred trees or poles set up near an altar.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) makes reference to these pagan goddesses in numerous places: “And YHWH will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that He gave to their forefathers and scatter them beyond the River, because they provoked YHWH to anger by making Asherah poles… They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree” (1 Kings 14:15, 23).

Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19).

When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property” (2 Chronicles 31:1).

By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruitage of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing” (Isaiah 27:9).

I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles and demolish your cities” (Micah 5:14).

See also: Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5, 12:3, 16:21; Judges 6:25, 26, 28, 30; 1 Kings 15:13, 16:33; 2 Kings 17:10, 16, 18:4, 21:3, 7, 23:4, 6, 7, 14, 15; 2 Chronicles 14:3, 15:16, 17:6, 19:3, 24:18, 33:3, 19; Isaiah 17:8.

Clearly there is an Easter festival mentioned in the Set Apart Scriptures and it is very clearly an abomination unto YHWH and His Mashiyach! Seeing also a consistent linkage of Asherah with poles, trees and groves, a very similar “feast” as mentioned in Tanakh that has been co-opted into another very well known Christian holiday:

Hear what YHWH says to you, O house of Israel. This is what YHWH says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” No one is like you, O YHWH; you are great, and Your Name is mighty in power. Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphas. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple – all by skilled workers. But YHWH is the true Elohim; He is the living Elohim, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens’” (Jeremiah 10:1-11).

Asher/Astarte/Eostre/Ester derived her power from her male counterpart Baal who, not to be outdone, had a festival of his own under his other title Molech:

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to YHWH his Elohim, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammorites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of YHWH; he did not follow YHWH completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammorites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods” (1 Kings 11:4-8). Notice that Ashtoreth (another name for Asherah), is linked to her consort Baal, here alternatively named Molech.

Here is what YHWH caused to happen to that “old time religion”: “He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of YHWH and where women did weaving for Asherah. Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates – at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate. Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of YHWH in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech”(2 Kings 23:7-10). Notice that the pagan priests were associating their festivals with the unleavened bread of Passover season, just as they did with the European version of the same fertility goddess who gives Easter her name.

Christian carry-over

Christianity has transferred pagan rites and the very name of a pagan celebration into the Resurrection of the Mashiyach! To top off their celebrations most Christians dishonor the Jewish Mashiyach by putting a “traditional” Easter ham on their tables! This is a clear and defiant demonstration of disrespect toward Mashiyach Y’shua, yet Easter and its trappings is painted by the majority of Christians as acceptable behavior for Christians. Christ-ian means to be “Christ-like” but Easter and its pagan trappings are entirely against Mashiyach!

Renewed Covenant writings clearly warn against the same consort of Asherah and all form of paganism: “But Elohim turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:42-43).

I ask then: did Elohim reject His people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. Elohim did not reject His people, whom He foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah – how he appealed to Elohim against Israel: “Master YHWH, they have killed your prophets and torn down your alters; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was Elohim’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by favor” (Romans 11:1-5).

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitians. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and fight against them with the sword of my mouth… I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. But her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of foods sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her into a coffin, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds” (Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23).

Note that Balaam mentioned here is not the false god Baal, nor is this Jezebel woman the same as the nemesis of Elijah. However, these names being referenced in Revelation draw very clear and direct links to the Tanakh and are certainly not coincidental!

If any Christian reader should still believe it acceptable to co-opt practices of pagan origin to honor Mashiyach Y’shua, then Rav Shaul addresses such shameful indifference with these words: “Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to Elohim, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of YHWH and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the YHWH’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse YHWH’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22)

The earliest record of Christians Easter is on connection with the visit of Polycarp (the bishop of Smyrna) to Anicetus (the bishop of Rome) in 154-155 AD for the purpose of maintaining Pesach observance. Polycarp was a disciple of John. He was known to have discourse with the original disciples of Mashiyach and he was a faithful follower of Mashiyach for eighty six years. Polycarp represented the ancient observance of Pesach through the night of the fourteenth of Nisan (the first month of the Jewish calendar), which is both the Torah and the Renewed Covenant Passover, regardless of what day of the week it might fall on our Gregorian calendars. Anicetus argued for a new calendar that would cause “Easter” to always fall on a Sunday. By changing the original date for Pesach, which Mashiyach and all his original disciples followed, the post-apostolic founders of the church used a syncretistic effort to bring paganism into the pews, which is clearly the work of the “anti Christ.”

Conclusion: What shall be done then?

All followers of Mashiyach must with full assurance mark and celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Mashiyach Y’shua which occurred on Pesach (Passover). If this feast seems “too Jewish” Christians would be well advised to consider whether they prefer to follow the Messiah who came through the tribe of Judah, or a Messiah who is a product of pagan culture. Rather than following dates and feasts that accommodate pagan culture, true Christians (Christ-like ones) are called to imitate Mashiyach who gave his life to raise up a Set Apart people.

John writes: “After this I saw another Messenger coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and Elohim has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself, in her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is Master YHWH, Elohim, who judges her” (Revelation 18:1-8).

All of us understand the metaphor behind, “Come out of her (Babylon) my people.” It refers to all false religious authorities and ideals, but most don’t realize that this passage is also very literal: “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true favor of Elohim. Stand fast in it. She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark” (1 Peter 5:12-13).

Keefa (Peter) is writing from Babylon, where a group of ex-pagans have turned to Mashiyach and are gathered together in the Name of YHWH. One must remember that Babylon was home to the largest population of Jews who lived outside of Israel. Keefa and Mark, in fact, viewed their mission to the Babylonian assembly as so critical that it is very likely Keefa’s testimony took shape here, eventually becoming the Gospel According to Mark. This assembly would become part of the group that preserved the original Aramaic New Testament. Today we know them as the Church of the East (COE), but originally they were called as Assembly of the Nazarenes! This body of believers literally had to flee Babylon as it was rife with paganism. While some may criticize the COE understandably for adopting Western traditions, one fact is indisputable: These Aramaic Christians knew the truth regarding the origin of “Easter” and they ran from it as fast as they could! Instead, they marked the occasion of Y’shua’s great triumph by honoring it as Qyamteh D’Maran (Resurrection Day).

“Easter” is clearly the “sacred” female partner of two deities that are associated with murdering children; therefore, at a minimum the pagan name of Easter must die from the lips of every true Christian! There is, however, another level that takes the occasion of the Resurrection to a much purer place: Celebrating the Passover as Y’shua and his followers originally did, and as Rav Shaul and other Netzarim continued to do for decades afterwards, even to this day. Every true Believer should celebrate Passover according to the true Gospel that is from everlasting, which is the Word of YHWH, not the traditions of men!

Y’shua said, “Blessed are those who do His Commandments, for they shall be given the right to the Tree of Life and will be allowed to enter into the city” (Revelation 22:14).


  1. Excellent information, David! Please continue to spread the TRUTH OF YAHWEH!

  2. Thanks, I however cannot claim this article to be my own writings, I found this information in my Peshitta (Aramaic New Testament), so I typed it out from there. It has many great resources and information in it, like this article on Easter or Pesach. May YHWH bless us and others who also read the truth and keep us in His Will.

  3. Author: Andrew Gabriel Roth
    Title: Aramaic English New Testament (AENT)
    Publisher; Netzari Press
    Quote is Appendix: Easter or Pesach, pp. 788-793

  4. Yes the author is Andrew Gabriel Roth which comes out the English Aramaic New Testament. I would have loved to write this article myself but I am not the greatest writer in the world and what is written in the Peshitta is written really well and explains the point that I am trying to get across! There are a lot of articles on my blog that come from the Peshitta too. I also write a lot of my own articles and I bet you can see which ones those are. The whole idea of my blog is to open the eyes of the people who truly are seeking the truth and expose the lies that they would encounter!