Wrong to Celebrate Easter?

Easter is a time when millions pause and think about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For many it is also a time of fun, games, and traditions such as Easter baskets and egg hunts. But not everyone is so fond of Easter.

Some Christians claim that Easter, like many other modern “holidays,” has roots in ancient paganism. While Jesus’ resurrection itself is described in the Bible, there is no mention of “Easter” (except for an unusual and contested translation of “Passover” in the original KJV.)

On top of this, it is argued that it is wrong to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on just one Sunday, since we should be celebrating it every day of our lives. Indeed, God deserves so much more than just one or two days a year, He deserves our all.

But is it wrong to celebrate Easter? Paul appears to answer the question in Romans 14. The chapter begins with the command: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” Among the “opinions” over which we should not judge each other, two clear examples are identified:

  • “One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables 
  • One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.”

In both of these cases, Paul says only that “each person must be fully convinced in his own mind,” and he concludes in verse 13, “let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”

So is it wrong to regard one day above others as a time to remember divine truths? Not necessarily. Is it wrong to celebrate Easter with baskets and eggs? It appears that there is no problem unless it causes a brother to stumble.  But it is certainly a good thing for us all to be reminded that it is not a certain “day” that is holy, but Christ Himself, to whom we owe everything.

It is important for us to understand what does and does not constitute an opinion. So as a final question for personal consideration, which of these things do you think would also fall into the category of “opinions” as the word is used in Romans 14, and why?

  • Which translation of the Bible to use?
  • Choosing to be single or to marry?
  • Deciding to have a scriptural divorce or a scriptural remarriage?
  • Participating in or not participating in any particular church ministry?
  • Being present every time the church meets?
  • Choosing to drink wine or to abstain from it?
  • Wearing a bathing suit at the beach?
  • Choosing to use homeschool, private school, or public school?
  • Attending a private university, a public university, or joining the workforce?
  • Being a stay at home mom or having a professional career?
  • Choosing if and when to have children, and how many to have?
  • Driving a nice car and owning nice things?
  • Political stances on issues such as gun control, death penalty, or global warming?
  • Choosing to vote or to abstain from voting in an election?

Ancient Shadows in the Book of Exodus

What we call “The Old Testament,” Jews often referred to as “The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.”  One remarkable thing about living after Christ’s resurrection is having the opportunity to look back and notice the many fulfilled prophecies and symbols that these ancient inspired works contain.

The New Testament refers to the Law of Moses as “a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17).  The historical account of Noah and the Ark, for instance, is spoken of as “symbol” or “antitype” which corresponds to baptism (1 Peter 3:21).  Many such “shadows” and “antitypes” can be seen in the account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and pilgrimage to the promised land.

·      Israel became a great nation in the land of Egypt, so that the Pharaoh feared what they might accomplish (Exodus 1:7-10).  In the same way, we each have the potential to do great things for God, which the devil will try to thwart.
·      The Pharaoh decided to “deal shrewdly” with the Israelites in order to keep them under control (Exodus 1:10).  In the same way, Satan has been using trickery and scheming since Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:13) and continues to do so (John 8:44).
·      The Pharaoh’s plan was to force the people to do hard labor as a means of controlling them (Exodus 1:11-14).  Likewise, the devil seeks to enslave us to sinful desires (Romans 6:20).
·      Help came to the enslaved Hebrews in the form of a newborn baby (Exodus 2:2).  Our help, also, was prophesied with the words: “unto us a child is born.” (Isaiah 9:6).
·      Moses fought for his people to be free, displaying many signs and wonders (Exodus 5-11).  The Christ also suffered many things (Luke 17:25) and did many miracles (John 21:25).
·      In the end, the oppressors were swept away and drowned in the same water that the Israelites passed safely through (Exodus 14:21-30).  We also pass through water, that it might wash our sins away (Acts 22:16).
·      God’s salvation of His people was commemorated by a feast of unleavened bread and the marking of doorposts with the blood of a lamb (Exodus 12:14-27).  We also remember what God has done for us in a feast of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, which represents the blood of the Lamb of God (Luke 22:15-20).
·      A land of milk and honey awaited the Israelites as they left Egypt (Exodus 3:8, 33:3).  We, as sojourners, also seek a better land, in heaven (Hebrews 11:16).
·      While they sojourned, the people of Israel needed to be careful that they did not turn aside to foreign gods (Joshua 24:14-15).  We also must be faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

Hidden away in an Old Testament book like Exodus are many symbols that still have great power today.
Ancient Egypt