Why We Do Not Celebrate Easter

Why We Do Not Celebrate Easter

2024受难节 (5)

Why We Do Not Celebrate Easter

Taken from Reverend Lai’s desk notes in 2009 Translated by Li Yixing

    There are many important teachings that need to be repeated year after year. “Why we do not celebrate Easter” is one of them. This is because many Christians are still following the Easter traditions such as the Easter rabbit and the Easter eggs today. Just as the aged Apostle Peter solemnly declared, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have … I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” (2Peter 1:12-14). Therefore I must share with you this precious writing from our beloved Rev. Lai’s legacy again. May the Holy Spirit establish your faith firmly on the truth of God.

Rev. Zheng

    Many brothers and sisters have asked me: “Should we celebrate Easter, since some churches do?” Let me take this opportunity to clarify the biblical teachings on this issue.

    Tomorrow is Easter. In regions under Christian influence, the Sunday or Monday following Good Friday is usually designated as “Easter”; however, we do not encourage its observation, and this article explains why.

    “Easter” is one of the most ancient festivals, and it existed before the Lord’s crucifixion. According to the lunar calendar, it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after vernal equinox; if the full moon happens to occur on a Sunday, Easter will be postponed for a week. Hence, Easter can fall on any day between 22 March and 25 April; currently, the Western world follows the calculation of the Roman Catholic Church.

      Firstly, in the Bible, the Lord Jesus had instructed us only to remember His death, but never His resurrection. For instance, Luke 22:19-20: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ ”

      Secondly, this festival has a rich pagan tradition. It is the “spring festival” of ancient paganisms, a festival to celebrate the return of spring to the land. It originated from Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of romance, fertility and war– the goddess of Mesopotamia, who later became Eastern Europe’s goddess of dawn and spring, known as “Eastre”. Clearly, “Easter” is a name with origins from Chaldeans (Babylon), and it is equivalent to “Ashtart”, their “heavenly queen”. Archaeologists have found evidence from inscriptions that she is the goddess of fertility and war in ancient Babylon.

      Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire had held the First Council of Nicaea in 325 B.C., officially designating Easter as a Sunday. Despite the relentless debate over “Easter” in church history, since the Resurrection has been clearly recorded in the Bible, whether there is an “Easter” is inconsequential to saints.  Moreover, Lord Jesus will come again. The political act of designating a “day” (including Christmas) has little spiritual value. On the contrary, for saints to clearly know that the Lord has Resurrected, Ascended and will come again…that is precious!

      Further caution should be taken towards the objects that are frequently associated with Easter in the West, such as the Easter bunny and Easter eggs. Legend has it that Easter eggs are bunny eggs (in fact, bunnies do not lay eggs and Easter eggs are actually from chickens), and some enjoy painting various faces and patterns on the eggs. These folk practices are not Biblical, and if we accept them easily, we will be like what has been described in Psalms 107:27: “They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits end.” We must not give Easter eggs as presents on this Lord’s Day, or let children paint Easter eggs during Sunday school. Painting eggs is in itself an interesting handicraft, but we would rather conduct it at other times to prevent non-Biblical practices from corroding our young minds.

      Under the New Testament, we no longer need to observe the numerous festivals of the Old Testament; throughout two thousand years of church history, many new festivals were born as well. We believe that it is meaningful to commemorate only Good Friday and Christmas (but not to observe); these two festivals are inevitably linked to paganisms, but we do not need to turn them into cumbersome religious ceremonies; it is sufficient if we utilize their significance to testify and evangelize. This is the essence of our Baptist spirit.  Hence we do not follow Reformed traditions such as Palm Sunday; instead we consciously return to the Bible.

    Therefore, Christmas gives us a great opportunity to proclaim the purpose of Christ’s birth to those who seek the gospel; Good Friday presents to non-believers the historical truth of Christ’s crucifixion for sinners. The world sees these as religious festivals; we should not follow the flow, but rather seek opportunities to be good witnesses for God.

    How do we make good use of Good Friday and Christmas? Firstly, avoid worldly practices: for example, we do not need to exchange gifts during Christmas, or use candlelight to create a melancholic atmosphere on Good Friday. All we need is the Bible, hymns and a brief sermon, and we let God’s word do the work.

    Secular consumer goods are also abundant during these two festivals, ranging from cards to CDs, etc. Saints should not splurge during the festivals, but rather offer our wealth for the holy work of evangelism. In everything we must “be alert and of sober mind” (1Peter 5:8). We do not have to criticize Christians who celebrate “Easter”; we can pray for them and remind them when there is a chance. Often we do things unknowingly, but we can always turn back when reminded.  

    Remember, we do not “celebrate” Good Friday, but rather remember Christ’s crucifixion; we do not “celebrate” Christmas, but rather remember the birth of Jesus Christ.


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