Many of our early pioneers came to these shores for religious freedom, escaping the religious persecution from Europe’s state churches which viewed them as heretics and malcontents, sentencing many to imprisonment and even execution.
To avoid persecution and seeking to freely exercise a pure religion, undefiled by the errors and decrees of government, they came to these shores.
We have them, and their influence, to thank for our founding documents — the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, et al — and our country that recognizes and protects our God-given rights and freedoms.
The Bible itself was held in such high esteem that teaching the children to read the Bible was the primary purpose for establishing schools.
This influenced the U.S. government early on to approve the expenditure of money for the printing of Bibles, which were then delivered to the schools. The Bible was their textbook, paid for by the government.
Following our Puritan Pilgrim founders’ example — that the Bible alone is our authority for following the doctrines of that pure religion and undefiled — in past columns we have taken a closer look at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We found that the first Thanksgiving had more to it than is generally told, and that “more” is the thing for which they were thankful.
We examined how many modern Christmas traditions are more an abomination of pagan roots than a memorial of Christ’s birth, and not even close to Christ’s birth date.
I did not give you a review of the pagan history of Valentines Day, I don’t think The Post-Intelligencer would print the description of the filth that they did back then. I certainly don’t want to repeat such things.
Many parallels exist between modern-day observations of “Christian” holidays (holy days) and the current status of government.
In both cases, we have the foundational and defining documents to guide us — the Holy Bible and our constitutions — and in both cases, practice is far removed from principle.
Though far from perfect, our Puritan founders sought to heed the guidance the Apostle Paul gave in II Tim. 3:15-17:
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Puritan’s declaration that the Bible is thoroughly qualified to provide us all the religious instruction we need to follow the will of God motivated their good works. Their governance inspired our founding documents, based on biblical principles.
Protestants, in particular, questioned traditions that came from sources outside of the Bible, as they should.
Bible passages like Deut. 18:9 and II Cor. 6:14-17 clearly state that we are not to mix non-Biblical religious practices in with, nor replace, those God gave us in the Bible.
Similarly, those of us who support our constitutional republic question government that departs from the clear principles set forth in our federal and state constitutions.
However, mankind tends to abandon the pure, clear and simple for the corrupt, confused and complex.
Along those lines and continuing with the Puritan example, let’s take a closer look at Easter.
Spring brings us Easter. And the kids soon will be searching for multicolored eggs, an interesting tradition. Have you ever wondered from whence we got such traditions?
I remember Mom dragging us kids to church on Sundays, and on Easter Sunday how crowded the pews got.
We didn’t go to the “sunrise” service, but that did not interfere with the telling of it. Year by year, we would be told that Jesus had been resurrected at sunrise that Easter morning so long ago.
Well, here I have a question: Where did they get the name “Easter”? Neither “Good Friday” nor “Easter” appear in any of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion or resurrection. So why do they call it “Easter”?
The name “Easter” appears only once in the King James Bible, Acts 12:4, but not in any other English translation, not that I can find. The other versions translate it “Passover” in Acts 12:4.
Both Easter (in Acts) and Passover (throughout the New Testament) connect to the Greek word “pascha”. Pascha means Passover.
Pascha/Passover appears 28 more times in the New Testament, most of those in the four Gospels connected to the Passover of Christ’s crucifixion.
The Apostle Paul tells the Greeks (Gentiles) in the church in Corinth, I Cor. 5:7-8, that Christ is our Passover sacrifice — “our” being the Passover sacrifice for Christians who were Gentiles and Jews.
He is connecting Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The first mention of Passover is in Ex. 12, where God implemented the Passover sacrifice and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and gave the accouterments for it to Moses.
In Lev. 23, God repeats much of the same, and establishes the rituals for His annual feasts. The word “feast” here is not so much that of eating, as it is celebrating.
And, yes, we and they celebrate with eating. It also included music, dancing, singing and other merriment fit for honoring God.
Passover was the memorial of the death angel passing over the people of God, as death came to the people of Egypt. The Passover sacrifice was a lamb.
Many places in the New Testament, Jesus is called “the Lamb of God.” Christ, our Passover lamb, was sacrificed for us, so spiritual death would pass over us.
Taking the Bible as the lone authority, and especially Paul’s statement to the Greek Gentiles, I believe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are the memorial celebrations for Christians to remember “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” So let us keep the feast, as he said.
If Easter is an ancient English term meaning Passover, then the accouterments and rituals would be the same.
So, looking at what the Bible says of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I find the prominent features: the Passover meal, featuring the sacrificed lamb, unleavened bread and the cup of wine; seven days of celebration featuring unleavened bread; a wave sheaf of first fruits; and the beginning of the count to Pentecost.
I don’t find these things in the Easter traditions. I also don’t find any Biblical reference connecting Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread to anything that looks like hot cross buns, Easter rabbits, Easter eggs or even much of the more religious current practices.
Passover and Easter sound different, and they look different.
Time for a look into the dictionary. You will need a good one if you want to follow this trail through history.
TO BE continued next week.
PAUL FROWNFELTER of Henry County is a member of the local Volunteers for Freedom Tea Party. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.