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By Rev. John W. Gerald
STRONG’S DEFINITION OF EASTER
1) the paschal sacrifice (which was accustomed to be offered for the people’s deliverance of old from Egypt)
2) the paschal lamb, i.e. the lamb the Israelites were accustomed to slay and eat on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan (the first month of their year) in memory of the day on which their fathers, preparing to depart from Egypt, were bidden by God to slay and eat a lamb, 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.
I. THE ONLY REFERENCE TO EASTER IN SCRIPTURE
Acts 12:4 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.
Easter - the celebration of passover for the Jews! Herod could not bring Peter to court on a holy day, or he would stir up too great opposition to himself. It was the time of unleavened bread, or the time of the passover.
II. EASTER AND THE RESURRECTION
Pagan Rome also had some form of celebration for the vernal equinox they called Easter. Which of these the Roman Catholic church adopted, it may be hard to determine. They adopted many of the pagan holidays which they adapted to the use of the church by associating them with some Jewish or Christian holiday. This was done to accommodate the many heathen converting to Christianity when Constantine made Christianity the state religion.
Because the season coincides with the time of the resurrection, the church now celebrates the resurrection at Easter time.
Mt 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Jesus was preparing his disciples for the terrible days ahead. They had no idea of the crucifixion, much less of the resurrection. Jesus gave them hope at the same time that he warned them of his death.
Mt 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
The disciples were greatly troubled with the word about his death. It seems that they must have missed his promise of resurrection in three days, because they were sorrowful at the time, and later failed to remember about it.
Ac 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
The prophet, David, gave many details about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This detail is a most unusual one. Though Jesus died, his soul would not stay in hell, or sheol, nor would his body return to dust, as most of ours will.
III. WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION
Ac 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
The disciples were concerned that one of their number, Judas, had lost his office. They wanted the twelve, to be ordained as witnesses
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