Easter Sunday and the Pagan Beliefs

church bunnies

Today, April 1, 2018, is the first Sunday of the month and Easter Sunday. In Matthew 28:6 NKJV says “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” This is where the true meaning of Easter ha to be. Or has it?

Let us look at the reasons why we call Easter Sunday Easter and not Resurrection Sunday.

Eostre

[1] It is often assumed that the name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. [2] She was associated with spring and fertility, and celebrated around the vernal equinox. [3] The only mention of Eastre comes from a passing reference in the writings of the Venerable Bede, an eighth-century monk and historian. Bede wrote,

“Eosturmononath has a name which is now translated as ‘Paschal month,’ and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate the Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance” (De Temporum Ratione).

And that’s it. Eostre is not mentioned in any other ancient writing; we have found no shrines, no altars, nothing to document the worship of Eastre. It is possible that Bede simply extrapolated the name of the goddess from the name of the month. And who was the Venerable Bede? [4] Bede (673–735) was a Catholic monk in England; he is known as the Father of English History and was one of the most learned men in Europe at the time. Bede’s tomb in Durham Cathedral contains an inscription giving him the title “Venerable,” meaning that some officials in the Roman Catholic Church had found his person and life to be worthy of veneration. Bede was made a saint and declared a doctor of the church in 1899.

Inanna (Ishtar)

[5] One theory that has been put forward is that the Easter story of crucifixion and resurrection is symbolic of rebirth and renewal and retells the cycle of the seasons, the death and return of the sun.

According to some scholars, such as Dr. Tony Nugent, teacher of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University, and Presbyterian minister, the Easter story comes from the Sumerian legend of Damuzi (Tammuz) and his wife Inanna (Ishtar), an epic myth called “The Descent of Inanna” found inscribed on cuneiform clay tablets dating back to 2100 BC. When Tammuz dies, Ishtar is grief–stricken and follows him to the underworld. In the underworld, she enters through seven gates, and her worldly attire is removed. “Naked and bowed low” she is judged, killed, and then hung on display. In her absence, the earth loses its fertility, crops cease to grow and animals stop reproducing. Unless something is done, all life on earth will end. Dr Nugent is quick to point out that drawing parallels between the story of Jesus and the epic of Inanna “doesn’t necessarily mean that there wasn’t a real person, Jesus, who was crucified, but rather that, if there was, the story about it is structured and embellished in accordance with a pattern that was very ancient and widespread.”

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is known outside of Mesopotamia by her Babylonian name, “Ishtar”. In ancient Canaan Ishtar is known as Astarte, and her counterparts in the Greek and Roman pantheons are known as Aphrodite and Venus. In the 4th Century, when Christians identified the exact site in Jerusalem where the empty tomb of Jesus had been located, they selected the spot where a temple of Aphrodite (Astarte/Ishtar/Inanna) stood. The temple was torn down and the So Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built, the holiest church in the Christian world.

Dr Nugent points out that the story of Inanna and Damuzi is just one of a number of accounts of dying and rising gods that represent the cycle of the seasons and the stars. For example, the resurrection of Egyptian Horus; the story of Mithras, who was worshipped at Springtime; and the tale of Dionysus, resurrected by his grandmother. Among these stories are prevailing themes of fertility, conception, renewal, descent into darkness, and the triumph of light over darkness or good over evil.

Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs

[6] The Easter Bunny comes from these pagan rites of spring as well, but more from pagan Germany than pagan Britain. Eighteenth-century German settlers brought “Oschter Haws” (never knew he had a name, did you?) to America, where Pennsylvania Dutch settlers prepared nests for him in the garden or barn. On Easter Eve, the rabbit laid his colored eggs in the nests in payment. In Germany, old Oschter lays red eggs on Maundy Thursday. If anyone knows why children in an agrarian society would believe a rabbit lays eggs, please tell us or a historian near you. We’re all dying to know. [7] In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.

The Encyclopedia Britannica clearly explains the pagan traditions associated with the egg: “The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival.” In ancient Egypt, an egg symbolised the sun, while for the Babylonians, the egg represents the hatching of the Venus Ishtar, who fell from heaven to the Euphrates.

The legend of the Easter bunny bringing eggs appears to have been brought to the United States by settlers from Germany. The German tradition of the Easter bunny (or Oschter Haws) migrated to America in the 1700s, accompanying German immigrants, many of whom settled in Pennsylvania. Over the past 200 years, the Easter bunny has become the most commercially recognized symbol of Easter in the United States. Other countries use other animals as the symbol of Easter, such as the cuckoo (in Switzerland).

In legend, the Easter bunny, also called the Easter hare and the spring bunny, brings baskets filled with colored eggs, candy, and sometimes toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter, in much the same way as Santa Claus is said to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. The Easter Bunny will either put the baskets in a designated place or hide them somewhere in the house or garden for the children to find when they wake up in the morning, giving rise to the tradition of the Easter egg hunt. Obviously, none of this comes from the Bible.

Because of the commercialization and possible pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to call it “Resurrection Sunday.” The rationale is that, the more we focus on Christ and His work on our behalf, the better. Paul says that without the resurrection of Christ our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate! Whether we call it “Easter” or “Resurrection Sunday,” what is important is the reason for our celebration, which is that Christ is alive, making it possible for us to have eternal life (Romans 6:4)!

Advertisements

Jesus At The Center

It’s rare that I write 2 succeeding blogs in 1 day, let alone 1 month. But after writing what I wrote earlier lambasting and ranting about age and leadership, I have now calmed down. Plus a shot of Korean wine and coffee helped. Not sure how but it gave me headache.

Seriously though, I led the Praise and Worship earlier today, January 28, 2018, and our last song was, guess it… Yes, JESUS AT THE CENTER by Israel & New Breed.

I was able to think clearly after 2 large cups of coffee and a shot of alcohol and it made me realized something. Is Jesus at my center?

Part of the song says:

Nothing else matters,

nothing in this world will do.

Jesus You’re the center,

and everything revolves around you.

While writing this blog, I am playing in constant repetition the 2 versions of the song.

Jesus be the center of my life,

Jesus be the center of my life

From beginning to the end

It will always be,

It’s always been You Jesus

I know I’ve made a mistake of taking things and turn it into one big mess but, I guess the good thing about it is, me – questioning my own faith and where it’s foundation is laid. I started checking my heart and praying to God to correct my feelings. I asked one Pastor to pray for me because, at the end of the day, I know it is my pride that is hurting more than anything. I just hope I am not too late.

From my heart to heavens

Jesus be the center,

It’s all about You,

Yes it’s all about You

I asked God for forgiveness. I asked Him to give me a servant’s heart. I asked God for help.

Jesus, be the center of my everything.

for my daughter

This is for my daughter.

I would want her to know how I love her and how I will strive not just for her future but for her siblings as well.

My daughter has ADHD. She’s a slow learner. She has difficulty remembering things and lessons and all. But she is good with arts. With colors.

We went to a school nearby to have her assessed. I was expecting a bit but turns out, everything has been a rollercoaster. I didn’t see it coming. Or I refused to see it coming. I forgot that it’s not just the school’s responsibility but mine too as a father, as a parent. My daughter was not accepted because of her situation. She can’t read that good, she doesn’t speak that well.

To whoever reads this, I am asking for help. You can visit this site, MEG project for details. You can send me messages on how to help us out. Please.

 

my daughter has ADHD

I had my daughter diagnosed last October 2014 by a Child Developmental Specialist based in Region 4-A. After that, it was time to learn the ins and outs of taking care of her. I checked the internet on how to take care of my kid. I gathered all that I can in order to help her. Turns out, I still need help outside the internet.

We had to enroll her to a special school. A school that not only will teach her about academics but will also give her the therapy that she needs. We went to the school that the Specialist recommended. It was just about right for her. The surrounding is conducive for her and her learning. But the fee is a bit too much. I do understand why. It’s not an ordinary school. It is an institution that handles kids with ADHD and Autism for one. They not only teach the kids on how to read and write and count, but they also do therapy. Therapy that my daughter needs. We had to enroll her ASAP because she is already aged 6 and she is getting older. She needs to train herself and control herself.

As of the moment, I started a crowd funding group at Facebook. I have to. I have to ask help from friends and some family members about this. I can’t do it alone.

If you want to help, my contact info is on the Facebook page.

The message of Job

The story of Job.

Everybody seemed familiar with the story of this incredible man. A man of faith. A man who has everything then lost it all.

We went to church this morning for the worship service. This is the first time we are attending the Church of Biblical Truth here in our subdivision. I know who the Pastor here, but he was not there when we arrive. Instead, they have a lady who will be speaking. She said that she has prepared a message for the last 2 weeks and God is giving her a different message. She bargained with God. Then Sunday morning came and as she was preparing, the message felt stronger and she had changed the subject of her message. She does not even know why, but she chose to follow God’s direction.

We arrived with 4 kids. We have 2 nephews and my own 2 kids. I was not really expecting God to reveal things to me because Pastor Jess is not around so I just sat down and try to listen to the speaker. When she spoke of how the message has been changed, I was like “Okay. God led her to change it.” Then she revealed the message was of a man who has everything then lost everything and God replaced everything that he lost. That man was Job.

The story revolves around how Job was one of the people that pleased God and how God brags about him. Then Satan came to have a little “challenge” so to speak. They put Job to the test, they were trying to know what will be the man’s decision will be. They took all of his possessions, his slaves, his livestock, his children, and they caused him great pain by giving him some skin disease. One of the prayers I remember from him was “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 English Standard Version.

Job with his 3 friends
Job with his 3 friends

Why was this relevant to me? Why did I feel that God intentionally made me go to that church this Sunday and had me listen to the speaker? It’s because He wants me to learn and know that He is still in control. God wants me to hear how Job responded. How Job’s life was more miserable and painful than mine. I lost my job, I am in need of a financial resource because my wife is 6 months pregnant and my daughter’s still going to school, debts and bills needed to be paid…

God wanted me to hear that HE IS STILL IN CONTROL. I have forgotten how it feels to be assured by God. I have been complaining and whining. I have questioned God again and again. I know I can question God because He has given me freedom to speak and think on my own. But my line of questioning is more of a literal questions.

I have lost some of my faith along the way and I know how it is to go against God and be under His grace. I have learned how to suffer and accept the fact that I have sinned. And the story of Job made me realize, God does what He knows is best for me. Now I can never question His wisdom, but I may ask for His grace to be with me in times like this.

After God answered Job, He blessed Job more. God gave him what he lost and more. All that Job did was to trust in the Lord. TRUST IN THE LORD.

My story so far.

 

FAITH.

I lost my job. I was trying to find one and I have not yet got any. My wife is currently pregnant to our 3rd child, my daughter’s tuition is not yet fully paid, she is still to graduate this March, we have some bills and debt to pay and I don’t know where to go for financial aide. I am so confused and frustrated. Then I had a glimpse of hope… one of the companies I applied for last year contacted me for an interview. I went there hoping for a shot at having a job again and support my family’s needs. But I failed. I failed the first 2 tests… typing and some quiz. DARN IT! How did I fail them?! I passed them last year! I was filled with questions…

I went home. Caught a bus and sat down. I looked at what’s in front of me. The wide road that will take me home… Then I noticed the verse near the driver’s rear view mirror… Jeremiah 29:11.

Image

It made me remember the promise of God from a long time ago. God indeed never fails, although we do. God has plans to prosper ME and to give ME hope and a future, never to harm me. I guess all I have to do now is really trust His ways.

God, I really need some assistance from You.

trails from the rivers of tears

they were left behind,
they had faith but was left behind.

they cried for help,
they cried for help to no avail.

they were scared.
they were scared and now alone.

they were cast aways,
they were cast aways and loners.

they were branded,
they were branded as traitors of faith, backsliders.

but Jesus came,
but Jesus came and cried with them.

He cried and wept,
for He knows how painful it is,
fallen angels…

 

written: October 18, 2012
Gabs Narazo
© 2012 [bLURrED publikation]