Saturday, April 27, 2013

IT IS THIS SIMPLE

Anybody ever hear this before: "Nothing in this world matters all that much, in fact very few things matter at all."
 In a manner of speaking the same can be said for Christianity. What matters is confessing Christ as your lord and savior and belief in His resurrection from the dead. That's it. If you sincerely make that confession you will be saved (Rom 10:9)
 I know some will say "That's all? What about 'Christian living', baptism, and all that stuff that Paul said we had to do?"
 OK , those are fair questions. Paul wrote the passage in Romans, Paul wrote his letters to people who already believed and was explaining what a Christ centered and lead life should look like. Those things such as forgiving one another, humbling ourselves before each other care for the weak, standing up for justice against oppressors, et cetera, et cetera, is what one's life will look like because, not of our own efforts, but because of Christ in us.
 This is truly the hardest thing in Christianity to accept because it sounds, and is, that simple.
 The entirety of Christ's earthly existence from conception to resurrection was for us so that we have nothing to do but accept the free gift and believe. All of that stuff Paul talks about comes as we grow in Christ, but God does not want us to do those things if we are trying to earn his grace. We can't "earn" something that is free. And to try calls God a liar. Not a good idea. This is what the Law Keepers don't get. It is very simple. It is so simple that they can't imagine it to be that way. THEY THINK THAT THEY MUST PLEASE and thereby APEASE GOD. They do not understand Christ did it all. All of life, all of death and resurrection, His life replaces our flawed and sinful life.
 

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; ) Acts 17:11
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Life Is Worth More Than The Sabbath!

(MAR. 2: 23) One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.

The disciples were hungry, so they ate. They were preserving human life. Food is one of the basic necessities of life. And “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (MAT. 6: 32b). So they were preserving human life in what they were doing and God Himself approved of this.
You would think that would be a good thing, right?


(MAR. 2: 24) And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look,why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

No. The Pharisees were not well pleased with preserving human life on the Sabbath.
Jesus Christ, Lord and Judge, did not condemn; He pleaded these men's case. Jesus proceeded to make His point from the Old Testament. He had pre-loaded the scriptures with an example from David specifically to prove His point.


(MAR. 2: 25-26) 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”

Who can find a better example than King David? Even in his days, in the golden age of Israel, it was better to preserve human life than it was to demand strict and inflexible adherence to legal code.

You see, to Pharisees, as you are worth more than many sparrows (MAT. 10: 31), so the Sabbath was worth more than many humans. They thought that they were pleasing God in what they did. They thought, “God Himself is going to kill you, and has authorized us to kill you on His behalf, for violating the Sabbath.”
But that isn’t God’s position on the matter.


(MAR. 2: 27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

In the eyes of the Author, a human life is worth more than the Sabbath law.
To prove this out and make it inescapable, He gave His life for us.

(JON. 3: 14-17) 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

He died for you – God died for you – to prove your worth to Him. He didn’t die for the Sabbath; He died to ransom your life.
Your life is worth more than the Sabbath!

Keep this in mind as men try to turn this right around again and tell you how much more the Sabbath is worth than your life.
“God is going to cast you into Gehenna fire for violating the Sabbath!” they say. Have you not seen that your life is worth more than the Sabbath? It was worth more than the Sabbath in David’s day, and it was worth more than the Sabbath in Jesus’ day, so why would you think it will not be worth more on Judgment Day? Yet somehow we are to believe that, no, “God Himself is going to kill you, and has authorized us to disfellowship you on His behalf, for violating the Sabbath.”
When did Jesus change His mind about your value? Do you think God was more concerned with the preservation of physical life than eternal life? If your physical life is worth more than the Sabbath day that the Sabbath law could be violated to preserve it, how exceedingly more will your eternal life be worth?


(JON. 3: 16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

He died to prove your value to Him. Don’t take that lightly, oh beloved of God. Don’t misunderstand or underestimate the worth that is conveyed to you by the price He paid for you. He died so that you wouldn’t have to. And you are worth more than many Sabbaths to Him.

Modern Pharisees work to undo this. Thy want Jesus to change His mind about your value. If you can believe that you have less value, then perhaps you can believe your value is in them! "What will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (MAR. 8: 37). What will you not give to them if they will only let you preserve your life?
So they start right here with Mark 2: 27. While Jesus is yet demonstrating the value of your life above the Sabbath they begin to undo the lesson completely.

They say, "Jesus means that the Sabbath was made for all of mankind, so it is mandatory."

If Jesus said the Sabbath was for all men, the Pharisees would have stoned Him. All involved understood the Sabbath was for the Jews only. Jesus had not died yet and the Old Covenant was still in full vigor. Gentiles were strangers to that Covenant (EPH. 2: 12).
The Pharisees were condemning Jesus and His disciples for preserving human life on the Sabbath, because the Pharisees had raised the importance of the Sabbath to a height above life. In response, Jesus was putting the Sabbath back into its proper perspective.
[LITV] "The Sabbath came into being for man's sake, not man for the Sabbath's sake."
(Mark 2 has more examples of Jesus showing the importance of life over law than just this.)

A key comes from the parallel account in Matthew 12: 7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” The life of men is more important than the regulations in the law – even the 4th Commandment. If He had said the Sabbath was binding on all mankind that would have been agreeing with the Pharisees point that He was violating the law, and thus He would have indicted Himself.
Consider it. If the Pharisees were accusing Jesus, "Why are your disciples violating the Sabbath?" and His defense was, “The Sabbath is binding on all mankind,” what sense would that make? God is not a fool!

But the proper interpretation of the verse does certain people little good, so they move to the next verse:

(MAR. 2: 28) So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.

"See?" they explain, "Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, so you must keep the Sabbath or you will lose your life." And thus they completely up-end the lesson Jesus just taught us. His lesson was not even over before they undid it.

Beloved of God, oh, but the one who declares your value is indeed Lord of the Sabbath! Do not fear this, but triumph in it! Glory in it!!
He is superior to both it and us, and all other things. The Lord of the Sabbath has authority over the law and has declared your value to be superior to that of the Sabbath. Who can undo His sure judgment? If the very Lord of the Sabbath Himself is on your side, who can be against you?

(ROM. 8: 31-39) 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing will separate you from His love! No not any thing.

He did not give His life for yours lightly. He will not simply toss His hard-earned victory aside. “I died for you, and if you don’t remember that between the hours of sundown Friday to Saturday evening then the deal’s off!” No, sought after by God, that isn’t what the Bible says.
It is easy to get confused and fall into the trap of letting slick-talking people convince you that the Sabbath is worth more than you. It is so easy to lose sight of what you have seen here and fall for their arguments. It is so easy to misunderstand righteousness in the New Covenant. It doesn't help matters that Satan, who wants you to think you are nothing, is whispering in your ear to remind you of your failures and to sow seeds of doubt about His love for you.
Don't listen to him! Give no place to his pernicious attacks. Our Lord has overcome him. You are not nothing. You are very much something, in Him.

Never forget that even your temporary physical life is worth more than the Sabbath law. Compare that to the words of the people who try to tell you otherwise. Who do they sound like - Jesus, or the Pharisees?

What does Jesus say?

(MAR. 5: 36b) “Do not fear, only believe.”





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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; ) Acts 17:11
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter FAQ

I am shocked at the statements being passed off as truth on the Internet these days. Here is very short a list of the some of the unsubstantiated claims that are out there:

• Sun-worshippers went to their temples weekly, on Sunday, to worship the Sun-god.
• Nimrod’s wife was Semiramis, who claimed to be the Virgin Queen of Heaven, and was the mother of Tammuz.
• Tammuz was killed by a wild boar when he was age 40; so 40 days of Lent were set aside to honor his death.
• The Babylonians wept for him on “Good Friday.” They worshipped a cross-the initial letter of his name.

These and similar claims, popular as they may be on the Internet, are patently ridiculous. They are unfounded and unverifiable. People who pass on these lies all claim to love the truth. I shudder for the truth! Just try to find proof for these claims in ancient documents and you cannot. Drill down and you will come to a dead end. Why? Because they’re made up! Wouldn’t you expect to be able to provide solid evidence for something if it’s is true? Yet well-intentioned people propagate these tales regardless.

Mistake #1 is not discerning the quality of your source of information. Be warned, dear reader: all sources are not the same. DO NOT mistake Alexander Hislop for a reliable authority on anything. (Someone please tell Chuck Missler about this.) Nothing can be false if it's on the Internet, right? Mistake #2 is mistaking Googling for research. A Google search is not "research" if that is where you stop. It's just the beginning! After the Google search comes the real research. Check the source material, track down the details, compare and contrast with the real historical documents, go to the highest quality sources. Mistake #3 is believing everything you see in an info-graphic. Just because someone uses Photoshop to make a picture that looks great and puts it on Facebook doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.



Such absurd errors are found in publications and websites (in some cases intentionally) and make their way to church radio programs and even into generally respectable resources like the Encyclopedia. Well, a large part of the reason why As Bereans Did exists is to warn against lying and bearing false witness! We dig down, as the noble Bereans did, and we bring you the hard facts.

To that end, we have devised this quick reference FAQ for you. I must make my answers short, rather than comprehensive. Resources will be left at the end of the post for you to use in further study.

Is Easter a pagan holiday coopted by the Catholic Church?
No. Easter is not a prior pagan holiday adopted into Christianity by the Catholic Church. Easter is simply the English name for the New Covenant Passover; the annual remembrance of the Last Supper. By whatever name, this one feast has been observed by the entire unified Church from the start.
Most languages refer to it as Pascha, or something similar, which comes from the Hebrew word Pesach. Only German and English (which is a Germanic language) use another name altogether. In English the name is Easter, in German the name is Ostern.

Was Passover replaced by Easter at the Council of Nicaea?
No. There was no ancient Babylonian “Easter” to replace Pascha with. The only name used before and after Nicaea is “Pascha”. There were not two separate festivals being argued over, there was only one. Timing of the one festival was the issue. The Council of Nicaea standardized the time for the annual remembrance of the Lord’s Supper and the end of the Lenten fast.
The debate was whether to observe Pascha on a random day of the week, whenever the Jews decided it was Nisan 14, or whether to hold Pascha on a set day of the week, independent of the Jews. The church was divided since most people found it prohibitive to follow the Hebrew calendar to determine when to observe Pascha. Not 30 years after Nicaea, the Hebrews decided they couldn’t follow the Hebrew calendar either, so Rabbi Hillel II completely revamped their calendar system.

Should we call Easter by the name Passover?
It doesn’t accomplish much. Since Passover is generally considered to be the name of the Jewish Old Covenant observance, it might be best to avoid confusion and not use this particular name. At any rate, the name and details of celebration do not matter so long as the spirit remains the same: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obsessing over names is at best a distraction.
But you should know that the name “Passover” is every bit as much a construct of the English language as Easter is. Pentecost, that’s a Helenistic Greek name. Nissan, that’s a Babylonian name. Abib, that’s a Canaanite name.

Is the King James Version right in translating Acts 12: 4 as “Easter”?
Yes and no. This is more a matter of opinion, but since the KJV is an English translation, and the English word for Pascha is Easter, then Easter is a correct translation of Pascha. Problem is Easter is only the correct translation of Pascha if it refers to the New Covenant Pascha of the Christians and not the Old Covenant Pascha of the Jews. Acts 12: 4 is talking about Herod pleasing the Jews in Judea, so it probably is referring to the Old Covenant Pascha of the Jews, and therefore it is my personal opinion that Easter is probably not correct here. Most Bible translations do not say “Easter”.

When is Easter?
The Council of Nicaea decided to set the date as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox. This formula sets the date, yet keeps it close to the actual time when Jesus ate the Last Supper. Anciently, Passover was generally on the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox.
The Roman Catholics still follow this formula while the Orthodox set their Easter using the Julian Calendar and these 4 criteria: 1) after the Vernal Equinox, and 2) after the Jewish Passover, and 3) with a full moon, and 4) after March 21st.

Is Easter tied to the Spring Equinox because of paganism?
No. It has nothing to do with paganism at all. It has to do with Judaism. The timing for Easter was chosen because at that time Passover was generally on the full moon on or after the equinox. One of the main reasons for Hillel II’s calendar reforms was to better predict when the Passover new moon would be before the spring equinox. The formula agreed to at Nicaea sets the date on a Sunday, yet keeps it close to the actual time when Jesus ate the Last Supper.

Is the Pope responsible for the change from Passover to Easter?
No. First, Jesus is responsible for the change from the Old Covenant Passover to the New Covenant Passover. Second, Easter is the New Covenant Passover. Third, the Pope wasn’t even at the Council of Nicaea. He sent two representatives to be there in his place; two out of some 220 Bishops, yet they all still agreed to the set timing of Pascha. Nothing at Nicaea was forced on the Church by the “evil” Catholics. At that time the church was more dominated by the eastern Greek cities, not the western Latin cities. In fact the major controversy at Nicaea involved Alexandria, Egypt.

Is Easter named after a goddess?
No. Easter is named after a month. Easter gets its name from the old German month Ostarmonath, in which the Paschal Season began.
The month may or may have gotten its name from a goddess, but most likely didn’t. The Venerable Bede says the month got its name from a defunct German goddess named Eostra, but no one has found evidence of such a goddess outside of a brief mention in Bede’s book. Others theorize the month got its name because ostar means east or eastward, and by extension implies dawn and Spring. Ostarmonath can also mean “month of opening”, referring to the buds on trees and etc, and by extension means Spring.

What of the goddess Ostara, then?
No evidence of such a goddess exists. The Venerable Bede mentions a defunct German goddess named Eostra, but that was probably speculation on Bede’s part. Bede did speculate about goddesses elsewhere in his book, so it is plausible that he speculated here.
In 1835, Jacob Grimm, of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales, wrote a book called “German Mythology”. Grimm had a deep respect for Bede and tried to hypothesize a way that Bede could have been right. Grimm, while admitting that there was no evidence to be found for Eostra, speculated that perhaps there was a goddess of the dawn named Ostara. I cannot say why Grimm thought it wise to invent a goddess in order to spare Bede from having invented a goddess. But the first problem remains - it’s all invented! None of this is based on solid evidence.
Bede is the first and only source for Eostra and Grimm the first and only source for Ostara. All descriptions of said goddess - her appearance, companions, rites associated with her, etc - are outright fabricated or are improperly borrowed from Norse goddesses such as Freya. We strongly disagree with this practice.

What of the Austriahenae inscriptions?
In several hundred years of searching, the only potential evidence found for Eostra are some inscriptions in Latin that were found in 1958 near Morken-Harff, Germany. They date to hundreds of years before Bede, so that’s a good start. 
The inscriptions mention goddesses, plural, not singular. That they are all found in one place indicates that they are local and not wide-spread goddesses. The goddesses are called by the umbrella title of "Mothers Austria-henae". ‘Austria’ could mean about anything, including a place name. There are several other goddesses with this –henae suffix (eg. Gesahenae, Mediotautehae, Albiahenae, Berguiahenae), and none of the prefixes in those instances are proper nouns, only vague descriptions of places or objects. Matron goddesses usually come in threes. So we don’t have one widespread goddess named Eostra, we have multiple, local goddesses whose title, “Austria”, could mean about anything.

Was Ostara’s consort a hare?
No, Eostra/Ostara’s consort was not a hare or a rabbit. None have yet found evidence of Eostra/Ostara. Period. If we cannot find this goddess, then it should go without saying that no one has ever found evidence of her consort. Until we do find some evidence to base this claim on, we can conclusively say no to it. Most people just assume Eostra/Ostara is another regional goddess, such as Freya, and run with that. But the stories conjured up don’t really match Freya either!
I cannot tell you how exceedingly many websites I have been to that parrot invented claims about Eostra/Ostara. I’m estimating some 9 out of 10 websites on the subject mention Eostra/Ostara. None are documented, some are quite elaborate in their claims, but few match each other. I have heard that Eostra/Ostara had a hare as a consort, had the head of a hare, had a rabbit following, was honored with rabbits and eggs, was the goddess of the dawn, was the goddess of fertility, was honored on Easter day, was honored for a full month… the claims go on and on and on.

Is Eostra/Ostara actually Ishtar?
No. There is no record of any goddess Eostra outside of Bede’s “The Reckoning of Time” and there is no evidence for Ostara outside of Grimm’s “German Mythology”, so there is no evidence at all for such a claim relating them to Ishtar. The claim is based on nothing but shady etymology. These names are an example of what is what etymologists call a “false cognate” or “false friend”.
The words sound alike and backstory is imagined from there. Easter does not get its name from Ishtar nor any other goddess related to Ishtar. Easter has as much to do with Ishtar as Australia has to do with the Norse god Austr.

Did Easter start in Nimrod’s day?
No. That is an outright lie built on terrible etymology and pseudo-history, and passed off as fact due to repetition. There is nothing remotely in the realm of reliable historical evidence to demonstrate this. All of these sorts of Nimrod, Ishtar, Tammuz, etc claims find their beginning with Alexander Hislop. He’s the one who made it all up in the late 1840’s. Maybe you didn’t know that Hislop is completely unreliable. I can hardly blame you for not knowing this. Among the people who promote his writings are Herbert Armstrong and thus the leaders of every one of the COG splinter churches, Dave Hunt, Chuck Missler, Richard Rives, the Christadelphians, the Jehovah’s Witnesses – the list goes on and on. But if you really want the truth about Hislop, then please send away for Mr. Ralph Woodrow’s book “The Babylon Connection”. It will give you the information that you need to know about Alexander Hislop.
See our posts “The Babylon Connection” and “The Two Babylons” for more.

Think about it… Some people, following Alexander Hislop, say Easter is an ancient Babylonian holiday that was kept continuously by the Catholic Church since Nimrod’s day. But if it was always being kept then it cannot be the result of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. It cannot be both.
If it was the product of the Council of Nicaea then it cannot be the result of the Catholic Church which only sent two representatives to the Council. It cannot be both.
The first mention of Eostre is in the eighth century, not the first century, nor the fourth century, and certainly not 2,000+ BC. They can’t all be right.
The early church called it Pascha and only several centuries later came the name Easter. If Pascha is centuries older tha Easter then Easter cannot be the source of Pascha. It cannot be both.
What kind of coincidence could possibly cause the holiday to be called Easter by the Babylonians, then Pascha by the Greeks and Latins, then Ostern by the Germans, then Easter once again by the English?
These contradictions cannot all be true. Who will you believe? Don’t make up your mind yet. There’s more.

Did Ishtar hatch from an egg?
No. This claim is absolute nonsense created quite recently and is being spread around the Internet by people with an axe to grind against mainstream Christianity. There is no historicity to this claim.
The next time you see a silly claim like that, take a look at the sources cited. Take a look at the historical documents they use to build their case. I’ll bet you there aren’t any.

Did Ishtar have rabbits and eggs as her symbols?
No. We have no evidence of this. Ishtar’s main symbols were an eight-pointed star (probably representing the planet Venus), a pair of lions, and snakes. Various other symbols were also connected to Ishtar, but hares and eggs weren’t among them. If at any point eggs and rabbits were associated with Ishtar, then they were completely inconsequential. It makes no sense whatsoever that symbols not even associated with Ishtar would be handed down in her honor for over 3,000 years while her main symbols were lost.

Where does the tradition of eggs come from if not from paganism?
The tradition of Easter Eggs comes from the Lentin prohibition against eating eggs. Eggs could not be eaten during Lent, so they would be eaten up before Lent then stored up and eaten after Lent. The first mention is from the 1400’s AD.
As for coloring the eggs, no one seems to know where that started. The decorating of eggs seems to come from many sources, some of which could perhaps come from pagan tradition.
Some say it started with the Persian New Year celebration, “Nowruz” (but these ones never explain how it got to us). This is incredibly difficult to verify since I do not read Persian and cannot verify any reliable source material. Some say it began with the Ukranians and the Pysanky egg (a forged poem tying the pysansky to paganism has been making the rounds on the Internet). Some people say it started in Medieval England with the Pace egg (I find it interesting that pace eggs were wrapped in onion skin, and that the word Pace comes from Pascha). Some people say it started with the Orthodox who died eggs red to symbolize Jesus’ death then cracked the egg to symbolize His resurrection (the Orthodox use symbolism quite a lot, so this is at least plausible). Some people say it started with the ancient Chinese (again, no explanation on how that came to us).
Lastly we have the special group of people who just make up a story out of thin air and say it came from Nimrod and Semiramis. Some people have determined in their minds from the outset that eggs and rabbits absolutely must be pagan, and therefore some pagan explanation must account for them. Notice how the outcome was already determined at the outset. At that point, some people will accept anything at all, so long as it appears to support their predetermined conclusion. Beware of this, dear reader!
Though I am completely unable to verify for certain, I suppose it is plausible that the Orthodox Church adopted egg coloring from the Sarrasid Persians into the Byzantine Empire. That might explain why colored eggs seem so popular in Eastern Europe. It might also explain why both the Orthodox and Catholics have this tradition. If you are going to be eating a lot of eggs after Lent anyway, why not color them?

Where does the tradition of the Easter Bunny come from?
No one quite knows. Yes, rabbits have been fertility symbols for millennia – they have been symbols for a great many things for millennia - but that is not prima fasciae evidence that Christians stole rabbits from the pagans. We simply do not know. But we do know the tradition is relatively recent and should not be misused to poison the entire Easter holiday.
Hares were very popular symbols among Christians in Medieval Europe, especially after the Crusades. Because people in the Middle Ages were generally ignorant about the life cycle of hares, they became symbols for a number of things. George Ferguson in his book “Signs and Symbols in Christian Art” p.20 sums a very long story up nicely as so:
“The hare, itself defenseless, is a symbol of men who put the hope of their salvation in the Christ and His Passion. It is also a well-known symbol of lust and fecundity. A white hare is sometimes placed at the feet of the Virgin Mary to indicate her triumph over lust.”
The trail of the Easter Bunny starts in Europe, most likely the Protestants in the Alsace region of Germany. Originally the animal was a hare, not a rabbit, and it was called “Ostern Hase” which translates to Easter Hare. The first mention comes from Georg Franck von Frankenau in his writing “De Ovis Paschalibus” [“On Easter Eggs”] in 1682. He said:
“In Alsace and the neighboring regions those eggs are called hare-eggs because of the myth that is told to make the simple-minded and children believe that the Easter Hare was laying and hiding them in the grass of the gardens, so the children search them even more eagerly, for the delectation of the smiling adults.”
The Easter Hare eventually became much like Santa Claus, bringing treats to good children and orphans. The Pennsylvania Dutch brought this tradition to the Americas, and it has developed here ever since.
 “Peter Cottontail” comes from a song whose lyrics were written in 1949 by Jack Rollins (who also wrote Frosty the Snowman). Music written by Steve Nelson, performed by Gene Autry.
-"West Virginia songwriter Jack Rollins penned the best known Easter song 'Peter Cottontail'". 4-22-2011. http://www.huntingtonnews.net/3532
Claims of rank paganism are simply overstating the facts. It could be quite as innocent as the tale related by Doctor von Frankenau. Since the Easter Bunny traces its roots to the 1600’s, then I find it quite anachronistic to smear the entire Easter festival on its account.

Is Good Friday the day Babylonians wept for Tammuz?
No. The weeping for Tammuz happened in the month of Tammuz, which is after Pascha not before it.
“Good Friday” is the English name for the Friday on which Jesus died.
Some people do not accept that Jesus died on Friday, and that's fine since timing is trivial. Others cannot bare the notion, so they search for some alternate explanation. Some are not above just making one up. But there is no alternate explanation. The early church from the late first century really did believe and teach that Jesus died on a Friday and rose on a Sunday. Whether they were right or wrong, that is the explanation.

Is the cross just the first letter of the name Tammuz?
No. This claim is ridiculous. Tammuz, also pronounced Dammuz, is a very ancient Sumerian/Chaldean god of vegetation. The people of that time didn’t have the letter T. They wrote in Cuneiform. Chaldeans wouldn’t know what a T is. The Greeks invented the first letter that looks like our modern T. But the Greeks didn’t worship Tammuz; their version was called Adonis. They would have no reason to associate the T with Adonis. Capital T still isn’t the correct shape anyhow; lower case t is. Lower case letters were invented even later still.
It is a well-established fact that crucifixes did have various shapes among which was the classic shape. Anything with a T shape is considered “cruciform”, so strong is the connection between that shape and crucifixion. Note that it is not called “Tammuziform”. Whether the cross on which Jesus was executed was a classic t or not is inconsequential. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It always has. There is absolutely no evidence that it has anything to do with any other thing or any other god. Such claims are pure speculation and imagination.

Does Lent come from the weeping for Tammuz?
No. The weeping for Tammuz happened in the month of Tammuz, which is three months after Pascha, not before it. Tammuz is the fourth Hebrew month, whereas Lent ends at Easter which is in the first Hebrew month.
The weeping for Tammuz didn’t last 40 days. At first Lent didn’t last 40 days either. Originally there were a variety of lengths and forms of fasting. Anyone who claims that an ancient 40-day celebration is the genesis of Lent doesn’t even have a grasp on the most basic facts.

Where did Lent come from if not from paganism?
Lent comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of fasting; particularly Lent comes from the Fast of the Firstborn. A fast before Pascha is spoken of by Eusebius, who relates a letter from Irenaeus, who himself relates its origins to be handed down.
“For the controversy is not only concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisting of forty hours day and night.”
-Eusebius, “Church History”, book 5 chapter 24 verse 12.
It wasn’t until around the 300’s that a 40-day fast became widespread.
Early Christians fasted quite often. Some cities fasted every Friday to commemorate Jesus’ death. Many cities fasted every Saturday. Catholics and Orthodox both still have the tradition of fasting from Saturday night until they receive the Eucharist.

How can we fit “three days and three nights” into Friday evening to Sunday morning?
We can do so with two things: Onah and Jonah.
Onah -- We can do this by using inclusive reckoning. The ancient Jews counted inclusively, and had a concept called the “onah” to explain this. With inclusive reckoning any part of a day counts as the whole thing.
Jonah – We can do this since the sign of Jonah was not 72 hours in a great fish, rather it was his symbolic death resurrection from the great fish. The exact time was never Jesus’ point; the fact of the literal death and resurrection was.
In the Old Testament where “three days and three nights” is used, or “three days, night and day” is used, it is clearer that a literal 72-hours was never understood and never meant to be understood.
See Three Days and Three Nights for more info.

Does the Holy Week support a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion?
Most likely, no. (All options have issues to overcome.)
Wednesday seems completely out of the question. If the crucifixion were on Wednesday, then Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple would have been on the prior Sabbath, and that simply is not possible. Besides that the words of Cleopas on the Damascus Road preclude it (we’ll get to that later).
Thursday is plausible, but there are issues here, too. If the crucifixion were on Thursday, then the Triumphal Entry would have been on the prior Sabbath, and that also is improbable due to legal restrictions prohibiting some of the things Jesus and the crowd did. Not only that, but it puts a holy day back-to-back with the weekly Sabbath. Two days without cooking was not favored. The Jews have been known to postpone holy days so they did not fall immediately before or after a weekly Sabbath. This postponement may or may not have happened that year, but a Thursday crucifixion makes it more likely.
Friday is the best bet, and is supported by the language of the Gospels as well as the Early Church Fathers. But then there is the issue of whether or not "three days and three nights" is literal.

Was there a holy day then a weekly Sabbath in the crucifixion week?
Most likely no. In the entire Greek Bible (the Septuagint was the Bible the Apostles themselves used), ‘sabbaton’ is only used once in reference to one annual high day, and that is the Day of Atonement (LEV. 23: 32). Never Passover. So there is no reason to assume the Apostles associated 'sabbaton' with the first day of Passover. This becomes even weightier when we consider the word 'sabbaton' is never used in exclusive reference to an annual high day in the New Testament. Proper translations of ‘sabbaton’ include “Sabbath” singular, “Sabbaths” plural, and “week”.
“Week” is sometimes a proper translation since ‘sabbaton’ can be idiomatic; a synecdoche. When ‘sabbaton’ is plural, it can refer to a week by referring to both of the Sabbaths that book-end the week. Context is key here. In Matthew 28: 1, both appearances of ‘sabbaton’ are correctly translated “week”, since they refer to the end of the week (Saturday) and the beginning of the week (Sunday). So there is no annual holy day mentioned in Matthew 28: 1.

The Greek word 'paraskeue' is translated "Preparation Day" and is recognized as meaning Friday. To place Preparation Day on a different week day we need to change the meaning of 'paraskeue'. We should give a reason why the term needs to be redefined. Mark goes out of his way to tell us that this Preparation Day was Friday by including the term ‘prosabbaton’, which is translated “the day before the [weekly] Sabbath” (MAR. 15: 42). So we also need to give reason why "prosabbaton" must be redefined.

John 19: 31 tells us that the Sabbath was an annual holy day. However John does not tell us that this Sabbath was not a weekly Sabbath. Which leaves the possibility that this day was both a weekly Sabbath and an annual holy day. John simply says (and I paraphrase), “that Sabbath day was great”. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread can fall on a weekly Sabbath. So we have to give valid reasons why they could not have both been on the same day.

Was Cleopas referring to the setting of the guard when he said “these things”?
No. Cleopas said exactly what he meant.
(ACT. 10: 20) and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
A Wednesday crucifixion still wouldn’t work out even if Cleopas was referring to the rolling of the stone. The Jews, as with most people in their day, counted inclusively. All days involved are included in the count. For example, when Cornelius says “four days ago” he meant that current day and the three prior (ACT. 10: 30). In the same way, when Cleopas said “today is the third day” he meant that current day and the two prior (LUK. 24: 21). In other words, Cleopas, speaking on Sunday, was referring to Friday. 
If the crucifixion were on Wednesday, then the stone was rolled late Wednesday, and thus Cleopas would have said "today is the fifth day," or early Thursday, and thus Cleopas would have said “today is the fourth day."

When did the women prepare spices?
Inconclusive.
Mark 16: 1 says after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome the mother of James and John purchased spices to anoint Jesus with.
Luke 23: 56 says that before the Sabbath, the women from Galilee (presumably these same women mentioned above) prepared spices.
This leaves us with three main theories.
Theory one is a Wednesday crucifixion which puts Mark before Luke chronologically. In this scenario, on Thursday there is an annual holy day. This theory rests on a holy day being called 'sabbaton' which is improper. Friday would then be both before and after a sabbath. The women purchased spices on Friday and prepared spices all day.
Theory two is the traditional Friday or even a Thursday crucifixion, which puts Luke before Mark chronologically. In this scenario, the women prepared spices along with Nicodemus (Luke 23: 56), then they rested on the weekly Sabbath (a Thursday crucifixion would mean a back-to-back annual holy day then weekly Sabbath day), then Saturday evening after the Sabbath was complete the women purchased more spices as in Mark 16: 1.
Theory three is the possibility of an outright error in either one of the Gospels.
We prefer theory two. To expand on the Thursday/Friday scenarios:
The Bible never tells us what quantity of spices the women had. There is nothing that stops the women from preparing spices before the Sabbath with Nicodemus and after the weekly Sabbath on their own. Since we know Nicodemus arrived in short order with around one hundred pounds of spices, myrrh, and aloes, we can conclude that these things were readily available. Martha also had a large quantity of ointment on hand (JON. 12: 3). Also, there is every reason to believe shops in Jerusalem opened immediately after sundown on the Sabbath and holy days, especially during what is one of the busiest times of the year.
Long story short, the timing of the spices is no help at all in determining which crucifixion scenario is correct, since all crucifixion scenarios have plausible explanations. The answer must come from the rest of the evidence. That is where theory two shines.

Wasn’t Sunday worship itself adopted from paganism?
No. This claim is a late fabrication. There are some outstanding resources available to put the lie to this claim and demonstrate that Christians had been commemorating the resurrection on Sunday morning since the Apostles’ time. Among these resources is D. M. Canright’s “The Lord’s Day Neither from Catholics or Pagans”. In chapter 5 of his book, Mr. Canright corresponds with the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities of the British Museum in London, England – the world authority at that time. The British Museum unequivocally confirmed that pagans in ancient Rome did not have any such concept as weekly Sunday observance.
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Thank you, dear truth-seeking reader, for staying with me through this. I hope this small FAQ has been of some help to you. I trust it has cleared up a few things. At the end of the day, if rabbits and eggs bother you, by all means leave them out. Concentrate on Christ! But don’t bear these Internet fables and foibles another step. Throw them in the garbage where they belong. I pray our Heavenly Father guide you ever more into His truth, which hinges and rests on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are some resources to aid you in finding the truth about Easter:

Material on ABD:

Material off-site from ABD: