This Easter, be on the lookout for an egg-laying bunny rabbit. He will be delivering brightly colored eggs, chocolates, and jellybeans to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No one knows for certain exactly when the Easter Bunny hopped into the Resurrection Story. Nonetheless, the Easter Bunny has been the Resurrection’s mascot since the early days of the nation’s history. Have you ever wondered how a bunny rabbit became the official mascot for the Resurrection?
Since I was a child, I have wondered what a bunny rabbit, some eggs, and chocolates have to do with the Resurrection of Jesus. The answer is absolutely nothing. They have nothing in common. Still, Christians accept a lot of the symbolism of Easter fertility celebrations and incorporate them into the Resurrection of Jesus. Is it wrong to call the Resurrection “Easter”? Whether it is wrong is not for me to judge. However, I do not think we should assimilate Pagan customs into the Christian Resurrection Story. After reading this article, you will understand why I feel this way.
Easter, the Pagan Fertility Celebration
Before the birth of Christ, Easter existed. However, no one called it Easter. In ancient times Easter was a festive celebration of the Spring Equinox. Much of the symbolism surrounding our celebration of Easter originated from pagan celebrations. One such celebration involved worshiping Astarte, the Greek/Mesopotamian fertility sex goddess. The Christian Bible refers to Astarte as Asherah or Ashtoreth (2 Chronicles 33:3; Judges 3:7; 1 Kings 15:13; 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 21:7; 2 Kings 23:4).
The name “Easter” comes from an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre or Ostara. She was the German goddess of the spring. The ancient Anglo-Saxon people held annual festivals in her honor to celebrate the beginning of spring. The rabbit became a symbol of fertility because of its ability to rapidly reproduce. Brightly colored eggs were incorporated to reflect the newness of life and the beauty of spring flowers.
Many ancient fertility celebrations involved sexual rituals. Baal was the universal god of fertility. He was also known as Prince and Lord of the earth. Worshipers of Baal also worshiped an idol called an Asherah, which was sometimes shaped like an enlarged male sex organ. Perversion, homosexuality, immorality, and sexual promiscuity were normal activities during worship. The Christian Bible mentions the Ashtoreth in 2 Kings 23:13.
What the Resurrection Means to Christians
Easter is the most sacred and celebrated day on the Christian calendar. For Christians, the Holy Day is a celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death. The resurrection solidifies God’s promise of eternal life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The scripture says, “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by His power” (1 Corinthians 6:14). Therefore, the Resurrection gives us hope that we will see this scripture fulfilled in us.
The Christian Easter celebration revolves around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says Jesus died for our offenses, and he walked out of the grave because we were justified. Because we have been justified we have peace with God through Him (Romans 4:24-25; 5:1-2). Had Jesus not been crucified for our sins, or if He had not risen from the dead, all of humanity would be lost.
No Common Ground
Where is the connection between Easter and Resurrection Sunday? There is none. The only thing the two have in common is both occur in the spring. Notwithstanding, Easter is a celebration of the fertility and newness of life. Whereas Resurrection Sunday is a celebration of victory over death and the redemption of humanity. God forbid that we should link the two together. They are as far apart as the east is from the west. What part has sexual perversion to do with holiness?
The scripture says that Christians should not be conformed to this world. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). However, it seems that the church has conformed to many of the world’s ideas. We have incorporated the Pagan celebration of Easter into the sacred and holy observance of the Resurrection of Christ. I believe Easter Bunnies and eggs take away from the sacred story of Easter. They make light of what God has done for us. Think about it. What is there about a bizarre egg-laying rabbit that would make you think of Jesus conquering death?
As I said, no one knows for certain when the Easter bunny hopped into the Resurrection Story. But somewhere between the Ashtoreth and the Resurrection, Christians adopted the symbolism of Easter and made it a tradition. Here is what the Bible says about tradition:
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).
As we celebrate the Resurrection, let us do so according to scripture. Let us remember why we celebrate Easter and what Christ’s resurrection means to humanity. Keep Christ in your Easter celebration.