?1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 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. 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Have you ever wondered about our cultural tradition celebrated every year called Easter? Bunnies, colored eggs with a traditional hunt for the kids? To most it is harmless fun but in reality it is a subtle departure from where the real focus should be, which is the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead. The very element that crowns the Gospel with reality, without which there would be no Gospel. If this is so then are we as believers really participating in harmless fun? Or could we really be celebrating a festival to one of God's most hated enemies? I think the latter is most true.
The word "Easter" comes from the older word "Ashtar" or "Ashtarte" which was called "The Queen of Heaven". Interestingly this false pagan god is found in numerous cultures around the world. Her lore and legend is that she decided to come to the earth and she "fell" from a large colored egg. Her goal was to hunt for men to seduce into relations with her. In order to stay undetected she took on the form of a rabbit. This enabled her to get close to her unsuspecting prey. She was worshipped in many cultures in ancient times. Sadly, she still is today. Many are unsuspecting.
"Ashtoreth was the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male deity (Judg 10:6 1 Sam 7:4 12:10)." (Easton's Bible Dictionary)
Easton's goes on to say;
There was a temple of this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Sam 31:10). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte. Solomon introduced the worship of this idol (1 Kings 11 1 Sam 11:33). Jezebel's 400 priests were probably employed in its service (1Kings 18:19). It was called the "queen of heaven" (Jer 44:25).
Ashtoreth worship was a "sex-fertility cult" filled with terrible acts. So much so that the Hebrews changed the vowels in her name to reflect the degrading shame surrounding her worship.
Think about it. What do I as a Christian have to do with these things? Even in harmless fun does it really matter? You better believe it does. Paul said,
1 Corinthians 10:19-21
19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons.
While we can claim "Liberty" (1 Cor. 6:12), we must ask ourselves "is it profitable?". "Does it bring me under the power of any?" Idols may not be anything (to some) but they still are not to be played with (1 Jn 5:21). The fact that Paul used such language verifies the reality. This is as serious as playing with demons.
While we have many such holiday traditions in our culture, this one is in the Bible. I don't think she has changed his mind about her or her works upon men. I think we still see her at work in society (sadly in the Church too), in things like abortion, pornography, broken homes, spiritual blindness and compromise. The bible warns us not to let things slip (Heb. 2:1). It does not take much leaven to leaven the loaf.
There are many who voice their opinion with strong convictions. While I have remained silent for the last few years, I too must give mine. Take it for what you will.
For your consideration.