I DON'T DO EASTER; I DO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
SCRIPTURE: Matt. 28:1-20
TEXT: Luke 24:5-6 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.
A number of times over the last 35 and more years, I have been rebuked by someone who said something to this effect, "You mean you don't believe in Easter." My standard answer is, "I don't believe in Easter, I do believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ." My subject in this message is, I Don't Do Easter, I Do Believe In The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ.
The first thing I suppose I should do in this message is to give you
SOME REASONS WHY I DON'T DO EASTER
First, I don't believe in celebrating a day that is named for a goddess who is allegedly the queen of heaven. Beltis, the Chaldean goddess was believed to be the queen of heaven. Among some of her worshipers, she was known as Astarte. In Assyria she was called Ishtar. Easter is nothing else but an Anglican version of Ishtar. Since I don't believe in Ishtar, I don't do Easter.
Second, I don't observe Lent which precedes Easter because it is derived from the pagans who worshiped Tammuz. It was believed that Tammuz died and rose again and the forty days preceding the alleged date of his death and resurrection was a time of alternate weeping and rejoicing. Ezekiel 8:13-14 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. 14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
Third, I know that the annual date of Christ's resurrection would not fluctuate as does the date of Easter, even if it were this time of the year. The fluctuating date should be enough to sound the alarm to Christians that this day called Easter is not of the Lords doing; it is of man.
Fourth, I do not believe Christians should conciliate pagans by observing their holidays. The instrument Satan used in the amalgamation of the feast of Tammuz and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a Catholic abbot called Dionysius the Little. He made complicated but skillful adjustments to the calendar to get Paganism and Catholicism to shake hands on the amalgamation of these days. This effort to appease pagans is foreign to the teachings of Scripture and should not be an engagement of Christians.
Fifth, the origin of Easter eggs is clearly pagan. That is why we do not have Easter egg hunts at Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church. The ancient Druids (pagans) bore an egg as a sacred emblem of their order. In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates where it was claimed an egg of wondrous size fell from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, are said to have hatched it. When it hatched, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess, that is Astarte. The Roman Catholic Church adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Under the Roman Pope Paul V, Catholics were taught to pray at Easter, "Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may be wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The rabbit, along with the egg, was a symbol of fertility to the ancient pagans and thus we have a rabbit who lays eggs in baskets or nests, or hides them so children can find them. It is utterly amazing how cleverly Satan has seduced Christians into this pagan activity.
Sixth, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, Easter was not observed in the United States, except in a few predominately Catholic states such as Louisiana, until near the end of the Civil War. One can see from this that the holiday is originally pagan, and then, Catholic. It is not Christian.
Seventh, I believe Easter, with all its customs and traditions, is of pagan origin and entered "Christianity" through the corruptions of Rome, therefore, I don't believe in Easter, I don't observe it in any shape, form or fashion.
But, I do assure you,
I DO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
First, I believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential in the gospel we preach. If he did not rise our preaching is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain. If he did not rise our faith is vain. I Cor. 15:14 . . . your faith is also vain.
Moreover, if he did not rise every preacher of the gospel is lying about God. 1 Corinthians 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
The picture becomes even darker as we progress in this chapter of First Corinthians. If Jesus did not rise we are all still in our sins; trusting him has done nothing for us. 1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. And, If he did not rise all our dead loved ones who were trusting him when they died have perished just as all unbelievers perish. 1 Corinthians 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are not any better off than the worst unbeliever and we are some of the most stupid and miserable people in the world. 1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Second, I believe the prophets were holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit and these Spirit inspired men prophesied that Christ would rise from the dead. Long before it actually happened, David prophesied that Christ's body would not see corruption. Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Even before David, the godly Job prophesied that Christ would stand at the last day upon the earth and that he would see him. Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
In later years, Peter declared that the resurrection of Christ was a fulfillment of prophetic utterance. Acts 2:22-31 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 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. Peter had seen Christ in his resurrected body. He spoke from faith; he spoke from experience; and spoke through inspiration. We have infallible testimony that Christ did rise from the dead.
Paul, who had also seen Christ in his resurrection glory, declared that his resurrection was according to Old Testament Scripture. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. This persecuting Jew was converted on the road to Damascus when he saw the glorious Christ. He was so turned around by that experience that he became one of the greatest proponents of the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ. He was willing to suffer all kinds of things in order to preach the gospel. Such testimony must stand sure. I believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ.
Jesus himself declared that his resurrection was according to what had been written by the prophets. Luke 24:44-46 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Third, I believe in the resurrection because of the testimony of those who saw him after his resurrection. Paul gives us a list of some of those who had seen the risen Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. Peter saw him and preached his resurrection on the first Pentecost after his resurrection as was seen in Acts 2:23-27, 31-36, a portion of which I have already presented. Peter again preached the resurrection when he had healed the lame man at the gate Beautiful. Acts 3:14-15 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
John the Apostle wrote of his appearance to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection. John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. John also wrote of his appearance to the twelve. (See Jn. 20:19-29).
Fourth, I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ because of the testimony of holy angels. Luke 24:1-6 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Surely, the holy, elect angels did not lie about the resurrection of the one whom they worshipped before and after his incarnation.
Fifth, I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ because he testified of his resurrection and even made an appointment to meet the twelve in Galilee after his resurrection. Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. There was not the slightest doubt in the mind of Jesus Christ that he would rise from the dead. He had said that he would lay down his life and take it up again. He is so certain that he would rise again that he scheduled this appointment to meet the disciples in Galilee after his death burial and resurrection.
WHAT THE RESURRECTION MESSAGE SAYS TO THE CHRISTIAN
First, Christs resurrection says that the Scriptures are inspired. Romans 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Second, his resurrection declares Jesus to be the virgin born Son of God. Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Had he been an imposter, God would not have raised Christ from the dead and exalted him and given him a name that is above every name.
Third, His resurrection declares the sinlessness of Christ. Death is the result of sin. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Christ was without sin and so death had not rightful claim on him. 1 Peter 1:21-23 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Because death had no rightful claim on him, God raised him up from the dead after the appointed three days. Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Fourth, Christs resurrection gives every aspect of the gospel its power. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. The message of a dead Saviour will not be good news to anyone. It is the gospel, the good news of one who died, was buried and rose again that is good news to sinners and saint alike.
Fifth, the resurrection of Christ gives us the assurance of our own resurrection. This was the basis of the hope which anchored the soul of Job in the midst of his deep trouble (Job. 19:25-27). This was the assurance which sustained David in the midst of his sorrows. Psalm 16:9-10 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. This was the assurance to which Paul appealed when seeking to comfort the persecuted Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Note verse 14 especially. "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again." There is the key to our entire hope and assurance. We do believe that Jesus died and rose again and that all the saved will one day be raised in a glorified body and we shall be with him forever.
A few years ago, part of a body of a crucified person was found in Jerusalem. A person at church, not thinking his question through, asked me if I thought there was any chance that that might be the body of Christ.
I answered, "If it is the body of Christ, or if you even think there is any possibility that it is Christ, what are you doing here on Sunday morning."
He thought for a moment, and the impact of the matter hit him. He said, "That was a stupid question. I'm seeking the living among the dead."
My message to you is, Christ is not in the tomb. He is not among the dead. His body did not even see corruption. He is alive. Praise the Lord, the tomb was empty. Because of his resurrection we can be assured of our own, and we can be equally assured that he will come again for his people.
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Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011