Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] Is it possible religion has been sidetracked? I mean have you ever compared the meanings and the symbols between Easter and the New Testament Passover? Which is Christian? I mean have you ever asked what does the Bible have to say and what does God think of these two different days?
What is the most popular church day in America? Well surveys say it’s Easter. Now Easter means different things to different people. What does Easter mean to you? I mean is Easter something that should be the most important holiday? Is it something that you should celebrate? And what about the biblical alternative, the biblical option? The New Testament Passover. I mean after all Easter is famous for the secular side of things. Chocolate bunnies. In America 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold at Easter time. Do you know how many eggs are purchased during that time? One hundred and eighty million. And then of course there’s the world’s largest Easter egg hunt. Do you know how many eggs they hide? Over 500,000 eggs. I mean you can’t help but wonder is Easter really about Jesus and the Bible anymore?
When you think of Easter, what’s your favorite Easter tradition?
> Probably the meal, having the family over, having the big turkey but just spending time with the family’s most important.
» Nothing special. Just sometimes, well, the kids are all grown up now so we don’t have Easter egg hunts anymore but we get together with family. It’s all about family. All the holidays are all about family as far as I’m concerned.
[Steve Myers] What would you say is your favorite Easter tradition?
> Pickling eggs.
[Steve Myers] How about yours?
> Hunting for the eggs.
» America has took Easter and made it more of a I don’t know, for a business more. Easter bunny eggs and stuff like that and it kinda got away from the message. For profits. I don’t know how much money they make for that weekend or whatnot but our family values as a whole in America is declining.
[Steve Myers] Well there’s no doubt Easter’s been commercialized. It certainly has its connections to big business. Do you know how much money will be spent that’s Easter-related this year in America? Over $18 billion. Is it possible religion has been sidetracked? I mean have you ever compared the meanings and the symbols between Easter and the New Testament Passover? Which is Christian? I mean have you ever asked what does the Bible have to say and what does God think of these two different days? I mean billions will celebrate Easter. A few days before a far smaller number will observe the Christian Passover.
How do they compare? Consider, one hand you have an Easter egg hunt, candy and bunnies and an Easter sunrise service. On the other hand, a solemn Passover service that includes washing feet, partaking of unleavened bread and wine. Easter, more entertaining? The New Testament Passover more serious, somber and sober. I mean these are a few of the differences that are right there on the surface but there’re many other differences that may not seem so obvious. Anything missing? I know as I was growing up I used to love Easter. I mean we would get out all the eggs and then we would have this family gathering to color those eggs and the house kind of reeked of vinegar and that smell would go throughout the entire house and we’d kind of have a contest between the children of who could color the best egg. And then my mom would hide them and then you’d have to find the prize and who could find the ultimate. Okay maybe I’d sneak in an egg that wasn’t hardboiled once in a while. But it was about baskets and Easter grass that was purple and green and blue and my favorite, chocolate. Chocolate.
I mean I never, never really questioned the Easter traditions. I never really thought about what eggs and bunnies had to do with the resurrection of Christ. I mean even though this was supposed to be the most holy holiday of the year, to me it was more about fun. In fact it wasn’t until I was much older that I even heard about the New Testament Passover. I remember talking to a minister about it and he told me that the Passover, that wasn’t for Christians. I was a little bit confused about that because I had read in my Bible that it showed that Jesus observed the Passover with His closest followers, with His disciples and He instructed them to keep it until He returned. And then I also read that section in the Bible where the Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth. Now Corinth, that was a Greek city, a city port on the ocean where the people had never been Jewish and they weren’t now. And what did Paul tell them? In fact in the Bible he told them to observe the Passover as a reminder and a memorial to Jesus’ death.
Here in 1st Corinthians 5:7, he writes, “For indeed, Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast.”
When I was on a mission, there must be someplace in the Bible that I could find an example of Easter. It’s got to be there and I looked and I searched and I couldn’t come up with anything. Nothing in the Bible, nothing about the apostles in the early church celebrating Easter and certainly no bunnies or baskets or eggs anywhere.
Now I did find one place in the King James Bible where it mentioned the word Easter. And then I found out that was a mistranslation. The Greek word there is actually pasha which is the word for Passover. So I was taken back a little bit, kind of puzzled by the whole thing. How is it that millions and millions celebrate a holiday that I couldn’t find in the Bible? How could they ignore that fact? And then ignore the fact that there is an observance that is in scripture. Well what would God want me to do?
I really felt He wanted me to find the truth. And in fact you can too. We’ve put together a study aid. It’s called “Easter: Rest of the Story.” You really need to know the rest of the story so go to our website, beyondtoday.tv. You can download your own copy, you can read it there online. Get it on your phone, get it on your tablet, your computer. You could read it at your leisure or if you’d like to, call us at the number on your screen and we’ll send you a free copy right to your door. Because you really should know the truth. I wanted to know the rest of the story. So I started digging in. I started studying and I was shocked by what I came to discover. Jesus wasn’t resurrected on Sunday. There was no Sunday resurrection. Well how could that be? I mean I was taught that Jesus died on Good Friday and that He was resurrected at sunrise on Easter Sunday. I mean I knew that to be true. But could I prove it?
I did find Jesus said, “There was proof.” One example, one piece of evidence Jesus said in fact, just one sign that would be proof that He was Messiah. In fact we can find Him talking about this over in the book of Matthew. Matthew 12:39. Here Christ says, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
So there it was. Christ Himself said, “Here’s proof. I’ll be in the grave a full 72 hours.” Well did that then match with my traditional Christian upbringing? That’s what I had to try to figure out. Would a Sunday morning resurrection fulfill what Christ said?
So I began to try to figure it out. Now we’ve got an interesting chart that kind of maps it out for us. I mean the Christian tradition says and what I believed, Christ was killed on Friday. So let’s do the math. Well, He died on Friday and put into the tomb supposedly on the beginning of that Friday evening and that Friday night would be one night. And then of course, there’s Saturday day which would be one day. And then Saturday night, two nights. And then Sunday morning the ladies went there and He was already gone. That doesn’t add up. Three days and three nights. Well that’s hardly a day and a half when you get right down to it. And so now what was I going to do? What would you do?
And it doesn’t seem to add up.
> I agree but no, I believe in the Lord so I’m not gonna try and figure out how all that works, honestly.
[Steve Myers] Like Jonah was in that big fish for three days and three nights, He was gonna be in the grave.
> I didn’t know Jonah was in the whale for three days and three nights.
[Steve Myers] Well, that’s at least what Jesus said. Jesus said, “Like Jonah was in that great big fish for three days and three nights…”
[Steve Myers] Christ was going to be in the grave for three days and three nights.
> The good Lord has a strong sense of irony. So you could take a scripture from the Old Testament and it would coincide with the New Testament because the book is just perfection.
»I wasn’t there so I don’t know, you know.
[Steve Myers] It kinda doesn’t seem to add up, does it?
[Steve Myers] Does that seem to add up?
> Not really but then from a practical standpoint I guess a lot of things in our way of thinking don’t add up.
[Steve Myers] How do you figure that three and a half or three days and three nights when you’ve got Friday to Sunday?
> Yeah, it’s three days on the calendar. In the Catholic tradition, it’s always been accounted as 40 hours and so there’s a tradition of 40 hours of prayer that happens in parishes as well. So from Friday about three to sunrise on Sunday morning is how we’ve always counted that tradition. So sometimes I think we get so caught up in those human details that we lose sight of that bigger picture.
[Steve Myers] It doesn’t seem to add up, does it?
> No, not at all.
[Steve Myers] Okay, I’ve got a problem then. If I believe in Jesus and it doesn’t add up what does that tell me?
> Somebody wrong. Who wrong? You don’t wanna teach that they wrong but somebody wrong though.
» Yeah. Or they teach there’s too many religions going out here or sayings or something because I don’t understand.
[Steve Myers] Well, don’t feel bad if you don’t understand immediately because somebody is wrong. I mean should we believe a tradition or is it even possible to figure it out? I mean we have to remember Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early. Scripture says while it was still dark. And I was surprised to read that and find the resurrection had already occurred. Jesus wasn’t resurrected on Sunday at sunrise. He was already gone by sunrise. Now it couldn’t be parts of three days, it couldn’t be 40 hours but 72 hours. It had to be three days and three nights in the grave. I mean if He did not fulfill that prophecy exactly we could really only conclude two things. Either He lied or Christ failed to fulfill His promise. And either way, He can’t be the Son of God. He can’t be the Messiah then.
But what is the undisputed proof that He is the Messiah? Well Christ said, “Three days and three nights.” If He didn’t come back to life at the exact time He claimed He would, He’d have to be a counterfeit. And so when you think of the Good Friday to Easter Sunday timing, it’s just not biblical.
So what about the truth? Well let’s take a look at the chart. And we can begin to see what the facts of the Bible really are. Actually Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and He was resurrected at the end of the Saturday Sabbath. Now you can verify this but it’ll take an open mind and an open Bible and here’s the key. The week that Jesus was crucified actually had two Sabbaths in it. It had a weekly Sabbath and an annual Sabbath. We can verify this in the book of John. John 19:31. Here’s what it says, “Therefore, because it was the preparation day, that the body should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath. For that Sabbath was a high day. The Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken.”
Now this is not speaking of the regular weekly Sabbath day. They observe that from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset and that’s why most assumed that Jesus died and was buried on a Friday, what’s become known as Good Friday. But that’s not true. The Bible talks about two kinds of Sabbath days. Normal weekly Sabbath days that fall on the seventh day of the week, there’s also seven annual Sabbath days. Those are holy days, the high days that could fall on other days of the week. And so the Bible tells us that the Sabbath that began at sundown when Jesus was put in the tomb was one of those annual Sabbath days. When it says that Sabbath was a high day, that’s showing us the difference between the regular weekly Sabbath day and the seven annual Sabbaths, those high Sabbaths, those holy days.
And so when we put that together with the timing look what we begin to see. On the night of the 14th Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples. Then He was arrested later that night. Next He was crucified and died near 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. They placed Him in the tomb just before sunset when the high day was to begin. That high day, that holy day is called the First Day of Unleavened Bread. That year it was observed starting at Wednesday sunset.
So Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset is one night and one day. Next came Thursday night and Friday during the day. Two nights and two days. Then came the normal weekly Sabbath. You had Friday evening to Saturday evening, all through Saturday day time. Does the math work? Three days and three nights. It does add up.
You see Jesus came back to life at the exact time He claimed He would. He did fulfill the sign of Jonah and it confirmed that Jesus really is Messiah, He really is the Savior because it matches perfectly. And then what does the evidence show about the Good Friday, the Easter Sunday tradition?
It’s a counterfeit. Even the words of the angel who startled the women at the empty tomb said, “He’s not here. He’s risen as He said.”
And so when we recognize that it opens up a whole new world. I hope you’ll open that world to your own mind by getting the rest of the story. Our study aid, Easter: The Rest of the Story,” something you’ll need so you can really delve into the details. In fact the chart we’d been looking at is found right in the middle of your booklet. So you can see all the details for yourself and check them with scripture. So go to our website, beyondtoday.tv, download, read your own copy right there or call us at the number on your screen and we’ll send you this study aid free of charge. Because when we begin to recognize this doesn’t match with Christian tradition, with the way I was brought up. I had to ask the big question. What difference does it make? I mean does it really matter?
If Christ said, “Okay, I’m gonna be in the grave three days and three nights.” Does it really matter that much?
> No. no. because the job is already done. I have no questions. I’m not gonna say, “Was He there for three days or two days?” I mean, He was there so.
[Steve Myers] Do you think that it even matters whether three days and three nights add up?
> Not to me, it doesn’t.
[Steve Myers] Does it matter how we worship God?
> I don’t think so. As long as you do.
» No long as He in your life somehow, someway like…no, don’t matter.
[Steve Myers] Well, what do you think? Do you think it matters? I mean, there are so many sources that describe the unchristian origins, the history, the purpose of Easter celebrations. And the fact is many realize the Good Friday to Easter Sunday tradition really isn’t biblical. The fact is the early Roman church borrowed sun-worshiping customs from other religions and they grafted them into the growing Catholic movement. Those are the facts. And some of these same customs, these same symbols now have been used in false worship. And the actual fact is they had been used thousands of years before Christ. And so they simply took unchristian, unbiblical customs and symbols and conveniently put Christian names and meanings on them.
So if you celebrate without checking what the Bible says, what is acceptable to God? If you don’t know you’re going to be misled. In fact God does have an opinion about these things. Back in Deuteronomy 12:30, He tells us this, “Take heed to yourselves that you are not ensnared to follow them.” He goes on, “Do not inquire after their god saying how did these nations serve their gods. I also will do likewise.”
God says, “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way.” And isn’t that really the problem? So many Christians think that as long as I celebrate Easter and I do it to honor Jesus well, God won’t really mind and He shouldn’t really care.
But He does mind. And we should care that He does because with just a little bit of study, you can verify the rest of the story. Easter’s not found in scripture. It was never instituted by God. Easter was never sanctioned by Jesus Christ. Easter was never taught by Christ’s apostles. And, you know, Easter was never observed by the New Testament church. Well that’s because what the Bible says. Deuteronomy 12:32 says, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it. You shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
You see we have no right to try to use unchristian, religious ceremonies, days or symbols to worship the true God. He commands us. This is what we ought to do.
Does it really matter how we worship God then?
> Wow. Now that’s a tricky question because rituals and being correct, straight and narrow, not going to the right or to the left but straight and narrow through the eye of the needle, there is a correct way of doing just about everything. So I think there is a correct way of worshiping the Lord.
[Steve Myers] Well, he’s certainly right. There is a correct way to worship and honor God. In the book of John we’re reminded, Christ Himself telling us in John 4:23, Christ said, “The hour is coming and now is when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
You see when we really understand the facts of the Bible, God commands us something totally different than Easter. In fact better than Easter. He commands us that we commemorate the death of Jesus through the Christian Passover ceremony. I mean did you know that Christ Himself instructed His followers to observe the New Testament Passover every year? They take unleavened bread and wine and look back in thankfulness to the fact that Jesus died for us. And God wanted us to have an annual reminder of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.
So the New Testament tells us to commemorate the fact that Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to go through incredible suffering, horrible suffering and die so that we might be able to have our sins forgiven and totally removed.
You see, the Christian Passover, I mean some incorrectly call it Communion or some call it the Lord’s Supper but that’s not biblical either. But the New Testament Passover is a reminder. It’s a reminder that Jesus is coming back. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We show the Lord’s death until He comes.” Wouldn’t you like to know more about it? Well, you can. Be sure and get our study aid, “Easter: The Rest of the Story.” Go to beyondtoday.tv or call us at the number on your screen. You’ll certainly want to find out the rest of the story.
I know in coming to understand the rest of the story, giving it up for me wasn’t easy, wasn’t easy. And it may not be easy for you either. I mean it’s hard to admit that you’ve been taken in by a false Easter tradition. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled by a clever counterfeit. I mean isn’t it time? Isn’t it time to dig into what the Bible really says? Isn’t it time to open up the Word? I couldn’t just take what I had learned as a child and assume it was the truth. What if I found out it wasn’t. I had to go to the Word to truly go to the source. I mean isn’t it time to find the biblical truth, because you have a choice. I mean what will you do with this information? I mean if you believe in God, if you believe the bible is the Word of God, will you truly follow Him? Will you choose to worship in spirit and in truth instead of a man-made holiday? We’ve got to put that aside and look to the truth of the Bible. I pray that you’ll learn the truth, that you’ll choose the truth, that you’ll live the truth and worship God His way on His days.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “Easter: The Rest of the Story.” Easter is one of the most popular holidays in the world but it is also one of the least understood. Should Christians observe Easter? Where did this celebration of Easter come from and what do bunnies, eggs and baskets have to do with Christianity or Jesus Christ? Our free study aid, “Easter: The Rest of the Story” strips away the confusion about this important subject. It shows what the Bible really says about this holiday along with evidence from history showing where it came from. How we worship God matters. He has outlined in His Word special days called holy days that He instructs Christians to keep. But you may be surprised to learn Easter is not one of them. Learn the facts from history and your Bible about how pagan customs were merged with Christianity in the centuries after Christ and the apostles. Order now. Call toll-free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. The roots of Easter are worth questioning. You can know how it started. You can understand the truth.
When you order this free study aid, we’ll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to “Beyond Today” magazine. “Beyond Today” magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and help for the future. Six times a year you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, “Easter: The Rest of the Story” and your free one-year subscription to “Beyond Today” magazine, 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.