Easter and Passover

The Greek word pascha "mistranslated "Easter" in Acts 12:4 (AV) denotes the Passover (RV). The phrase "after the Passover" signifies after the whole festival was at an end. The term "Easter" is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch held by Christians in post‑apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast, but was not instituted by Christ. From this Pasch the pagan festival of "Easter" was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt Pagan festivals to Christianity." Pascha is "the Greek spelling of the Aramaic word for the Passover from the Hebrew pasach, "to pass over, to spare," a feast instituted by God in commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and anticipatory of the expiatory sacrifice of Christ". (W. E. Vine)

Passover is used in various senses in the New Testament: of (1) the whole festival (John 2:13; Heb.11:28); (2) the Paschal "Supper" (Matt.26:18‑19); (3) the Paschal lamb (Mark 14:12; compare Exod.12:21) and (4) Christ Himself (1 Cor.5:7). But it is that which stemmed from the Passover supper which particularly concerns us as Christians. While Luke’s gospel records Jesus having a special desire to keep what He knew would be His last Passover supper celebration as a Jew, He afterwards gave the elements which were then used a new significance. (Luke 22:19‑20.) The unleavened bread, He said, represented His body which was being given for them, and asked them to partake in future with this new meaning in mind—in remembrance of Him. The cup of wine, He said, represented the new covenant in His Blood, about to be shed for them—for the remission of sins (Matt.26:28).

Meeting annually at the season when the Jews are still celebrating their Passover, is not to remember the deliverance of Israel from Egypt but to remember Christ our passover, whom the Passover lamb typified. His sacrifice will in due time have accomplished a far greater deliverance for all mankind than the deliverance of the one nation from Egypt. Memorialising Him who in yielding up His life unto death did so that we might be delivered from sin and death unto eternal life.

In following the Jewish calendar many will meet in the evening after 6 p.m. for a commemoration of our Lord’s death. This date precedes Good Friday and Easter Sunday which also provides special reminders of Him who not only died but rose again. We by no means limit the significance of Easter Sunday as on every other day, the Lord is risen and ever lives as our great High Priest to make intercession for us. And, as believers, we are risen with Christ and because of this are exhorted to set our affections on things above. May we enter more fully into our resurrection‑life in Christ as we—

"Extol the Lamb of God
The all‑atoning Lamb".

By proclaiming the glorious fact that Jesus died for us and that it is our great and continual privilege to do this "until He come" when—

"….near thy heart upon the throne
 Thy ransomed bride shall see
 What grace was in the spotless Lamb
 Who died to make her free."

Forest Gate Bible Monthly