To Christians, Easter has nothing to do with eggs or bunnies, it’s one of the most important celebrations in Christianity. Here’s a look at this Christian holiday’s origins, why the date moves, why Easter matters, and proof that the words of the Bible have not changed in over 2,000 years or more.
Easter is one of the most important celebrations for Christianity, if not the most significant. Easter is celebrated on a Sunday in spring each year, typically falling sometime between the dates of March 22 and April 25, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. But this wasn’t always that the case and the name of this movable feast wasn’t always known as Easter.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the origins of this major Christian holiday and explain why it’s of vital importance as it represents the crucial tenet of Christian belief.
In early Christianity, the crucifixion death and later resurrection of Jesus Christ was commemorated by a feast called pascha, which is the Greek word for Passover. It occurred on the same date as the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, which begins the 15th day of Nisan, according to InfoPlease. However, since Hebrew days begin and end at sundown, Passover and pascha actually started on the preceding day, the 14th day of Nisan, according to The Reporter.
Easter wasn’t always on a Sunday. Like the Jewish holiday of Passover, the start of Pascha, which followed the Jewish calendar which is based on a lunar cycle and is related to the full moon, could occur on any day of the week.
However in the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine directed that Easter be moved to the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring immediately on or after the spring equinox. Easter is still determined by lunar events, but is also now based on the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar, and considers the spring equinox.
Christianity stands on this major tenet:
Jesus Christ is the son of God, who was immaculately conceived and born of a virgin, Mary, to live as a man in human flesh, to suffer and die as a sinless individual in order to take the penalty for the sins of all humankind, that through his blood sacrifice on the cross, as an innocent suffering the punishment of the guilty in their place, all sinners would receive atonement and be worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness of their sins, and that Christ’s resurrection from the dead proves that life is eternal and the same is available for all who believe in God and his son Jesus Christ.
The above is the story of Jesus. Even though innocent for the crimes he was accused of, he was crucified and died on the cross, shedding his blood. Three days later, he rose from the dead and made himself visible to his disciples and many others, proving that death can be defeated and eternal life exists. Jesus then transcended up to heaven but will return at the end of the planet Earth’s days.
According to the Bible, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and send, they brought sin, which had not existed on earth previously, into the world. All humans thereafter, inherited sin, and continued to sin in their actions.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned,”
– Romans 5:12
Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, is the reversal of that action. In this way, He is seen as the “new man,” the “new Adam.” As Adam brought death through sin, Jesus through death brings life.
“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:21-22
Before his death on the cross, Jesus said:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
Further, the biblical prophet Isaiah predicted the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and astonishing detail some 700 years before they occurred. The prophet wrote the book that bears his name sometime between 740 and 700 BC, according to most scholars. The events Christians celebrate on Easter are considered a fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah 53.
A common, false claim made against Christianity and Judaism is that somehow these books were purposely altered to manipulate or control people. In this regard, the book of Isaiah and other ancient manuscripts prove such assertions wrong.
When the over 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the Qumran caves in 1947, the book of Isaiah was the most complete of the original seven manuscripts found, as well as the most well-preserved, according to The Israel Museum who maintains a digital library of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The museum says the so-called “Great Isaiah Scroll” is “generally in agreement with the Masoretic or traditional version codified in medieval codices.”
This consistency of the book of Isaiah proves that the words of the Bible have not been changed, and that the words we read today on the same words that were read by people in the time of Jesus and earlier.