LCN Article
Because He Is Risen, I Do Not Keep Easter

March / April 2014

Wallace G. Smith

I believe in the risen Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of mankind. I believe that after His crucifixion on Passover, He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth—as He said He would be. I believe He was then resurrected by His Father, restored to the glory He had with His Father before the world was.

He was the perfect Passover Lamb. He also became the perfect wave sheaf offering, accepted by His Father as the first of the firstfruits. In His resurrection, I see confirmation of the promise made to all those who truly follow Him that they, too, will one day be resurrected to live forever as He now does.

Consequently, I do not keep Easter.

Any unbiased look at the history of the Easter holiday, and at the customs now surrounding it, will reveal plainly that the Easter observance is of pagan origin, introduced long ago into “Christian” worship as new converts sought to hang on to their old practices, and as established Christians more and more began failing to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered (Jude 3).

Most who call themselves “Christians” today are unaware of how “Christianity” has “evolved” over the years—even in the very first centuries of its existence. For instance, we could speak of ancient Polycarp and Anicetus, of Polycrates and Victor, and of how the churches of the East strove to maintain the apostles’ practice of observing Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Polycrates wrote of the Apostles Philip and John and others who “always observed the day when the people put away the leaven,” as opposed to the corruption of Rome and others who wished to blend Christian doctrine with heathen practice. The history of it all is fascinating reading, to be sure.

But history is not Scripture. And it is the Bible—and the word of Jesus Christ—that compels me not to keep Easter. My human mind can come up with lots of reasons to ignore the Bible and to discount the scriptures (Jeremiah 17:9 has a lot to say about that), but every argument I have ever heard, whether from others or from my own imagination, is always rooted fundamentally in faulty human reasoning that ultimately contradicts God’s word. I cannot honor Christ by disobeying Him.

From the Bible’s perspective, the choice is simple. Jesus Christ told us never to violate God’s laws and commandments in favor of human traditions, regardless of how sincere or “religious” those traditions might be (Mark 7:6–9). God clearly does not want us to adopt pagan customs to worship Him (Deuteronomy 12:29–31; Jeremiah 10:1–2).