Well, over my previous two posts I’ve laid the groundwork for this last one in the series. And so now, without further delay, let me relate the subject matter from those two posts to the holiday that we call Easter.
The word Easter is a derivation of Ishtar, Astarte, or Eostre. All of these were names for Semiramis, the queen of heaven. In the Babylonian cult, each year a festival for Semiramis was held in honor of her receiving Tammuz back from the dead. This festival is where the Easter holiday has it’s origins. Let me explain.
The emperor Constantine’s decree that Christianity would be the state religion of the Roman empire eventually led to the Christianizing of this yearly festival for Semiramis and Tammuz. So, the holiday changed from being about the resurrection of Tammuz to being about the resurrection of Jesus. However, even though the meaning of the holiday changed, many of its trappings didn’t.
First, during this festival, people exchanged colored eggs. They did this because Tammuz considered the egg sacred. He saw it as depicting the miracle of his resurrection and symbolic of new life. This, of course, is the origin of the idea of Easter eggs.
Second, in the forty days prior to the festival for Semiramis, the people engaged in a time of mourning. This forty-day period was held to commemorate the forty days Semiramis mourned between Tammuz’s death and resurrection. This forty-day period just before the festival of Semiramis is the origin for Catholicism’s forty-day observance of Lent during the forty days leading up to Easter.
Third, rabbits were a part of the festival held in honor of Semiramis. The rabbits, with their incredible ability to reproduce, spoke of Semiramis as a fertility goddess. This set the stage for the idea of an Easter bunny.
Continuing on with that topic, in second century Europe the predominate spring festival was a Saxon fertility celebration in honor of the Saxon goddess Eastre (Ostara). She was the Saxon version of Semiramis, and her sacred animal was a hare (rabbit).
Fifteen hundred years later, in Germany, children would await the arrival of Oschter Haws, a rabbit who would lay colored eggs in nests for children to find on Easter morning. It was this German tradition that was popularized into the American “Easter bunny” after the tradition was introduced by German settlers who settled in Pennsylvania.
Alright, now as I begin to close out this post and this series, let me say that the issue we face today is keeping a right balance on all of this. Personally, I don’t believe that we should shun Easter baskets or create a picket line in front of Easter egg hunts. Neither do I believe that we should try to ignore the holiday all together.
We can’t isolate ourselves from the world and become spiritual hermits. When our children go off to kindergarten, they want to take part in their class Easter party. When they go into Wal Mart around Easter, they want to buy an Easter basket. How can we possibly isolate them from this kind of thing? Are we supposed to say, “No, honey. Those chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs might lead you to worship the Babylonian goddess Semiramis and her son Tammuz”? I think that is taking things to a wrong extreme.
Here is a good piece of advice for any parent: Choose your stands well. Be much in prayer over what to make an issue of and what to let go. The last thing that you want to do is turn into a mean-spirited legalist who raises a child who can’t wait to get out from under your domineering thumb and try everything under the sun. Easter is such a fun time for kids. Don’t rob them of that. Instead, use Easter to teach them about the glorious resurrection of Jesus.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to read about how God is going to bring down the mighty Catholic Church during the coming tribulation period, you should read Revelation chapters 17 and 18. In those chapters the Catholic Church is called “Mystery Babylon,” for reasons I’ve explained. Chapter 17 describes the destruction of the religious power of the Catholic Church, and chapter 18 describes the destruction of the financial power of the Catholic Church.
Study those chapters, and you will see that the system of religion that was started by Semiramis way back in ancient Babylon and was ultimately merged with true Christianity will one day be brought to an end by God. For now, though, we, as Christians, must deal with the mess that was created by that merging of the Babylonian cult and Christianity. That mess includes the Easter holiday.
So, despite all of Easter’s pagan origins, let’s just stay focused on the fact that Jesus Christ really did arise from the dead. Unlike the lies associated with Tammuz, the story of Christ’s resurrection is true. We worship a living Savior, and that is definitely worth celebrating!