The World Tomorrow

Easter is Pagan

by Herbert W Armstrong


Greetings, everybody! Once again we’ve reached the Easter weekend. Listen to the shocking truth about Easter. I showed you that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not occur, as the world supposes, on Sunday morning at all.

If the world is right in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning, then Jesus is not the Son of God; then Jesus is not the Savior, the Messiah. And He is not your Savior or mine.

I want to read you His own words. They’re in Matthew 12, beginning with verse 39:

"Then certain of the scribes and the Pharisees questioned Jesus saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee [now a sign is a miraculous proof. They wanted a miracle to prove and to show that Jesus was the Messiah]. But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, but there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet, Jonah: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly [and, incidentally, that whale is a mistranslation, as I’ll show you in a moment] so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:38-40)

And then I went back to Jonah and showed you that he was in the grave and that God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. So there’s been some speculation about whether it was a whale, or not; the Bible does not say a whale. God prepared a “great fish” to swallow up Jonah. (Jonah 1:17)

Now Jesus said that He would rise after three days from the grave after He was buried. While He was yet alive He said that the Son of man would be put to death and after three days He would rise again - after three days (Matthew 12:40). You can’t figure three days - after three days - from a Friday crucifixion, a Friday night burial just before sundown, and a Sunday morning resurrection. You can’t figure three days and three nights. That’s only one day and two nights: Friday night, all day Saturday, all Saturday night. That would not be three days and three nights. And yet, that is the only sign that Jesus gave that He would be the Messiah! A supernatural proof, a miracle proving that Jesus was the Messiah!

Now there’s other scriptures in the New Testament that say it would be "in" three days, meaning it had to be inside of it. (Matthew 26:61, John 2:19) It couldn’t be longer than three days, which would be seventy-two hours. It had to be at precisely that time. And the resurrection had to occur at the same time of day as the burial.

Now when I was a boy I remember very well how I was taught to observe Easter and how we, well, I blossomed out with some new clothes on Easter Sunday. I remember my mother always had a new hat. Women all wore hats in those days and they had real bright hats on Easter Sunday morning. And it was a time of dressing up and a time of going to church. Some people only went to church about once or twice a year - at Easter and Christmas time. However I was taken to church as a boy all my life and almost every Sunday. But I observed Easter. I never questioned even what it was, or let alone why it was, or whether it was true or false, or whether it was pagan or whether it was a real Christian festival. But everybody supposes it’s a real Christian festival.

Passover (Play from 4:10)

But how did the world get deceived? Because the resurrection, as I showed you, was not on Sunday morning, but on Saturday late afternoon just before sunset.

The crucifixion was on Wednesday evening, and that Wednesday was the Passover, the beginning of Wednesday. And God begins days when one day ends, at sunset, and that’s the beginning of the next day. So a day ends at sunset; the next day begins at sunset. And the day began at sunset, and after sunset on what was the fourteenth day of the first month of the sacred calendar, Jesus took the last Passover with His disciples.

Now that’s often called, "The Last Supper." It was the Passover supper. And originally it was a meal. But Jesus changed the symbols, or the emblems that were used. Up until that time, the Jewish people had slain a lamb. And that lamb is a type of Christ, who is called, "the Lamb of God." And it pictured the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. And Christ did die on the same day that the lamb always had died when they sacrificed {1} a lamb, at the beginning of the day. They roast the lamb that night; they used to eat it in that same night. But Jesus had that last Passover supper.

And then He changed it for a New Testament observance so that, instead of roasted lamb and eating it, He gave them the bread, the unleavened bread and said, "This [will be] my body," (Matthew 26:26) because the body of the lamb had represented the body of Christ. And then, instead of shedding the blood of a lamb and a sacrifice to kill the lamb, now Jesus gave them the wine and said, "...this is my blood of the New Testament" (Matthew 26:27,28). And He said that they should all drink of it. And He instituted, then, what many people have been calling, "The Lord’s Supper."

However the Passover was instituted, originally, to be observed forever. And that is no part of the Law of Moses; that is no part of the Old Covenant. It was before the Old Covenant was made. It was while the Israelites were still in Egypt and in Egyptian slavery when that was commanded. It was commanded forever! (Exodus 12:24)

Now Jesus did not change it; He didn’t abolish the Passover. It had been instituted forever. Jesus merely changed it from an Old Testament observance into a New Testament observance. It had looked forward all these years to a crucified Christ. But ancient Israel didn’t seem to know what it was looking forward to; they didn’t seem to know what it was doing. Although some of the time some of them observed it. They didn’t all do it all of the time by any matter of means.

But that last Passover supper Jesus changed the emblems, or the symbols, to the bread and the wine and it became a New Testament service. But it was still the Passover. The disciples and the early Church, the apostles continued to observe the Passover all through the New Testament time. Most people don’t realize that. You need to go back into the Bible and read the exact history of it in the New Testament of the Bible.

So the Passover became now, after that last supper of Christ, it became a memorial of the death of Christ. Now prior to that time it was a prophecy of the Messiah to come and die for them, looking forward to that event. Now it becomes a memorial looking backward. But it’s the same thing and it was commanded forever: the shed blood of Christ that was shed for the remission of our sins in order that you could be freed from the penalty of your sins and that we can be reconciled to God Almighty who only has immortal and eternal life to give.

But now what has happened? The world isn’t observing Passover anymore, only Jews, and they don’t even observe Passover. The Passover was the eve of the fourteenth, but the feast was the eve of the fifteenth. And that’s all the Jews observe, today - the Orthodox Jews, at least. I’m not familiar with the other sects, even among the Jewish people. But all the Western nations have been deceived into dropping the festival that God ordained forever, and now to look back to the shed blood of Jesus as our Savior and was ordained forever, into a pagan counterfeit honoring Baal, the sun god. And it was named after the fictitious wife of this sun god, a counterfeit, fictitious name of Baal’s mythical wife - she never was such a wife - was called, "Easter."

Now it was spelled I-S-H-T-E-R. And I think the Babylonian, or one of the other nations, the name was "A-S" like "Astarte," or it was pronounced Easter in both cases. And the I-S-H-T-E-R the "I" was pronounced like "E" and it still is in France and many other nations, "Easter," and today we spell it E-A-S-T-E-R. Well, just look it up in Webster’s Dictionary. Look it up in any encyclopedia - Encyclopedia Britannica, any encyclopedia - and see for yourself the history of Easter and where it came from.

Easter Sunrise Services (Play from 10:02)

Now listen. You think that Easter sunrise services are beautiful? Well, most people do. The church I attended as a boy didn’t observe Easter sunrise services that I remember. But a great many do. Well I’d like to have you listen to what God says about these sunrise services. And this is a prophecy for today. It’s not a history. It’s in the book of Ezekiel.

Now Ezekiel is a prophet in the Old Testament. But Ezekiel was one of the prisoners after Judah had been taken captive. Now Israel had been taken captive more than 120 years before Judah. But Ezekiel was among the Jewish captives of the river Chebar over in Babylon. He was a captive and he couldn’t carry this message to the Jews of that day. The Jews of that day never got it. It was no part of the Old Testament Judaism or the religion of the Jews of the Old Testament. It was a prophecy for the New.

Now a lot of people don’t realize that the very foundation of the Church of the New Testament is "the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ... being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). Now none of the prophets in the New Testament had anything to do with the foundation of the Church. They had nothing to do with the doctrines it taught; they did nothing of the teaching; they injected no part of the doctrines or the customs or anything of the kind. They merely received a message straight from God and took that message to the apostle, that’s all.

And so it is definitely referring to the Old Testament prophets {2} are part of the foundation of the New Testament Church. Ezekiel is one of them.

Now in Ezekiel eight and beginning with verse fifteen I’d like to have you notice: Ezekiel 8:15:

"Then he said unto me... O son of man, turn thee yet again and thou shalt see greater abominations than these [He had been showing him some abominations, in a vision. Now he was taken to Jerusalem in a vision. He wasn’t in Jerusalem. He was over in Babylon as a captive at the time. But in the vision he seemed to be in Jerusalem. But it was looking forward into our time in the New Testament time. And He says] and thou shalt see greater abominations than these [that he had seen earlier in the same vision] And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house. And behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men and their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east [facing the sunrise, in other words] and they worshipped the sun toward the east [now the sun only rises in the east. It sets in the west. So it was sunrise]. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? [now this is said to the prophet for the New Testament] Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit these abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence and they have turned to provoke me to anger. [And] therefore will I also deal in fury. Mine eye shall not spare, neither shall I have pity. And though they cry unto me into mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear..." (Ezekiel 8:15-18 )

Now He said, "I will also deal in fury." There are a number of prophecies where He talks about His fury! And always it is referring to the time of the Day of the LORD when God is going to intervene! That is yet to happen in this generation, in our time now! It is dealing with what is going to happen and you’re going to live to see it! I hope I may. And still I don’t know whether I hope that either because it is not going to be a good time.

But God is going to pour out His fury on the world for the sins and the abominations it has been committing! We don’t realize how far this world has gotten away from our God. God is a God of love; and love is the way of give. But the world is on the way of get, and has been ever since this world has been here now for 6,000 years.

Well, my friends, do you grasp what is this thing so abominable to God? Believe it or not it’s a prophecy for us. Ezekiel was a prisoner, as I said, in Babylon. This was not a history. It never went to the Jews of that day at all. It’s a prophecy for us, today. This identical thing is what people have been doing, and are doing, at this weekend and on Sunday morning, thinking that they are honoring God, and yet deceived. You think you couldn’t be deceived? In Revelation 12:9 it says, "The whole world has been deceived," (Revelation 12:9 paraphrased) and been deceived with counterfeits of the genuine, real thing that God gave us.

Vain Worship (Play from 15:30)

Now they say, so many say, "Well; now maybe that was a pagan thing. The pagans observed this thing called "Easter" long, long before Jesus was even born, let alone after His death, or His resurrection. They had observed it long before." And some people say, "Well, look, I’m not doing it for their pagan god; I’m doing it for the real God. So that makes it alright."

Well, I think that’s what a lot of people think. But I want to turn you to something that God says; and this is the Word of God. This is God speaking in the Bible; and God doesn’t change. This is what He spoke and it’s still the same today. Deuteronomy twelve beginning with verse thirty, Deuteronomy twelve and beginning with verse thirty:

"Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them... and that thou enquire not after their gods saying, How did these nations serve their gods, even so will I do likewise? [of course, "I’ll do it for my god and that’ll make it alright." That’s what people are saying today about Easter and about sunrise services] Thou shalt not do so unto the [Eternal] thy God. For every abomination of [to] the Eternal, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods;" (Deuternonomy 12:30-31) And He says, "You shall not do that to our God and say that we’re just honoring our God in so doing." That’s precisely what He said.

Now then I’d like to have you notice in Mark the seventh chapter beginning with verse nine {3} Jesus said to them, when He was on earth:

"Full well [this was to the scribes and the Pharisees, and so on] full well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:9)

The observance of Passover is one of the commands of God; the observance of Easter is a tradition of men. You know that is not a popular thing to say? It takes some plain guts for me to sit here and tell you that and let it go out to the nation! But my friends, if I love the people and if I want to give you the truth of God, I have to tell you what I see God says! This is the Word of God! Adam and Eve didn’t believe what God said in person to them. Jesus spoke to many thousands of people and only 120 believed what He said. He talked to people who believed on Him. And, oh yes, they believed on Him. But He said,

"You who believe on me, you seek to kill me because you don’t believe My word." (John 8:37 paraphrased) "You don’t believe what I say!" It seems like it’s the rarest thing in the world to believe what God says.

Now "...he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your [own] tradition" (Mark 7:9) And in another verse He says "Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition." (Mark 7:13)

Jesus said, "...In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments [and the traditions] of men." (Mark 7:7; Matthew 15:9)

And you think you can worship Jesus Christ, and worship Him in vain, and many, many are doing that today. That is the pitiful thing today. Well we’re in the very last days now and it isn’t going to be very long now until God’s fury is going to be poured out.

I want to read you, finally, from Matthew 24. That is the great prophecy of Jesus; it is the greatest and the central prophecy of all the New Testament. Matthew 24: Jesus, with His disciples, had been at the Temple; and Jesus had showed them the buildings of the Temple and, beginning with verse 2, Matthew 24:

"...Jesus said unto them, See all of these things [that is the buildings of the Temple] verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down [now that actually happened in 70 AD. And a little later they came to Him up on the Mount of Olives, privately, and they asked Him]. Tell us, when shall these things be [that is, what actually happened in 70 AD or in their lifetime]? and [now they asked Him one thing more] the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world? [that is the end of THIS world, not the end of the earth, the end of man’s civilization, the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ] And Jesus answered and said unto them [now for their generation], Take heed that no man deceive you, For many shall come in my name saying that I am [the] Christ and shall deceive the many." (Matthew 24:2-5)

Saying that Jesus is the Christ! THEY BELIEVED HE WAS THE CHRIST; THEY BELIEVED ON HIM! But they did not obey Him or believe what He said!

And today people don’t believe it. And they say, "Oh well, we don’t worship the pagans. We just worship Christ." He say you can’t take their method of worship and say, "I will do so to my god." Jesus will not accept that; God will not accept that kind of worship. Jesus said, "In vain are people worshiping me, teaching these traditions, instead of the commands of God and what God has commanded forever and ever." (Mark 7, Deuteronomy 12)

God has given us a miracle and a sign looking back toward His shed blood. And He expected us to observe it today, and very few do. And so it got mixed up and the church turned to the traditions of men.

Sign of the End Time (Play from 21:20)

Now then they asked Him about the sign of His coming. And coming down to verse 14, He says:

"And this gospel of the kingdom [that’s the gospel Jesus preached, the Kingdom of God] shall be preached in all the world for a witness AND THEN shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)

I have shown time after time on this program how, in 53 AD - the Church was started in 31 AD - and by 53 AD the Apostle Paul said, in Galatians 1, verses six and seven - the message to the Galatians - that they already had turned to another gospel.

And so the gospel of Jesus Christ was suppressed and people were not hearing it any longer. They’ve heard a gospel ABOUT CHRIST, saying that Jesus is the Christ! Oh, that’s been proclaimed all over the world! But they have denied the message He brought. And His gospel is the message He brought, which is the Kingdom of God! You’ve been hearing the Kingdom of God on this program! That is the same gospel Jesus preached! And when that gospel is preached, you’re near the very end of this world and the beginning of the World Tomorrow.

Now, just dropping down a little bit, He tells the troubles that are going to come in our time. And then in verse 21:

"Then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be; and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]." (Matthew 24:21-22)

Coming to a time when ALL HUMAN LIFE could be annihilated and erased from off of this earth! I want to tell you, my dear people, we have reached the first - the only time in all the history of six thousand years history of the world - when that can happen! We have come down to the time when the weapons of mass destruction are in existence and have been created that can erase all human life from off this planet earth! It never happened before! No weapon has ever been invented that has not been used!

And not only the United States and Europe have nuclear weapons that can wreak such terrible havoc on the earth, many other nations do also. And even hydrogen bombs can now be produced by small nations and some of the smaller nations are getting them.

And I tell you that survival, HUMAN SURVIVAL, is the greatest problem we have on earth today! And here are people ignoring the Word of God and turning to their own traditions! And God is going to come IN FURY, just before He comes as the King of kings in love and to do away with Satan the devil, who’s been tempting this world all these years.

We’re living in frightful times. I tell you we need to realize it. Satan knows it.

And when this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed in all the world as a witness, then the end will come very, very soon. Satan knows that, but very few people do.

Now you carry on in that same chapter, in that same prophecy and the very next thing that’ll come are signs in the sun and the moon and the stars, supernatural signs that God is going to send at the beginning of His intervention. That’s going to strike AWE into the people of this world! They’re not going to know what to do! They’re going to cry out for rocks to fall on them and kill them and hide them from the face of God that some of them are going to see, or think they see, up in the sky.

"And then, immediately after the tribulation of these days shall the sun be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers of heaven shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven." (Matthew 24:29-30)

The World Tomorrow (Play from 25:19)

And then after that it goes right on the next verse telling about Jesus will then come as the King of kings and the Lord of lords to set up the Kingdom of God that will restore the government of God to this earth, instead of the kinds of governments we have all over this earth, today!

I want to tell you that we’re living in terrible, troublous times! And it’s time that this world wakes up! I’ve been trying to warn this world. Many hear; many listen. Few heed and few pay any attention. They heard Jesus; they didn’t pay any attention. Well, if they wouldn’t pay attention to Him, the great Lord Jesus, how would they to someone like me? They just don’t. But God help you to understand.

I have a booklet I’d like to offer you. It is, ‘The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday.’ Now that is quite a shock to a lot of people. It was to me when I learned it almost fifty-five years ago. It was quite a shock. It will be to some of you, but it is the truth of God. People have been carried away by the fables and by the traditions of men. Now this is just a short booklet; you could read it at one sitting. And it gives you absolute proof. It’s something that will completely prove it, if you’re willing to believe the truth of God’s Word. Of course, not many people do believe God, but I hope you do.

And I ask you to write in for it; there’s no charge. I send it gratis, no request for money. No follow-up, unless we might remind you of another booklet that we give you, free, but no request for money, unless you voluntarily send it. We’re not going to ask you. And I don’t know of any other program like this. I don’t know of anyone else doing anything in that way.

Now I want to offer you another booklet, the truth, ‘The Plain Truth About Easter,’ ‘The Plain Truth About Easter.’ This is a little larger book. That book was only sixteen pages. This must be about thirty, thirty-two pages. You can read it, though, in one sitting. And on the front is the sunrise service, a picture of it. On the front of this is a picture of the tomb where Jesus was buried. And I’d like to send them to you. We believe in giving, not getting. We’re trying to give; we give love. We want to give the truth of God; it’s so wonderful and the world has been deceived and turned from it. If you’re not afraid of the truth, write in and get these truths. Check up in the encyclopedias, check up in the authorities and you will see.

So, until next time, this is Herbert W Armstrong saying; Goodbye, friends.

{1}Footnote: Mr Armstrong said "crucified a lamb" but meant "sacrificed"

{2}Footnote: Mr Armstrong said "apostle" but meant prophet

{3}Footnote: Mr Armstrong mistakenly references Mark 7:7 instead of verse nine