Easter at Passover
Anyone who knows the Bible knows that Jesus was crucified and resurected at the time of Passover. Not only did all these events occur at Passover but the symbolism between both events is striking. Why then is it that we don’t celebrate Easter at the same time as Passover? and why has the Church tried to divorce itself from passover? Up until 120 AD there was no question that what we now call Easter (the word Easter wasn’t used for a couple of 100 years later, they still called it Passover at this time) happened at the same time as Passover. It was at this time that slight changes started to be introduced. The slight change here was that the Church in Rome would celebrate “Passover” on the nearest Sunday to the Jewish Passover. But this only happened in Rome. In fact in 154 AD Polycarp went to Rome to complain about why they had changed the date. Most of the Church at this time supported what was known as Quartodecimanism, which basically meant fixing the date of “Easter” to the 14th of Nisan which was ordained in Exodus 12:14. It wasn’t until the Council of Nicea that “Easter” was forver divorced from Passover. It was instead linked to the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, and if this happened to fall on Passover then it would be moved to the following Sunday. Why was this allowed to happen?
There are 2 reasons in my opinion. Firstly since about the middle of the first century the Church had been gradually getting anti-semetic which came to a head after Constantine came to power. They wanted to separte the Church from any link to the Jewish, and some even claimed that Jesus wasn’t even Jewish. Did these people know how to read or where they just born stupid? The other problem for the Church was Constantine. Many Christian seem to think that Constantine was the saviour of the Church. They couldn’t be more wrong. There is absolutely no historical eveidence that Constantine ever actually became a Christian but yet he was allowed to mould the Church into his fashion. We have been paying for it ever since. The Church was never meant to be a state Church with input from the government. In my view the sooner the Church everywhere ceases to be established such as the Church of England, or Church of Ireland etc the better.
Even after the date for Easter had been separeted from Passover by decree of Constantine there where still many disputes. The last place in Europe which held out was the Northern province of Ireland (Ulster) and the island of Iona. They refused to separate Easter from Passover up until the 7th Century but where eventually forced to by Rome.
Some may be asking why is this important? Well I believe that the Bible comes before any Church Council for a start and I believe that this is what the Bible would have us to do. Also at the root of this is the Church’s anti-semitism. It is only the the last 100 years or so that we have witnessed the Church getting back to it’s Hebraic roots and getting rid of anti-semitism. This has mostly been seen in the so called indepentant Churches such as Pentecostals, Baptists, Bretheren, Charismatics etc. unfortunately within the mainline Churches this has been less clear. For example the Presbyterian Church in America refuses to deal with Israel and there are many more example I could give.
Getting back to Easter and Passover. I believe if we got back to celebrateing Easter at the same time as Passover we would get more out of it and the symbolism would help us greatly. I have spoken to many Church leaders in person on on the internet and most agree that we should do this but they are afraid of how there congregations would react. Why do we worry about people think, why don’t we go ahead and do what God has ordained for us to do. At the end of the day this is not a Salvation issue but rather it is an issue of practice and obedience. This is something I believe the Church needs to think about and discuss. Have a good Day.