It is the time of year for the Biblical celebration of Passover. Since memes seem to be the way we communicate and teach now, I thought I might clear up some confusion for many of you. Many are sharing erroneous information about this season. I have no interest in telling you how to think or what to believe. But facts can be helpful.
In the Tanach (Old Testament) the word translated Passover is the Hebrew פֶּסחַ (pesach.) In the New Testament the word translated as Passover is the Greek πάσχα (pascha.) In the King James Version "pascha" is translated once as Easter but most Bible versions use only the term Passover to translate pascha.
Pesach refers to not only the ritual celebrated on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan (Aviv) but often to the entire 7 day Feast also known as Unleavened Bread. In the New Testament there is a clear link between Yeshua's (Jesus's) crucifixion, burial and resurrection and the Passover and Unleavened Bread observances.
Yeshua arguably was crucified on the evening of the 14 or 15th day of Nisan, was buried and then rose from the dead on the first day of the week which corresponded to the waving of the barley sheaf performed during the week of Unleavened Bread. Since Yeshua said he would give the sign of Jonah by being buried 3 days and 3 nights but many more places say he would be raised on the third day there is not general consensus on what day of the week he was buried. Some believe he was resurrected on the night after the Sabbath but by Jewish reckoning that would still be Sunday the first day of the week. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul clearly states that Yeshua is our Passover. (Some versions say "our Passover Lamb" which is not wrong but does add a word.)
The earliest Christians (Messianics) kept Passover like their Jewish neighbors with the major difference being their emphasis on the celebration of Yeshua's resurrection. As Jewish influence waned in the early church the crucifixion and resurrection themes dominated and the exodus and unleavened bread themes retreated. Less than 200 years after Yeshua's death and resurrection a controversy arose in the church now known as the quartodeciman controversy. Basically the quartodecimans believed that the resurrection should be celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan and their opponents believed the resurrection should be celebrated on the Sunday during the week of Passover. The martyr Polycarp subscribed to the quartodeciman theory and claimed he had been taught this by the apostle John. The opponents of the quartodecimans also claimed apostolic authority.
By the time of the Nicean Council 325AD where the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was established, an effort was made to establish a uniform date for celebrating the resurrection but this effort failed. Constantine and the Council made clear however that they felt it was an error to be dependent upon the Jewish/Biblical lunar calendar and that they wished for the church to set the date for this important celebration and not the Jews. The calculation favored by the Nicean bishops eventually became the Christian practice which was to set the celebration on the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring on or after the Spring Equinox. Thus the dating for Passover as observed by Jews and the dating for the Resurrection became independent of each other.
Around 600 AD the word Easter became the word to describe the Christian celebration of the resurrection for people who spoke English, German and Dutch. Its origin is thought to be from a German goddess, Ostara or Eostre, or some believe it came from a word describing the direction of the rising sun, the East. Regardless of its origin it became the word to describe the resurrection in these languages. The word became so entrenched that even English Jews used Oester to describe their Passover celebrations in England in the 14th and 15th century. When Tyndale translated the Bible into old English he felt that the word "Easter" was too sacred and special to use to translate the Hebrew pesach of the Old Testament. He is the one to invent the English word Passover so it is actually a much younger word than Easter. It was an excellent term that fit the Biblical pesach very well as it had the connotation of passing or leaping over.
The ancient historical churches have always used the Biblical term pascha to describe their observances--Latin, Greek, Aramaic and Syriac. The word Easter is not a part of Catholic, Orthodox, and Maronite worship in their original languages. It is a purely Germanic term and thus has only impacted those cultures using the English, German and Dutch languages.
Ancillary activities that many Christians observe on Easter/Pascha had nothing to do with the name of the festivity. They were cultural practices that gradually became a part of Pascha celebrations in many groups--Easter bunnies, colored eggs, etc. Particularly the bunnies are a rather modern innovation only emphasized in the last 200 years.
Finally in the Old Testament the Biblical term translated Passover is pesach. In the New Testament the Biblical term translated Passover is pascha. The term Passover is never used in either testament. It is a great term coined by Tyndale to translate the Hebrew and Greek terms, pesach and pascha.
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