It's early. Very, very early. In fact, it's even darker outside your home now than it was last night when you went to bed.
Somehow you sleepily stumble into your finest new clothes, wake the kids, get them dressed, walk out into the chill morning air. It's just a short trip to a special local hillside, and you arrive at 5:30 a.m.
It's an Easter sunrise service. All your friends and neighbors are there. You squint to make sure you recognize them and hope they will recognize you, but you can't make out all the faces in the dark.
The services are about to begin.
The minister softly intones about the Son of God risen. The audience is led to a quietly emotional climax and then the long-awaited moment arrives: the first sharp ray of the yellow orb peeks over the eastern horizon. Every head bows in worship.
Later on in the morning, there is a romping family egg hunt at home with some of the neighbor children. Colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, hot cross buns, real live dyed (and soon dead) baby chicks, candy eggs — all exciting and fun. Look at the glow in your daughter's eyes as she searches for, finds, counts and eats the goodies!
Next comes a more formal 11 a.m. church service, which the entire family, in their finest new spring clothing and Easter haberdashery, attends — one of the two times a year most people darken the church door. After a pleasantly brief sermon filled with hope, there is the traditional Easter dinner at Grandma's, followed by relaxation and a little nap after so long a day.
Then it's all over for another year.
This is Easter, Yourtown — your home — A.D. 1978 — right?
This is Ishtar, Babylonia, 1978 B.C.!
Every one of the customs described above dates back over 4,000 years to Babylonian Ishtar worship. When Babylon fell, the migrating tribes continued the same observances. The Teutonic tribes continued the rites for their goddess of spring: Eostra. These pagan, German observances were then incorporated into nominal "Christianity" during the Dark Ages in an effort to win the European pagans to the fold. Thinly veiled paganism has survived virtually intact for 4,000 years! As languages have evolved, developed and formalized, the word Easter has been pronounced basically the same way, and the customs remain basically unchanged as well — only "Christian" names and reasons for observances are added.
But, so what? Isn't Easter fun? Don't the kids love it?
Children don't love Easter, the holiday. They love the things that attend it: candy, play, food, attention, new clothes, pink dresses, chocolate eggs, a week's vacation from school (with church and state absolutely separated, of course), and eating Grandma's goodies.
And how about you adults? Do you love Easter, the day, or do you only like buying new clothes, meeting old friends, eating a big meal, relaxing — and do you really enjoy that once-a-year sunrise?
Doing these things is not wrong of itself. But, be honest with yourself. Couldn't you do those things on February 27, or June 4, or even the first Tuesday of every month? Why do them on that day? Why do you do them on a day you never could calculate, but have to look on a calendar for: "the first Sunday after the first new moon following the vernal equinox"?
What is it about Easter that you cling to? Can't you enjoy the good life any day? If you observe it for religious reasons, surely you can find that observance in the Bible, commanded and observed by the apostles, or at least predicted by the prophets, right?
Wrong! The only biblical mention of observances like these is in a very condemning context, in the Old Testament! Maybe you better check into this. Why don't you read our booklet titled The Plain Truth About Easter? This publication traces the history of Easter observance and shows how it was injected in to the church after the early apostles had died. In it you will find out whether or not the Bible really teaches the observance of Lent, Good Friday or Easter sunrise services.