Updated: Apr 4
Ac 12:4 says,
“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”
Is "Easter" a Correct Translation or an Error?
I have heard people say that “Easter” should’ve been translated “Passover,” as if Luke was referring to the Jewish Passover in this passage and they point to this as an error in the KJV.
But they are wrong.
Acts 12:4 is the only place in which “Easter” appears in the KJV, translated from the word “pascha.” This “Easter” is referring to a pagan holiday, probably the celebration of Tammuz, the sun god, not the Passover, even though the same word is translated as “Passover” the other 26 times it is found. The “Easter” of Ac 12:4 occurred after the Passover, which we know because of what the verse prior to it says, which is the immediate context of this passage: (“Then were the days of unleavened bread.)” (Ac 12:3). Verse 4 speaks of “after Easter” and verse 3 tells us the current events unfolded in “the days of unleavened bread.”
The feast of unleavened bread followed the Passover (Nu 28:16-25), but this “Easter” was AFTER the feast of unleavened bread. "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast of unleavened bread: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten" (Num 28:16-17). See also Mk 14:12; 1 Cor 5:7-8.
The Passover occurred before the feast of unleavened bread, not after! In using the term “Easter” in Ac 12:4, the KJV translators merely left intact the reading of Tyndale, Matthews, and the Geneva Bible:
“Then were the days of unleavened bread, and when he had caught him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to be kept, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (The Newe Testament by William Tindale, 1526, John Wesley Sawyer, The Martyrs Bible Series).
People may be surprised to know that the word "passover" did not even exist before William Tyndale coined it for his Version of 1526-31. His was also the first English Bible to use "Easter." Previously the Hebrew and Greek were left untranslated. For example, in Wycliffe's Bible, which was based on the Latin, we find “pask” or “paske.”
It is precisely in this one passage that “Easter” must be used, and the translation “Passover” would have conflicted with the immediate context and the rest of its usage in the NT, so “Easter” is the proper translation to distinguish it from the Jewish Passover.
“Easter” is indeed a proper translation to distinguish it from the Jewish passover, and the KJV translators were wise in their choice of the this word.
What about Easter; Should we Observe Easter?
Easter as we know is an occasion observed by many professing Christians commemorating the resurrection of Christ. It is observed on the Sunday immediately after the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21. It may correspond with the event of the Passover, like we see this year, but not always. The date of Christ’s crucifixion should always correspond to the Passover, since that is what Christ fulfilled and also when He fulfilled it. However, the Passover may be different than the date of Good Friday, since the Easter holiday we celebrate in our day is based around the lunar calendar. This also reflects a component of the pagan nature of Easter.
The modern day Easter celebration is extra-biblical. The Passover was never to be called Easter. Originally Easter was a pagan holiday in the name of the goddess of spring, but it was “Christianized” by the apostate Catholic Church and adapted to the remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. Sunrise services are adaptations of the ancient worship of the sun. Even the etymology of Easter has pagan origins, so the name Easter obfuscates the meaning of the holiday. On top of that, western decadence and the mythos that rabbits lay eggs has children taught the wrong message. Pagans and compromisers have bartered the truth of God’s salvation for a symbolism that possesses no saving power.
Ungodly liberals, both in Christiandom and secular, are masters at changing the definition of words and pivoting when certain words no longer fit their narrative, such as the massive shift in woke ideology from equality to equity. We have seen it with many Bible words, I.e. repentance, faith, simplicity (of Christ), marriage, woman, man, hell, and on and on we could go. Resurrection is another one, replaced with Easter. People are becoming evermore and extremely biblically illiterate and need desperate help to be grounded in the truth, including the truth of words, and that starts with a right Bible, which is the King James Bible in English.
The solution to replace Resurrection Sunday as the proper name is a simple fix that resolves some of these cultural heresies, along with the timing which should coincide with the Passover, NOT a lunar date. Resurrection Sunday points to an event from the past: the resurrection of Christ, and it aligns with the prophecy He fulfilled. It also points to an event in the future: the resurrection of the living and the dead. Most importantly, it points to the good news that Christ has the power over sin and death and paid our ransom with His blood and that all who come to Him in true saving repentance and faith will be saved and given life and eternal life, and the assurance of a future resurrection.
To those that are saved, truly born again, regenerated by the Spirit of God, John the apostle writes:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 Jn 3:2-3)
Do you know Jesus Christ? More importantly, does He know you (Matt 7:23; Gal 4:9a)?
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jn 17:3)
To an unsaved Martha (Lk 10:38-42), Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (Jn 11:14-25)
Read here on how to be saved and Receive Eternal Life through Jesus Christ