When they met a priest at the tomb
EuBa: Happy Easter Fr. How’s the situation in Italy now? Are you ok?
Fr Louis Cecilia: Blessed blessed Pasch, EuBa. God is still keeping us safe here. There are signs of His INTERVENTION already. He’ll not allow evil men to destroy his creation.
EuBa: We thank God for your life.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Amen. And yours too.
EuBa: But pls, what’s the meaning of the word Pasch you just used?
Fr Louis Cecilia: It’s the ‘correct’ term for what we call Easter.
EuBa: Pasch is the Correct term?
So Easter is a wrong word or term? You seem to affirm what a man was saying on TV the other time that Easter in a pagan feast. Is it true?
Fr Louis Cecilia: Do you have time for this discussion you are bringing?
EuBa: Yes Fr. I’m on line. I just recharged my credit too.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Ok I hear you.
Ok, then get your bible ready. I will prefer you cross-check quickly the quotations.
Euba: Sure. We shall. Please, I’m waiting… about the word Pasch
Fr Louis Cecilia:
Pasch is from the Hebrew which means Passover – Exodus 12:1ff. The word Easter is not in the bible (except in Acts 12:4 where the KJV translates ‘Pasch’ as ‘Easter’. So in the KJV you may see the word Easter. But this shouldn’t be a surprise since King James had an English background, and the English for Pasch has been rendered Easter. But word in Acts 12:4 should be the Passover).
the French word for Easter is Pâcques, the Italian is Pasqua; German is das Osrtern and English Easter.
We notice one trend in the Romanic languages (Italian, Spanish, French etc kept Pasch as the root from the Aramaic and Hebrew) while Germanic languages kept Easter. An influence from the Anglo-Saxon. Indeed, Easter was name for an Anglo-Saxon goddess who was called Eastre, Estera to whom sacrifices were made during the month of April.
Biblically speaking, the Pasch (Passover) was celebrated in the month of Abib ( [Aviv] Exo 13:4; Exo 12:1) which was a Canaanite name but later changed to Nisan ( the 1st month of the year).
How Easter got transferred to replace Pasch (Passover) it’s a long one.
Recently, others have tried to link Easter to the name Esther (who was a queen, but named after Isthar a goddess. Esther’s Jewish name was Hadassah). Easter isn’t from the name Esther.
But take this: Early Christianity adopted the pagan names or celebrations of conquered people with the aim of helping them to convert. (See Krystal D’costa, 2013).
This idea worked pretty well since the conquered people saw a semblance of their rituals but this time it was CHRIST as the fulcrum and focus. (We are talking about strategies used in antiquity and not the 21st century. The 21st century young man will criticise and demonize everything he knows less about. All it requires is the study of the past and beginnings of Christendom with a bit of humility).
They have tried to associate Easter with eggs since it is believed that the the goddess was patron of sex and fertility.
The name as we have it Easter indeed has pagan roots but what it celebrates it the VICTORY OF CHRIST OVER DEATH AND DARKNESS.
I hope you are not confused?
EuBa: quite long and seemingly complicated too…
Fr Louis Cecilia: ok. Then let me summarize it.
The word Easter is a pagan name that was adopted to celebrate the Passover (Pasch Exodus 12, Acts 12:4). The pagan name was adopted so that they (the pagans) could join in the celebration. They initially thought it was in the same as their previous festival but this time they were celebrating the MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL CHRISTIAN FEAST- The resurrection of Christ
It’s like taking over the land from a fetish priest and building a cathedral on it. (not the one you’re about to build in Accra ooo).
Euba: Ok. The example with the cathedral is nice. But, Did Jesus really die, or he went into coma?
Fr Louis Cecilia: What??
The angel said “You’re looking for the crucified” (Matt 28:5). He’s not here. Matt 28:6.
I believe in the testimony and witness of an angel who says Jesus was crucified than a man who speaks on a subject he knows nothing off, that is, denying that fact of Jesus’ death.
His death is a mystery. Incomprehensible for fickle minds, without the grace of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, Mysteries are lived, they are hidden (1 Cor 2:7-9) till God reveals it to those whom he desires.
Indeed, we read in Phil 2:8 ” he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross”.
Finally, John 19:32 ” so the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus he was dead already…”. Then they pierced his side with a lance ( spear). If Jesus was sleeping or was in coma, the poison on the spear would have also killed him.
Euba: What about the resurrection?
Fr Louis Cecilia: What has the resurrection done?
You have problems with that too? You’re doubting that Jesus defeated death?
EuBa: Noooooo Fr. I beg. I don’t doubt. Just that two issues about it (the resurrection) still bother me. How it happened and the numbers of days Jesus spent in the tomb.
EuBa: especially counting from Friday to Sunday we have 2 days if not one and half (1.5). Any help?
But we usually say Jesus spent 3 days in the tomb.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Now your questions are assuming almost the same length as my responses…. Never mind, that’s on a lighter side.
Fr Louis Cecilia: About the resurrection, I want to state again that: the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus are ONE. It is ONE mystery. You can separate one from the other.
First, no one saw Jesus rising from the dead. He left the tomb before the angel, the women and the disciples all came there.
Moreover, at the time of Jesus, there several groups: For instance, the Pharisees, who considered themselves as the pious ones (Luke 18:11-18), they believed in angels and the resurrection too.
But another group, Sadducees neither believed in angels nor the resurrection (Acts 23:8 , Mark 12:18).
Why? They were the aristocrats of the time. Do you understand aristocrats? (rich men I mean). You should know that because of their riches, their main concern would be earthly. They didn’t believe the “new life after death”.
However, we have Mary and Martha simple women who believed in the resurrection (John 11:24).
The Sadducees and many others we find today, only think about how to enjoy life here (on earth) without having to think about a future life somewhere. A place no one had ever returned from. But they were wrong. In the OT they accepted only the 5 books of Moses. They held that there was no reference to the Resurrection in those books. That was wrong.
Although the Old Testament doesn’t use the word resurrection, in certain instances, I can prove to you that there are references to the resurrection there. A few may help you:
Ex 3:15 ” God assured Moses and the Israelites ‘ I’m the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. These 3 great men were dead at the time God was speaking with Moses. For God to bring their names here and assure Moses that He ( God) was their God meant that they were alive because God is God of the living and not of the dead, Luke (20:37-38).
EuBa: What about the 3 or 2 days he spent in the tomb?
Fr Louis Cecilia: Which one do you believe, the three or two?
Euba: the 3, as taught by the CHURCH but my mind goes back to the 2. To be honest, I’m more inclined towards the 2 because of what they are discussing on TV and radio these days.
Fr Louis Cecilia: No problem! Let’s try and diffuse the tension and confusion. You need a clean and pure conscience.
The Three Days are interpreted in two ways. Both are right and will help you.
First: 3 days as a time of Divine intervention. A time when God acted on behalf of his people. 2Kings 20:5 ” On the third day God brought healing to king Hezekiah”.
Jonah – 1:17-2:1( also Matt 12:40) Jonah spents 3 days in the womb of the whale. He is brought out on the third day.
Esther 4:16 “on the third day after fasting God intervened and saved Esther and Israel.
There are several others too. Hos 6:2-3.
The third day was a time God acted to save his people.
Secondly: let’s consider the chronology of the day Jesus was crucified till his resurrection.
On the 3rd day…
In Matt 16:21; 17:23 and 20:19 the Greek words are ( Kai tē tritē hēmèra) and the third day.
Jesus Himself said on the third day. But some bible versions at times render the Greek “tē tritē hēmera” as “after three days” giving people the opportunity to refute or doubt that Jesus rose “on the third day”. (most of those who reject on the third day reject Sunday as the day of the Resurrection. They insist that Jesus was rather crucified on Wednesday and rose on Saturday. (this will mean that He spent 72 hours in the grave). This is soo not right and it will be changing the words of Scripture.
I will add some brief about how Jews calculated the day to help you understand this.
Modern man starts counting days from the day after. E.g.
Today is 11th April. If you ask modern man to count 3 days. He will begin: tomorrow ( Sunday is day 1, Monday day 2, and Tuesday, as day 3). This is inconsistent with the Jewish reckoning of the days.
The Jews started counting the day from this particular day. In which case tomorrow will be Day 2 and not Day 1 as done by Modern man.
Check these two examples by God in the Old Testament and then Jesus in the New Testament.
First: Exo 19:10-11 ” Go and tell the people sanctify yourselves TODAY, and TOMORROW…and be ready for the THIRD DAY. For on the THIRD DAY, the LORD will come down…
Then Luke 13:32 ” behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings TODAY, AND TOMORROW and on the THIRD DAY, I accomplish my purpose.
But the most convincing evidence about the reckoning of days is found in Acts 10:1-33. Look at the chronology:
1. One day about 3′ o’clock Cornelius sees a vision… Acts 10:3
2. That same day he called his servants and sent them. Note that his vision was at 3 o’clock which means that the day has not ended because it is not yet 6 o’ clock.
Day 1 vision…(10:3) on the same day he sent his servants ( 10:7) in Acts 10:33 Cornelius affirms that he sent them immediately…
2. Day 2: Acts 10:9 ” the next day ( that is day after the vision) the servants get near the city. Peter is going to pray . The time is 12noon. ( certainly 12noon of day 2 since the vision happened at 3pm of day 1).
3. The next day ( day 3) Acts 10:23 Peter leaves or set off from Joppa
4. He gets to Caesarea on the next day ( Day 4). Remember the servants of Cornelius set off on day 1 and arrived on day 2.
Peter sets off day 3 and arrives on day 4.
In Acts 10:30 Cornelius says “Four days ago” at this hour 3, o’clock in the afternoon.
Why is this chronology important? It this important because Cornelius in using the term “four days ago” affirms that the reckoning of days started on the same day ( he received the vision) and not a day after as we in the 21st century do.
The same applies to the JESUS event. Now let’s see:
Mark 15:33 “at noon darkness came over the whole land until three (3) in the afternoon. And at 3 ‘ o clock he died.
Pilate was shocked that Jesus died so early Mark 15:44.
They took him and buried him before the next day began.
This is the chronology:
1. Jesus dies at 3pm. Very early to the surprise of Pilate.
Since a tomb was near where he was crucified he was laid there. In fact the Jews didn’t want his body to remain on the cross since it was a day before Sabbath ( Saturday). We all know the day before Sabbath is Friday.
He died 3pm and was buried on the day before Sabbath (FRIDAY). So he was in the tomb before Sabbath. That is Day 1 in the tomb.
2.The next day (Sabbath) will be Day 2.
3. Then, early the 3rd day he rose. But that time it was clear enough. The women came and the angel said “he is not here”.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Is it clear?
EuBa: Very vivid explanations though at times it is difficult to concentrate. It’s complicated but the examples have really helped. Thank you, Fr.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Welcome. Let’s bless God then.
EuBa: If you have time can you help me explain why Jesus is God to a friend? He says Jesus never claimed to be…
Fr Louis Cecilia: NO problem.
Let me know when you are free.
EuBa: thank you so much for your time, patience and life.
Fr Louis Cecilia: Welcome. ” Let’s be active and support each other with prayers and good wishes. For “night is coming when man can’t work” – John 9:4.
Please do take care of yourselves and the kids.
Fr Louis Cecilia: May God’s rising light both illumine and envelope you.