Many of you know I don’t keep Easter. One big reason I don’t, is because I want to learn the lesson from the gold calf incident. Readers of this site know I don’t keep the pagan holidays that have been labeled “Christian” – and we’re told they are to honor Christ. So we have Easter eggs and bunnies somehow mingled with the resurrection story. We have Christmas trees somehow dedicated to Christ. Let me explain why I’m not a part of all that, though I love my Yeshua.
Let’s go back to Israel and the gold calf for a lesson in what NOT to do. We all know the story of how Israel got Aaron, their future high priest and older brother of Moses to give them a gold calf to worship. Moses had gone up to the top of Mt. Sinai when Yahweh had called him up. I suspect, by the way, that since the mountain top was all ablaze (Exodus 24:16-18), that Moses may have literally entered into the fire of Yahweh’s presence and protected supernaturally like Daniel’s three friends were in the book of Daniel. I can’t prove it, but it’s worth considering the faith it took for Moses to go to the mountain top. In any case, he was gone 40 days as he talked with Yahweh.
So Moses was gone a long time and there was no way to know if he was even still alive. The Israelites, steeped in Egyptian paganism, reverted back to their more familiar ways of worship and crafted a gold calf. But in their minds, were they worshiping a gold calf image? NO! In the same way, those who religiously keep Easter and Christmas say and think they are worshiping the son of God Jesus Christ (or Yeshua the Messiah), but are they?
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."
2 And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!"
5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to YHVH (Yahweh)."
6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Did you catch verse 5? They were going to use the gold calf as a visual way to -- in their minds – worship Yahweh! Aaron must have figured, “If we’re going to worship a gold calf, maybe it’s OK if we put Yahweh’s name on it.” If you continue reading and know the story, Yahweh was royally ticked off at this and 3,000 were executed for mingling the worship of Him with gold calf paganism. How is that any different from what we do with Easter and Christmas? They originated in paganism but we say it’s all to honor the true God as we worship with pagan festivals! Of course He’s upset by that!
Don’t make that mistake. Stop worshiping Yahweh with Easter or other holidays that can easily be proven to have pagan connections. It’s no different than what Israel did with the gold calf!
Do I not believe Yeshua rose from the tomb? Absolutely! But at sunrise? Absolutely not. By the time Mary Magdalene got there, before sunrise, while it was still dark (John 20:1) the tomb was already empty. Mark 16:1-2 does say after sunrise, but the point is, the tomb was already empty, so we can’t know when He was resurrected by those verses alone. He was placed into the tomb just before sunset three days and three nights before (NOT fractions of 3 days) (Luke 23:50-56). That day was the “preparation day” (Luke 23:54) for “a High Day”. That means an annual Sabbath, not a weekly Sabbath. The next day was the first day of Unleavened Bread, a holy day, a “High Day”, an annual sabbath. So the day Jesus died was the preparation day for the holyday, and it fell that year in the middle of the week. It’s a common error to assume that was a Friday. You can’t get three days AND three nights out of a Friday night burial and Sunday morning resurrection.John 19:31
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
We have to have three days AND three nights or He’s not our Savior, because that’s the only sign He gave to prove He will be the Savior (see Matthew 12:40).
He was resurrected at sundown the night before, appeared to Mary early the next day – on “the first of the weeks”, as it is in the original. The word “day” is in “italics”. This was day #1 in the count of 50 days to Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks. Yes, that year when He revealed Himself to Mary was on a Sunday. On that day He rose to Father’s throne in heavenly Jerusalem to be the first of the firstfruits accepted in our behalf – the rest of the spiritual harvest (see Leviticus 23:9-11). He was what the first barley firstfruits, raised up by the High Priest to be accepted by Yahweh. After that, the rest of the harvest could proceed. And so it was with Yeshua. Soon after came the many baptized on the Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2.
The early Christians kept the holydays of Scripture, the “feasts of Yahweh”, or as your Bible probably incorrectly says, “of the LORD”. You can find them all listed in Leviticus 23. That’s why they were all together in one accord on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2). It was a holyday of Yahweh. That’s why Paul spoke of Passover, and being unleavened.
So learn the lesson of the gold calf: let’s not mix the worship of our Maker with pagan rituals. He hates that. He commands us not to add pagan rituals to our religious worship.