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   Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Garner Ted Armstrong of Ambassador College with the World Tomorrow. In this series of programs, we will tell you something of the problems of the world today, how they will affect you, and their solution in the World Tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, Garner Ted Armstrong.

   It's a lot of fun for the kids. It's exciting to get up early. And as a matter of fact, it's the earliest most people get up all year long, go out there and see the sunrise, hear the choir singing. It's fun to drive and get there that early and see the first rays of the sun if you don't get rained on and the minister making all these noises and the coral society up there is sort of shaped like a cross. Eggs look good and hats are nice and new outfits are kind of fun, and watching the parade is fun too. And besides that, it's a family occasion. It's all these things Easter along with Brer Rabbit or Peter Rabbit or the bunnies, the eggs that you see in the stores. It's all those things. It's exciting. It's colorful, it's fun, and it's also pagan to the core.

   You might have a lot of difficulty explaining Easter to a visitor from outer space, but you wouldn't have a bit of difficulty if you had some person from Ancient Persia, Ancient Babylon, Greece, Rome, some of the Nordic countries of Scandinavia and Europe, and some of the Druids of Ancient Ireland or Scotland, they would recognize it immediately when you usher them on the scene.

   If you could have a time machine and do this and you would take them up to the top of the mountain and show them the sunrise service and say, oh yeah, I recognize that in whatever language they were using. Maybe Babylonian. If you showed them all the egg rolling and the egg, whatever it is hiding parties, they would say, oh sure. I recognize that, well, we had those, we use those eggs all the time. We used to exchange eggs in Ancient Persia, Babylon, Greece and Rome. If they saw the new outfit, they might have trouble with that because they didn't get new outfits. But if they saw all the orgies of the so-called Pre-Linton season and then the quote, end quote, which is really giving up things that a lot of people don't have much to do with.

   Anyhow, I knew a kid that used to give up chewing gum, but he never did like chewing gum anyhow, if they saw all of these orgies in cities in Europe and in portions of the United States, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and other such pre-Lenten riotous Spring festival occasions. They recognize it immediately. But now, wait a minute, what if you're resurrecting somebody, like, say Paul out of the New Testament and he could walk the streets of America or he could go to the Hollywood Bowl and see the ceremonies at the top of the nearest mountain. Would he recognize it? You bet he would. But he would recognize it as pagan, not Christian.

   He would recognize it about as quickly as Ezekiel did aside from connecting them dry bones. Ezekiel did something else too. Guess what? He had a vision one time where the one that inspired him to write the book of Ezekiel who was the creator God showed and envision some people attending a very strange kind of a service. It's in Ezekiel eighth chapter and I'm reading here beginning in verse 16 (Ezekiel 8:16), he brought me into the inner court of the Eternals house and behold at the door of the temple of the Eternal between the porch and the altar, and kind of an outer court. Here, there were about five and twenty men, 25 men there doing something with their backs toward the temple of the Eternal and their faces toward the east. Now, what happens in the east? Actually, some people try to connect the word Easter with the fact that the sun rises in the east and maybe there is some vague remote connection. But actually, the Anglo-Saxon word comes from an ancient word that is Ishtar as it was, well as it derived into the Hebrew and then from there into the Latin and on into the English language. And that was in Babylonian language. And there were many other spellings of it. Oestar, Astarte et cetera I was shown from many different historical sources last time about the origin of the name of Easter.

   But he saw these people with their faces toward the east and they worshiped the sun toward the east, that's at its rising. So, Ezekiel envision, saw a sunrise service of some sort and these people were doing things that God called an abomination. He said in that earlier introductory portion of that scripture, "O son of man, have you seen this? But turn you yet again and you shall see greater abominations than these." And so the Bible called the idea of bowing toward the sun as it rose in the east a rotten, dirty, filthy pagan abomination.

   Now, that doesn't cut any ice with people that like quaint traditions. I mean, why should we attack our own traditions? Besides, organ music is pretty and colored eggs are pretty and it's fun for the kids. And why should anybody say that Easter is something that Christians shouldn't do? Well, far be it for me to make that decision for anybody. I mean that's something that everybody has to decide for themselves. But I'm going to at least say amen to all of the history books, the books on fabled, traditions, superstitions, the encyclopedia's and the Bible itself which tell you as if with one voice that Easter is pagan to the core, that eggs are sex symbols that rabbits are the same thing and that there is no remote connection whatsoever between rabbits and eggs. Well, you can stop right there because bunnies don't lay eggs. But between rabbits and eggs and the idea of a resurrected Savior eggs were the emblem of early new life.

   Now, all life comes from an egg from a germ of life and even the pagans weren't stupid. They had their own population explosion. They recognized fairly early, you know, way back in recorded history where babies came from, maybe they didn't tell the jokes we do about the two rabbits running away from the pack of coyotes or wolves and they were panting and ran behind the mulberry bush and stopped. What shall we do? Shall we keep running faster or to and outnumber them? But I'll guarantee you this, the pagans certainly knew of the propagator capacities of rabbits. They didn't miss that at all. And so, the bunnies, the cute fuzzy little old bunnies became a kind of a sex symbol in ancient paganism. So did the egg in celebrating the return of spring. The egg became an emblem of the germination of life. And you can trace that back to ancient Greece to Rome to Persia, Egypt. Yes. And even China. Von Wyk in a book called Egyptian Belief page 24 said, and I quote, "dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt." Chambers Encyclopedia article Easter said the Ancient Persians when they kept the Festival of the Solar New Year in March, mutually presented each other with colored eggs. Radford Encyclopedia of Superstitions page 149 said and I quote, "colored eggs were exchanged in antiquity at the Spring Festival by the Greeks and the Romans, Persians and Chinese as we do today exchange Easter eggs at the feast of the resurrection." Isn't that cute? Isn't it nice that we can be like these other societies in our modern emancipated free thinking space age Christian for presenting society? Then along came Peter Cottontail. Catholic encyclopedia volume five, page 277 says, and I quote, "the rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility." Oh, did you think I was attacking the Catholic church? Far be it from me to attack any church? I don't want to attack anybody. I'm not attacking people or churches or organizations. I'm attacking superstitions and even superstitions need not be attacked if we would just admit that's what they are. And I really admire the Catholic encyclopedia because it admits that the idea of a rabbit is a pagan fertility sex symbol. So, I think any church has the right to believe each practice says and can do as it will. And I'm glad that we all have that privilege.

   The thing that I'm trying to urge the general thinking public is that we ought to at least know what the origins and the sources of our traditions, our superstitions and our beliefs are. And then we can at least do it intelligently. And we've got some kind of an answer to give our children or other people that might ask. So, the only point I'm making is as long as it's pagan, why don't we keep Christ's name out of it? When we try to wedge the two together, that's where the difficulty is. The Bible does not tell us to celebrate the resurrection. Even though pagans always wanted to celebrate life as I showed you last time, believe it or not in the Bible, it does talk about the celebration, the commemorations, the remembering year after year of the death and the burial of our Savior. And even though the Bible proves his resurrection, and though his resurrection is an absolute fact of history, and I believe that and if it weren't for that, we wouldn't have an opportunity to have any hope for the future beyond this temporal transitory life at all. And I know that is true yet the Bible itself, which is Christ and he's the boss. He's the Lord. It does not command us anywhere to celebrate the resurrection. It was done in secret. Nobody knew exactly when you can pinpoint it fairly closely. I'll show you in a few moments, but it was done in secret. They got there as it began to dawn to the first day of the week while it was still dark and the tomb was empty. And so, well, that's part of the subject that I'm coming to.

   But the encyclopedia superstition that I was quoting and also the Catholic encyclopedia said that the rabbit is a pagan symbol. It's always been an emblem of fertility. Radford's encyclopedia superstitions and pre-Christian times. I'm quoting now the hare was reverenced. Sounds like our day hair is reverence today. But they're talking about Hare. The hare was reverenced as a holy creature associated with fertility and the returning spring pre-Christian times. It had nothing to do with Jesus Christ or the apostles in northern Europe. It was sacred to the spring goddess who was known to our Anglo-Saxon ancestors as Easter. That was her name in Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, article Cakes and Loaves. That's another side issue.

   Some of the cakes he said, which have a prominent place at Christian festivals and holy days like hot cross buns. You ought to look up the origin of the word bun. You know, where did it come from? Where did the word come from? Why isn't it just loaf hot cross bun? It's an interesting question. These things used at Christian festivals and holidays are probably lineally descended from cakes used sacrificially or sacramentally in pagan times. This is suggested by their being marked with sacred symbols, the cross and these probably replaced the cakes stamped with pagan images or symbols as in so many other instances where pagan ritual was Christianized. If you can do that, which the Bible says, you can't.

   Nothing is more likely than that the cakes used at pagan festivals became by an easy transition cakes associated with Christian festivals among cakes which may have had this history may be mentioned, hot cross buns on Good Friday and Easter cakes. That's from James Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Not Garner Ted Armstrong page four chapter 3 verse A or B.

   Now, what difference does it make? That's the question. None. If there's no God, if there is no God, and if you are only thinking in mundane terms about a religion is something you ought to have and people ought to have a faith, but there is no God and there's no Jesus Christ. He really stayed dead in spite of the fact that millions get up on mountain tops and say they believe in a resurrection, then it begins to become a little cloudy. If there is no God, it doesn't make any difference. You can keep Easter and you can be pure and conscience.

   But since there is a God, and since what people think they are commemorating by the Easter ceremony really did happen since Jesus did rise from the grave and he was the boss. And the Lord and the Ruler and the Master who went away into a far country as he gave the analogy to get for himself a kingdom and to return. And when he comes back, he's going to rule this earth with a rod of iron. And he's going to call people into an account with how well they did with the message commission, the way of life, the pattern of living that he left us and we overcome and grow in Christian life as we obey Christ. Not only as we do lip service to belief in his name.

   So, he's going to call an accounting and he at least will be very interested in some excuses that people might have used about why they continue to keep Easter. But it will be told to you by many theologians that it does make a bit of difference one way or the other. Of course, they're right because they're thinking that God isn't going to condemn or God isn't going to judge or God isn't going to get a little bit upset at people perpetuating rank raw paganism from ancient times on into Christian times, dressing it up, calling it by the name of Jesus Christ. I'm only saying, let's be honest, let's be practical pragmatic experimental scientific in this modern age of free thinking.

   Let's emancipate ourselves in the paganistic shackles of the past. And if people want to get up on a mountain top, why don't they call it sun worship instead of Christianity? It would make so much more sense to say I'm in a pagan sunrise service and say I'm doing what the apostles did because the apostles didn't do that in a book called Easter. Its story and meaning by Alan Watts at first sight. It is surprising to find so many of these stories and symbols of death and resurrection in so many different places.

   The points of resemblance between the Christ story on the one hand and the myth and the ritual of ancient and pagan cults on the other is a time startling enough to look like a conspiracy. Interesting quote. Other such quotations have come along. I've told you of a whole stack of books we had last time that you can write for them if you'd like to. The idea is that a lot of the pagan ideas associated with spring may have been due to the influence of God's spirit working in men's minds in the dim antiquity.

   Or if that seems a little extreme, these pagan customs are at worst harmless additions to a festival that celebrates Christ's resurrection. These are the excuses used by people in the face of a scripture want to show you right now from the word of God that condemns all such human reasoning. It's found in Deuteronomy 12 verses 29 through 32 (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). It is expressed as the mind and the will of God and the very person who became the Jesus Christ of the New Testament is, I can prove that theologically, the one who gave this command, When the Eternal your God shall cut off the nation from before you, whether you go to possess them and you succeed them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself, that you be not snared by following them. After that they be destroyed from before you. This is back in ancient Israel as they were dispossessing the nations before them. And that you inquire not after their gods saying, how did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

   You shall not move so unto the Eternal, your God for every abomination of the eternal which he hates. Have they done unto their gods? Even their sons, their daughters, they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What so everything I command you, you observe to do it. You shall not add thereto nor diminish from it. He said, don't ask about the quaint cute little pagan tradition and say, hey, how did they worship their god? The big fat one or the big bulbous red nose, the one with the giant wrinkles in his belly and the naval jewel, the one that looked like a fish, the one they called Tamas or Nimrod or the one that they called Gerald or Harry or the one that they called Percival, whatever they called their god, whether it was Thor, certainly a Thor.

   Stupid you forgot your Saturn, you probably heard that one too, whatever it was they called him. You don't. Hey, they baked these cakes. They got all the kids inspired. They went out and gathered his stick and made the family occasion out of it. They lighted the bonfire. The woman made the dough and they made these cute little forms and shapes and so on. They colored them all up and made batter and made frostings for it. They got these eggs and they painted them and painted snakes and designs and all sorts of things around on these eggs. And they also had sunrise services. Isn't that a cute idea?

   Now, that scripture which we just read implied that the people of God might be entrapped by thinking humanly, well, we won't worship their gods. But what we will do is adopt the form and the ceremony that they use, but we will use it to worship the true God. And that is precisely what modern-day Americans, Britons, Australians, you know, the English-speaking Western world, Canadians, primarily this is the way they reason.

   Sure they can say Garner Ted, we know it was pagan. We know it was rotten to the core as far as what Christ would have said about it. We know it was pagan to the core as far as sex symbols, fertility symbols and sunrise services. And sure God says he hates it. But you see what we're doing is we're just kind of changing its form and we're doing it in sincerity towards the true God. The only difference with that is that God says, don't do that. God says, don't add to his word and don't detract, subtract from it. Don't diminish what he told us to do.

   There isn't any possible way you can take pagan customs such as Easter and fit them into the biblical scriptures. As a matter of fact, you ought to try to find out I've done this time and again, now on programs in the past where I've even tried to show you how you cannot fit the Easter tradition of a good Friday. And what was good about it if it was Friday, which it wasn't, it was a Wednesday, which I can prove matter of fact, this booklet does that, The Resurrection was not on Sunday.

   Time and again, I tried to show people how you cannot fit the Good Friday, Easter Sunday morning tradition into this plain, impossible to misinterpret scripture which Jesus Christ of Nazareth himself stated it found in Matthew 12 and verse 40 (Matthew 12:40). Let's see how we fare with this, For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly. The Greek meant a great fish. And remember the book of Jonas that God had specially prepared. It took a divine miracle to produce that fish of that size for that to occur. But the point is Jesus gave it the weight of scripture. So shall in like fashion shall the Son of Man, be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

   How can you possibly fit Friday? Sunset? Let's do it again. Friday, sunset, the dark part of Friday, the days began at sunset. All right, then Friday began at sunset and the daylight part that followed. You see, then by what we call Friday sunset, we're talking about what? Well, we're talking about the beginning of Saturday, aren't we? So, really, you don't have the whole part of Friday, Friday, sunset if that's when they think Friday is already over. So, what you're dealing with is the dark part of Saturday and then the daylight part of Saturday, that's one day and then Saturday night. So, you've got one 12-hour day and two 12-hour night periods in this tradition.

   Let me make that clear again. The days began at sunset when you're talking about biblical days and nights, you're talking of a day period, of 24-hour period that begins at sunset. If the idea was that he was put in a tomb just barely before sunset on Friday. And that's not correct. But that's the idea. That's the tradition. And what you're dealing with is the dark part of Saturday or the Sabbath and the daylight part of Saturday or the Sabbath, one 24-hour day of two 12-hour parts, basically. And then you're dealing with the nighttime part of what was Sunday, the dark part of Sunday prior to Sunday morning, you know, from say seven thirty at night on to about five or five thirty in the morning. At which time when I got there and it was still dark, the tomb was empty.

   The Bible says three days and three nights. And even if you try to say, well alone, three parts of dust and such, it still says days and that means the daylight part of the day. But the Bible defines a day as being a 24-hour day, just like we would define a day as being a 24-hour day. The Bible is any different on that. How can you possibly square that plain scripture from your Savior with the tradition? Well, you can't, of course, that's why I'm trying to show people that there is no authority in the Bible for celebrating Easter, points for not celebrating Easter are these and I'll show you a few more New Testament scriptures in a hurry here about some of them.

   I want to introduce them to you for next time. There is no divine or biblical authority for it. It is rooted in paganism observed on the day of the sun celebrates life forces the calendar and so on all pagan objects of worship, Christ did not rise on Sunday morning and Easter therefore commemorates an error. The biblical command is not to add the pagan customs. The point is that Jesus Christ changed the symbols of the Passover as I'm going to show you now and told us to observe that.

   Now this the Western professing Christian religion is not willing to do. Easter, which is pagan to the core it wants to do. But what about obeying the scripture? See whether or not you would be willing to obey what the Apostle Paul told Gentiles to do I Corinthians 11. That's a good one, For I have received of the Eternal that which also I delivered unto you that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. I Corinthians 11:23 to 26 your bible. And when he had given thanks, Jesus did this, he said, take and eat, he broke it. That was unleavened bread. He said, this is my body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of me. There's a commemorating assembly that he commanded after the same manner. Also, he took the cup when he had supped, saying this cup is the new Testament in my blood. This do you. That's a command. And it's repeated here in I Corinthians, the writing of the Apostle Paul to Gentile Christians in the city of Corinth. This do you as often as you drink it, you do it in remembrance of me. Why when Jesus Christ and says do this, all of society says, I will not do it! When he says, don't do this. Everybody rushes out to do it. It almost looks like there is some sort of an anti-Christ, anti-supernaturalistic, anti-biblical bias in the hearts of religious-professing people. And when you come along and you tell people, that hey, hold it, you've been making a mistake here. That's not biblical. They don't seem to thank you for it. That's a phenomenal thing to me.

   Instead of saying I was what you mean that I was, I was doing something that was, it was pagan. And you mean to say that that Jesus Christ, if he were here, wouldn't do that and he wouldn't want me to do it. And you tell him no, no, he would want you to do what he said to do and follow the example that he said and do what the Gentile Christians did and do what the Apostle Paul and those that listen to his teachings, did, you would think people would thank you. They would say, oh, that's great. Oh, I'm glad to learn that. Why, I just think how, how far afield I was, I was out here doing things that God said, don't do it. And I don't want to do that as a Christian. I want to do what my Savior tells me to do. But somehow that isn't the reaction.

   Somehow the reaction is that people get mad madder than a wet silk hornet, madder than a drowning bunny rabbit, madder than a hen that just stepped on an egg. When you tell them Easter is pagan. I don't know what you're going to do with that information, but you can sure enough prove the rest of it to yourself. And I'll wind this up with one more program about the Exodus and about some of these scriptures that we had to leave out for lack of time on this particular program. But these booklets, The Resurrection was not on Sunday. And the one entitled, The Plain Truth About Easter, where does the name come from? Is it the opposite of Wester or what is it? Why Easter? Do you know that, that very same pronunciation was used in Ancient Babylon, Greece, Rome, Egypt and some of the Nordic countries of the Western world as civilization spread toward the new world.

   Did you know that ancient Germanic tribes, Druids, people of Mediterranean races, people in the Middle East, people in Babylon and down in Egypt had customs that if you could be put into the proverbial time machine like the alley-oop comic strip or something, except in this case, you'd be going backward instead of forward and you could be plummeted backward in time and you could get there right in the middle of, let's say, a baking exercise where the housewife in Egypt was in there at the. Probably, they used a kind of adobe or fire brick kind of an oven and she was just sliding these nice, neat little buns in there when they came out, she had this nice kind of a substance to decorate them on the outside. You say, hey, look at that. I didn't know Egypt was Christian because there would be a hot cross bun.

   Or maybe if you were in Ancient Babylon and you were taking a ride around the walls, you just found yourself on the corner of the wall. It could take about three chariots of breast with room to turn around there. And it was about 300 feet high. And there were two walls, a great big inner wall, the fabulous hanging gardens, there were fountains and there were all sorts of rivulets.

   The river actually went right through the main part of the city. It would have been a fabulous sight to see. But you also would have gotten there, let's say about the time of Easter. And you would have seen many interesting ceremonies. Here would have been all these people standing on this one side of the wall seeing where they could get a better view of the sun. And as the sun rose, you would hear all kinds of enchantments and incantations, and people would cheer and applaud and some would cry and they might have all kinds of beads or various artifacts or little idols that they would raise up and this and that. You'd probably see the kids eating eggs all over the city. There would be eggs, decorating everything. There would be various other animal symbols along with, you know, bunnies and so on.

   You say, hey, I didn't know these ancient Babylonians were, were, were Christians. Why? This is hundreds of years before Jesus ever walked the earth. And here they are with Easter eggs and Easter rabbits. Well, the point I'm making is that the ancient societies of the pre-Christian world had some of the very same paraphernalia that you find perpetuated into so-called Christian Western religions of today. They did, they had the bunny, they had the rabbit, and some of the other famous Christian holidays had the very same accompanying paraphernalia too, such as the Yule log and bonfires, jack-o'-lanterns and witches' costumes. And exorcis, how do they say, exorcising, isn't it? Which is kind of like a basketball game between witches where they get exorcised. No, I'm just kidding.

   But the exorcising of witches and the like, casting out of the demons and evil spirits, they did this type of thing back then. You would be amazed if you could get in a time suit or a time machine and go back and visit ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Egypt, and find that they kept Easter. Now, you probably wouldn't see them saying anything at all about a resurrected Christ. But you'd see the eggs and the rabbits, you'd see the sunrise service and you'd see the Hot Cross buns. Now, why do we perpetuate those things into a so-called Christian society?

   You write for this book, "The Plain Truth About Easter." It will blow your mind. No, I'm just saying that to be kidding. It won't really, I think you'll enjoy it. It's about 30 pages long. It has full-color illustrations. It is a brand new booklet right off the press. It's up to the moment, that's for sure because it's right in season with what is happening in the Western world of so-called Christianity. And I don't want anybody to get mad at me because I tell them what the encyclopedia say. I mean, I mean this book that quotes the Catholic encyclopedia, it quotes the encyclopedia Americana Britannica, etc. This is a historical thing, not necessarily just a religious thing. Remember, it's not a religious argument of mine. It's an historical document. You might say a brief booklet that shows you the history of Easter where we got the name that there was a pagan Babylonian goddess named Easter pronounced Ashtar, Ishtar whatever. Maybe the H was silent. It was Easter. I don't know just exactly what the inflection was because I don't speak very good Babylonian anymore.

   But you can write for this booklet. You can find the truth about it. "The Plain Truth About Easter," it's free of charge at no price. If you write to Box 345 Sydney New South Wales. The address is Box 345 Sydney New South Wales. Remember there is no price, there's no advertising in any of the literature I've mentioned. It's free of charge. The address again is Box 345 Sydney, New South Wales. Until next time, this is Garner Ted Armstrong saying goodbye, friends.

   You have been listening to the World Tomorrow. If you would like more information, write to Ambassador College Box 345 GPO Sydney, New South Wales. That's Ambassador College Box 345 GPO Sydney, New South Wales.

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Broadcast Date: 1974