Passover or Easter – Which is the Correct Celebration?

Solving the Confusion over The Days celebrating Easter and Passover

Sometimes, the celebration dates of Passover and Easter coincide, but sometimes they can be weeks apart. Why is this? If Yeshua died at the time of the Jewish Passover, why does the institutionalized Christian church celebrate his death and resurrection on a different date of the year? How did they get separated?

[Thanks to my Source for today’s episode: “Why Does Easter Come Before Passover?” posted on 12/12/2023 by Larry Also see:]

For many Christians, Easter Sunday is the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death. The Gospel writers are very clear that His crucifixion took place at the Jewish observance of Passover. Christians understand the prophetic symbolism of the Passover sacrifice. In fact, Paul writes that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). How is it then, that this year (2024) Easter, on March 31, occurs three weeks before Passover on April 22?

Establishing the Date for Passover

Both Easter and Passover appear to be on dates that change every year according to our modern Gregorian calendars. However, Passover is actually a fixed date on the Hebrew calendar – according to the Bible it is always on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month (Leviticus 23:5 and others). The date never changes; it is always the same. We just need to know when it is the first Hebrew month.

In the Jewish community, this is not an issue. In the fourth century AD, a calculated calendar system was developed, attributed to Rabbi Hillel II, establishing the months of the Hebrew calendar. The month for Passover must be in the spring of the year, but a year of twelve lunar months only consists of about 354 days while the cycle of the sun, determining the seasons, is about 365 days. To compensate for this discrepancy and to keep all of the Biblical festivals in their correct agricultural season, the Hillel calendar uses a system of adding a “leap month” about every three years.

It may sound a little odd, but since the Jewish calendar begins with the seventh month and ends with the following sixth month, the thirteenth “leap month” actually occurs in the middle of the Jewish year, right before the first month and Passover. According to the calendar, this year of 5784 will be a leap year with a leap month. That means that all the remaining months in the year 5784 will seem later when compared to the Gregorian calendar.

According to the encyclopedia Britannica, the Gregorian calendar, solar dating system, that is now in general use, was proclaimed in 1582 by Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII as a reform of the Julian calendarThe Gregorian calendar differs from the Julian only in that no century year is a leap year unless it is exactly divisible by 400 (e.g., 2000).  Nearly all Eastern Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar to establish the dates of movable feasts such as Easter. The current discrepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is 13 days. However, the difference will become 14 days in 2100.

Does this seem Confusing? Maybe. Among those pursuing a Biblical faith there is considerable debate. The calendar is one of the two most passionately contested controversies in this movement. And since the Bible doesn’t specifically say “this is how you know it is the first day of the first month of the year,” various interpretations of Biblical and extra-Biblical texts have led to a number of proposed methods. It is not my intention here to defend one over the other. Just know that, according to the Torah, the date for Passover is fixed as the fourteenth day of the first month.  And that first moon-month began on the day of the new moon in the springtime of the year when the Exodus of God’s people called Israel happened in Egypt, about 3500 years ago.

Establishing the Date for Easter

The timing of Easter does, in fact, vary from year to year on our calendar. Easter is not mentioned in the Bible. (Acts 12:4 in the King James Version is a well-known mistranslation of the word Pascha, correctly rendered as Passover in nearly all other translations, as well as all the other 28 times that the word appears in the New Testament).

After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Jerusalem Council of apostles and bishops began to lose their authority as moderator of the expanding Christian faith and the guardian of church traditions. Church authority began to shift westward to Rome, the capital of the Empire. This transition was completed in the aftermath of the failed Second Jewish Revolt against Rome in AD 132-135. That ended the long line of Jewish-Christian leadership that began in Jerusalem, influencing the eastern churches of Asia Minor in the east. By the end of the second century, a controversy arose that pitted the western churches around Rome against those of the east. On which day was it most appropriate to commemorate the resurrection?

Easter began to be instituted after the final collapse of Jewish influence in AD 135. In AD 155 Polycarp (AD 69-156) Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the Apostle John, strongly holding to the Biblical pattern of celebrating the Levitical feasts, met in Rome with Anicetus, Bishop of Rome, to resolve this controversy. Neither would budge from his position and it is reported by Eusebius that Irenaeus (ca. AD 125-202), Bishop of Lyon and a student of Polycarp got them to peacefully agree to disagree.  Those who maintained the Passover evening celebration were mainly the original churches founded by the Apostles.  As the second century generation passed, the eastern churches refused to give in to Roman influence, insisting that they would keep the Passover tradition of the Apostles. Victor, the Bishop of Rome, attempted to excommunicate them. Around AD 190 Victor attempted to standardize the celebration of the resurrection around Easter. In 325AD, Roman Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea where the date for Easter was set as the Sunday following the full moon following the Spring equinox. (see:

So, whatever their motivation, the Roman bishops influenced the western churches to celebrate Easter according to the day of the week rather than the date of the month. According to their reckoning, by prioritizing the days they could then have Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday every year.

Yet, even that is not without controversy. The equinox used in this method is not based on astronomical observance. It was determined to always be March 21, while the full moon is 14 days after the new moon.  The disagreement between the Roman church and the Eastern church led to them observing different dates for Easter Sunday almost 75% of the time. In fact, in 2024 the Roman church is observing Easter on March 31 while the Eastern church is observing it on May 5 (which still does not seem to relate to Passover).

There’s no doubt that the word “Easter” comes from a pagan celebration. It is true that “Ostara,” one of the eight annual pagan holidays, occurs at the vernal (spring) equinox, and that this is associated with fertility, the practice of coloring eggs, and myths about rabbits and eggs. However, the date selected to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by the Nicaean Council – the first Sunday after the full moon after the equinox – has no direct connection to any pagan history. Certainly, no Christian who gathers for a sunrise service on Easter is either knowingly or unknowingly paying homage to the invincible sun god or the goddess of fertility. It is a sincere celebration by Christians to honor their risen Savior.

The Underlying Reason

The reason behind the Council of Nicaea deciding on the date for celebrating the resurrection runs far deeper than simply adapting a Christian meaning to an already existing pagan festival.  The timing was already clear in the Gospel accounts: It was the first day of the week following Passover. But in the fourth century the Roman church under Emperor Constantine made a conscious decision to divorce itself from anything Jewish. This Council set a new foundational date for Easter, out of which would eventually come a liturgical calendar including Good Friday, Maundy Thursday, and a full Passion Week beginning with Palm Sunday. Yahweh’s appointed times of Passover, the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits, were no longer deemed important.

The ministry called “One For Israel” posted a very helpful, researched and footnoted article ( pointing out …


In the first centuries after Yeshua, the early disciples naturally remembered his death and resurrection every Passover, which was when it happened. And rightly so, since the Passover feast was designed from its outset to foretell the redemptive sacrifice of the Messiah. It is laden with symbolism all pointing to Yeshua, and how his death and blood would purchase our freedom, forcing death to “pass over” us as it did for the faithful Israelites who daubed the blood of the lamb on their door frames. But as the years went by, the Messianic community of Jews became increasingly dominated by Gentiles. Gentile leaders grew weary of depending upon the rabbinic authorities for the right date on which to commemorate this important event. Relations between the Rabbinic Jewish community and the Christians had deteriorated significantly by this point, and there was a lot of hostility in both directions. Finally, after over 200 years, the Western church leaders in Rome decided, at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD, to take matters into their own hands:

Here is what they wrote at the time, according to the ancient historian, Eusebius, in his [2] Letter of the Emperor to all those not present at the Council: (Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20)  See if you can hear the bitterness in the fracture of those church leaders of the time.

“It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom, we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter…

We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way…. We desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews.”2

Eusebius, in his [2] Letter of the Emperor to all those not present at the Council: (Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20)

If these words are not shocking to you, they should be! The Nicaean Council decided that they would celebrate a separate festival on the first new moon after the Spring Equinox (the Spring Equinox is always March 21st in the Gregorian Calendar) to make a deliberate break with the people of Israel.

It bears reiterating that Easter is not found in the Bible even once. Again, the King James Version erroneously translates the word Pascha (from the Aramaic for Passover) to Easter in Acts 12:4. The English word “Easter” comes from “Eostre”, and was co-opted for the name of the new festival to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus—which was categorically NOT Passover.


It’s truly heartbreaking that such animosity developed between the Jewish and Christian communities under the domination of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century.  It led to a ripping away of Yeshua’s followers from the roots of the tree that they had been grafted into. The institutional Christian religion decided to separate themselves – and all Christian people under their system – not just from the people of Israel, but also from God’s Biblical festivals.  Those HOLY days (holidays) of celebration were deliberately created by God to help us appreciate more about His plan of redemption. Passover was God’s initiative. He devised each detail of it on purpose.  Just because the Bible doesn’t specifically say that we are judged for not celebrating the Passover, doesn’t mean that we don’t miss out on many treasures that God placed in his word for us to learn from.  It’s really more than disgraceful that the Nicaean Council decided on behalf of all Christians from that time onward that Passover had no relevance for them.

Not only were Christians cut off from the roots of their faith—their heritage, God’s own feasts, laid out in their own Bible—but also the message of Yeshua became more and more obscured and alien to the Jewish people. The church became a foreign, gentile “no-go-zone” for Jews. The two were severed apart, and the evil root of antisemitism crept into Christianity.  To the discredit of the global “church” – called to be Ambassadors for Yeshua our Messiah – for much of church history, the ethnic Jewish people were persecuted, tortured and murdered at the hands of Christians for simply being Jewish. This happened especially at Easter times, when angry mobs would rage against those they considered to be “Christ killers”.3 Most Christians have no idea about the scale to which this sad statement is true—it’s not something that is taught in Sunday School or even church history classes. There is a real gap of information between the people of Israel and the church, and we’ve been separated so long that we have a lot of catching up to do!

The footnote in the article about this from “One For Israel” gives us some sad details that most of us have never heard (

[3] “A “Yerushalmi”, i.e. someone who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem before the State of Israel was declared, once told me that in this part of the world they would barricade their doors on Easter Sunday, knowing that the traditional Christian procession would often end in rioting against the local Jews. Communal Jewish history is made up of commandments, holidays and customs, but also of this type of memory.” Rochel Sylvetsky,, 31/12/17.
For a very brief taste of some of the horrors that have happened throughout history, see this concise chart: . For a more thorough understanding of the attitude of the church fathers towards the Jews, see this article: 

Near the top of that list in 135AD, we learn that the Roman Emperor Hadrian proclaimed his edict against all Jews, including Messianic believers. They were forbidden to practice circumcision, the reading of the Law, eating of unleavened bread at Passover or any Jewish festival. Violating this edict meant the death penalty.

The actions of the Council of Nicaea are a continuation of the division of Israel following the idolatry of King Solomon.  They divorced the church from anything Jewish.

[If you are not familiar with the separation of the two houses of Israel, you can read Larry’s series of articles here: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3. In the previous paragraph, he intentionally used the phrase “divorced itself from anything Jewish.”]

Those of us growing up in the Christian churches have suffered the effects of that divorce for more than 1600 years – longer than the time between the exodus from Egypt and the first advent of the Messiah.

The author of our source for today’s Reclaiming Your Legacy show (Larry) quoted a profoundly pertinent observation from the book The Bridge: Crossing Over Into the Fullness of Covenant Life by Tyler Dawn Rosenquist. Listen to what she describes, that I too had never heard before.

To me, knowing the history of the fourth century CE – that Rome forcibly legislated the removal of Christians out of the synagogues and Torah keepers out of the assemblies of Messiah – Christians celebrating Christmas and Easter seem very much like children celebrating the consequences of having a broken home. Without the Christians, the Jews lost their Messiah and without the Jews, the Christians lost their inheritance. It’s like a child celebrating the absence of a parent who wasn’t even a bad parent. Christmas and Easter happened because of a broken home, and that grieves me – it doesn’t make me want to celebrate. At one point all believers in Yeshua were called Nazarene Jews, for hundreds of years – Rome robbed us of a stable home life.

The Bridge: Crossing Over Into the Fullness of Covenant Life by Tyler Dawn Rosenquist

The Apostle Peter, after healing the lame man in Jerusalem soon after the first New Testament “Day of Pentecost,” charged his listeners to repent. Then he said that “Jesus, the Christ” is “appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). 

It seems that a measure of that restoration is taking place in our day.  The followers of Yeshua (Jesus) are returning to “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). There was no Easter when those words were penned. The disciples observed the appointed times of God, established in His Torah (as the Moedim), that you can read about in Leviticus chapter 23.

As we get back to honoring this today, the man-made/church-made holidays that replaced God’s “appointed times” (Moedim or ‘seasons’) become less and less significant, sometimes even repulsive. For some, the transition is quick and easy. For others, it may be more difficult and take a little longer. The Holy Spirit will deal with those who are seeking truth, and it is not necessary for us to “help” in ways that too often come across as harsh or condemning.

This year, 2024, Passover on the Jewish calendar happens three weeks after the Christian Easter. Why? Because historically the Christian church has rejected the Hebraic roots of the faith. We do not advocate for the correctness of either date; I am only pointing out that this year the Gospel story reflected in these celebrations is out of order. It will happen again in 2027, then not again until 2035. This year, questions will be raised, and we need to have answers – answers that draw us and those we talk with into a deeper walk, a deeper obedience, and a deeper relationship with the Messiah. It’s time to end the division and seek restoration and reconciliation.

Another big confusion that resulted from the dictates of Roman church bishops in the fourth century is about the introduction of “Good Friday.”

It’s natural to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, but the idea of a Friday crucifixion is a major incorrect tradition that was established by the Roman institutional church.

The following graphic is from 119 Ministries. They have an essay about this at:

Also see video:

Most of us in modern church traditions have been unknowingly influenced by much lack of knowledge of historical and cultural backgrounds. It’s unfortunate that many well-meaning evangelicals take such hard positions without being Bereans to “test all things” and realize we all suffer from a “lack of knowledge” in many areas. Our opinions must not be presented as ‘dogmas’ when careful diligence in research exposes glaring inconsistencies that can make our positions embarrassing. Jesus meant exactly what He said in Matthew 12:40. Three days and three nights can never mean only one full day and two nights.


We live in exciting days. The last century has seen some colossal steps forward in healing the terrible rift between Jews and Gentiles. Christian ministries to Jews report that more Jewish people have come to believe in Yeshua as Messiah in the last 19 years than in the previous 19 centuries combined!  Remarkably, many Gentile believers are now taking more interest in the Jewish foundations of their faith. Many churches now hold Passover seders, explaining more about the Biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread, beginning with Passover, and ending with the feast of First Fruits.  There has been much more appreciation of the people of ethnic and religious Israel since the Bible became widely translated and published in the last few centuries.

We are destined to become “One New Man” in Messiah, and this is a destiny at which God will make absolutely sure that we arrive. His Son, Yeshua, will have only one bride, not two! It’s important to remember what Yeshua’s death and resurrection actually accomplished and meant. As Paul urges us in his letter to the gentile church in Colossae… (Colossians 2:14-17)…

“When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive, together with Him, when He pardoned us all our transgressions. He wiped out the handwritten record of debts with the decrees against us, which was hostile to us. He took it away by nailing it to the cross. After disarming the principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross.

Therefore, do not let anyone pass judgment on you in matters of food or drink, or in respect to a festival or new moon or Shabbat. These are a foreshadowing of things to come, but the reality is Messiah.”

Colossians 2:14-17

See the Reclaiming Your Legacy episode, “Since Christ is Our Passover why do Christians celebrate Easter?” at   There are some long held secrets, waiting to be discovered in what is shared in that broadcast. Listen closely because we’re exploring several “caverns” of Bible History that most of our Christian peers have never heard before in their lives.

… … …

The Feasts in the Gospels

Some thoughts on “Why Does Easter Come Before Passover?”

The Rabbinic Jewish calendar has a slight solar drift that causes it, in 3 years out of every 19, to set Unleavened Bread at the second full moon after the equinox. This year, 2024, is one of those years. Meanwhile the Gregorian lunar calendar sets Eastertide to the first full moon after the equinox where, according to Josephus, Passover was celebrated in the 1st century.

Eastern Orthodox Christian’s Pascha is always after Passover. It is part of the formula and the use of the Julian Calendar.

Since Christ is Our Passover why do Christians celebrate Easter?

Churches all over the world are often accustomed to proclaiming on the day we call “Easter”, “The Lord is Risen… followed by the refrain, “The Lord (or He) is risen INDEED!”  This is the message of Resurrection Sunday. In the Bible, it was the celebrated ‘feast day’ of First Fruits, following the Feast Day of Passover and the Feast Day of Unleavened Bread.  The people of Yahweh – the Israelites from the time of Moses, down through 15 centuries, to the time of Jesus and His disciples 2000 years ago – celebrated these appointed, HOLY, Feast days… HOLY Days… Holidays.  That’s where we get the word – Holiday.

There is no doubt in the mind of any true believer that Jesus the Messiah – the Anointed LORD sent by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) – is the central theme of the whole Bible.

Psalm 40:7 “Then I said, ‘Behold I come; in the scroll of the book, it is written of me.’”

Genesis 1:14  “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”

The word used in Genesis 1:14 – seasons – is wrongly translated. It’s the Hebrew word “MOEDIM”… What does that mean? Appointed times of the Lord. It has nothing to do with seasons like we think of spring, summer, autumn and winter.  God put the lights in the firmament of the heaven so we could know when these appointed times – these MOEDIM – are to be celebrated.

Did you count all five of the purposes that the Creator designed for the luminaries of the firmament?

The last two are days “days” and “years.” The first one is “to divide the day from the night.” For the most part those three purposes make the most sense to us because we easily relate to the difference between the appearance of the day and night sky. The idea of “years” reflects the annual cycle of the Earth around the sun. We see the grand display of the constant rotation of the 12 major constellations used by astronomers from Adam’s son Seth and Great grandson, Enoch, down through time… to identify the passage of each year.

But there’s another little secret, hidden in God’s Word when He describes His creation of the starry host of heaven.  Take a look at Genesis 1:14 a bit closer. Did you notice the second of the five purposes that the Creator designed for the luminaries of the firmament? He said, “…and let them be for SIGNS and seasons.” 

I looked up the word “signs” to see what I could learn from the original Hebrew language about it.  There the King James translation into English does a fair job. We think of signs the way we describe a message used to inform us about something coming just ahead of our field of vision.  A stop sign conveys a clear message. A directional sign or street sign helps us navigate our path. But most modern people today have not been told that our Creator deliberately positioned the stars on His celestial “canvas” to communicate as sign posts and even gave them names. Isaiah 40:26 says:

“Lift up your eyes on high and see; who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.”

When I dug into the knowledge of the ancients, like the book of Job and others, I discovered that the pagan ideas of the zodiac and what we call astrology, was actually an ancient idolatrous corruption of what God made and calls the “MAZZAROTH” in Job.  It’s truly what we can glorify God by calling it biblical astronomy. The classic scripture in Job 38:31-32 notes”

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, and guide the Bear with her satellites?”

These are all names of star groups with very meaningful and prophetic names. I like to take students on an amazing journey of discovery about God’s signs in the heavens in my book and talks, Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, but I noticed something else.

Did you ever look at the meanings of the letters used to spell the Hebrew word for signs?

אוֹת ʼôwth, oth; probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.:—mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.

It’s the word “OTH” in Hebrew.  It’s made up of three Hebrew characters. First is the sign for “first.” It’s the letter “aleph,” the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet… equivalent to our letter “A” or the Greek letter “Alpha.”  Next is the letter used as a connector, the way we use the word “and.”  It’s the Hebrew letter “vav.”  And last is the Hebrew letter “tav.” It was used from ancient times before Moses to signify a person’s signature. It looked like our letter “X.” It is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, like our letter “Z” or the Greek letter “Omega.” It literally means “the last.” 

The word for sign in Genesis 1:14 and many times throughout Scripture is the very message that Jesus repeated three times in His Revelation to His apostle John when He identified Himself as, “I am the First and the Last.”

So, let’s get back to these “appointed times” – or seasons – as God purposed His starry host.

Leviticus 23:1-2  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.”

NASB translates it more accurately as: ““Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:”

The first three “appointed times” are Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. They are each one day long. They are all in consecutive sequence, one day after the other (Leviticus 23:4-14).

Deu 16:16 “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot or Pentecost) and at the Feast of Booths,…”

All Israelite men were to come each year to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, also referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was an appointed time… an exact series of days on the Hebrew calendar. The fact that Jesus was tried, condemned, crucified, buried and resurrected during this appointed time – this MOEDIM – is no accident. It was an appointment set by Father God.

Fifty days afterward, the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost, was celebrated – marvelously fulfilling the Old Testament prophet Joel’s prophecy, pouring out God’s Holy Spirit on all mankind. The gospel of Christ’s Kingdom was affirmed to all the people of every language group on Earth that was there in Jerusalem for the Appointed Time. These together make up the springtime feasts. They were all witnessed as parts of Messiah’s first coming to precisely fulfill the prophetic Scriptures that were celebrated each year in anticipation of that once-in-history Advent.

Was all this celebration of appointed times only for ethnic Jews?

Numbers 10:14 “If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.”

Just as unrelated gentiles in Moses’ time were welcomed into the household of faith if they believed and acted obediently on their belief in Yahweh, we see God’s acceptance of non-Jews into His family available to all who believe in New Testament times.  

1 Co 5:7 “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Because the passion of Christ took place the week of Passover (Matt. 26:1–2), the early church quickly understood that Jesus fulfilled the symbolism in the Passover meal as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

The marking of blood on the doorposts (Ex. 12:7–13) has a clear tie to the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross (Rev. 1:1–8), and it is therefore no surprise to see the Lord’s disciples link His death to the Passover throughout their writings.

Matthew describes parts of the sequence of events in chapter 21. After Jesus fulfilled Zecheriah’s prophecy, which foretold, “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS  COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” Mat 21:5

Then Jesus “entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER, but you are making it a ROBBERS DEN.” Matthew 21:12-13.

What are they doing that Jesus has to interrupt. They’re cheating people in the house of God.

What has to be done before celebrating the Passover? You clean out the leaven of sin. Messiah had to do it … He said, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER, BUT YOU ARE MAKING IT A ROBBERS DEN.’”

How did the Jews then make the Father’s House a den of thieves?

For visitors from out of town wanting to obey the Passover command to bring a personal sacrifice, they had to exchange their foreign currency to Roman coins with idolatrous images on the coins. The moneychangers were charging exorbitant exchange rates, stealing from the people.

All this and much more is part of the story of the Feast of Unleavened Bread… the Feast of Passover. What did Roman Catholic religion do to change it into Easter?

Note source study by Rabbi Wayne Davis:

Jesus never celebrated an Easter in His life! So how was this holy day changed? And who changed the day He observed, chose, and established as the holy day for eating the emblems of His supreme sacrifice, representing His body and blood? Where is the Biblical record confirming the authority for this replacement? Is this what Jesus wanted to be done?


Nobody denies that the early New Testament believers did not celebrate anything like Easter. They continued observing Passover, but now the Passover Appointed Time had a whole new significance and gloriously expanded meaning.

The Apostle Paul maintained the customary observance of Passover, as it was given to him by Jesus Himself.  He wrote:

“For I received of the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed [not Easter Sunday!] took bread.” 1 Corinthians 11:23

Keep in mind Jesus Christ was betrayed during the night of Nisan 14 (Luke 22:15-22), which was considered the evening portion of the day of Passover (Exodus 12:6-13). Remember, God begins a new day at evening, commencing at sunset (Genesis 1:5).

With this well-known fact in mind, how then was it changed from the 14th of Nisan (Passover) to the Sunday, following the first full moon, after the vernal equinox, and then assigned the pagan name Easter (Ishtar-te)?  

This is no minor change from the original observance that Jesus Christ set forth (especially since people in the Roman Empire were condemned to die when they refused to obey this change).  Doesn’t it seem presumptuous, if not heretical, to overrule the authority of Jesus’ own example?  Do you really think this is a light matter? How could such a blatant disregard for our Lord’s example and commands be allowed? This is a question all of us should seriously ask ourselves!

First, we have to understand the contention between the Western congregations led by Rome and the Eastern congregations in Asia. This debate intensified during the second century.  It’s historically known as the Quartodeciman controversy.


“Quartodeciman” is simply a Latin term indicating fourteenth. Second century writings reveal the change from the fourteenth of Nisan (Passover) to Easter, with all of its pagan connections, associations, and typologies of fertility and fruitfulness. This was unequivocally contested and rejected by the congregations of Jerusalem and the East. It came to a head when Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna (who was personally taught by John the apostle), faced off with Anicetus, the preeminent bishop of Rome, in about 95 A.D.

You can read the details about this second century controversy in records of the Catholic Church itself.

 “The dioceses of all Asia, as from the older tradition [Passover], held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving Pasch Passover… However, it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world [primarily the West, represented by Rome] to end it at this point [allegedly a non-biblical based fast ending on Easter Sunday], as they observed the practice, which from apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time… Synods and assemblies of bishops [not Jesus Christ’s example or the Gospel records!] were held on this account and all with one consent through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree [superseding Christ’s personal example as recorded in the Gospels] that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other day but, the Sunday [Easter] and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only. A letter of Saint Irenaeus is among the extracts just referred to, and this shows that the diversity of practice regarding Easter had existed at least from the time of Pope Sixtus. Further, Irenaeus states that St. Polycarp [bishop of Smyrna], who like the other Asiatics, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon [which is really the Passover], whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he [Polycarp] claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodecimen observance. The question thus debated was therefore primarily whether Easter was to be kept on a Sunday, or whether Christians should observe the holyday of the Jews… Those who kept Easter [Passover] with the Jews were called Quartodecimans” (Catholic Encyclopedia, emphasis added).

Clearly, whether you want to attribute it to the devil or misguided theologians of the first few centuries of the traditional church, there was a long-term agenda to challenge all associations connecting Jewish foundations with Christ’s ekklesia. Remember, Paul said, the household of God (the Church) is…

 “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [not Synods, Councils, and bishops], Jesus Christ himself being the chief comer stone” Ephesians 2:20.

There was never any such authorization to change this major point of doctrine, disconnecting from Jesus Christ’s own worship exemplified by His life, habits, and customs (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). Jesus Christ never celebrated an Easter in His life! Easter has no Biblical connection by any who claim Christ as their Savior.

Regardless of these verifiable facts; the trend finally became law in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea. Again notice, from the Catholic Encyclopedia: “The emperor himself [Constantine] writing to the churches after the council of Nicaea, exhorts,

Emperor Constantine called for and presided at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325

“At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present [regardless of the example/commands of Jesus Christ and the original apostolic fathers, Matthew 26:17-30] that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day [Easter Sunday]…And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hand with enormous sin… for we have received from our Savior a different way [Where, is the Biblical proof or Christ’s authorization? Do you see the bitterness toward the Jews?] …and I myself [Constantine] have undertaken that this decision should meet with the approval of your sagacity in the hope that your wisdoms will gladly admit that practice which is observed [Easter Sunday] at once in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and Egypt… with entire unity of judgement.”

And finally, under the article “Councils” in the Catholic Encyclopedia again, we read about the purpose of the Council of Nicaea. ‘The first ecumenical, or council, of Nicaea (325 A.D.) lasted two months and twelve days. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. Hosius, bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor, Constantine, was also present. To this council we owe the Creed of Nicaea, defining against Arius the true divinity of the Son of God [Arius challenged the divinity of Jesus Christ], and the fixing of the date for keeping Easter [which opposed the Quartodecimans who observed Passover]

It was now made “official”: Easter Sunday, the day after the first full moon, after the spring equinox, became the day to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection. This was a serious and critical shift of theology. Critical, because it not only changed the day of the observance, but changed the focus, the meaning of the observance. It now became an observance and celebration of His resurrection, contrary to the Biblical admonition of remembering His death!

Notice what Paul says,

 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death [not His resurrection] till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Our Lord put purposeful significance on Passover concerning His death. This is crucial to understand.  Passover is about the death of the sacrificial lamb. That’s what gave us access to eternal life.

Unleavened Bread and First Fruits are two Holy Days afterward for good reason. Unfortunately, combining His death and resurrection, as well as His removal of our sin… into one holy day… and calling it Easter, blurs the profound meaning of all these events by taking away the emphasis that each one deserved in the mind of God in recording the Torah.

We can’t help but ask, “how can we justify the institutional appointment of a holiday that was never recognized by God in the Bible and is symbolically synchronistic with paganism… yet completely eliminate and ignore the Biblical holidays that God’s word specifically commands to be observed throughout all generations of His people?”

If the church today knew about all the additional biblical holy days throughout the year, it would clarify how each step in the salvation/atonement process is prophetically explained. Their enriched meanings and sequence give us understanding and spiritual edification that is lost on the pagan day called Easter, which has no associated symbols or Biblical themes pointing us to our Redeemer.

When you combine the power of a secular tyranny, like Rome, with the fertility symbols and practices adopted from the many outright pagan religions that saturated Rome, what do you expect? Forced compliance and persecution, marginalized the true Ekklesia, reducing its influence. The conversion of the Barbarians, Goths, Vandals, and Huns who overthrew the Roman Empire, may have shown acceptance of Christianity; but their conversion was nominal at best, further filling the Church with pagan practices and superstitions.

Throughout history, the number of Christians remaining faithful to the commandments and testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17) has been small, when compared to traditional Christian communities that have been heavily influenced by the teachings of Greco-Roman culture. Theological Distortions to the original teachings of the Bible, made by many of the popes, bishops, councils, synods, and emperors of the Roman Catholic Church, are despicable. The hard reality is that much of traditional Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, is not faithful to Scripture.

Notice what Jesus says: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye who work iniquity [lawlessness]” (Matthew 7:22-23).

God’s Seasonal Plan

Seriously, it would do all of us some good to consider this possibility. It is very plausible one can think he is pleasing God when in fact he is not. It’s indispensable to our Lord that we worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Love of the truth is living the truth. It’s easy to say we love and believe the truth, but we must love by “doing” (1 John 3:17-18). The hearers are not justified. Acting on what we know, or living our faith, is key to justification and pleasing the true God (James 2:15-26).

Notice: “And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and don’t do the things that I say? Whoever comes to me and hears my sayings, and does them, I will shew you who he is like:” Read the remaining verses located in Luke 6:46-49. They are revealing in light of the historical record we’ve discussed today. We’re expected to believe and obey. God expects those who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them (Romans 8:9) to be an example to others by living the Faith.

It’s the height of arrogance to ignore and alter God’s word in areas He holds the exclusive prerogative to define. The historical record of the Passover/Easter controversy is a prime illustration of man’s attempts to dodge God’s authority. There is absolutely no Biblical directive or Christ-like example throughout the whole Bible authorizing the institution of Easter as a Christian holy day! It’s simply a man-made tradition, with no justification for assimilating ancient pagan fertility rites and symbols, well connected to the “sun-worshipping” religions of Babylon and Rome. Sadly, over the years, it has contributed to misdirecting much of the vast Christian community, rendering the laws of God to no effect because of the traditions of men. Even Yeshua himself had to personally deal with this same deception during His ministry. Notice what He said.

“Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).

If we never receive the challenges to purge out fruitless and clever distortions from our lives, how can we expect to please our LORD? Why not consider following the example our Messiah left us, and begin keeping the Passover instead of Easter, in the context of its fulfillment in Jesus Christ?  The heart of this issue is whose laws will you obey: those of Jesus the Messiah, or the decrees and traditions of men, compromised by the fashion and consumerism of our culture?


Bonus Segment


After the Council of Nicaea, the Roman government grew more entangled with doctrinal matters of the Church. That derailed it further from the mission Jesus established.

“Theodosius became the last emperor to rule the entire Roman Empire before its administration was permanently split between the West and East (A.D. 379-398).  He made Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire. Institutionalized church membership was compulsory. Forced conversion filled state sponsored “churches” with unregenerate people.

Jesus declared his victory over the “gates of hell” by voluntary, spiritual and moral means. It was the work of HIM building HIS Ekklesia, one human life – like lively stones – at a time. Up to that time conversion was by a genuine change in heart and life. But now the military spirit of Imperial Rome had entered the Church.

Some would say that the Church had conquered the Roman Empire. But in reality, the Roman Empire had conquered the Church. It began remaking the Church into the institutionalized image of the Roman Empire. The Church had changed its nature, and continued its great Apostasy predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.  It became a political organization in the Spirit and pattern of Imperial Rome.

The Imperial Church of the 4th and 5th centuries began a millennium of Papal abominations, making it an entirely different institution from the persecuted Church of the first three centuries. In its ambition to rule, it forgot and lost the Spirit of Christ” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, “Paganization of the Church,” p. 760??).

Now, I’ll give you the details about this second century controversy found in the actual records of the Catholic Church itself. A careful reading of this might help clarify the debate over Easter.

 “The dioceses of all Asia, as from the older tradition [Biblical Passover], held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast [of the life-giving Pasch Passover]…

However, it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world [primarily the West, represented by Rome] to end it at this point [allegedly a non-biblical-based fast ending on Easter Sunday], as they observed the practice, which from apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time…

Synods and assemblies of bishops [not Jesus Christ’s example or the Gospel records!] were held (meaning ‘convened’) on this account and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence, drew up an ecclesiastical decree [superseding Christ’s personal example as recorded in the Gospels] that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other day but the Sunday [i.e. Easter] and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only.

A letter of Saint Irenaeus is among the extracts just referred to, and this shows that the diversity of practice regarding Easter had existed at least from the time of Pope Sixtus. Further, Irenaeus states that St. Polycarp [bishop of Smyrna], who, like the other Asiatics (meaning the eastern church), kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon [which is really the Passover], whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he [Polycarp] claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodecimen observance. The question thus debated was therefore primarily whether Easter was to be kept on a Sunday, or whether Christians should observe the holyday of the Jews… Those who kept Easter [Passover] with the Jews were called Quartodecimans” (Catholic Encyclopedia, emphasis added).

5 Major Differences Between Passover and Easter

Most consider Passover a Jewish holiday and Easter a Christian one. But when we compare the biblical Passover with Easter, we find big differences.

  by Isaac Khalil  


If you asked most people what they would associate the words Passover and Easter with, you would probably get something like “Passover is Jewish and Easter is Christian.” But would this basic answer be correct?

There is a big difference between Passover and Easter, but you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t that one is Jewish and one is Christian.

So, what is the difference between Easter and Passover? What do we discover when we compare them to each other: Easter vs. Passover?

Here are five major differences between the biblical Passover and Easter. 

Difference 1: Passover’s biblical origin vs. no biblical reference for Easter

The origin of the Passover is found in Exodus 12.

The Israelites had been under harsh slavery to the Egyptian Pharaoh, who had refused to let them go. Because of Pharaoh’s stubbornness, God sent a series of plagues on Egypt and was about to send the 10th and final plague: killing the firstborn of all people and animals.

Differences Between Easter and PassoverGod would spare, or “pass over,” only those who smeared lamb’s blood on their doorway (Exodus 12:12-13).

The day was called the Passover and was to be kept by Israel as a memorial of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:14; Leviticus 23:4-5).

What about Easter?

You can’t find Easter commanded in the Bible. The word is actually located in Acts 12:4 in the 1611 King James Version, but most scholars recognize it as a clear translation error (modern translations replace it with the word Passover).

There are over 70 references to Passover in the Old and New Testaments—but no legitimate references to Easter.

To learn more, read our article “Origin of Easter.”

Difference 2: God-ordained vs. human tradition

One of the significant differences between Passover and Easter is this: The Creator God commanded Passover to be kept by His people. He never commanded anyone to observe Easter to commemorate Christ’s resurrection.

Who commanded Easter’s observance?

It is a historical fact that the Catholic Church commanded Easter’s observance at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. Church leaders did not appeal to scriptural authority, only their own authority, to make the change. Sadly, Christ’s warning against substituting human tradition for the commandments of God was ignored (Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:13).

The Council of Nicaea established that Easter would always be celebrated on a Sunday and wouldn’t be tied to the phase of the moon, thus distinguishing it from the biblical Passover.

You can learn more about the history of this change in our article “The Days They Changed but Couldn’t Kill.”

Difference 3: Passover’s fixed day vs. Easter’s movable day

God ordained the Passover to be kept annually on a specific day: the 14th day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar (Deuteronomy 16:1; Leviticus 23:5).

The Catholic Church persecuted the early Christians who kept the Passover, calling them Quartodecimans (Latin for “14thers”) and Judaizers.

The Passover was so despised that “in 325 CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox” (“Calculating the Easter Date,”

This gave Easter a movable date that wouldn’t fall on the Passover. Even then, the Western churches use the Gregorian calendar and the Eastern churches use the Julian calendar, so their dates for Easter differ.

To learn more, read “Festival Calendar: Which Calendar Should We Use?

Difference 4: Passover as a memorial of Jesus’ death vs. Easter as a celebration of His resurrection

Jesus Christ was ordained as the Passover Lamb that would be sacrificed to make freedom from the penalty of sin possible (John 1:29). The Passover of Exodus 12 pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice 1,500 years later! Just as the Israelites were saved from death by the lamb’s blood, we can be saved from eternal death by Christ’s blood. (To learn more about Christ as the Passover lamb, read “Why Is Jesus Called the Lamb of God?”)

The Passover of Exodus 12 pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice 1,500 years later! At His last Passover, Jesus instituted unleavened bread and wine as new symbols—representing His broken body and blood. He commanded us to “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The apostle Paul taught us to keep it on the “same night in which He was betrayed”—the evening of the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23).

To learn more, read “Should Christians Celebrate Passover?

Easter purports to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The problem is, though His resurrection was essential, Christ never commanded that it be celebrated with an annual observance or holiday. There is also no record of the apostles or early Church celebrating it. Plus, biblical evidence shows Jesus didn’t even rise on a Sunday morning.

Difference 5: Passover symbols vs. Easter symbols

The symbols of the Passover are full of meaning.

Jesus Himself is “our Passover” and “sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The unleavened bread represents His sinless and broken body (Matthew 26:26). The wine represents His blood that was poured out for us (Matthew 26:28). The foot washing represents the humility and serving attitude of Jesus, which we are to emulate (John 13:5-8, 9-11, 12-15).

Every element of the biblical Passover is grounded in deep spiritual meaning.

The primary symbols associated with Easter are eggs and bunnies. But these have deep roots in ancient pagan practices. Bunnies and eggs are ancient fertility symbols that were appropriated years after Christ’s resurrection. Even the name Easter has origins in an ancient pagan goddess.

What does that have to do with Jesus and His sacrifice or His resurrection? To learn more, read “Bunnies Don’t Lay Eggs and Other Reasons to Ditch Easter.”

There are stark differences between Passover and Easter. We hope our readers will deeply consider these differences, reject Easter’s meaningless traditions and take a closer look at the biblical Passover and other “feasts of the Lord” found in the Bible.

Watch the video at the end of this article to learn how the Passover was incorrectly changed to Easter.