Why is "Easter" in the book of Acts?
Presented by: The Master's Table Web Site
By: Timothy M. Youngblood

 

I received this question in an E-mail. Here is the Question and the answer. Question: "Isn't Easter in Acts 12:4 of the Old King James version a mistranslation of the word "pascha" and should it be translated as "Passover"? Answer: Some are teaching that the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4 (Old King James version) is the correct word because of the statement "to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover." Acts 12:4. Those that teach that the word "Easter" is the correct word contend that because Peter was arrested "during" the days of Unleavened bread and that the Passover precedes these seven days that the intended word was referring to the pagan feast of Easter.

The question that must be answered first however is did the translator(s) who translated the KJV of 1611 think of the Passover and the days of unleavened bread as "Passover" or did the translator(s) think of the Passover separate from the days of unleavened bread? Because they did not change the original word "pascha" to the Greek word Easter indicates to me that they thought of the Passover and the days of unleavened bread as "Passover" but we must research further to answer this question correctly. To help answer this question let's go to the oldest and most reliable versions known today, which is what is called the "Peshitta."

We find that the New Testament Peshitta uses the word "Passover" as in the same meaning of the Old Testament Passover. Also the complete word study dictionary of the New Testament backs this up as it states on page 1127 under number 3957 "pascha" that the word "Pascha" used in Acts 12:4 also referred to the paschal supper as the commencement of the seven day festival of unleavened bread called "ta' 'azuma. Also on page 1127 under (B) it states "In a wider sense it (The word Pascha) also included the seven days of unleavened bread.

Let's read the scripture in Acts 12..." "And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover." Acts 12:4. The statement "After Passover" here does include the days of unleavened bread. In other words they were stating, "We arrested him during the days of unleavened bread and we will keep him till these days are over and then kill him to please the Jews." So from this study I conclude that the word Pascha in Acts 12:4 is what the translator(s) wanted to convey as "Passover" which included the days of Unleavened bread.

You might want to check out ... Is Easter Christian?

Regards:
Timothy Youngblood