Apr 9, 2009

KJV onlyists & Easter

Do you know that King James and his translators of the Authorized, King James Version of the Bible celebrated Easter?

You might think, "Well, so what difference does it make? It's an ancient Christian holiday celebrating the literal resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead."

The difference it makes that those men celebrated Easter is the fact that many persons who are staunchly King James Version-onlyists are also very opposed to the celebration of this day, calling it a pagan holiday. They tell us that, because this is a pagan holiday, we should not use this term to refer to the Lord's resurrection. Instead, we are told to use the term "Resurrection Sunday," if we must celebrate His resurrection on a special day at all.

The same persons who oppose the use of the term under consideration are not only staunchly King James Version-onlyists. They also often speak of the translators of this version as being almost super-Christians. Moreover, they often speak of those translators as being, perhaps, so superior in knowledge of the Bible's original languages that the King James Version cannot be improved upon, and they consider that version to be, therefore, infallible. One would almost expect to see halos above the heads of those translators, according to the lavish praise that is heaped upon them and their version of the Bible by some of their admirers.

But, if the translators of the King James Version were so outstanding as Christians, and if they were such admirable Biblical scholars, why would they have celebrated what we are told is a pagan holiday? Wouldn't they, of all persons, have known of the evilness of Easter?

So, what proof is there that King James and his translators celebrated Easter? Maybe someone who simply wants to discredit those men and their King James Version has claimed they celebrated this holiday, but there is little or no proof of it.
The proof of it is ample, and it is firsthand, coming right from the 1611 edition of the King James Version itself.

My copy of the 1611 edition has all the proof we need right in the front. Besides containing what is called "The Epistle Dedicatorie," and the more well-known and lenghty piece called "The Translators to The Reader," we find other interesting things to read.

For instance, next in line is a 12 month calendar that might be called a church calendar, for it gives the names to sacred days and special persons on their respective days, along with other information.

Then, we find what is called "An Almanacke for xxxix yeers." That is, "An Almanac for 39 years."

What comes next is titled, "To finde Eafter for ever." In modern English, it says, "To find Easter for ever." This tells the reader how to do just that. This proves those men celebrated Easter.

Next comes, "The Table and Kalender, exprefsing the order of Pfalmes and Leffons to be faid at Morning and Evening prayer throughout the yeere, except certain proper feafts, as the rules following more plainley declare." In some places "f" means "s."

This table and calendar seem to be divided up into sub-sections, which take up a number of pages. On one page, titled "Leffons proper for Holy dayes," we find Scripture passages that are to be read on the Wednesday before Easter, Thursday before Easter, Good Friday, Easter Evening, Monday in Easter week, and Tuesday in Easter week. This proves those men celebrated Easter.

On the next page, we find references to Christmas day, Easter day, Ascension day, and Whit-sunday. This proves those men celebrated Easter.

On the next page, we read about things related to weeks before and after Easter. More proof they celebrated Easter.

On that same page, we find a section titled, "Thefe to be obferued for Holy dayes, and none other." That is, "These to be observed for holy days, and none other."

These days, given here in modern English, are the following:

1.) The days of the feasts of the circumcision of our Lord.
2.) Of the Epiphany.
3.) Of the purification of the blessed Virgin.
4.) Of saint Matthias the apostle.
5.) Of the annunciation of the blessed Virgin.
6.) Of saint Mark the evangelist.
7.) Of S. Philip and Jacob the apostles.
8.) Of the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9.) Of the nativity of saint John the Baptist.
10.) Of saint Peter the apostle.
12.) Of saint James the apostle.
13.) Of saint Bartholomew the apostle.
14.) Of saint Matthew the apostle.
15.) Of Michael the archangel.
16.) Of saint Luke the evangelist.
17.) Of saints Simon and Jude the apostles.
18.) Of all saints.
19.) Of saint Andrew the apostle.
20.) Of saint Thomas the apostle.
21.) Of the nativity of our Lord.
22.) Of saint Steven the martyr.
23.) Of saint John the evangelist.
24.) Of the holy innocents.
25.) Monday and Tuesday in Easter week.
26.) Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun week.

Numbers 25 and 26 prove they celebrated Easter.

In conclusion, we have abundant firsthand evidence that King James and his translators of the Authorized, King James Version celebrated Easter and many other "holy days."

So, those King James-onlyists who are so quick to condemn the celebration of Easter need to consider the fact that, in so doing, they are condemning King James and his translators, the very ones they consider to have been outstanding Christians, as well as admirable, and, to some KJV-onlyists, infallible Bible translators.

By Bruce Oyen contributor


Bro. Jeff Hallmark said...

Easter A pagan holiday (Ac. 12:4). This is the only place in which "easter" appears in the Authorized Version. Some say that this should be translated "passover" and they point to this as an error in the KJV, but they are wrong. The Easter of Ac. 12:4 occurred after the Passover. We know this because Ac. 12:3 says it was "the days of unleavened bread." The feast of unleavened bread followed the Passover (Nu. 28:16-25), but this Easter was after the feast of unleavened bread. It refers to a pagan holiday, probably the celebration of Tammuz, the sun god (Jack Moorman, Easter or Passover?). "Easter" is a proper translation to distinguish it from the Jewish Passover, and the KJV translators were wise in their choice of this word. In using the term "Easter" in Ac. 12:4, The King James Translators merely left intact the reading of Tyndale, Matthews, and the Geneva Bible: "Then were the days of unleavened bread, and when he had caught him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to be kept, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people" (The Newe Testament by William Tindale, 1526, John Wesley Sawyer, The Martyrs Bible Series).

Enlarging on this subject, Ken Johnson adds: "[Those who claim this is a mistranslation in the KJV] show a lack of two things. First, they neglect the context of the verse for it is a season that is also noted. Second, in English the season or time of year marked as the Passover season has for years been expressed in English as 'Easter.' The KJV translators did not invent this usage nor were they wrong. The Geneva Bible of 1557 translates Acts 12:4 as 'Easter.' This is also true of the 1539 Cranmer Bible--'Easter,' and the Tyndale Bible of 1534--'ester.' This takes the time element back almost 100 years for the usage of 'Easter.' Alfric, at the beginning of the eleventh century, wrote a Homily using the term Easter: 'Fram dam halgan easterlican [Easter season] (A.C. Champneys, History of English, London: Revington, Percival and Co., p. 178). This calls the Passover season 'Easter' season and it is some five hundred years plus before the KJV saw its publication with 'Easter' in Acts 12:4" (Ken Johnson, A Response to J.H. Melton's Forum Re. the King James Version and Inspiration, p. 12).

An occasion observed by many Christians commemorating the resurrection of Christ. It is observed on the Sunday immediately after the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21. Originally Easter was a pagan holiday in the name of the goddess of spring, but it was "Christianized" by the Catholic Church and adapted to the remembrance of Christ's resurrection. Sunrise services are adaptations of the ancient worship of the sun.

The entire Easter celebration is extra-biblical. "Good Friday," which is the supposed day that Christ died, is fictitious in that Christ could not have died on Friday. He was three days and three nights in the tomb (Mt. 12:40; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 27:62-64; Lk. 24:1-8; Jn. 2:19). He arose before daylight on Sunday morning at the end of the sabbath (Jn. 20:1; Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:2). Thus he must have been crucified on Wednesday or Thursday. The Jewish day begins in the evening (Ge. 1:5,8,13,19,23).

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Jeff:

Please see the entry for today and this will perhaps help.