Letter: The most important day in history
Last year I had decided to not write about Passion Week, but changed my mind at the last minute. It happened again. Bill O'Reilly was upset because four school districts in New York had banned the word "Easter." What bothered me was that someone as educated as Bill thought that Easter had any connection with orthodox Christianity.
The Passion, of course, is the fulfillment of the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread commencing with Passover on the 14th Nissan and ending with Firstfruits on the 18th. The resurrection takes place on the 17th. This is no accident (God doesn't make them). This is the same day that Noah's ark landed on Mt. Ararat. The day that Jacob and his 11 sons entered Egypt (Joseph was already there). The same day, 430 years later, that Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea. The same day the walls of Jericho fell; the Hebrews' first conquest in the Promised Land.
Eight hundred years later, to the day, Hezekiah cleansed and rededicated Solomon's temple, which had fallen into disrepair and become a garbage dump after Solomon's reign. It's also the day that Queen Esther saved the Hebrew people from extermination by Haman. She risked her life by coming before King Xerxes uninvited.
The 17th of Nissan is the most significant day in the Bible, as it represents God's preserving and delivering power. It is most appropriate that Jesus arose from the dead defeating hell and the grave on that day.
The Passion Week became Easter when Constantine repudiated Christianity's connection to Judaism and renamed it Easter, after the pagan fertility spirit Estarte, to attract pagans who were accepted by mere baptism. This resulted in the long decline of Christianity still evident today. Easter as celebrated today has little connection to the actual sequence of events that transpired 1,980 years ago in Jerusalem.
I hope Bill O'Reilly gets it right in his upcoming book, "Killing Jesus."