The KJV Easter Misconception

KJVnotes

By:-    Faith, Grace, and Torah

All too often we will encounter those who advocate a King James Only position and arguments to the contrary can usually end up very heated. First and foremost this is not an attack on the KJV by any means. We here at FGT believe we should all consider two or more witnesses when examining any text and for many of us the KJV was the Bible we grew up on. With that being said we can not simply claim that the KJV is the inspired word of Elohim and we should always be willing to test everything. While there are many errors in the KJV we can touch upon the one that seems the most straightforward is in Acts 12:3,4. Acts 12:3,4

And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people Easter? As in Astarte/Ishtar the Queen of Heaven? Why is the King James Version here fusing the Days of Unleavened Bread with the pagan festival of Easter? Is there any textual support for translating this word as Easter? The word used here is Paskha which Thayers defines as:

1) the paschal sacrifice (which was accustomed to be offered for the people’s deliverance of old from Egypt)

2) the paschal lamb, i.e. the lamb the Israelites were accustomed to slay and eat on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan (the first month of their year) in memory of the day on which their fathers, preparing to depart from Egypt, were bidden by God to slay and eat a lamb, and to sprinkle their door posts with its blood, that the destroying angel, seeing the blood, might pass over their dwellings; Christ crucified is likened to the slain paschal lamb

3) the paschal supper

4) the paschal feast, the feast of the Passover, extending from the 14th to the 20th day of the month Nisan

Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count — Total: 29

AV — Passover 28, Easter 1

28 times this Aramaic loanword is translated as Passover yet in this one instance the KJV translators choose to translate this word that has nothing at all to do with Easter as Easter? This seems to be a clear case of translational bias in which the greek mindset of the KJV translators shone through. In any other case this should be an open and shut case, but the KJV-Only crowd have a solution to this problem!

The reasoning given by the KJV-Only crowd as to why “Easter” is the appropriate translation is as follows:

“Because verse 3 reads ‘Then were the days of unleavened bread’ and we know from exodus and Leviticus that the Feast of Unleavened Bread took place AFTER Passover, we can conclude that since verse 3 mentions the days of unleavened bread that verse 4 could not possibly be in reference to Passover as Passover had already happened.”

In theory the KJV-Only supporter would be correct. Passover (Pesach) is on the 14th of Aviv between the evenings and on sunset of the 14th as the day turns into the 15th of Aviv begins the first Day of Unleavened Bread. So they are technically correct in making a distinction between the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover.

Their argument falls apart on several fronts:

They fail to realize that in the first century the terminology for Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread came to be almost interchangeable as evidenced by the Goespel writings themselves…in the King James Version!

Mar 14:12  And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?

Notice that the First Day of Unleavened bread is also being identified as the day the Passover is slain. For further proof we see an even better example in the Gospel of Luke

Luk 22:1  Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

Here the ENTIRE Feast of Unleavened Bread is being equated with the Passover! What gives? Don’t the Gospel writers know this is wrong? Or maybe when we read first century HEBRAIC writings with a first century HEBRAIC mindset we will see certain Hebraisms as shown here.

Now this should put the argument to rest, Acts 12:3 mentions the days of unleavened bread as does Luke 22:1 and both equate the days of unleavened bread with Passover. Was Luke correct when he wrote it but the writer of Acts wrong? Or did the King James translators simply show lack of consistency? Should Luke 22 have been translated as “Easter”? Both verses use the EXACT same words for Unleavened Bread and Passover.

There is further evidence though that corroborates our viewpoint if we look at the Greek that makes up the KJV.

The sentence in question in Acts 12:3 is as follows:

(Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

The Greek words here are very interesting as depending on the context they can be much different.  Firstly we can see theword “days” is clearly in plural but the Greek word used here is:

hēmera

Feminine (with G5610 implied) of a derivative of ἧμαι hēmai (to sit; akin to the base of G1476) meaning tame, that is, gentle;day, that is, (literally) the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hours (but several days were usually reckoned by the Jews as inclusive of the parts of both extremes); figuratively a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context):

Depending on the context this can be either DAY or DAYS. Look for yourself! Do a word study on Hemera and see how it is translated differently depending on the context.The second word that would be in question would be “Were” as it also denotes plural days. Interestingly enough it can also be translated differently based on context.

ἦν

Thayer Definition:

1) I was, etc.

so based on the Greek words another completely logical and acceptable translation could very well be:

“Then was the day of Unleavened Bread”

Does this not read very similar to Mark 14:12?

Mar 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover…

So here we have a DAY of Unleavened Bread that is clearly associated with Passover. How would we know if this is the case in Act 12:4? Let’s take a look:

… intendingG1014 afterG3326 Easter (PASCHA)G3957 to bring him forthG321 G846 to theG3588 people.G2992

Oops! The word translated as “Easter” here as we already know is Pascha! The SAME word used in Mark 14:12!

So we have the context set as either the DAYS of unleavened bread or the DAY of unleavened bread and we have seen how BOTH can work with Passover being the correct word in Acts 12:4 based on what the Gospel writers had written in the first century and the Greek text itself!

In all reality Easter would not even be part of this discussion had it not been for a misguided (at best) mistranslation in the KJV that put Easter into the air as a viable possibility. The fact is that the word used is an Aramaic loanword that solely meansPASSOVER. What the KJV-Only crowd is saying in other words is that God led the translators by his spirit to CORRECT the original manuscripts as they do not REALLY say Easter but Passover. There is no wiggle room here Pascha does NOT and can NOT mean Easter, just as if we found a letter in English that read “Superbowl” we would not say that it really means  “Stanley Cup Playoffs”, they are on two different ends of the spectrum!

This isn’t an attack on the KJV as for the most part it is a great witness to the events of Y’shua and the first century believers but we can not raise it up on a pedestal and say it has no errors as we find one as grievous as this with a cursory glance. It is advisable to everyone to heed the words of Moshe and Y’shua and apply them to your textual studies:

Deu_19:15  …at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Mat_18:16  …that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

The King James Version is a great witness in some cases but as we have seen at least in this matter it fails the test quite miserably.  For some this will be hard to accept, and for some this will be a major paradigm shift but let this not be misconstrued as an attack on the New Testament’s validity as that is not what is at question here; rather what is in question is the ability for men to translate a Hebraic text with a Greek mindset.

Most importantly always remember to study to show yourself approved and test all things to the word of Elohim!

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