Question:

A question I have is in Acts 12:4. What's was the Scripture pertaining to when it mentioned Easter?

"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" (Acts 12:4 KJV).


Answer:

The King James Version has several flaws. One is that the translators used "Easter" to translate the Greek word pascha for "Passover" in Acts 12:4. In the other 28 times that this word appears, they correctly translated it as "Passover."

The typical argument is that Peter was arrested during the days of Feast of the Unleaven Bread. Since the Passover occurs during this week, the argument is that pascha must refer to another festival day and since the word is derived from the Chaldean language, it must refer to Easter which is a corruption of the Chaldean celebration of their goddess Ishtar.

The argument is flawed because there is zero evidence that Isthar was worshiped and celebrated in Judea. Given the Jewish hostility to the Gentiles and idolatry at this time, the proposal is far fetched at best. Second, the argument glosses over the fact that Passover is a single day that falls within the week of the Feast of the Unleaven Bread. Peter could easily have been arrested near the start of the week and Passover that year could have fallen near the end of the week and nothing would be contradictory in the passage translating pascha as Passover.

My suspicion is that whoever translated Acts 12 used Easter to give a boost to their current celebration of that day. Historically Christians did not start celebrating Easter as the anniversary of the resurrection until well into the second or third century.

All other translations of Acts 12:4 consistently translates pascha as Passover.

"So when he had arrested 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 NKJV).