What is Pascha?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Pascha comes from both the Greek and Latin words for "Easter," the holiday that celebrates the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The verbal form of this word, pascho in Greek, means "to suffer."...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
‘Pascha’ is the Greek word for ‘Passover’ found 29 times in the New Testament. It was the feast commemorating the time when Israel left Egypt, Exodus 12:1-14, and was to be observed by the Jews each year, Leviticus 23:5, Deuteronomy 16:1. 

Some versions of Acts 12:4 render the word ‘pascha’ as ‘Easter.’ According to the King James Version and older English versions such as Tyndale, Coverdale, and Bishops,’ Herod (Agrippa I) had arrested Peter and put him into prison but kept him there “intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people after.” Almost all other versions have here ‘Passover’ or some form of the word ‘pascha.’ This is the only time it is found as such. All the other 28 times it is used in the New Testament, ‘pascha’ means the Jewish holiday of ‘Passover.’

But could the reading in Acts 12:4 be ‘Easter?’ Some insist that the reading of ‘Easter’ is correct. Among several explanations, one is that Easter was a holiday the week after the Jewish observance and Herod was planning to execute Peter after that so he would show his power over Christianity. 

However, Peter was seized by Herod during the Days of Unleavened Bread, Acts 12:3. It does not specify which day. Passover was the first day and it was followed by seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread also called the Passover, Luke 22:1, so Herod was thinking of waiting until afterwards to have him executed. As a ruler over Jewish people, Herod Agrippa would be familiar with and careful to observe Jewish holidays and customs so as to not create a riot among the people. 

But Herod Agrippa would have had no concept of Easter. The Christian festival was not observed for another hundred years. It was instituted by the Church at Rome and formally adopted at the council of Nicea in AD 325. It would have been anachronistic. Besides, Easter did not last several days so that it was necessary to wait for it to end. 

If Easter was meant, it would have had to be explained to Theophilus, the intended reader of Luke’s writings, but it was not. But Theophilus would have well understood what the Passover was. The use of the word ‘Easter’ was a translator’s decision that does not correctly fit the context. 

In modern times and in different languages, the word ‘pascha’ may mean ‘Easter,’ but it was never used that way in the New Testament and never observed then. Furthermore, Easter is not the ‘Christian Passover.’ They are not the same even though the holidays nearly coincide because Christ died at the time of the Passover. 

But Christ is the Passover of all believers, I Corinthians 5:7. This is the only time in the New Testament ‘pascha’ is not the observed holiday, but a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the sacrificial Lamb without blemish, who delivered us who believe on Him from judgment, John 1:29, Colossians 1:13-14, I Peter 1:18-19.

May 15 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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