1) Most Christians assume that Sunday is the biblically approved day of worship. The Roman Catholic Church protests that it transferred Christian worship from the biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday, and that to try to argue that the change was made in the Bible is both dishonest and a denial of Catholic authority. If Protestantism wants to base its teachings only on the Bible, it should worship on Saturday. 2)QUESTION: Isn't "Easter" in Acts 12:4 a mistranslation of the word "pascha" and should it be translated as "passover"? ANSWER: No, "pascha" is properly translated "Easter" in Acts 12:4 as the following explanation will show. EXPLANATION: The Greek word which is translated "Easter" in Acts 12:4 is the word "pascha". This word appears twenty-nine times in the New Testament. Twenty-eight of those times the word is rendered "Passover" in reference to the night when the Lord passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 12:12), thus setting Israel free from four hundred years of bondage. The many opponents to the concept of having a perfect Bible have made much of this translation of "pascha". Coming to the word "Easter" in God's Authorized Bible, they seize upon it imagining that they have found proof that the Bible is not perfect. Fortunately for lovers of the word of God, they are wrong. Easter, as we know it, comes from the ancient pagan festival of Astarte. Also known as Ishtar (pronounced "Easter"). This festival has always been held late in the month of April. It was, in its original form, a celebration of the earth "regenerating" itself after the winter season. The festival involved a celebration of reproduction. For this reason the common symbols of Easter festivities were the rabbit (the same symbol as "Playboy" magazine), and the egg. Both are known for their reproductive abilities. At the center of attention was Astarte, the female deity. She is known in the Bible as the "queen of heaven" (Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17-25). She is the mother of Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14) who was also her husband! These perverted rituals would take place at sunrise on Easter morning (Ezekiel 8:13-16). From the references in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, we can see that the true Easter has never had any association with Jesus Christ. Problem: Even though the Jewish passover was held in mid April (the fourteenth) and the pagan festival Easter was held later the same month, how do we know that Herod was referring to Easter in Acts 12:4 and not the Jewish passover? If he was referring to the passover, the translation of "pascha" as "Easter" is incorrect. If he was indeed referring to the pagan holyday (holiday) Easter, then the King James Bible (1611) must truly be the very word and words of God for it is the only Bible in print today which has the correct reading. To unravel the confusion concerning "Easter" in verse 4, we must consult our FINAL authority, THE BIBLE. The key which unlocks the puzzle is found not in verse 4, but in verse 3. (Then were the days of unleavened bread... ") To secure the answer that we seek, we must find the relationship of the passover to the days of unleavened bread. We must keep in mind that Peter was arrested during the "days of unleavened bread" (Acts 12:3). Our investigation will need to start at the first Passover. This was the night in which the LORD smote all the firstborn in Egypt. The Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb and strike its blood on the two side posts and the upper door post (Exodus 12:4, 5). Let us now see what the Bible says concerning the first passover, and the days of unleavened bread. Exodus 12:13-18: "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 15Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even." Here in Exodus 12:13 we see how the passover got its name. The LORD said that He would "pass over" all of the houses which had the blood of the lamb marking the door. After the passover (Exodus 12:13, 14), we find that seven days shall be fulfilled in which the Jews were to eat unleavened bread. These are the days of unleavened bread! In verse 18 we see that dates for the observance were April 14th through the 21st. This religious observance is stated more clearly in Numbers 28:16-18: "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD. 17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. 18 In the first day shall be an holy convocation;ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:"In verse 16 we see that the passover is only considered to be the 14th of the month. On the next morning, the 15th begins the "days of unleavened bread." Deuteronomy 16:1-8:"Observe the month of Abib (April), and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction: for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein." Here in Deuteronomy we see again that the passover is sacrificed on the first night (Deuteronomy 16:1). It is worth noting that the passover was to be celebrated in the evening (vs.6) not at sunrise (Ezekiel 8:13-16). In II Chronicles 8:13 we see that the feast of unleavened bread was one of the three Jewish feasts to be kept during the year. II Chronicles 8:13:"Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles." Whenever the passover was kept, it always preceded the feast of unleavened bread. In II Chronicles 30 some Jews who were unable to keep the passover in the first month were allowed to keep it in the second. But the dates remained the same. II Chronicles 30:l5,21:"Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. And the children of lsrael that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD." Ezra 6:19,22: "And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel." We see then, from studying what the BIBLE has to say concerning the subject that the order of events went as follows: 1. On the 14th of April the lamb was killed. This is the passover. No event following the 14th is ever referred to as the passover. On the morning of the 15th begins the days of unleavened bread, also known as the feast of unleavened bread. It must also be noted that whenever the passover is mentioned in the New Testament, the reference is always to the meal, to be eaten on the night of April 14th not the entire week. The days of unleavened bread are NEVER referred to as the Passover. (It must be remembered that the angel of the Lord passed over Egypt on one night, not seven nights in a row. Now let us look at 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." Verse 3 shows that Peter was arrested during the days of unleavened bread (April 15-21). The Bible says: "Then were the days of unleavened bread." The passover (April 14th) had already come and gone. Herod could not possibly have been referring to the passover in his statement concerning Easter. The next Passover was a year away! But the pagan holiday of Easter was just a few days away. Remember! Herod was a pagan Roman who worshipped the "queen of heaven". He was NOT a Jew. He had no reason to keep the Jewish passover. Some might argue that he wanted to wait until after the passover for fear of upsetting the Jews. There are two grievous faults in this line of thinking. First, Peter was no longer considered a Jew. He had repudiated Judaism. The Jews would have no reason to be upset by Herod's actions. Second, he could not have been waiting until after the passover because he thought the Jews would not kill a man during a religious holiday. They had killed Jesus during passover (Matthew 26:17-19, 47). They were also excited about Herod's murder of James. Anyone knows that a mob possesses the courage to do violent acts during religious festivities, not after. In further considering Herod's position as a Roman, we must remember that the Herods were well known for celebrating (Matthew 14:6-11). In fact, in Matthew chapter 14 we see that a Herod was even willing to kill a man of God during one of his celebrations. It is elementary to see that Herod, in Acts 12, had arrested Peter during the days of unleavened bread, after the passover. The days of unleavened bread would end on the 21st of April. Shortly after that would come Herod's celebration of pagan Easter. Herod had not killed Peter during the days of unleavened bread simply because he wanted to wait until Easter. Since it is plain that both the Jews (Matthew 26:17-47) and the Romans (Matthew 14:6-11) would kill during a religious celebration, Herod's opinion seemed that he was not going to let the Jews "have all the fun." He would wait until his own pagan festival and see to it that Peter died in the excitement. Thus we see that it was God's providence which had the Spirit-filled translators of our Bible (King James) to CORRECTLY translate "pascha" as "Easter". It most certainly did not refer to the Jewish passover. In fact, to change it to "passover" would confuse the reader and make the truth of the situation unclear. 3)Among the Jews, as among most Oriental peoples, the beard was especially cherished as a symbol of virility; to cut off another man's beard was an outrage (2 Samuel 10:4); to shave or to pluck one's own beard was a sign of mourning (Jeremiah 41:5; 48:37); to allow the beard to be defiled constituted a presumption of madness (1 Samuel 21:13). Certain ceremonial cuttings of the beard which probably imitated pagan superstition were strictly forbidden (Leviticus 14:9). These usages which we learn from the Bible are confirmed by the testimony of monuments, both Egyptian and Assyrian, in which the Jews are invariably depicted as bearded. The Egyptians themselves commonly shaved, and we are told that Joseph, on being taken from his prison, was made to shave before appearing in the presence of the king (Genesis 41:14). Similarly in Greece and in Rome, shortly before the time of Christ, it was the fashion to shave, but from the accession of Hadrian onwards, as we may see from the existing statues of the Roman emperors, beards once more became the order of the day. With regard to the Christian clergy, no clear evidence is available for the early centuries. The Apostles, in our most ancient monuments, are for the most part represented as bearded, but not uniformly so. (See Weiss-Liebersdorff, Christus- und Apostelbilder, Freiburg, 1902.) St. Jerome seems to censure the practice of wearing long beards, but no very definite conclusion can be drawn from his allusions or from those of his contemporary, St. Augustine. The positive legislation on the subject for clerics appears to be Canon 44 of the so-called Fourth of Carthage, which in reality represents the synodal decrees of some council in Southern Gaul in the time of St. Cæsarius of Arles (c. 503). There it enjoined that a cleric is to allow neither hair nor beard to grow freely (Clericus nec comam nutriat nec barbam) though this prohibition is very probably directed only against beards of excessive length. Still this canon, which was widely quoted and is included in the "Corpus juris" had great influence in creating a precedent. (See for example the "Penitential" of Halitgar and the so-called "Excerptions" attributed to Egbert of York.) So far as concerns England in particular it was certainly regarded throughout the Middle Ages as uncanonical to allow the beard to grow. A cleric was known as a shorn man (bescoren man, Laws of Wihtred, A.D. 96), and if it should seem that this might refer to the tonsure, we have a law of King Alfred: "If a man shave off another's beard let him make amends with twenty shillings. If he bind him first and then shave him like a priest (hine to preoste bescire) let him make amends with sixty shillings." And under Edgar we find the canon: "Let no man in holy orders conceal his tonsure, nor let himself be misshaven nor keep his beard for any time, if he will have God's blessing and St. Peter's and ours." A similar practice obtained generally throughout the West and it was one of the great subjects of reproach on the part of the Greek Church, from the time of Photius onwards, that the Roman clergy systematically cut off their beards. But as Ratramnus of Corbie protested, it was foolish to make an outcry about a matter which concerned salvation so little as this barbæ detonsio aut conservatio. The legislation requiring the beard to be shaved seems to have remained in force throughout the Middle Ages. Thus an ordinance of the Council of Toulouse, in 1119, threatened with excommunication the clerics who "like a layman allowed hair and beard to grow", and Pope Alexander III ordained that clerics who nourished their hair and beard were to be shorn by their archdeacon, by force if necessary. This last decree was incorporated in the text of the canon law (Decretals of Gregory IX, III, tit. i, cap. vii). Durandus, finding mystical reasons for everything, according to his wont, tells us that "length of hair is symbolical of the multitude of sins. Hence clerics are directed to shave their beards; for the cutting of the hair of the beard, which is said to be nourished by the superfluous humours of the stomach, denotes that we ought to cut away the vices and sins which are a superfluous growth in us. Hence we shave our beards that we may seem purified by innocence and humility and that we may be like the angels who remain always in the bloom of youth." (Rationale, II, lib. XXXII.) In spite of this, the phrase barbam nutrire which was classical in the matter, and was still used by the Fifth Council of Lateran (1512), always remained somewhat ambiguous. Consequently usage in the sixteenth century began to interpret the prohibition as not inconsistent with a short beard. There are still many ordinances of episcopal synods which deal with the subject, but the point upon which stress is laid is that the clergy "should not seem to be aping the fashions of military folk" or wearing flowing beards like goats (hircorum et caprarum more), or allowing the hair on their upper lip to impede their drinking of the chalice. This last has always been accounted a solid reason in favour of the practice of shaving. To judge by the portraits of the popes, it was with Clement VII (1523) that a distinct beard began to be worn, and many among his successors, for example Paul III, allowed the beard to grow to considerable length. St. Charles Borromeo attempted to check the spread of the new fashion, and in 1576 he addressed to his clergy a pastoral "De barbâ radendâ" exhorting them to observe the canons. Still, though the length of clerical beards decreased during the seventeenth century, it was not until its close that the example of the French court and the influence of Cardinal Orsini, Archbishop of Beneventum, contributed to bring about a return to the earlier usage. For the last 200 years there has been no change, and an attempt made by some of the clergy of Bavaria in 1865 to introduce the wearing of beards was rebuked by the Holy See. As already noted, in Eastern lands a smooth face carries with it the suggestion of effeminacy. For this reason the clergy, whether Catholic or Schismatic, of the Oriental churches have always worn their beards. The same consideration, together with a regard for practical difficulties, has influenced the Roman authorities in according a similar privilege to missionaries, not only in the East but in other barbarous countries where the conveniences of civilization cannot be found. In the case of religious orders like the Capuchins and the Camaldolese Hermits the wearing of a beard is prescribed in their constitutions as a mark of austerity and penance. Individual priests who for medical or other reasons desire to exempt themselves from the law require the permission of their bishop.