Passover versus Easter: A Brief and Comprehensive Comparison

There is no doubt that Easter is more popular than Passover. Even if you ask most Christians today, they might not even have any clue what Passover is. So one should ask, “What are the similarities or differences of the two?” This is a very important topic that we should address because God has specific instructions laid out for all His followers. This vital subject deserves a deeper look for those who truly seek to follow God.

Passover vs EasterA quick comparison of Passover and Easter

To make our study easier and clearer, I have prepared a table. This table will readily show us the difference between Passover and Easter.

Who instituted it?
  • God (Leviticus 23:5) and Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 11:23-26).
  • Human beings (Rooted in European traditions).
What are the symbolisms?
  • Foot washing (John 13:5-17). This typifies the kind of humility each Christian should have.
  • Bread (I Corinthians 11:24). Symbolizes the body of Christ. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Partaking of the bread shows our belief that He will give us eternal life.
  • Wine (I Corinthians 11:25). Symbolizes the blood of Christ. Our sins are forgiven through the shedding of Christ’s blood (Hebrews 9:22).
  • Easter bunnies, (linked to pagan traditions). Symbolizes fertility and new life.
  • Easter eggs (linked to pagan traditions). Symbolizes new life based on the fertility lore of the Indo-European races.
What is in the name?
  • Passover is derived from the event when the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites and spared them from the death of their firstborn (Exodus 12:13).
  • Easter came from the name of a pagan goddess of spring and fertility, Astarte.
Where can you find it in the Bible?
  • Passover can be found both in the Old and New Testament (Exodus 23:15-18; Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 9:2-5; Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7; Acts 12:3; I Corinthians 5:8).
  • Never mentioned in the Bible. The only time it appeared is in the King James Version, Acts 12:4, where it is an obvious mistranslation brought about the attempt of translators to bring Easter to the Bible. Modern translations use “Passover” instead of Easter.
Did Jesus celebrate it?
  • Yes, Jesus celebrated Passover (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7).
  • Jesus never celebrated and will never celebrate Easter.
Did the Apostles and early Christians celebrate it?
  • Yes (I Corinthians 5:8).
  • No. The Apostles and early Christians only celebrate Biblical holy days (Leviticus 23).
What is its meaning?
  • Jesus Christ is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7). Like a lamb without blemish, Jesus was offered as a sin sacrifice. He died for our sins as the ultimate act of love for humanity.
  • According to popular Christian tradition, Easter is supposed to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on a Sunday. However, this is not accurate. Jesus said that He will be in the heart of the earth 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40). That’s a total of 72 hours. If human tradition is correct that Jesus died on a Friday late afternoon and resurrected before the sunrise of Sunday, then that’s not even close to 72 hours! (Learn more about this topic.)
Who or what is its focus?
  • Passover directs our focus to the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It reminds us how God so loved the world that He gave His begotten Son (John 3:16).
  • Easter is a commercialized holiday. During Easter, candies and chocolates spike in sales.
  • Easter’s traditions are geared towards pagan symbolisms. Children’s focus are more on what they get from their Easter basket and seek for the colored eggs.
  • Easter directs our focus on the Easter bunny and eggs. One should ask, “What do bunnies and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?”

Which one should Christians keep?

There are hundreds of millions who will be celebrating Easter while only a few obscure groups of people will be observing the Passover. As this might be the case, the majority is not always right.

From the table, I made that easily compares Passover and Easter, the answer should be obvious in our minds by now. Jesus Christ observed Passover and the Bible teaches us to observe it as well (I Corinthians 11:23-26). God instituted Passover and humans instituted Easter. Nowhere in the Bible will you find any command for us to keep Easter. So who will you follow? God or man? Biblical teachings or human traditions?

Jesus Christ has this to say about human traditions. Matthew 15:6-9 tells us:

“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your TRADITION. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in VAIN they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

Is your worship in vain? Many sincere Christians celebrate Easter but sad to say, they are sincerely wrong. Their worship is in vain. Though the truth may hurt but the truth should be said to wake us from our spiritual slumber.

Easter, an abomination to God

There is no doubt that Easter has its pagan origin. You can easily find the facts by reading any history books. Easter is a pagan celebration and what does God say about pagan worship?

Deuteronomy 12:29-32: When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,

Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’

YOU SHALL NOT WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD IN THAT WAY; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

God called pagan worship, including Easter, as an ABOMINATION. So why do we still stubbornly keep Easter and use all the excuses in the book to rationalize this celebration? Why do we worship God with something that He calls an abomination? Why do we keep Easter while God plainly and clearly commands us to keep Passover?

Does it really matter?

The answer is YES, it does matter to God and it should matter to you too. Jesus Christ said that if we are going to worship God, let’s make sure that we worship Him in TRUTH and spirit (John 4:24). It is time to turn our back from human traditions and genuinely worship God according to His own terms. As much as we want to “Christianize” Easter, it will never come close to the awesome and wonderful meaning of Passover.

With all these being said, will you follow God or men?

Difference between Passover and Easter


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24 thoughts on “Passover versus Easter: A Brief and Comprehensive Comparison

  1. Hi, Josh, thanks for sharing this beautiful and relevant article….very timely this Passover and Easter celebrations for us God’s people and the World.

  2. Passover was celebrated because the Jews were escaping Egypt. It wasn’t originally about Jesus. Yes, Jesus celebrated it, but he wasn’t celebrating it because of himself. Jesus was a Jew so of course he celebrated it. Foot washing wasn’t part of Passover. He did wash the apostles’ feet then to show that no one is better than other. You are talking about the last supper not Passover. Passover was only unleven bread.

    • Hi Jessica. Passover is not just for the Jews. The Apostle Paul understood this when he said, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8).” Remember, he was writing to the Corinthian church, which is a GENTILE church, not Jewish. Jesus repeated said to observe the Passover “in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24-25).

      The foot washing ceremony was included as Christ instructed:

      Joh 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
      Joh 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
      Joh 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

      Remember as well that God identified the Feasts listed in Leviticus 23 as His feasts not the feast of the Jews. Read:

      Lev 23:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
      Lev 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY feasts.

    • Jessica, If you read the whole Bible, both Old and New Testament, you’ll see how Passover is about the foreshadow of Christ’s redemption. The Passover lamb without blemish and which was killed so that it’s blood stained on the two sides of the door posts and on the lintel of the door like the cross, represents Christ, the sinless innocent Son of God who was killed and stretched out on the cross.
      Just as the Jews were spared from death by being under the cover of the blood of the lamb, we are also spared from eternal death by the blood of the lamb stained on the cross.
      The Jews were delivered from the slavery of Egypt, and we are delivered from the slavery of sin.
      God commanded the Israelites not to break any bones of the lamb that was slain, Jesus’ bones weren’t broken on the cross.
      Everything about the Passover is the foreshadow of the coming of Christ to redeem us. God wanted to make it familiar to His people before hand, so that by that practice they would recognize the purpose of Christ’s life and death, to redeem the human race. Even in the Old Testament days, they still need to have faith in God to be saved, they weren’t simply saved by their works and religious rituals. (Gen 15:6, Romans 4:3; Gal 3:6). And Jesus celebrated the Passover. And the last supper was also, during the Passover. He was the Passover lamb.

    • There is so much here to unfold. The Passover in the Old Testament was a for-shadowing of the coming of Jesus and his death that saves us. The spotless lamb in the Old Testament is a foreshadow of Jesus himself. The blood of that lamb that was wiped on their door posts and saved their lives from God’s wrath, is the foreshadow of the blood of Christ that covers us and saves us from God’s wrath. The Passover is absolutely about Jesus himself, it is rich in history and ultimately God’s absolute sovereignty and wisdom in how he wrote the story of humanity and provided a Savior. I encourage you to dig deeper and learn more about these things! It truly is amazing 🙂

  3. Actually, as a theologian with an interest in history, I think there is every reason to doubt that Easter is pagan in origin, although in the last couple of centuries, pagan overlays have been put on, and commercialization has marred it. The church has celebrated ‘Easter’ in the sense of a Paschaltide celebration since at least the second century, if not the first. It was later partially disconnected from Passover because the church wanted to celebrate on Sunday, the day of the resurrection, but that is not the same as saying it was a pagan celebration from the first. Claims about ‘easily finding the facts by reading history books’ is false, if the writer thinks that history books back up the kind of claims made here.

    • Hello Nathanael,

      Please try to google, “what is the history of easter” and you will be overwhelmed with the information pointing to its pagan origin.

      Passover is never called Easter. You might be surprised to know that Easter has been celebrated by pagans many centuries before the Christian era. Moreover, it should be pointed out that the resurrection of Christ is not on a Sunday. Remember, Christ must be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights. If He was killed late Friday afternoon and rose before the sunrise of Sunday, that’s not equivalent to 3 days and 3 nights.

      If you want to learn more, you can read this:

  4. Actually, it is equivalent to three days and nights, because that was a Jewish idiom and could be used of a period that covered a piece of one day and night, a whole day and night and a piece of one day and night, just like the traditional Good Friday-Sunday scenario – and I have read many arguments along the lines of the article you have linked to, but there are some seriously flawed assumptions. Passover was never called Easter, true, but the name Easter almost certainly was inaugurated by an fanatically anti-pagan Christian king who used it for the month of April, and it then got applied to the Pascal festival that was most usually celebrated in that month of Easter. I am not surprised by CLAIMS that Easter was celebrated by pagans centuries before the Christian era, usually from pagan sources, or naive Christians who rely on pagan sources. That does not then mean those claims are true

    • Hi Nathaniel. The three days and three nights statement is not an idiom. Remember that Jesus called into mind how Jonah remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. That’s exactly what Jesus meant! Jesus even said that there are 12 hours in a day (John 11:9). Why are we saying that Jesus is just using a Jewish idiom? Is Jesus that unreliable? Of course not! When Jesus said that He will be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, then we have to believe that unless we want to defend a belief that is not rooted in the Bible but in paganism.

      You don’t have to go too far. Look into secular books, encyclopedia, and resources. It is established that easter has a pagan root.

      Let us stop rationalizing things. It is time to worship God in truth and in spirit.

      • Hi. It is an idiom, as we can show from scripture. If it was a well known idiom then the fact that Jesus referred to Jonah could simply mean that Jonah was using the same idiom. For us to see that it is an idiom means we need to show a place in scripture or other Hebrew writings that unequivocally show that the phrase was associated with a period that was less than three full days and nights. Esther 4.16 is where Esther and all the Jews in Susa fast completely for ‘three days and nights’, after which she will go to the king. If it was literal and not an idiom, as you claim, then she would go to the king on the fourth day, after the fast, but in fact, Scripture says in 5.1 that she went to the king ‘on the third day’, not the fourth. You should also consider some facts about the disputes about the annual celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the earliest church. The majority chose to celebrate on the Sunday, to match the day of Jesus’ resurrection, but the minority insisted on celebrating it in relation to the Jewish passover, no matter which day of the week was involved. The dispute lasted for several centuries, with both sides insisting on celebrating their customs as it had been handed down from the apostles (it seems likely that John and Thomas were behind the minority custom). The early church placed a huge emphasis on following the apostolic traditions, whether written or otherwise. Now, the question is, if, as you claim, the real period of Jesus time in the grave was 72 hours, why is it that there is unanimous agreement in the early church that Jesus was crucified on Friday and resurrected early on Sunday morning? If someone had changed that, there would have been a huge hoo-haa about it, but there is not a scintilla of evidence for such a dispute (if there was, people like you would be trumpeting it, but I have studied this issue in great detail, and i’ve never come across any such argument).

        And Jesus would not be ‘unreliable’ in using Jewish idiom. He would be using an idiom that all his hearers would have understood. Early non-Jewish readers of the gospels would quickly catch on if they had any association with the local churches who with their Jewish roots would know the idiom. Again, the fact that there is no dispute about this in the early church is a huge flag that this is a non-issue, undisputed.
        For more info on the true meaning of the three days and nights phrase, see and and

        The 12 hours in a day is irrelevant. This was how Jews divided up the daylight hours, so it is not evidence that Jesus wouldn’t use Jewish idiom. We have a 24 hour clock of precise, equal hours, the Jews divided up the daylight period into 12 hours that varied slightly depending on the season.

        I find it ironic that you using Hebrew roots arguments that are supposed to be connecting us to the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, but are fundamentally ignorant of some of the Jewish idioms in use at the time. Surely we should be understanding and embracing, not rejecting, Jewish idioms that would have been daily usage for Jesus and his hearers and disciples?

        Also, what actual evidence do you have when you state that the earliest disciples ONLY celebrated Jewish / biblical feasts. I have no doubt that they did celebrate such feasts, but they were also commanded by Jesus to celebrate his death and resurrection regularly in communion. It is natural for Jewish disciples, raised on an annual cycle of remembrance and festivals, would also naturally celebrate annually the resurrection of Jesus, on the 1st day of the week somewhere close to the Jewish Passover, just as they quickly grew to celebrate weekly on the 1st day of the week (or the 8th day, as some called it, signifying the start date of the new creation)

      • I suspect that people who use the “it’s an idiom” explanation is just looking for a loophole. Christ exactly what He meant. He is in the grave exactly 72 hours, no more, no less. He even used it as a “SIGN” to show people that He is truly the Messiah.

        Bullinger’s Companion Bible, Appendix 144, page 170, clarifies,”… when the number of ‘nights’ is stated as well as the number of ‘days,’ then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact. … Hence when it says the ‘Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights’ (Jonah 1:17) it means exactly what it says, and that can be the only meaning of the expression in Matt. 12:40; 16:4.”

        Moreover, people saying that Christ is using a Greek idiom failed to realize that Jonah is not a Greek.

        Using Esther as a proof that Christ is just using an idiom does not hold water. The story of Esther and Jonah are two different instances in the Bible.

        According to this page:

        If one carefully reads the story in Esther, while the fast was really schduled for “three days, night or day” (Est.4:16), she went to see the King on the “third day” (5:1) to simply set an appointment for a banquet tmrw with Haman & the King which obviously will be on the next day when her fasting wud have ended (5:8; 7:1).

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  6. Blessed by your words, Joshua. Saddened that some Christians are so rooted in their learned traditions, the traditions of man, that they do not open their eyes to the truth right there in the scripture. Like they say, if you hear something enough times it begins to sound true, as we have heard many times from the pulpit. I pray the Almighty is opening up more eyes and hearts.

    • Yes, that’s sad Sally. It takes God’s revelation for people to open their eyes. God will give them their chance to learn the truth, if not now, it will be in the next life.

  7. Pingback: 10 Compelling Reasons Christians Should Not Keep Easter | Becoming Christians

  8. Shalom Joshua. This is the sad reality that we live in. As Yeshua foretold that in the last days many will fall away from the faith and we see that blatancy in may “so called”believers in Yeshua. I refer well to Yeshua’s parable and the broad and narrow roads. Many are called but few are chosen. As we encounter the rejection of many who prefer tradition and man made institutions in contrast to YHWH’s Word, let us recall Yeshua’s Words to Sidon and Tire when He lashed out at their rejection of the Good News He brought to all mankind.
    Continue to spread the Word of truth …..
    May YHWH strengthen you in walk as you proclaim nothing else BUT THE TRUTH!
    Ps Shaun

  9. I agree with you if you celebrate Easter with the world’s perspective…. But for a day for the believers to celebrate Jesus resurrection I see as a day worth celebrating. Passover (Jesus Death) and the Resurrection are both what makes so we don’t have to live under the law anymore. I can understand why someone pointed this out as legalism! The old testament is full of festivals and celebrations that were important to foreshadowing and to me Resurrection Sunday is a foreshadowing as well. Also note: Col 2:16  Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.  When folks start adding alot of Do’s and Don’ts that are not CLEARLY given in scripture, it becomes a type of action that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for.

    • Thanks for your comment, KB.

      For one, Yahshua (Jesus) wasn’t resurrected on Sunday. He rose from the dead late Saturday afternoon.

      Two, Col 2:16 proves that the brethren in Colossians kept the Sabbath and festivals and they are being judged by it.

      Three, I agree there’s nothing wrong in remembering the resurrection of Christ. However, we must not do it in the expense of forgetting what the Bible clearly taught what we must commemorate, which is the Passover.


  10. There is nothing wrong in celebrating Easter in my eyes. I am sorry. I know you quote all the scriptures and stories and such, but I don’t think God would or does condemn ANYONE who celebrates his death on Palm Sunday, Good Friday or Easter Sunday. All of those days are recognizing that Jesus is, Jesus was and he died for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave to heaven with his father.
    I am no one to judge and condemn anyone on how they choose to celebrate and recognize his crucifixion and his rise to heaven. I am just grateful for any and all that do take time out any observe his very existence and crucifixion and raising from the grave to heaven no matter how we do it or whether people consider it a pagan celebration or not. God is a forgiving God. We are all sinners and are not perfect beings and God knows this. I personally do not believe for one second that people who celebrate Easter are wrong to do so. God knows how it came to be and it has carried on as a tradition for years and years. He probably smiles and is happy reguardless of how Jesus death is celebrated by humans. He is just glad it is celebrated PERIOD. I think you know what I am trying to say. I am grateful for all believers whether they are a perfect believer or not. No one is perfect.
    Peace out. Gods’ blessings to all always.
    Mary 🙏😊

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