By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
Do you know that King James and his translators of the Authorized, King James Version of the Bible celebrated Easter?
You might think, “Well, so what difference does it make? It’s an ancient Christian holiday celebrating the literal resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.”
The difference it makes that those men celebrated Easter is the fact that many persons who are staunchly King James Version-onlyists are also very opposed to the celebration of this day, calling it a pagan holiday. They tell us that, because this is a pagan holiday, we should not use this term to refer to the Lord’s resurrection. Instead, we are told to use the term “Resurrection Sunday,” if we must celebrate His resurrection on a special day at all.
The same persons who oppose the use of the term under consideration are not only staunchly King James Version-onlyists. They also often speak of the translators of this version as being almost super-Christians. Moreover, they often speak of those translators as being, perhaps, so superior in knowledge of the Bible’s original languages that the King James Version cannot be improved upon, and they consider that version to be, therefore, infallible. One would almost expect to see halos above the heads of those translators, according to the lavish praise that is heaped upon them and their version of the Bible by some of their admirers.
But, if the translators of the King James Version were so outstanding as Christians, and if they were such admirable Biblical scholars, why would they have celebrated what we are told is a pagan holiday? Wouldn’t they, of all persons, have known of the evilness of Easter?
So, what proof is there that King James and his translators celebrated Easter? Someone might think someone who simply wants to discredit those men and their King James Version has claimed they celebrated this holiday, but that there is little or no proof of it.
The proof of it is ample, and it is firsthand, coming right from the 1611 edition of the King James Version itself.
My copy of the 1611 edition has all the proof we need right in the front. Besides containing what is called “The Epistle Dedicatorie,” and the more well-known and lenghty piece called “The Translators to The Reader,” we find other interesting things to read.
For instance, next in line is a 12 month calendar that might be called a church calendar, for it gives the names to sacred days and special persons on their respective days, along with other information.
Then, we find what is called “An Almanacke for xxxix yeers.” That is, “An Almanac for 39 years.”
What comes next is titled, “To finde Eafter for ever.” In modern English, it says, “To find Easter for ever.” This tells the reader how to do just that. This proves those men celebrated Easter.
Next comes, “The Table and Kalender, exprefsing the order of Pfalmes and Leffons to be faid at Morning and Evening prayer throughout the yeere, except certain proper feafts, as the rules following more plainley declare.” In some places “f” means “s.”
This table and calendar seem to be divided up into sub-sections, which take up a number of pages. On one page, titled “Leffons proper for Holy dayes,” we find Scripture passages that are to be read on the Wednesday before Easter, Thursday before Easter, Good Friday, Easter Evening, Monday in Easter week, and Tuesday in Easter week. This proves those men celebrated Easter.
On the next page, we find references to Christmas day, Easter day, Ascension day, and Whit-sunday. This proves those men celebrated Easter.
On the next page, we read about things related to weeks before and after Easter. More proof they celebrated Easter.
On that same page, we find a section titled, “Thefe to be obferued for Holy dayes, and none other.” That is, “These to be observed for holy days, and none other.”
These days, given here in modern English, are the following:
1.) The days of the feasts of the circumcision of our Lord.
2.) Of the Epiphany.
3.) Of the purification of the blessed Virgin.
4.) Of saint Matthias the apostle.
5.) Of the annunciation of the blessed Virgin.
6.) Of saint Mark the evangelist.
7.) Of S. Philip and Jacob the apostles.
8.) Of the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9.) Of the nativity of saint John the Baptist.
10.) Of saint Peter the apostle.
12.) Of saint James the apostle.
13.) Of saint Bartholomew the apostle.
14.) Of saint Matthew the apostle.
15.) Of Michael the archangel.
16.) Of saint Luke the evangelist.
17.) Of saints Simon and Jude the apostles.
18.) Of all saints.
19.) Of saint Andrew the apostle.
20.) Of saint Thomas the apostle.
21.) Of the nativity of our Lord.
22.) Of saint Steven the martyr.
23.) Of saint John the evangelist.
24.) Of the holy innocents.
25.) Monday and Tuesday in Easter week.
26.) Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun week.
Numbers 25 and 26 prove they celebrated Easter.
In conclusion, we have abundant firsthand evidence that King James and his translators of the Authorized, King James Version celebrated Easter and many other “holy days.”
So, those King James-onlyists who are so quick to condemn the celebration of Easter need to consider the fact that, in so doing, they are condemning King James and his translators, the very ones they consider to have been outstanding Christians, and, to some KJV-onlyists, infallible Bible translators.