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Birthday Celebrations

By Chuck Henry
chuck.henry@sbcglobal.net
http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com
rev. 4/6/2013

 

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Adjusted Viewpoint

Birthday Celebrations Mentioned in the Bible

Ecclesiastes 7:1 – The Day of Death Better than the Day of Birth

Do Not Learn the Way of the Heathen (False Worship)

Birthday Cakes, Candles, and Superstition

Pin the Tale on the Donkey, Party Noisemakers, Birthday Spankings, etc.

The Horoscope and Astrology

Considering Josephus’ Comments

What about celebrating other anniversary dates?

Conclusion

 

 

 

Back in 1987, at the age of 23, I wrote a scathing article about birthday celebrations. I am still persuaded of the facts that I presented in that study, such as the excerpts documenting ancient pagan rituals, and in this revision I will include much of this same information.

 

Some background information about the events leading up to my original article will help explain how and why I wrote it. Prior to authoring that study, I celebrated birthdays in the usual way that most Americans do – cake with candles, etc. However, there came a time when, the way I would put it is, I was under spiritual attack and being badgered by some religious acquaintances because of my participation in birthday celebrations. Not only was the harassment very troubling, but the issue itself was weighing heavily on my mind because I wanted the truth and was seeking answers, but they did not seem clear cut to me.

 

I eventually hit upon the facts that I would end up reporting in my article of 1987. In that study, I presented extensive information about the origin of the pagan rituals, information sufficient enough to convince me that I should not be doing such things. Equipped with these facts, I proceeded to write my article with all the zeal and excitement of my new-found truth.

 

 

 

As I reflect upon my zeal of years now past, I remember trying to not at all recognize the anniversary date of anyone’s birth, including that of my wife. Then, in 1990, we welcomed the birth of our first and only child. Shortly afterwards, I began to at least mention that I was glad that my wife and my daughter were born when the anniversary of their birth date rolled around. Admittedly, over the years, my viewpoint regarding birthday celebrations has been somewhat adjusted.

 

Let’s take a few moments to consider the following thoughts and Scriptures pertaining to the joy and celebration of childbirth.

 

The birth of a child is certainly important, and it should be a joyous event:

 

John 16:21

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

 

Notice how Sarah felt after giving birth to Isaac:

 

Gen 21:6

And Sarah said, Elohim has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.

 

Why did Sarah laugh? Because of the unexpected joy that she, a woman passed the age of childbearing (Gen 18:11), bore a son to Abraham, who was also well advanced in age (Gen 18:11; 21:7). And that joy would even spread to those around her (“… and all who hear will laugh with me”).

 

Also consider Psalm 127:3-5:

 

Psa 127:3-5

3 Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

 

Notice that it states in verse 3, “The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Normally, when you are rewarded, you experience a feeling of gladness in your heart. Should we not feel joy and gladness about the births of our children, whether at the time of the actual birth or reflecting back on it?

 

Proverbs 17:6 indicates that grandparents also have joy and gladness over their grandchildren:

 

Pro 17:6

Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.

 

The name Matthew (Heb. Mattithyah) even means, “Gift of Yah.”

 

Ultimately, the fact that anyone is born at all, goes back to Yahweh, our Creator.

 

The birth itself is not man-made; it is the gift of Yahweh. That which is man-made are the pagan rituals associated with birth; just as the moon is not man-made, but man has ascribed pagan celebrations to it. Does that then mean that we cannot recognize and celebrate the appearance of the new moon, with proper reverence to Yahweh, recognizing that He created the moon and appointed it for His purposes (Gen 1:14-19)? Scripture says in Isaiah 66:23 –

 

Isa 66:23

And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says Yahweh.

 

The birth of a child is naturally a joyful event and is cause for celebration in and of itself. A mother may have pleasant memories of both her pregnancy and childbirth, and to ignore those memories may drive her nuts! Is she supposed to forget about the joy of the day when a son or daughter was born to her and never reflect on it?

 

After years of meditating on the pertinent verses of Scripture addressing the birth of a child, combined with the understanding of what unregenerate heathens have contributed to recognizing the anniversary of a child’s birth, I do not see why we cannot celebrate a birth that Yahweh gave to us while omitting any pagan rituals. For example, we might have a special dinner, serving that person’s favorite meal. With that said, please understand that I do not advocate the traditional celebration including the pagan customs, which I will address later in this study. In similar fashion, I also do not advocate celebration with the idea that it should be a selfish day for the person. Ascribing honor to the celebrant in such a way is just as anti-Scriptural as the pagan rituals!

 

At this point, some might object and state that we should then be able to celebrate Christmas, Easter, or any other pagan time by simply removing the paganism attached to those observances. My answer is that pagan celebrations such as Christmas and Easter are examples of celebrations that are pagan in origin. They are not, and never were, gifts from Yahweh. When comparing such celebrations as these to childbirth, stop and consider: Which came first, the miracle of childbirth, with its accompanying gladness and joy, or pagan celebrations attached to childbirth? Christmas and Easter are examples of celebrations that are pagan in and of themselves. But is childbirth pagan in and of itself?

 

 

 

It is true that there are birthday celebrations specifically mentioned in the Bible and some horrible things occurred on those occasions.

 

Pharaoh (Gen 40:20-22): On this occasion, the chief baker was hung.

 

Herod (Mat 14:6-10): On this occasion, John the Baptist was beheaded.

 

One has to decide if these historical events, in and of themselves, outlaw any type of joyous reflection on the fact that someone was born. I have learned over the years that it is not always a good idea to attempt building a doctrine based on guilt by association. For example, Jezebel, a very wicked woman, wore make-up (2 Kings 9:30):

 

2 Ki 9:30

Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window.

 

Does that mean that it’s a sin to wear make-up? Although some would say, “yes,” Scripture does not. To carry the example a little further, in that same verse, Jezebel also looked through a window. So, on that basis (a heathen looking through a window), one could create a doctrine against looking through windows as well.

 

Birthday celebrations are possibly mentioned in Job 1:4-5.

 

Job 1:4-5

4 And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them [his children], and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed Elohim in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.

 

Job stated that there was a possibility (“It may be”) that his sons had sinned during their feasting. Notice that he did not make this statement with certainty. Note that Job offered sacrifices as a contingency, just in case, there was sin involved. If this is a case where birthday celebrations were taking place and they were definitely a sin, one would think that righteous Job’s words would have been, “My sons have sinned and cursed Elohim in their hearts.”

 

 

 

Ecc 7:1

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

 

This Scripture is often brought up with regard to our subject matter. Indeed it does state that the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. However, it offers no command against remembering a birth. Also consider the context of the following verses:

 

Verse 2

Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.

 

Verse 3

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

 

Verse 4

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

 

If we are to take a strict interpretation of all of these verses and say that they are absolutes:

 

  • We must always go to the house mourning, never to the house feasting, or else meet our demise.

 

  • We must always be sorrowful and sad and never laugh.

 

  • We must always be in the house of mourning, never in the house of joy.

 

We would do well to consider what other verses say about these things in order to gain an understanding of what the full scope of Scripture teaches. For example, in the book of Nehemiah, on the Feast of Trumpets, this was the instruction to the people:

 

Neh 8:9-10

9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to Yahweh your Elohim; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Master. Do not sorrow, for the joy of Yahweh is your strength.”

 

Also consider the following verses:

 

Pro 15:13

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

 

Pro 15:15

All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

 

Pro 17:22

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

 

And even in the book of Ecclesiastes, the same book from which we read about the day of one’s death being better than the day of one’s birth, we read:

 

Ecc 9:7

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for Elohim has already accepted your works.

 

The verses above show that having a merry heart instead of a sad one is a good thing. May I suggest that both states of heart, merry or sad, can be a good thing depending on the circumstances? For example, a time to have a sad heart would be when you are sorrowful for your sins, realize the need to repent, and do so. This indeed would result in your heart being made better. However, if you are in a constant state of sadness, your spirit will be broken – you will be in depression.

 

Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 1 and 4, verify that there is a time to have a sad heart and a time to have a merry heart:

 

Ecc 3:1, 4

1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

 

I believe there is the distinct possibility that the statement in Ecclesiastes 7:1, about the day of one’s death being better than the day of one’s birth, should be viewed in similar light. For example, if you are at the time of the end of your life and you have successfully fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith (like Paul in 2 Tim 4:6-8), then there is a positive about the end of your life (though it is still a sad event). Does this do away with the fact that, on the other end of the spectrum of life, the time of birth, there was the joy of a person being born? No.

 

 

 

We will now transition into looking at evidence showing the pagan trappings of traditional birthday celebrations and observe what Scripture has to say about such traditions.

 

As stated in Jeremiah 10:2, we should not learn the way of the heathen, which basically means we should not be involved in false worship.

 

Jer 10:2

Thus says Yahweh: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles (KJV: “heathen”); Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them.

 

I continue to believe we should be very careful not to learn or practice these ways, and I am afraid that many among our brethren incorporate such customs, particularly in connection with birthday celebrations.

 

Paul addresses these same issues in 1 Corinthians 10:20-22 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, which I will cover later.

 

With that said, I will now provide excerpts pertaining to various pagan rituals that have crept into birthday celebrations – customs that should have no part in the lifestyles of the righteous.

 

 

 

 

The following information is taken from “Holidays and Birthdays,” Childcraft – The How and Why Library, World Book – Childcraft International, Inc., Chicago, Vol. 9, 1982, pp. 12-13:

 

The day you were born is a very special day for you and your family. You probably celebrate this holiday with a birthday cake, perhaps with a party – and by getting presents!

 

For thousands of years, people all over the world have thought of a birthday as a very special day. Long ago, people believed that on a birthday a person could be helped by good spirits or hurt by evil spirits. So, when a person had a birthday, friends and relatives gathered to protect him or her. And that’s how birthday parties began.

 

The idea of putting candles on birthday cakes goes back to ancient Greece. The Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Among them was one called Artemis (AHR tuh mihs).

 

Artemis was the goddess of the moon. The Greeks celebrated her birthday once each month by bringing special cakes to her temple. The cakes were round, like a full moon. And, because the moon glows with light, the cakes were decorated with lighted candles.

 

Another source of information about the worship of Artemis comes from the article “Moon” in the Women’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, by Barbara G. Walker, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1988, p. 345:

 

Just as Jeremiah’s opponents doggedly continued to bake cakes for the Queen of Heaven (the moon) despite the prophet’s fulminations against her (Jeremiah 44:19), so the women of Christian Europe continued to bake moon cakes, which the French called croissants or ‘crescents’ for their lunar holidays. Modern birthday cakes descended from the Greek custom of honoring the monthly birthday of Artemis the Moon with lighted full-moon cakes.

 

An observation here is that, possibly, the Greeks celebrated Artemis’ birthday at the time of the new moon, which they may have also logically regarded as the re-birth of the moon.

 

Further information also comes from Celebrations, by Caterine Milinaire, Harmony Books, New York, 1981, p. 92:

 

The symbol of a fruitful harvest is the cornucopia, the horn of abundance, spilling over with natural gifts of grains, vegetables, and fruits. The horn was believed to have been broken from the head of Amalthaea, the she-goat who nursed the god Jupiter when he was a child. Jupiter made one of her horns into the cornucopia, promising that it would always be filled with the foods she loved. He also set her image among the stars as the constellation Capricorn. Birthday cakes, the most universal of celebratory treats, are a gathering of harvest foods – grain, fruit, and milk – creating a delicious and traditional dish that is reminiscent of the moon cakes offered to deities in earlier times.

 

A well-known superstition has to do with blowing out all the candles on the birthday cake in one breath. This is documented in “Superstition”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, Vol. XVI, 1962, p. 796:

 

A pleasant superstition, believed by many children today, says that a child must blow out the candles on his birthday cake with one breath to make his wish come true.

 

 

 

The following information is taken from Candles, Cakes, and Donkey Tails, by Lila Perl, Clarion Books, New York, 1984, on the following page numbers:

 

pp. 4-5:

 

More and more, though, people the world over attach a certain magic to their actual date of birth. Many think the exact hour is important, too. They believe that this tells them something special about the kind of person they will be and the kind of life they will have.

 

p. 8:

 

Yet most of us cannot resist reading our horoscope in the daily newspaper. We may wear a ring with our birthstone in it for good luck. And when we blow out the candles on our birthday cake, we are careful to keep what we wished a secret. If we tell, of course, our wish won’t come true.

 

In other words, we follow many of the old birthday beliefs. We pay attention to the meanings of old-time birth symbols. And we carry on the old celebrations. We don’t necessarily take them seriously. We do these things mainly for fun. But it is also possible that there is something deep inside us that wants to believe.

 

pp. 10-11

 

Later, during the Middle Ages, many people dabbled in magic. They believed that certain gems had special properties that could ward off evil spirits. Also, each stone was supposed to bring a special kind of good fortune. Soon people began wearing brooches, pendants, and rings with the stone that was said to be the symbol of their month of birth.

 

pp. 13-14

 

Astrologers also stated that the exact positions of the heavenly bodies at the time of a person’s birth were very important. The stars decided your future. They also decided your character, your personality, your talents, your health, and many other things about you. All of this information, and much more, was to be bound in your horoscope or birth chart.

 

pp. 40-43:

 

Probably one reason that we have a party on our birthday is to surround ourselves with well-wishers. For the good wishes of our friends and relatives are supposed to protect us from evil spirits. Some people say that birthday wishes must be offered as early as possible in the day. ...

 

In many parts of the world, it is a tradition to give the birthday child pinches, smacks, spanks, thumps, bumps, or punches. Even though they may hurt a little, they are said to be very lucky. And you must never cry. For the saying goes that if you do, you will “cry all year.”

 

The reason for birthday spanks is to spank away any evil spirits and send them scurrying far into the distance. Punches, thumps, and pinches, the harder the better, are supposed to do the same thing. In Belgium, a family member may tiptoe into the birthday child’s room early in the morning. Immediately on awakening, the child will be pricked with a needle for good luck!

 

The older you are, the more spanks, punches, or bumps you will probably receive. Usually there is one for each year of your life plus “one to grow on,” “one to live on,” “one to eat on,” “one to get married on,” and so forth. ...

 

Party snappers, horns, bursting balloons, firecrackers, and other noisemakers are just one more way of trying to scare off any bad-luck spirits that may be hovering about. And of course no birthday ever seems complete without the guests singing “Happy Birthday to You.” This song was written around 1900 by two American women, Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill. It has been a tradition ever since.

 

The games we play at birthday parties are often a symbol of trying to know the unknown. In this case, of course, the unknown is the future, or the new year of life that lies ahead for the birthday child.

 

One of the oldest birthday games is Pin the Tail on the Donkey. A large picture of a donkey without a tail is pinned to the wall. Each child at the party is given a donkey’s tail made of paper and a pin to stick through it. Then, one by one, the children are blindfolded. They are spun around a few times and pointed in the direction of the donkey. The child who pins the tail closest to where it should be on the donkey wins the prize.

 

There are other versions of this game, such as Pin the Nose on the Clown or Pin the Ear on the Bunny. But the idea of trying to guess correctly, while blindfolded, is the same.

 

p. 48:

 

The gifts that everyone is most excited about, though, are the ones that have been brought to the birthday child. These presents are usually opened at the party so everyone can admire them. They, too, are a form of well-wishing.

 

Finally the last guest leaves, the party is over, and the new year of life is about to begin in earnest. It is hoped that all the birthday rituals and ceremonies will have worked their magic and that the year ahead will indeed be a happy one.

 

 

 

The Horoscope was mentioned in one of the excerpts above, and it is something that we need to be careful to stay away from as well. Notice the following information…

 

From “Horoscope”, The New Encyclopedia Britannica (Micropaedia), Helen Hemmingway Benton, Chicago, Vol. V, 1984, p. 139:

 

An individual horoscope (Greek: ‘hour watcher’) usually plots the moment of birth and is used by astrologers to analyze character, as well as – in connection with other astrological data – to predict the future.

 

From “Horoscope”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, Vol. VIII, 1962, p. 307:

 

HOROSCOPE, HAHR oh skohp, is a chart that shows the influences the stars supposedly have on a person because of their positions at the time of his birth. Astrologers ‘cast’ a horoscope by determining which stars were in the ascendant, or rising in the east, at the time of the person’s birth.

 

...Astrologers also use positions of the stars at the time they cast the horoscope to predict the person’s future. The word horoscope comes from the Greek horoskopos meaning one who observes the hour.

 

From the article “Astrology”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, Vol. I, 1962, p. 675:

 

Astrology probably began among the Chaldeans who lived thousands of years ago in the region around the Persian Gulf. ...The astrological lore of the region was so famous that the very names Chaldean and Babylonian came to mean astrologer. ...Today the principal survival of the former astrological practices is the casting of horoscopes. ...An astrologer casts a horoscope depicting the character of a person and prophesying the events of his life by preparing a diagram representing the heavens at the time of his birth.

 

 

As we can see from the above excerpts, these birthday celebration customs are connected with superstitious protection from evil, knowing the future (or fortune-telling), and even the worship of the goddess Artemis, practices which are forbidden in Scripture:

 

Exo 20:3 (one of the Ten Commandments)

You shall have no other mighty ones before Me.

 

Isa 47:13

You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you.

 

Jer 10:2 (quoted again here for convenience)

Thus says Yahweh: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles (KJV: “heathen”); Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them.

 

Yahshua taught the principle that we should not lay aside the commandments of Yahweh to hold the tradition of men:

 

Mar 7:6-9

6 He answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

7 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of Yahweh, you hold the tradition of men; the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.

9 He said to them, All too well you reject the commandment of Yahweh, that you may keep your tradition.

 

In 1 Corinthians 10:14, we are reminded:

 

1 Cor 10:14

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

 

It goes on to explain to us “who” such idols as Artemis really represent:

 

1 Cor 10:19-22

19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?

20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to Yahweh, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

21 You cannot drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Master’s table and of the table of demons.

22 Or do we provoke the Master to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

 

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, we further read:

 

2 Cor 6:14-18

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

15 And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16 And what agreement has the temple of Yahweh with idols? For you are the temple of the living Elohim. As Yahweh has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says Yahweh. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says Yahweh Almighty.”

 

Also notice Revelation 18:4, which speaks to us about coming out of Babylon, a system of confusion and false religion:

 

Rev 18:4

… Come out of her [Babylon], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.

 

In contrast to relying on superstitious protection from evil, fortune-telling, and the worship of false mighty ones, the Scriptures instruct us to commit our way to Yahweh (Psa 37:5), to trust in Him with all of our heart, and acknowledge Him in all of our ways (Pro 3:5-6).

 

 

 

First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus often provides ancient Jewish insight into various interpretations of Scripture. He comments about “…[making] festivals at the birth of our children…” in his writing entitled Against Apion. Here are his remarks—

 

Against Apion, 2.26:

 

Nay, indeed, the law does not permit us to make festivals at the births of our children, and thereby afford occasion of drinking to excess; but it ordains that the very beginning of our education should be immediately directed to sobriety.

 

I am not a “Josephus-basher,” as many have been over the years. That is, I don’t seek to bash Josephus and thereby discredit his writings. I appreciate many of the historical insights that his writings offer and have found them helpful in lending understanding to Scriptural issues. At the same time, I don’t plan on taking any man’s word for something just because he says it is so without examining it. When Josephus says, “… the law does not permit us to make festivals at the births of our children…,” I would like to know to which law he is referring. I am not aware of any direct prohibition forbidding the celebration of a child’s birth in the Torah.

 

Josephus’ main concern here seems to be “… thereby afford[-ing] occasion of drinking to excess.” This is an interesting comment in relation to the Torah. For, although the Torah does not teach drinking to excess, it specifically affords an “occasion of drinking” during the Feast of Tabernacles:

 

Deu 14:26

And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before Yahweh your Mighty One, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

 

To be sure, any occasion of drinking could be wrongly used, “and thereby afford occasion of drinking to excess.” This is where moderation comes in. The principle of the matter – that the law does indeed specifically afford an occasion of celebratory drinking in Deuteronomy 14:26 – makes Josephus’ remarks about the law seem odd. If any type of birthday celebration whatsoever were specifically outlawed, it seems that Josephus could have easily written, “The law does not permit us to make festivals at the births of our children because any type of celebration whatsoever in that regard is pagan.”

 

Josephus also describes birthday celebrations that were held in honor of Titus’ brother, Domitian, as well as Titus’ father (Wars 7.3.1), wherein some horrible things occurred. Without a doubt, the horrible things that occurred are not to be upheld as being practices we should endorse or in which we should participate. However, one still has to decide if these historical events, in and of themselves, outlaw any type of joyous reflection on the fact that someone was born, especially when Scripture itself, as we have before examined, shows the joy and reward attached to childbirth. Again, the birth itself is not man-made; it is the gift of Yahweh. That which is man-made are the pagan rituals associated with birth.

 

Because it makes such a good Scriptural comparison, I would like to once again point out that the moon is not man-made, yet man has ascribed pagan celebrations to it. Does that then mean that we cannot recognize and celebrate the appearance of the new moon, with proper reverence to Yahweh, recognizing that He created the moon and appointed it for His purposes (Gen 1:14-19)? Again, quoting from Isaiah 66:23, notice the recognition of the new moon and the grand celebration prophesied:

 

Isa 66:23

And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says Yahweh.

 

 

 

If acknowledging the anniversary of a birth date is wrong, what about acknowledging the anniversaries of other dates, such as weddings, years attained on a job, years in business, years an entity has been in existence (such as a country), and so forth, about which we have no specific Scriptural command?

 

 

 

From Scripture, we have seen that the birth of a child is certainly important, and that it should be a joyous event. To reflect upon that fact with joyous thoughts, but without the traditional celebration including the pagan customs, does not seem out of harmony with Scripture. The birth itself is not man-made, but traces back to Yahweh, our Creator.

 

Although some may say that it was impossible to keep track of age in ancient times, Scripture contains records of age at death going all the back to the book of Genesis (Gen 50:26). This proves, at the least, that dates of birth were not shunned and forgotten.

 

Scripture also commands:

 

Lev 19:32

You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your Elohim: I am Yahweh.

 

-- This in itself is an acknowledgement of, and an honoring of, a person based on their age.

 

And in 1 Pet 2:17, we are told:

 

1 Pet 2:17

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear Yahweh. Honor the king.

 

Again, we should be careful not to practice the way of the heathen. And we should be careful to not promote the idea that a person should have a selfish day, which is also anti-Scriptural.

 

For the person who has been celebrating birthdays all of their life in the traditional way, it’s not going to be easy giving up the birthday cake, the fanfare, and so forth. It is never easy to do something like that. But it can be done. As I explained previously, for example, we might have a special dinner, serving that person’s favorite meal. It’s a way of saying, “I’m glad you were born, I’m glad you are alive, and I celebrate the joy of life with you.”

 

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