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How can I show that Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong about birthday celebrations?

Full Question

My wife is studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they have convinced her that celebrating birthdays is a pagan custom and not something Christians should do. She refuses to allow our children to celebrate their birthdays. What should I do?

Answer

Birthday celebrations are mentioned only a few times in Scripture, and nowhere are they condemned. Witnesses wrongly assume that celebrating birthdays is evil because the only two explicit biblical mentions of birthday celebrations are those in honor of a pagan, Pharaoh (Gn 40:20-22), and a wicked man, Herod Antipas (Mk 6:21; cf. Mt 14:1-12). To compound the issue, King Herod’s birthday festivities were the occasion of sexual immorality involving the daughter of his brother’s wife, Herodias, and led to the murder of John the Baptist. Witnesses wrongly reason that, because these biblical occurrences depict the celebration of the birth of wicked men, celebrating anyone’s birthday is in itself sinful. You can demonstrate that this does not logically follow by showing that the Bible says that the birthday of John the Baptist would be the cause of “joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth for he will be great in the sight of the Lord” (Lk 1:14-15). While this passage does not explicitly mention an annual celebration of John the Baptist’s birth, it certainly allows for such an interpretation and at the very least demonstrates that it is good to celebrate the birth of a holy person.










43 comments

  1. Hart Ponder Reply

    Grolier’s The New Book of Knowledge, 1979, p. 289 states: “The early church fathers frowned upon the celebration of birthdays and thought them a heathen custom.”

    Origen of Alexandria, in 245 A.D., wrote in a dissertation on Leviticus that:

    “. . . none of the saints can be found who ever held a feast or a banquet upon his birthday, or rejoiced on the day when his son or daughter was born. But sinners rejoice and make merry on such days. For we find in the Old Testament that Pharaoh, king of Egypt, celebrated his birthday with a feast, and that Herod, in the New Testament did the same. But the saints not only neglect to mark the day of their birth with festivity, but also, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse this day, after the example of Job and Jeremiah and David.”
    The writings of the late third century Catholic theologian Arnobius show that, even that late, most Catholics were against the celebration of birthdays as he wrote: “…you worship with couches, altars, temples, and other service, and by celebrating their games and birthdays, those whom it was fitting that you should assail with keenest hatred.” (Arnobius. Against the Heathen (Book I), Chapter 64. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886.).

  2. Grant Reply

    Sorry, but this article is a very weak interpretation of scripture to justify another worldly practice of pagan origin. However, regardless of its origin, celebrating your physical birthday is not something I choose to do and here’s why; we are ALL born sinful (Ps. 51:5 and there are many other scriptures to corroborate this – Eph,2:2,3, Prov.22:15, Gen.8:21, Eccl.9:3 just mention a few). Yet, when we give our life to Christ and are baptized we become a NEW creation in Christ. This is represented symbolically through baptism in the death of our “our old man of sin” (going under the water, representing the grave), and coming up or ‘resurrected’ a new creation into the newness of life in Christ. The old man of sin dies and is forgotten by Christ, never to be remembered again, and our new life in Christ is to celebrated in Him. So, if the bible teaches us that our sinful self dies at our conversion and baptism, why on earth would I ever want to resurrect and then celebrate my old sinful nature? Why would I want to honour the devil in such a way? This to me is an absolute abomination and insult to Christ my Lord and Savior who gave His own life that my sinful life would be redeemed and made whole through the shedding of His blood! That alone is reason enough for me not to celebrate my physical birthday, but cherish the day of my baptism (new birth) in Him…amen.

  3. Angel Reply

    I think its a legitimate reason not to celebrate birthdays. Because of those 2 bible accounts. Also because the bible says to be not part of the world. Worldly people celebrate birthdays. And what do you hear? People getting killed on their birthday’s. People getting jumped on their birthdays. People drinking excessively and hurting themselves or others. The gathering of ungodly people (bad association). I myself choose not to celebrate it but it doesn’t mean you cant give gifts to your children every other day of the year. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t tell you not to celebrate birthday’s, they let you choose if you think its right or wrong to you. If you feel that you want to celebrate your children’s birthday’s that’s your choice. We are judged by our creator Jehovah. But always remember bad association spoils useful habits. And god’s people are no part of the world because it is ruled by Satan the devil. So you need to make that decision carefully. Also I’ve noticed that mostly parents get drunk when it’s supposed to be the children’s day. I hope this helps open your eyes and notice by your wife’s actions that she is becoming a better person and she will be extremely happy. Jehovah will bless your home. Satan will try harder and harder to stop your family from studying and getting to know our creator Jehovah god. But remember this, Jehovah will not let you be tempted beyond your control. Ask for his help and to understand and to be patient and support your wife. Jehovah is just a prayer away. 1 Corinthians 15:33

    1. Toni Penuel Reply

      What child’s birthday have you attended where the parents got drunk? At my children’s birthday parties there was no drinking of alcohol or any type of ungodly behavior. I thank God for each of my children and the fact that He gave them to me a cause for great joy and celebration.

    2. Randy pfeffer Reply

      Well said sister there is nothing better than the truth. May Jehovah bless you!!!!

  4. Eric Reply

    I definitely believe more emphasis needs to be placed on the remembrance of Baptism by Christian faithful, but there’s no reason to associate human birth with Satan. We are created totally by and for God. We should celebrate the graces that God gives us in the fundamental gift of life from God. Matter is not evil, it was created by God. Our bodies are not evil, they too were created by God. A ‘worldly spirit’ that prefers creation to the Creator is evil. The accusation that ‘worldly’ people celebrate birthdays is weak. There are plenty of worldly people in cultures that do not celebrate birthdays. Of course, prudence should always come foremost in how we celebrate. Alcohol is not a sin, drunkenness is. A party is not a sin, idolatry is.
    And then, on an unrelated note, why continue to use the word ‘Jehovah’? It’s a transliteration error that has no weight or meaning in itself.

  5. Lance Reply

    If you want to say that the Name “Jehovah” is an error, even though it was originally in the bible more than 7000 times, And commonly found in much of history throughout the world,,, Then you must also say that the name Jesus is an error as well.. Yet everyone uses and knows the name Jesus. Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah" in favor of some other suggested pronunciation. If such a change were made, then, to be consistent, changes should be made in the spelling and pronunciation of a host of other names found in the Scriptures: Jeremiah would be changed to Yir·meyah′, Isaiah would become Yeshaʽ·ya′hu, and Jesus would be either Yehoh·shu′aʽ (as in Hebrew) or I·e·sous′ (as in Greek). The purpose of words is to transmit thoughts; in English the name Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes. Many bibles have completely taken that name Jehovah out of the scriptures, yet it being in the scriptures originally some 7000 times, its obvious God wanted us to know and use his name.. All throughout history people have worshipped many of what they call gods. and they ALL used their name in worship and their names were widely known. Yet there is only 1 almighty God, . He put his name all throughout the bible so that we would know and use it. He also has the power to use his holy spirit to make sure it is translated correctly. so why would you not want to use his name and call upon his name as the scriptures tell us to do? Ps 83:18 in the original 1611 king james reads: That men may knowe, that thou, whose name alone is IEHOVAH: art the most High ouer all the earth”. Written in Jacobean style english in which J’s were I’s. Jesus was also written “Iesus”. Spellings were different in old english. More modern trasnslations of course have fixed this. The scriptures also tell us to call on his name. Joel 2:32 : “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered .” Lord being capitalized, representing God, and not Jesus. How can you call on his name if you do not know it? Take a minute and think about who would want you to NOT know Gods name.. Who is against God and would want the world to not know God? Satan the devil. And therefore you also know why most modern bibles have removed Gods name from them completely. Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out , that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    1. Eric Reply

      Interesting rant, though I’m surprised you couldn’t offer a single objection to my birthday arguments. The fact is, ‘Jehovah’ was not used until 1270AD. You claim it was used in the Bible 7000 times, but the word actually used was YHWH (“Yahweh”, though the Hebrew language did not have written vowels until a few hundred years later). This is an actual Hebrew word meaning “I am” which God told Moses; Jehovah is not a word. And, since the Jewish people avoided any use of the actual name of God to prevent accidental violation of the Third Commandment (something you may want to consider), after they had developed written vowels they started writing the vowels for Adonai (“Lord”) above the consonants YHWH to remind readers to say “Adonai” instead. So the first use of “Jehovah” came in 1270AD when a Catholic Dominican monk made the mistake of using the vowels for “Adonai” with the consonants YHWH.

    2. Jerry Reply

      Lance, I appreciate your comments. I am a Witness also. One thing I learned when I attended the Ministerial Training School is that the word “Jehovah” is not in the Bible originally. It was invented by a Catholic Monk named Raymundus Martini in 1270 by combining the vowels of Adonai with YHVH. Plus remember there is no J in Hebrew. You can find the reference under Jehovah in the book Aid to Bible Understanding published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1969.
      Also, the Tetragrammaton is not found in any ancient manuscript of the Greek Scriptures. Not once. Jesus never used it not even when he was dying. However the name Jesus is. So the name Jesus is in the Bible, however the word Jehovah came over a thousand years later.
      To illustrate, do you know anyone who calls their father by his first name? I don’t. We call him Dad or Father. Likewise Jesus did he same. If someone wants to call God Jehovah then we shouldn’t criticize them, just let them know that Jehovah is not God’s name.

  6. Janet Reply

    We celebrate birthdays by first thanking God that he gave us another year. My mom is 102 yrs. old and in sound body and mind why would I not want to celebrate the fact God allowed us to spend another year with her or any member of our family. We have cake, beverages and food no liquor. It is a celebration of life. My Catholic faith also teaches us to celebrate the day of you baptism. How many people can remember the day they were baptized? My grandchildren are the only birthday we have parties except for my mom. At the beginning of our mass our priest will ask those in the congregation who has a birthday or anniversary either that day or coming up in the week. He then says a blessing prayer. I am happy to celebrate that I am 58 yrs. old in in still good health. Yes I thank God everyday for allowing see another day but I like to remember and celebrate my birthday because I was born premature and almost died. But God had other plans for me he wanted me to live, to live a life as a Christian, daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and neice. Yes celebrate but in the way that God would want you to.

    1. Judith Bosch Reply

      As being a former Catholic a baby cannot remember when they were baptized – as becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses I was baptized July 8, 1972 in St. Paul, MN

  7. Kathy Reply

    There is no harm in celebrating your birthday. We celebrate Christs’ birthday. We rejoice in his birth. The JWs are a strange breed and would let their children died if they had to. I say celebrate, your birth is precious and you’re
    a gift from GOD.

    1. Jen Reply

      The fact that you say they let their children die shows how uneducated you are in alternative treatments. More and more doctors are on board with no blood treatments. And doctors are realizing that’s it’s actually a better treatment to abstain from blood as they are finding that recovery is better and quicker which in turn costs less. JW seek quality health care and look for alternative treatments, and treatment that does NOT violate any scripture. Abstain from blood is just that. If a doctor told you you can’t have any type of medication due to an allergy then you would abstain from that. You wouldn’t go and take it in through IV or orally. They value life! As far as the birth of Jesus, the Bible does NOT say exactly when Jesus was born. It also does NOT say to celebrate his birth. In fact Jesus himself said to celebrate his death. For his death is the reason we have the hope of everlasting life. People made up a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth in late December when he was born at some other time of the year. There are 2 birthday celebrations mentioned in the Bible. They were of pagan celebrations and both ended in death. Of course a true Christian would want no part of that. Especially if it’s related to paganism. JW base their life of the Bible. They live by it’s standards and do their best to serve Jehovah God. The KJV is now replacing the title LORD back to it’s original name ‘Jehovah’. Do some reasearch, you’ll see!

  8. Diyosa Reply

    I agree with Kathy. I myself will see member(s) of JW attending Birthday parties. Pictures of them taken and at the background is a big sign “Happy Birthday” I know, some are on my FB and not far from home. Smoking is a sin, they preach but I saw someone smoking in the dark during a get together party. These are just few. Hypocrisy at its best!

  9. Richmond Reply

    Romans 14:5-6 says “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

    Even Job, whom God called “blameless and upright (Job 1:1)”, appears to have a family that celebrated each other’s birthdays.
    Job 1:4-5 “His sons regularly went to one another’s houses, and every one on his day gave a feast: and at these times they sent for their three sisters to take part in their feasts with them. 5 And at the end of their days of feasting, Job sent and made them clean, getting up early in the morning and offering burned offerings for them all. For, Job said, It may be that my sons have done wrong and said evil of God in their hearts. And Job did this whenever the feasts came round.”
    The passage better emphasizes the “every one on his day” which is clear in the Hebrew text. A regular feast, on a person’s “day”, is what we call “a birthday!” (Note Job’s use of the word “day” in association with his own birth in Job 3:1). When “a period of feasting had run its course”, or in other words, when all of the children had had their birthdays that year; Job offered an annual sacrifice on their behalf, acting as a priest for his family. The bottom line is that Job’s family celebrated their birthdays, complete with a birthday meal (feast) and fellowship.

    For the believer, our celebration of a birthday should be with a completely different focus. Even as we celebrate the passing of a calendar year, thanking God for what He has done in the past, and looking forward to the next, so too our birthday is a celebration of God’s goodness to us. Our parties are not filled with wickedness or self focus, but – as with our entire lives – they should be an opportunity to give glory to God.

    1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

    Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

    (Repost)

    1. Judith Bosch Reply

      When Job’s sons “held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day" it should not be supposed that they were celebrating their birthdays. (Job 1:4) “Day" in this verse translates the Hebrew word yohm and refers to a period of time from sunrise to sunset. On the other hand, “birthday" is a compound of the two Hebrew words yohm (day) and hul·leʹdheth. The distinction between “day" and one’s birthday may be noted in Genesis 40:20, where both expressions appear: “Now on the third day [yohm] it turned out to be Pharaoh’s birthday [literally, “the day (yohm) of the birth (hul·leʹdheth) of Pharaoh"]." So it is certain that Job 1:4 does not refer to a birthday, as is unquestionably the case at Genesis 40:20. It would seem that Job’s seven sons held a family gathering (possibly a spring or harvest festival) and as the feasting made the week-long circuit, each son hosted the banquet in his own house “on his own day."

    2. Olumuyiwa Falola Reply

      Have you considered that the Devil struck and wiped out Job’s children on a ‘day’ you consider to be ‘a birthday’? If it was a birthday they were celebrating, then all records of birthday’s are ominous. Pharaoh beheaded the baker, on his birthday. Then, Satan struck Job’s family. And finally, Herod had Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptizer beheaded. Wow!
      Note also, that all celebrations for the Israelites were ordained by God and severally mentioned over the generations as their history was being recorded. But no single mention of a BIRTHDAY amongst God’s chosen people. Is it a coincidence? If it was not God ordained, who must have ordained a celebration carried out by pagans only? Could it be the one who does not want people to worship God and who was responsible for the deception that led to our first parents’ eating of the forbidden fruit? Regarding that one, read Revelation 12 vs 9 and see what was said about that one and mankind in general.
      Laws differ from principles because laws are detailed and stated on specific issues, whilst people look out for principles to guide them in areas where the law is absent. That is what anyone who seeks the mind of God and wants God’s will to come first in his decision will do. That is what Jehovah’s Witnesses do and that is why millions today whose will is to make God happy with their decisions, have chosen to bear that name. To illustrate, which child would you be proud of? One who consistently looks out for a way of doing things you’ll frown at because of an absence of a law on any issue when you are not present with him or her or one who says, ‘If Dad or Mom do not like this, then they wouldn’t like that also. And moreover, that’s bad company there too?’
      If you still have any doubts regarding such an observance or celebration, please read Galatians 4 vs’ 8-11.

  10. vonshouse7 Reply

    God is not concerned with whether we celebrate birthdays or not. God is appalled that we have become so distracted with frivolous non-problems that we are unaware or unable to effectively deal with the real problems – the wicked men who are destroying the earth. All miracles in the bible were performed by God THROUGH A MAN, a son of God – Human beings are God’s “pencil” so to speak. We act out his will, OR we act out the devils will. Arguing over these minor things take away time that we could be using to purify the earth of pollution, greed, etc. Remember, Jesus flipped over tables filled with coins because the Pharisees were practicing usury. Should we not be taking a more active role in tackling the bigger problems of society, rather than fighting amongst ourselves over whether we “allow” gay marriage and birthday celebrations? Tis truly a pity. God help us all to refocus our efforts.

  11. Judith Bosch Reply

    Why would you have a picture of C.T. Russell? that’s rather absurd – we are in the 21st Century – not the late 1800’s/early 1900’s – You’re wrong to assume that the Witnesses think that celebrating birthdays are evil – not the case at all – just another excuse for people to not go according to the teachings of the Bible and of Christ – anything of pagan origin is something to stay away from. After all isn’t that what Christians are suppose to do? Be free of all paganisim in order to be a follower of Christ? If one has to bring glory to oneself one really needs to re-evaluate oneself. As it is stated in (Ecclesiastes 7:1) A good name is better than good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth. So one should really look at how one live’s one’s life and not glorify oneself year after year and make people give a person gifts, make people take time out to celebrate oneself and get all “kinked out of shape” if they done’ which actually in effect is making people do obeisance to oneself. And keep in mind that not all people throughout the world celebrate this type of thing. Over 8 million Witnesses live very happily not celebrating this pagan ritual.

  12. Judith Bosch Reply

    With the introduction of Christianity the viewpoint toward birthday celebrations did not change. Jesus inaugurated a binding Memorial, not of his birth, but of his death, saying: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me." (Lu 22:19) If early Christians did not celebrate or memorialize the birthday of their Savior, much less would they celebrate their own day of birth. Historian Augustus Neander writes: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period." (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, translated by H. J. Rose, 1848, p. 190) “Origen [a writer of the third century C.E.] . . . insists that ‘of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.’"—The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. X, p. 709.

  13. Judith Bosch Reply

    In some historically Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries such as Italy, Spain, France, parts of Germany, Poland, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, and throughout Latin America, it is common to have a ‘name day’/’Saint’s day’. It is celebrated in much the same way as a birthday, but it is held on the official day of a saint with the same Christian name as the birthday person; the difference being that one may look up a person’s name day in a calendar, or easily remember common name days (for example, John or Mary); however in pious traditions, the two were often made to concur by giving a newborn the name of a saint celebrated on its birthday, or possibly the name of a feast, for example, Noel or Pascal (French for Christmas and “of Easter”); as another example, Togliatti got Palmiro as his first name because he was born on Palm Sunday.

  14. Judith Bosch Reply

    The bar mitzvah of 13-year-old Jewish boys, or bat mitzvah for 12-year-old Jewish girls, is perhaps the only Jewish celebration undertaken in what is often perceived to be in coalition with a birthday. Despite modern celebrations where the secular “birthday” element often overshadows the essence of it as a religious rite, the essence of a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah celebration is entirely religious in origin (i.e. the attainment of religious maturity according to Jewish law), however, and not secular. With or without the birthday celebration, the child nevertheless becomes a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, and the celebration may be on that day or any date after it.

    1. Judith Bosch Reply

      Just bringing out that not the “whole world” is the United States per se

    2. Olumuyiwa Falola Reply

      Is there any mention of ‘bar mitzah’ in the Bible? Please, read Matthew 15 vs 1-3 and see what Jesus said about those things not ordained or commanded by God which we call traditions.

  15. musicman Reply

    Birthday celebrations have pagan roots. According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, these celebrations originated from the belief that on a person’s birthday, “evil spirits and influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants" and that “the presence of friends and the expression of good wishes help to protect the celebrant." The book The Lore of Birthdays says that in ancient times, birthday records were “essential for the casting of a horoscope" based on “the mystic science of astrology." This book adds that “birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes."
    The Bible, however, condemns the use of magic, divination, spiritism, or “anything like this." (Deuteronomy 18:14; Galatians 5:19-21) In fact, one reason why God condemned the ancient city of Babylon was that its inhabitants practiced astrology, which is a form of divination. (Isaiah 47:11-15) Jehovah’s Witnesses are not preoccupied with the roots of every custom; yet when the Scriptures give such pointed indications, we do not ignore them.

    The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The World Book Encyclopedia says that “they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom." The Bible shows that the apostles and others who were taught directly by Jesus established a pattern that all Christians should follow.—2 Thessalonians 3:6.
    The only commemoration that Christians are required to keep involves, not a birth, but a death—that of Jesus. (Luke 22:17-20) This should not be surprising, for the Bible says that “the day of death is better than the day of birth." (Ecclesiastes 7:1) By the end of his life on earth, Jesus had made a good name with God, making the day of his death more important than the day of his birth.—Hebrews 1:4.
    The Bible never refers to a servant of God celebrating a birthday. This is not simply an oversight, for it does record two birthday celebrations by those not serving God. However, both of those events are presented in a bad light.—Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21-29.

  16. g. schear Reply

    I read something very interesting recently – The article said the most important Holiday Celebrated by SATANISTS is the Birthday

  17. Ray Ray Reply

    I did not bother to read many of the posts here. Too many haters. Some did awesome research from independent references. Others put in their own feelings and reasoning with no research or references. Ask the question: What evidence is there to indicate Gods feelings on the matter. The two biblical accounts give the only real evidence on annual celebration. All births are a cause for celebration, yet nothing is mentioned positively for annual recognition.The research above from both sides of the argument give pause for thought. I have no horse in this race or dog in this fight. An honest look into the scriptures leads me to conclude celebrating birthdays is not a sin, but a pagan practice that brings attention to self, elevating the celebrant. Somewhere in the Bible it says they day of death is better than the day of birth. At death you have a testimony to accomplishments, especially in relationship with God. At birth you have the potential to create a great testimony and accomplished bringing joy to your family.

  18. ivan dan Reply

    Well, just to clear things. The verse stated on Luke 1:14-15, means on his birth, on the Day he was Born only. They will be happy on the time Juan will be born, when he will be out of his mothers tomb. Not every year celebrating.

  19. Pam Reply

    On the day of your birth and every year after that, you should be sending praise to Jehovah for the wonderful gift of life he has given you or the child he has allowed to to have. When you celebrate your birthday, you are putting more importance on you or that person then on the one you should be thanking – Jehovah. For all those that celebrate birthdays, have you every once put more importance on who gave you life, then on your celebration of life. One should not be excepting gifts, rather one should be giving gifts to Jehovah. and what better way then by doing what he has asked us to do – teach others about him and what his purpose is. It is so simple and yet so many make it so complicated.

  20. Olumuyiwa Falola Reply

    ‘How old are you?’
    That’s one of the most repeated questions in history. However, it will soon become a question that would go extinct. If you wonder why, you might go back in time to revisit the history of man. God told our first parents not to eat from a certain tree lest they die. Would they have died if they had NOT eaten from that tree? I believe the answer is a unanimous ‘NO’. If they do not die, would they ever experience old age and it’s attendant problems? Again, I want to believe your answer is, ‘NO’ (Ecclesiastes 3 vs 11; Isaiah 33 vs 24, ).
    If it is not God’s will that we get old and that we die, then he is not happy with our present situation. If He is not happy, who then is happy? I believe we all agree it is his enemy and opposer, Satan. So my question is ‘WHY ARE WE CELEBRATING WHAT GOD HAS NOT PURPOSED FOR US? People ‘celebrate’ life in anticipation of death.
    After they sinned and passed death to us however, God restated His purpose for us through Jesus (John 17 vs 2,3; Isaiah 25 vs 7,8). And for those who have died, Daniel prophesied long before Jesus came to the earth to restate same regarding what would happen to them in Daniel 12 vs 2. Do you see why I am of the opinion that my opening question will go extinct.
    If I ever meet you in person, and you ask, ‘How old are you?’, I will answer you. However, I would prefer you ask me ‘How young are you?’, because that is how Jehovah’s Witnesses think, knowing soon, we would NEVER grow old again.

  21. Eric Reply

    Just wondering how consistent Jehova’s Witnesses are. Do JWs celebrate high school and college graduations? Wedding anniversaries? What about gathering for family and school reunions? And, on the other hand, do they/you celebrate anniversaries of baptisms or conversions?

    1. Judith Bosch Reply

      Yes to all of the above of what Eric stated.

      1. Judith Bosch Reply

        Ooops, didn’t catch the full statement at end of Eric’s question – no, don’t celebrate anniversaries of baptisms – celebrate the baptism – have gatherings after funerals (lunch, etc.) picnics and dances with congregation. Have baby showers, wedding showers, celebrate weddings, Since there are over 115,000 congregations world wide am not familiar with all the customs of different countries and nationalities. And of course the most important celebration is the Memorial of Jesus death. That is celebrated on the Jewish Calender date of Nisan 14 which usually falls on our calender date right around the Passover date. That is the celebration that Jesus commanded – It is the only event Scripturally commanded to be memorialized by Christians, it is also properly termed the Memorial. It is sometimes called “the Lord’s supper."—1Co 11:20, KJ. World wide attendance of Memorial in 2014 was 19,950,019 – there are over 8 million Witnesses right now. And of course we have our yearly conventions worldwide. A person can always get information on the jw dot org. site or watch the JW Broadcasting site for more information.

      2. Eric Reply

        That seems very inconsistent to me. The reason everyone is giving for not celebrating birthdays is that it turns the focus from God to man. Just like celebrating your birthday honors you and not God (according to JWs), celebrating a graduation or wedding anniversary does the same thing.

        1. Judith Bosch Reply

          Eric that is kind of “grasping for straws” i.e. in other words -. trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work

          1. Eric

            If I’m grasping at straws, can you explain to me the major spiritual differences between birthdays and other celebrations (in this case, graduations) that make one idolatrous and the other perfectly fine?

            By the way, claiming a fallacy like grasping at straws without addressing the issue is a good example of “trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work”…

          2. Judith Bosch

            Well Eric all the celebrations that you are referring to are not “spiritual” they are “man made” and not something from God. Your first comment was asking about a celebration of sorts of differnet things a person might celebrate – and again you are doing a turnaround about birthdays – so you are in respect stating that no one should celebrate anything because that means that one is always celebrating oneself – then so be it – if one feels that, then one should not celebrate anything – that is up to the person and one’s conscience – if one feels that one shouldn’t celebrate a friends wedding or birth of child or a wedding anniversary, that is fine because you have free will to do that – Jesus did celebrate a wedding and also did his first miracle by turning the water into wine so he wasn’t hesitant to celebrate a wedding. Eric if you want to celebrate birthdays do so – that is up to you and only you. Don’t lay it on other people to state whether you should or shouldn’t – that’s your prerogative. And don’t force it on other people to do so – that is their prerogative also – so many people want we Witnesses to do what they do – but guess what? – we don’t – but do we tell others to do what we decide to do or not do? I think not – otherwise there would be a very uprising in that respect. You do what you want to do and the Witnesses will do what they do according to what the Scriptures relate. And I have to emphasize always go according to the Scriptures – a help is when reading your Bible always look at the notations and info in the contents. The worst thing is that anything about the Witnesses is that usually no Scriptures are used. God’s word is the basic instruction for anyone – 2 Timothy 3:16 states – All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching , for reproving and setting things straight , for disciplining in righteousness so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

          3. Eric

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but JWs teach as doctrine that celebrating birthdays is “displeasing to God” – in other words, a sin. That’s what this whole article is about. We’re not talking about personal prerogative or enforcing our wills on others. We’re talking about Biblical teaching, morality and sin, and the true church of Christ.

            God, being eternal and perfect, does not change. He is not inconsistent. Knowing that, I can conclude that a religion that teaches inconsistencies cannot be the true Christian church. God has made us rational beings in His image so that we can search for Him with reason as well as faith.

            If JWs teach that celebrating birthdays are wrong because they are manmade, but that celebrating other manmade occasions are “our prerogative”, then I can conclude that this is not Christ’s true church. One error, one inconsistency is all it takes to disprove any religion that claims the name of God.

            My duty as a Christian is to use faith and reason to discern God’s Will – His true Word – and to preach the Gospel to others. If I believe something is a sin or an error that hurts their relationship with God, then it is my Christian obligation to correct that person and invite them into the true faith. This is not about argument for the sake of argument; this is about souls.

  22. Judith Bosch Reply

    A little help with the original question is that kids (and grownups) like to get gifts. The way the celebrations are in the US people expect gifts at them and feel bad if they don’t get them or didn’t get a gift they wanted which can put people in a bind (especially at the xmas holidays). For the most part Witnesses give gifts throughout the year. Our grandkids get lots of gifts from us throughout the year and it’s always a great surprise. Our 2 daughters aren’t Witnesses. My husband and I were baptized in 1972 – the girls, of course grew up going to meetings, etc. but have not become Witnesses themselves at this time. And of course we have given our daughters many gifts also. I always rememer the time when I was young and living in ND and got a bike for xmas. Of course I had to look at that bike for many months before the snow was gone – wouldn’t have helped to get it for my birthday either as mine is Dec. 29th. I think it would have been a nicer surprise to get it in the spring. Children need to feel important and need to have parties – remember a person can have a party anytime with lots of good eats and games. Our one daughter and her husband have parties for their 7 kids a lot, swimming parties, picnics, go camping, etc. No particular date needs to be had. And when our kids were young we always had get togethers at our house with other families and kids. We had a swimming pool so always had kids over to play and a very large sandbox. Just some suggestions. The main thing is to have a happy family life and working on a good relationship with God.

    1. Judith Bosch Reply

      To Eric – this is becoming mundane – there are too many important things in this world to quibble over a celebration of any sort – and you did bring out if you believe if something is a sin or error then it is YOUR obligation to bring out a sin or an error that hurts their relationship with God, then it is your Christian obligation to correct that person and invite them into the true faith. No, it is not your obligation – sin is meaning all people fall short of perfection of which came through Adam who disobeyedn and lost his perfection – only through God’s word and by His Holy Spirit can one be corrected, not by any human. And if you are going around trying to tell everyone what they are doing wrong then I figure you might not have very many friends. So let’s just give this a rest – you can celebrate what you want, I personally don’t care and you, nor anyone else should care what I believe.

    2. Eric Reply

      I realize I put you in a bind, and I don’t take pleasure in the pain and confusion caused by being challenged on one’s own beliefs. However, a religious article on a Catholic website about differences in doctrine is an obvious forum for discussing religious truth. If you have the right to argue against the article and for your beliefs, don’t I have the same right to argue for my beliefs as well? I don’t wave my Bible in front of every person in every situation in my life, and I resent the accusation that I must not have friends and all that implies. Don’t forget you’re Christian just because you get frustrated.

      I’ll just end with a few Scripture verses obliging us to correct our brothers and sisters for you to consider:
      Ezekiel 33:7-12
      Matthew 18:15-17
      Luke 17:3
      Galations 6:1
      2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
      1 Timothy 5:20
      2 Timothy 3:16
      2 Timothy 4:2
      Titus 1:9
      Titus 3:10-11
      James 5:19-20

  23. Alexander Rosa Reply

    Hello to all. My name is Alexander. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Firstly, I wanted to say that many people on this post have good merit, and make very valid points. As imperfect humans that we are, we still strive for correctness and some form of uprightness. I’m impressed with the motivations of many to work toward something meaningful while justifying a way of thinking that invokes happiness. In the end, I believe the MOST important thing here is not personal opinion, but in fact HOW our behavior can and will affect, not only our relationship with God, but our very hope for the future forever. Many people see God as many different things, ranging from a deity, an impersonal cosmic force, an ideology, an untouchable and unreachable being, a mere spirit that lives inside all people… or simply a person that came to Earth to experience death in order to save humans from something (?). Either way, I believe it is insensitive and unloving to cast stones at anyone for their way of thinking, especially since we all are born imperfect and as sinners from the womb. Before a person can reason over subjects as these, he or she must first evaluate HOW important God is in his or her life, AND to what extent does that belief in God affect his or her decisions, perceptions, ways of thinking and style of life. At the end of it all, the best thing a person can do is “Get to know God PERSONALLY”. The only way this can be achieved is through devotion, meditation on his words though meticulous scrutiny of his scriptures, dedication to HIS way of thinking and ultimately walking in a way that he approves of. God already knows we’re imperfect, therefore he knows we will make mistakes. That’s not important. Once we start studying his Word the Bible arduously, we know we must ask for forgiveness very frequently while making a sincere effort to continually improve. So, WHAT DO WE ask forgiveness for? Is it for simply being sinners, or is it also for the sins we knowingly commit on a daily basis? When Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9, He prayed to Our Father who is in heaven. He included himself as a son to God in heaven. BUT, Jesus was a perfect man and was born without sin… so why did He as his father for forgiveness? Surely, it was because Jesus Himself felt that he may have made mistakes that perhaps did not please God and acknowledged that even HE, JESUS, God’s only begotten son, (If you guys truly knows what that MEANS), did not reach the full grace and glory of His father, God Almighty. He ALWAYS put His father above himself, giving tribute to his father at every opportunity, attributing any success he had to his father, give glory and honor ONLY to his father in heaven. He then starts HIS PRAYER after addressing WHO he was praying to (NOT HIMSELF), by asking His name to be sanctified or hallowed. So, what is that name? It SURELY is not LORD or GOD. NOW, it is evident that no human on this Earth at this time knows precisely what the pronunciation of that name was in the original Hebrew language, but neither do we know how the name of His son, Jesus was also pronounced, yet, we still us the name Jesus. WHY??? Because firstly, we speak English. Just like the John is Juan in Spanish or Giovanni in Italian. Wow, they sound so different, right? How about James is Santiago or Giacomo? WOW, sounds nothing alike, right? BUT, they indeed are the SAME name. So, WE use Jesus because that is the closest transliteration of the Yeshua name we find for Jesus in the scriptures. So, WE MUST do the same for Jehovah. Jesus has an ‘e’ and a ‘u’, and starts with a ‘j’. All characteristic NOT found in the original language, especially since the divine language had no vowels… YET, we still use it. Hence, I’m SURE that Jesus was never called Jesus like we pronounce it today, YET, I’m also SURE He is proud when we use his name and pray to his father, Jehovah, through his name, since His name is the basis for salvation and the medium for which we ALL MUST pray through. So, we use the name Jehovah, because as we weigh out the lesser of two evils, it would be worse to not use the name of Our Father, the Almighty God AT ALL. We use Jehovah as the closest English representation of that name. It is Unique, it is fitting, and when we use that name, Jehovah God the Almighty God of Armies KNOWS we are referring to, directing ourselves to and addressing HIM. It is a form of identity for we lowly humans to have as a method of identifying with our Heavenly Creator and a way for us to form a deep, strong and very interpersonal relationship with Him. So, Jehovah is His name in America! Now that we reasoned with that, it is needless to say that if we believe in what the Bible teaches, we must also acknowledge that a God full of so much Love, as seen by King David, DEFINITELY wants us to know and use His name ALL THE TIME. So we talk about birthday celebrations. Are they PAGAN or not? Are they BAD or not? Are they OKAY to celebrate or not? What matters is how Jehovah God and his son Jesus view the matter. This is based on PRINCIPLE, not the law. The principle is simple in the eyes of any humble human that desires to please Jehovah God and glorify Him ALL THE TIME as his son Jesus clearly did while he was here on Earth. Surely Jesus continues to glorify his father even in heaven. So what is the principle? No human, perfect or sinful has the right to glorify HIMSELF. That is a fact. All glory must go to the father and the father, Jehovah, alone. Only the father, Jehovah, has the right, authority and position to glorify others, as he SURELY has done with his beautiful son, Jesus, when he put a crown upon his head and made him King over the new Jerusalem in heaven. So, we DO NOT bring attention to ourselves, nor do we praise and elevate another human being as seen during birthday celebrations. To acknowledge someone for his or her accomplishments as seen in a graduation party or a matrimonial anniversary celebration, is completely DIFFERENT than glorifying someone and honoring him or her in front of others for their mere existence and birth with a cake and candles (A true Pagan custom BTW), and singing a song of praise (Happy Birthday) to that person. This type of exultation is clearly unacceptable and wrong in the eyes of God, and any TRUE Christian and humble slave of God would never fathom such a thought. We don’t even raise a glass during a toast for this very reason. So, do Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Birthdays???? WE SURE DO!!! I celebrated the birth of my beautiful daughters when they were born, asking God to bless them. My oldest daughter, Giannely, was born floppy with muscular dystrophy and arthrogryposis. She almost died. STILL, we threw a party and celebrates, (with some tears), but we DEFINITELY celebrated her birthday, because God had allowed me to have a daughter. NOW, to continually celebrate that day on a yearly basis IS completely inappropriate and not in accordance with the views of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. To reiterate what some have already stated. NO SERVANT OF GOD in any way celebrated his or her birthday from the book of Genesis to the ends of Revelation. JESUS DID NOT ever celebrate his birthday on a yearly basis. NO APOSTLE ever celebrated Jesus’s birthday on a yearly basis. If it was worth mentioning or noteworthy, I’m sure it would be in the Bible. JESUS DID THOUGH, COMMAND us to celebrate his death periodically, most likely on a yearly basis, as HE HIMSELF instituted during the Last Supper. The yearly birthday celebration does indeed have Pagan origins dating thousands of years back, BUT, that is not the important factor here. The important factor here is HOW DOES A YEARLY BIRTHDAY celebration affect GOD and our relationship with Him. Concluding from all the ways WE KNOW that God perceives things, we CLEARLY state that yearly birthday celebrations not only displease God Almighty on a very personal level, but also affect the way WE THINK of ourselves, possible distorting OUR perceptions of OURSELVES. In comparison to Jehovah God, we are nothing but blades of grass, DUST!!! We MUST be careful to NEVER offend God with any feelings of superiority over others, or gestures of exaltation. Two of Aaron’s sons, who were both priests, were burned alive at the altar by God for such behaviors. The Bible is FULL of accounts where servants of God either were punished, suffered or even died as a result of independent thinking and developing feelings of greatness and delusions of grandeur. Jehovah’s Witnesses are simply THOSE very people who like Jesus, take the proper precautions to make sure they DO NOT deliberately displease God even in the most minute way, This is our True Christian way and our way of holding Holy the behavior that is becoming of a True Christlike mentality! On a PERSONAL NOTE: I myself hate to stand around and watch while ONE child is showered with gifts, while all the other kids are sitting around him or her, and sit there feeling either jealous, envious or simply left out. I hate the feeling of watching someone else get something I want and feeling like I might never get it. Children are especially vulnerable and sensitive. I love my daughters so, so much. I would never want one of them to feel like someone loves one over the other, ever. When I buy one of my daughters gifts, I buy them ANY time of year, AND I ALWAYS buy gifts for both of them every time… AND, if one of my nephews or nieces, or even one of their little friends from school or the congregation is with us at the mall… GUESS WHAT, they’re getting a gift too, because i would never do to another child what I would never to do my own. I PERSONALLY don’t simply abstain from birthday celebrations because they are of Pagan origin and a form of idolatry, but I HATE yearly birthday celebrations because of the greed, self-centeredness, haughtiness and materialism it develops in kids. I want my kids to behave because they love God, not because what they anticipate they’re going to get on a particular day. I HATE yearly birthday celebrations because deep down inside SOMEONE might suffer. Don’t even get me started on Christmas…………………….

  24. Bocephus Reply

    The idea that celebrating the day of your birth is absurd. The operative question is whether you are doing so to glorify yourself, or to give thanks for another year of God-given blessings. Simple as that.

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