Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birthday Celebration, Innocent or Evil?

Okay, now most of us have learned that Christmas and Easter and Valentines day and Halloween are all pagan ceremonies and are not acceptable for those who truly follow the faith of the Almighty YHWH. But what about the equally evil rituals that most, self proclaimed, believers still keep? About 95% of all the people I have met who claim to be believers are still celebrating pagan festivals like birthday celebrations. Some of these believers do these things only because they were unaware of its roots. Others don’t care and they are the ones who are not believers at all. We are to be obedient to the Almighty, and not push the evidence aside and justify it as being innocent traditions. Let us see where birthday celebrations originate from and what the meanings of the rituals really are.

Early Believers did not celebrate their birthdays. Birthdays have a strong connection with pagan religions and magic. There is no record of birthday celebrations by the Jews in the Scriptures. Not even Y’hoshua’s birthday is recorded or celebrated in the Scriptures. There are only two accounts of birthdays mentioned in the Scriptures, both celebrated by Pagan or non Believing individuals, both ending in a devastating result. Let us have a quick look at these two instances in the Scriptures.

Scriptural reference for birthday celebrations:

And on the third day, Pharaoh’s birthday, it came to be that he made a feast for all his servants. And he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and of the chief baker among his servants, and he restored the chief cupbearer to his post of cupbearer again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand, but he hanged the chief baker, as Yosĕph had interpreted to them” (Gen 40:20-22)

Here we see that Pharaoh, who was not at all a follower of the Almighty, had one of his chiefs executed. You must now start to think, “is this what YHWH wants from us?”
Now the second instance.

But as Herodes’ birthday was being held, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herodes, so he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. And she, being urged on by her mother, said, “Give me here the head of Yohanan the Immerser on a dish.” And the sovereign was sad, but because of the oaths and the guests he commanded it to be given, and sent and beheaded Yoḥanan in prison. And his head was brought on a dish and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:6-11) (you can find this in Mark chapter 6 as well)

Here we can see the death of a righteous person, in fact, the cousin of the Messiah himself who is also referred to as Elijah. Again, we must ask ourselves… Is this what the Almighty desires?

Origin of birthday celebrations

Thousands of years ago, when pagan men looked up into the night sky and charted the stars, they invented calendars and calculated the birth dates, to the very hour, of kings, rulers and their successors. These ancient pagan astrologers meticulously examined horoscopes and birthday omens because they believed that the fate of the rich and powerful might affect an entire society. Even to this day, men have been putting their trust in horoscopes instead of the Creator of the universe.

In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs ordered businesses to close on their birthdays and gave enormous feasts for hundreds of servants. In ancient Greece, wealthy males joined birthday clubs composed exclusively of men who shared their birth date. Once a month, the club celebrated with a feast. When a member died, he left money to help pay for future parties. In Persia, noblemen observed their birthdays by barbecuing an ox, a camel and a donkey and serving hundreds of small cakes to the celebrants.

In ancient Rome, the emperor gave huge parties in honor of his own birthday, which included parades, circuses, and gladiatorial combat. The celebration of days was so important to the average Roman citizen that the Roman calendar designated a majority of days for some form of celebration—including many birthdays of gods and famous men.
The Roman calendar, with its emphasis on continual celebration, has had great influence on modern society. Consider the following quote about the origin of the Roman calendar:
“Our [Roman] calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12 month solar year, 365 day system.”

A pagan Egyptian scientist, Sosigenes, suggested this plan to the pagan Emperor Julius Caesar, who directed that it go into effect throughout the Roman Empire in 45 B.C. As adopted it indicated its pagan origin by the names of the months—called after Janus, Maia, Juno, etc. The days were not named but numbered on a complicated system involving Ides, Nones, and Calends. It was not until 321 A.D. that the seven-day week feature was added, when the Emperor Constantine (supposedly) adopted Christianity. Oddly enough for his weekdays he chose pagan names which are still used.” (Journal of Calendar Reform, Sept. 1953, p. 128.)

Birthdays have its origin in astrology.

Thus said יהוה (YHWH), “Do not learn the way of the gentiles, and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles (pagans) are awed by them” (Jer 10:2)

Origin of birthday cakes

Modern birthday parties and celebrations by children take their form mainly from Germany, where the birthday child received gifts, chose a menu and received a candle-ringed butter or jam cake.

Birthday cakes are related to the Greek goddess Artemis, whose birthday was celebrated with moon-shaped honey cakes topped with candles. The candles with special magic to grant wishes.

Origin of birthday parties and birthday gifts

It was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would come to be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes. Giving gifts brought even more good cheer to ward off the evil spirits. This is how birthday parties began.

Saying “happy birthday” to friends and loved ones was society’s superstitious way of protecting them from evil spirits. Birthday thumps, bumps, pinches, etc., were said to bring luck and send away evil spirits. Party snappers, horns and other noisemakers were also intended to scare off bad-luck spirits

A closer look at the birth of the Messiah

Let’s briefly examine the subject of the “wise men” who gave gifts to Messiah. The scripture that describes this is in Matthew 2:1, 11: “Now when Yehoshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men (Magi) from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Yehudim?…And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

It is commonly supposed that these were birthday presents for “baby Yehoshua.” But is this what the Scripture actually says? Absolutely not! Also, they arrived well after his “birthday.” Notice that it refers to the Messiah as a “young child” rather than a baby. This is one more reason that the gifts brought to Him could not have been “birthday presents.”
A long-standing, ancient custom of the East was to present gifts when one came into the presence of a king. These men understood that they were in the presence of the “King of the Jews.” The Scriptures have many examples of people sending gifts to kings or presenting them upon arrival into the king’s presence. This custom is common today when ambassadors or others come into the presence of a world leader.

Finally, notice what the Adam Clarke Commentary, Vol. 5, page 46, states about what really happened on this occasion: Verse 11. “They presented unto him gifts. The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. This custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Seas Islands.” Gifts were customarily presented to kings.” The real intent behind this example should now be clear.

What did the other Characters think of their day of birth?

Like Job, Jeremiah also cursed the day of his own birth: “Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed…Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14, 18).

Yet, Solomon was inspired to write, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1).

The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and pagan religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating—complete with lighted candles—in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . . Down to the fourth century, even Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom."

Birthdays have an ancient origin stemming from magic and paganism, similar to the origins of Christmas and Halloween. This belief in spirits is the reason for many, if not all, of the traditional birthday customs that are practiced today

So now that we know that birthday celebrations are pagan of origin. And that it is based on astrology (the worship of the sun moon and stars), Can we ignore the Scriptures when they say, “Thus said יהוה (YHWH), “Do not learn the way of the gentiles, and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles (pagans) are awed by them” (Jeremiah 10:2) or when it says, “and lest you lift up your eyes to the heavens, and shall see the sun, and the moon, and the stars – all the host of the heavens – and you be drawn away into bowing down to them and serving them, which יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim has allotted to all the peoples under all the heavens” (Deut 4:19).

You see, The Almighty forbade His followers from learning the traditions and celebrations of the pagan nations. This is because He hates those traditions and celebrations, “When you come into the land which יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim is giving you, do not learn to do according to the abominations of those gentiles” (Deut 18:9)

Did the Law of YHWH change since the coming of the Messiah? “So this I say, and witness in the Master, that you should no longer walk as the gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind” (Eph 4:17). It clearly did not. YHWH still hates the same practices of the pagans that are practiced today. Celebrating Christmas and Easter and Halloween and New Years Day and even Birthdays are all pagan practices and are hated by the Creator and Master of the Universe who is YHWH.

Some more instances of what YHWH taught His followers, “‘Do not do as they do in the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt), where you dwelt. And do not do as they do in the land of Kena’an, where I am bringing you, and do not walk in their laws’” (Lev 18:3). He also taught them the following, “When יהוה (YHWH) your Elohim does cut off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too” (Deut 12:29-30)

Finaly, let us see what the Almighty says should happen to those who celebrate such things as those celebrated by the pagan nations, “When there is found in your midst, in any of your cities which יהוה your Elohim is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the eyes of יהוה your Elohim, in transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other mighty ones and bowed down to them, or to the sun or to the moon or to any of the host of the heavens, which I have not commanded, and it has been made known to you and you have heard, and has searched diligently. Then see, if true: the matter is confirmed that such an abomination has been done in Yisra’ĕl, then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil matter, and you shall stone to death that man or woman with stones” (Deut 17:2-5)

So as you can see, this is a very serious matter in the eyes of the one who has the power to totally destroy your soul. To those who say that it is just some innocent fun, are those who do not have any regard for the Word of the Almighty and will be held accountable for those actions.

Those who love the Creator will cease from any such evil celebrations and rather walk in all the Commands of YHWH. Those who claim that it is innocent fun, or that the “kids will not understand” etc, are those who do not have a love for the Word of YHWH and are not His followers.