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Should Christians Celebrate BIRTHDAYS?
Good News Magazine
May 1957
Volume: Vol VI, No. 5
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Should Christians Celebrate BIRTHDAYS?
Kenneth C Herrmann   
Church of God

Born: 1924
Died: 2006
Member Since: 1949
Ambassador College: 1953

Why does the Bible omit mention of the birthdates of such men as Abraham, Moses and even Jesus Christ? Is the day of one's birth of any great importance? Here's the surprising answer!

   SEARCH your Bible! How many birthday celebrations do you find?
   That of a Pharaoh who celebrated his birthday by hanging his chief baker (Gen. 40). And a second, Herod's birthday birthday celebration at which John the Baptist beheaded (Matt. 14:6).
   Only two definite birthday celebrations in the entire Bible!
   Not a single mention is ever made of the exact date in terms of the month and day upon which any individual was born! Isn't all this strange in the light of the popular modern practice? Birthdays seem to have little importance in God's eyes!
   The sons of Job may also have been observing their birthdays, though there is uncertainty as to whether these "days" (Job 1:4) they met on were really birthdays. Job actually cursed his birthdate! (Job 3:1).
   It was to show His death that Christ commanded His disciples to continue in the observance of the Passover. NO MENTION OF THE DATE OF JESUS' BIRTH AS A HUMAN BEING IS FOUND. Certainly your birthdate is not as important as His!
   Why did God the Father intend that Jesus' birthdate should be forgotten but that man should remember the date of His death? Is it hard to believe, "the day of death... is better... than the day of one's birth"?

Attached to This World

   We live in a world today that is geared to the Roman calendar. We remember the date of our birth, pay our taxes and have our tombstones engraved with the day we die all in accord with this pagan Roman system of calculating time.
   Have we forgotten we are commanded to come out of this world?
   In following these customs we are obliged to make use of this Roman system of time with its Pagan designations: SUNday, MOONday, TIUSday, WODENday, THORSday, JANUary, FEBRUary, etc. In many business matters we must regard January 1 as the beginning of a new year. Think back. Doesn't January 1 completely overshadow in your mind the date when the true new year really begins?
   Probably ONLY A HANDFUL OF YOU WILL TAKE NOTE AT SUNSET ON THE EVENING OF APRIL 8 THIS YEAR that A NEW YEAR, AS GOD REVEALED IT, IS BEGINNING. April 9 is the anniversary of the date about which the Eternal spoke to the children of Israel, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
   Thirteen days after the first day of God's new year we are to remember rhe date of death of Jesus Christ. Is it strange that His DEATHdate and not His BIRTHdate should be remembered?
   How hard Satan has worked to substitute his Roman calendar, his first day of the week, his midnight beginning for a day, his emphasis on men's birthdates so man might forget the day of death of Christ, our Passover!
   How completely has Satan succeeded in convincing men that Easter is the resurrection date, that Sunday is the Sabbath!
   Consider the tactics of your enemy. Satan's work of deception extends into every field of endeavor, every practice, every custom, everything we deal with in life. His efforts are continually directed to provide a counterfeit for every practice that God has ordained, a perversion of every true way; a wrong way suited to every whim of carnal human nature.

What Is the Correct Attitude?

   We are prone, like the world, to overemphasize the date one is born into this carnal life. When one repents, turns to God's true way, receives God's Spirit and then death overtakes him before Christ comes ISN'T THIS MAN'S DAY OF DEATH MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH? This man, though dead, has completed his time of trial and testing. Eternal life, a position as ruler, awaits him at the resurrection!
   Paul writes, upon nearing death, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Tim. 4:7, 8).
   The day Paul began his carnal life as a baby could hardly be compared in importance with the day he, at death, made certain his reward by enduring the problems and trials of a Christian life to the end.
   A child's life does not begin with birth. Rather, at birth he is about nine months old and about ready to begin his training in the mastery of his emotions, his lusts and desires under the guiding hands of his parents.
   Japanese count a man's age from the time of conception rather than birth.
   A single Greek word is translated both BORN and BEGOTTEN in our English translations of the Bible and the difference may be understood only from the context. No distinction is made of the moment of birth. The single word fathered could have been used to carry the intended meaning in English. Preserving one's genealogy was important, but the date on which one was born was considered of little account.

A New Birth Date

   Our present mortal existence is but one of dust kept alive by the breath of life, the oxygen we breathe in and which our bloodstream carries to all parts of the body. The moment of conception and of the birth of this mortal life are of little importance compared to our new birth into God's kingdom.
   In sharp contrast to the complete absence of any mortal man's birthdate in the Bible, we do find the command to commemorate the day which pictures the first "harvest of souls" the time when immortal Sons of God will be born! This day pictures not only our spiritual birthday but the day of conception as well!
   "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." "You must be born again." For Christians the moment of conception of this new life is the time they receive God's Spirit as a begettal to eternal Spirit life. Now turn to Acts 2. For many in 31 A.D., the time of spiritual conception was the Day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2.
   For some it was then three years after their repentance and baptism for others only months or days. It is not our baptism day then that is to be remembered year by year, but the Day of Pentecost which is set aside as the memorial of conception of all God's children, the moment of the beginning of their Spiritual life.
   But conception only begins our life. We must yet be born! Paul writes, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth until Christ be formed in you." (Gal. 4: 19). We must grow from conception, from the moment God implants His Spirit in us. We must be born immortal. That moment, then, will be the day of our new birth. This is the day of birth Satan would like to cover up by emphasis on the day of your birth into this physical life.
   It is the Feast of Pentecost which commemorates the first harvest, the spring harvest that commemorates in advance the time when Christians will be reaped into the Kingdom of God and freed from this mortal earthly body in which they have been developing and growing to be like God. For those Christians in their graves it will be a moment of awakening. They will come up out of their graves, children of the earth and children of God!
   The new birth is again emphasized by the Feast of Trumpets which pictures the Day of the Lord and the return of Christ at the "seventh trumpet" to raise the "first fruits" of God's creation.

Why Birthdays?

   The basic purpose of observing birthdays is to keep track of one's age. How important are mere years! Is there not something MORE IMPORTANT than having achieved only another birthday?
   Consider the case of Job. He was a middle-aged man, proud of his years, righteous in the eyes of all; even Satan could find no fault.
   God brought him down to repentance by showing His great might compared to Job's, by showing the contrast in wisdom, in understanding. But first Job had to receive wisdom from a comparative youth.
   Study Job, chapters 32 through 38. Before Job could have the personal interview with God that he demanded, he had to have his sins laid bare by a youth. This young man, Elihu, had good manners. He "had waited till Job [and the Others] had spoken, because they were older than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men... [he] said, I am young, and ye are very old: wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said, 'Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.'"
   Put yourself in Job's position. God was bringing him down. A youth, strangely enough, gives words of wisdom. A man of years listens.
   The speech of the Eternal out of the whirlwind which follows contains no rebuke for this young man. Job repented. His three friends offered sacrifices for their own folly.
   Isn't there a lesson here for those of us who count our wisdom by our age? "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." (Prov. 16:31). Here is a different attitude toward age. The multitude of years should teach wisdom, the aged should understand judgment. We should be better qualified to teach wisdom each year. But are we?
   Ought we not to look back year by year with a feeling of regret rather than pride? We have not learned the wisdom or acquired the knowledge and understanding that we might.
   If we had only applied ourselves more diligently. If we had only begun earlier in life to fear God, to keep His commandments, to recognize human nature for what it is. Then our years could be a thing to look back over with joy and with a right kind of pride.
   What is this mortal life anyway? Of what lasting significance is a birthdate? None!

God's Calendar for Birthdays?

   A few moments spent considering God's Sacred Calendar should make it clear why the practice of birthday observance among God's people would be impossible. Have you pitied the "unfortunate" individual who was born on February 29 and could receive gifts and congratulations only once every four years? Then consider that the length of three months of the God's Sacred Calendar varies from year to year, having 29 and 30 days after a rather complicated pattern. Three times as many individuals would be affected.
   A still greater deterrent to annual birthday observance is the insertion of a 13th month in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years of the present 19-year cycle. The single irregularity of February 29 of the Roman calendar affects but one individual in 1461. The irregularities of God's Calendar would affect the birthday observance of one person in every eight.
   It is true that some Jewish people continue to observe birthdays and other anniversaries with God's Calendar. A rather intricate set of carnal human rules governs whether to move the celebration ahead or back one day, or back one month in the absence of the 13th month. Differing regulations are applied and the practice is not uniformly followed by all. But Christians follow God, not Jews who have adopted pagan customs!
   The use of the God-given calendar actually deprives one person in eight of the pride and pleasure of having a regular day once a year on which to practice idleness and overindulgence!

Keeping God's Holydays

   But, you might ask, doesn't this pattern in God's Calendar make His annual Holydays difficult to keep also? NOT AT ALL. Every one of these Holydays comes during the first seven months of the year. These first seven months never change in length. The 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th months always have 30 days; the even numbered months coming between, but 29 days. Even the last month of the year, whether it be a twelfth or thirteenth month, has always a regular 29 day length.
   Thus an eight month section of God's Sacred Calendar is free of irregularities eliminating any chance for confusion as to when the Holydays are to be kept!
   Here is the solution to our problem. We have no difficulty knowing which day is the Sabbath. Gods Holydays in term of the Roman calendar are published in The GOOD NEWS and in a calendar distributed to our Church members. The same dates for these Holydays are also found in your Bible in terms of God's Calendar.
   But no scripture anywhere commands us to observe any dates other than God's Sabbath and His Holydays. To celebrate birthdays is to add to the law and whoever does chat will be added to the Lake of Fire!

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Good News MagazineMay 1957Vol VI, No. 5
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