Update

June 3, 2012

Dear Readers,

I have not posted in quite some time as you may have already noticed, but know that I have read the comments and responded accordingly as time has gone by. I am a Full-time university student and am employed as well as busy with my Christian obligations 🙂 so I am a fairly busy person! I have seen that there are quite a handful of views each day (to say the least!) and it pleases me to know that the posts may be helpful to you all. At this time I would like to ask that if you, readers, have a question or topic in mind that you’d like to see a post about, please comment this post. I will try to post soon after choosing a topic requested.

Thank you all for your comprehension.

Don’t forget to read the Bible daily and ask Jehovah God for his guidance in your prayers daily 🙂

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Because I give priority to Comments who ask a genuine question with interest of knowing more about JWs, I have postponed the post about Why JW’s do not accept blood transfusions. I will probably make that the next post, if I don’t have any questions for a while on the subject of this post or any other questions for that matter.

This in regards to the comment by “Cristin” regarding the last post (“…it was not the birthday that caused the murder, but the poor judgement of those individuals”).

If you look at the post I wrote, I mentioned the main reasons Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. Other than because of the two accounts in the Bible concerning birthdays, I had also mentioned that “through history we have learned their origins are also pagan.” The origins of birthdays were also directly linked to astrology (horoscopes and fortune telling). The1991 edition of the Encyclopedia Americana also states: “The keeping of birthday records was important in ancient times principally because a birth date was essential for the casting of a horoscope.” What does the Bible teach about God’s opinion of astrology? To give a little background on the scripture I am about to put here, Babylon was an ancient city in biblical times that was destroyed by Jehovah because it was full of pagan practices, etc etc (basically a city that went against Jehovah God and committed many horrendous things such as selling their children’s bodies for what you can imagine, murder of the God-fearing people, and worshiped false gods that they had made up themselves). The Bible sometimes illustrates Babylon as a prostitute woman, for many reasons, including the dominant practice of it, and unfaithfulness religiously speaking (what I mean by that is how some Israelites had left their “fidelity” to Jehovah God and became pagan and joined the people of Babylon in their practices). Isaiah 47 talks about Jehovah vowing to destroy the city of Babylon (a prophecy), and of course the Babylonians. Jehovah said that not only would he bring the end to them, but that Babylon would NEVER again be inhabited by man. And that was exactly what happened, Babylon even today still lies in complete ruins, and has never been inhabited by anyone since its destruction. Isaiah 47:12-14A (my explanations in blue) says, “Stand still, now, with your spells and with the abundance of your sorceries(magic, which was something that the people of Babylon practiced), in which you have toiled from your youth; that perhaps you might be able to benefit, that perhaps you might strike people with awe. 13 You have grown weary with the multitude of your counselors. Let them stand up, now, and save you, the worshipers of the heavens(this does not mean worshipers of Jehovah, because if they were worshipers of him exclusively, he would have said something like “my worshipers”, and we know that the people of Babylon did not worship him anyway), the lookers at the stars, those giving out knowledge at the new moons concerning the things that will come upon you (reference to astrology- horoscopes & fortunetellers). 14 Look! They have become like stubble. A fire itself will certainly burn them up….”.

Please understand that the tone in Isaiah 47: 13 when Jehovah says “Let them stand up, now, and save you” is sarcastic, because of course they could not be saved, just as verse 15 clarifies where Jehovah says to Babylon, “There will be no one to save you”.

It should not surprise us then, that the Israelites who were faithful to Jehovah did not celebrate birthdays, because it was a pagan practice, and directly related to astrology, which Jehovah has always detested. So it’s not just because of the two accounts in the Bible where innocent people were murdered, that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays, but also because of their direct origins, which I have now elaborated on. The World Book Encyclopedia (Volume III, pg 416) also mentions that The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.

It may also be of interest to some that the Catholic Encyclopedia (and anyone can look up this information if they are in doubt) says: “The writings of the early third century Catholic theologian Origen of Alexandria show that, even that late, Orthodox Catholics were against the celebration of birthdays.” and “Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday”. Origen also wrote himself: ” 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”. And, the writings of the late third century Catholic theologian Arnobius show that, even that late, Catholics objected to 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.”

Cristin also asked why JWs don’t attend funerals. (To read the following scriptures that I only put in parenthesis so that you can read them, I have indicated them in blue but you may click the following image to read them through the Bible directly, online!)

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I’d like to clarify for Cristin, and everyone else who may have been under a similar impression, that Jehovah’s Witnesses do attend and make funerals. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 states that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about.” In view of all mankind’s dying condition, the heart of the wise ones is shown to be “in the house of mourning” rather than in the banquet house. (Eclesiastes 7:2, 4) Thus, the wise person makes use of his/her opportunity to express sympathy and give comfort, instead of ignoring such an occasion. This helps him to keep in mind his own mortal state and to keep his heart in a right attitude toward his Creator, and life.

Death, like birth, is considered by many people to be a transition; one who dies moves from the visible world into the invisible realm of the spirits of the dead. Many believe that unless certain funeral customs and rites are performed at a person’s death, the ancestor spirits, who are believed to have the power to punish or reward the living, will be angered. This belief greatly influences the way funerals are arranged and conducted.
Funerals that are intended to appease the dead often involve a whole range of emotions—from frantic wailing and shouting in the presence of the corpse to joyous festivities after the burial. Unrestrained feasting, drunkenness, often characterize such funeral celebrations. So much importance is attached to funerals that even the poorest of families often make great effort to gather enough funds to provide “a fitting burial,” though it might bring hardship and debt.
Throughout the years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have thoroughly exposed unscriptural funeral customs. Such customs include wakes, the pouring of libations, talking to and making requests of the dead, ceremonious observances of funeral anniversaries, and other customs based on the belief that something in a person survives death. Such customs dishonor God because they are an “empty deception” based on “the tradition of men” and not on God’s Word of truth. (Colossians 2:8) Jehovah’s Witnesses do not perform funerals with the erroneous idea of sending the deceased off to another world. Rather than to benefit the deceased, the main purpose of having a memorial service is to comfort the bereaved and to give a witness (which is to teach those who are not aware of what the Bible says, with the Bible) concerning the condition of the dead to those who attend. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Another important reason for having a funeral is to help all in attendance to reflect on the transitoriness of life. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

If the funeral was to be for someone who was not a Jehovah’s Witness: If the deceased had a good reputation in the community, a brother might give a comforting Bible talk at the funeral home or graveside. The congregation will decline to handle a funeral for one who was known for immoral, unlawful conduct or whose life-style grossly conflicted with Bible principles. A brother certainly would not share with a clergyman in conducting an interfaith service nor in any funeral conducted in a church of another faith not of Jehovah’s Witnesses (for future reference, we call our place of worship a Kingdom Hall, not “church”, just so you know when you pass by one and wonder why it says “Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses”, or in Spanish if that is a commonly practiced language in your community, “Salon del Reino de los Testigos de Jehova”). Ordinarily, Kingdom Halls are not used for funerals of unbelievers. An exception might be made if surviving family members are actively associated as baptized publishers, the deceased was known by a fair number in the congregation to have had a favorable attitude toward the truth and a good reputation for upright conduct in the community, and no customs that go against what the Bible teaches are incorporated into the program.
After long thought about the question made in the comment concerning funerals, I have come to conclude that perhaps the reason for why Cristin believed that we do not go to funerals was that she was thinking of JWs not going to funerals in other churches/with religions that of course are not JWs. This is mainly because there may be customs incorporated into those funerals that do not go along with what God says in His Word and there are other beliefs of what happens to the dead (for instance, the belief that everyone who dies goes to heaven, babies become angels, that it was God who took the person’s life away, or that there are people who go to “hell” for being “bad” where they are to be tormented. The Bible does not support any of these ideas. If anyone wishes to know what the Bible says happens to the dead, please do comment and I will be more than happy to write a post on the subject).

However, JWs do not “condemn” other JWs if they choose to assist a funeral of another church if the deceased was a family member who was not a JW. In this case, it all depends on that JW if they will go or not. It is a question of conscience, if they feel alright about going to it, considering everything I wrote above on this subject. Most prefer to not go but instead visit the family’s of the deceased or go to the burial, but if a Jehovah’s Witness decides to attend the funeral that takes place in a church of another faith, fellow JWs respect the individual’s decision, as long as the JW does not participate in any of the customs that do not go along with what Jehovah says.

I’d like to thank Cristin very much for taking the time to make her comment so that I would be able to help clarify, and I hope I have answered the questions thoroughly enough. And as always, I welcome everyone to leave a comment if they want further clarification or have other questions.

Everything in the Bible has been written for a reason, and thankfully, Jehovah has made sure that birthdays be mentioned in his word. Birthdays are mentioned twice in the Bible:

In Genesis 40:20-22, we read about a Pharaoh’s  birthday. At his birthday, he (the Pharaoh) takes two of his servants out from jail: the head of the cupbearers (which are those who would place a cup in Pharaoh’s hand), and the head of the bakers. However, Pharaoh was not being a “hero” by taking them out of jail, as he was the one who put them there in the first place. He put the head of the cupbearers back to his position as he who would put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But, as we read in verse 22, the head of bakers was hung.

For those of you who are wondering what the end of verse 22 (“…just as Joseph had given them the interpretation.”) is talking about, Joseph was a faithful servant of Jehovah who was given the ability to interpret dreams. In summary, while the men were in prison, they both had strange dreams and could not understand what they meant but knew they had to mean something. Joseph interprets their dreams for them and basically tells the head of cupbearers that he would return to his post, while the head of bakers would be killed.

The other case mentioned in the Bible is found in  Matthew 14: 6-10. When King Herods was celebrating his birthday, Herodias’s daughter danced for Herods. Because he enjoyed her dance so much, he told her infront of everyone in attendance that whatever she wanted, he would give to her. She asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. John the Baptist, for those who do not know,  was an excellent, God-fearing man (after all, he was the one who was chosen to baptize Jesus!). Herods knew that the request was a horrible thing to execute, but because he was the king and had said to the girl that he would do whatever she asked in front of everyone, he didn’t want the people to think less of him as king for not going through with his promise. John, in prison for being faithful to Jehovah, was beheaded in prison and his head was put on the platter and taken to the girl just as she had requested.

Now, what did both accounts have in common? They resulted in murder. And in the second case, we see that John the Baptist was beheaded! A faithful servant to Jehovah! Innocent yet killed in this brutal matter because the dancer’s mother did not like John/did not share his faith, so she took that chance to have him killed even though the king was saddened that this was the request. Because these two accounts (the one found in Genesis and the one found in Matthew) are the only instances where birthdays are mentioned in the Bible, and because both times birthdays are very evidently portrayed as a celebration resulting in murder and injustice, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays.

Some of you may be thinking, “But that was a long time ago. People don’t send for others to be killed at birthday parties anymore.” While we don’t hear of things like this happening at all birthday parties of course, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we refrain from celebrating birthdays because we feel that Jehovah does not approve of this celebration due to those two accounts recorded in the Bible, and through history we have learned their origins are also pagan.

Does that mean Jehovah’s Witnesses never give their children gifts or throw them parties? Absolutely not! If anything, I genuinely believe that no other people have more parties than we do, which also includes throwing parties for children, and giving them gifts! The Bible does not condemn having fun! And we also value children very much. We sometimes organize surprise parties for the children to show them more than we already do just how much we care about them and how proud we are of them, where we also do give them gifts. Or, sometimes parents give their children gifts on a random day with the same purpose.  Aren’t good surprises when you least expect them, fun? And then there’s graduations, whether its from Pre-school, elementary, junior high/middle school, high school, college, etc etc. We like to show children that we are proud of their efforts and accomplishments. That’s not to say only children have parties thrown for them, adults too! Maybe someone just received a new privilege in the congregation, or maybe we want to say thank you in another way other than words to those who help the congregation… what better way then to throw them a party?

I hope this post has answered the question, Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate birthdays? satisfactorily for everyone!

Sorry for the delay in the post being put up,
it seems I had pressed “Save Draft” instead of “Publish” without realizing it!

Update

June 14, 2009

Hello, all.

I wanted to take the time to extend my apologies to all of you for not putting the post I said I was going to. You’re probably wondering what happened. Aside from having Finals Week, my computer was also having a lot of trouble, making it impossible for me to make the post. I have finally gotten things to work here and I hope to do the post within the next few days now that everything seems to be squared away with this computer. Thank you all for continuing to visit this blog. Your support is very much appreciated and I must say that I have missed this blog.

Again, I am so Sorry about the post, and thank you for your patience!!! Cannot wait to put up the promised post!

New Post Announcement

June 2, 2009

Hello Everyone!

I hope you don’t think I abandoned this blog. The truth is there just hadn’t been enough votes on the poll.

The whole point of the poll was to get everyone’s input on what they would like to know more about.

That said, there have finally been more votes, and it looks like the next topic will be why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Birthdays.

I am having a final tomorrow (I am a college student) and next week I have the rest of my finals, but I will try to make the post by the end of this week hopefully! So stay tuned for that and I hope everyone has been doing well and is eager to read the post coming up.

A HUGE Thank You to all who participated in the poll!

Also, this is not to say that the poll is over. Please do keep using it so I (or rather, all of you) can choose what the next topic will be after the one coming up!

Polls

May 11, 2009

Almost a full week has passed and yet there has only been one vote on the new poll. Because of the purpose of it, I am urging you all to please vote for one of the choices or give some sort of input. I cannot guess what you would all be interested to know about or what you are maybe a bit confused on, and the poll is one way to help address that, so please have that in mind and more importantly, participate.

Thank You.

Next Post

May 6, 2009

Hello Everyone,

I was thinking of what to make my next post about, but I couldn’t decide on what to write about that you all would be interested in. So, I made a new poll (located on the right) and I am asking that you all vote one of the questions so I can write in response to whatever is voted most on. If you don’t choose one of those questions, then I strongly encourage you to leave a comment on this post to let me know what you want to know.

Thank you all for reading.

If you are interested in looking at another blog which I personally find very good and appreciate which is by another JW, you may visit http://www.waitingforthekingdom.blogspot.com/

Dear Readers,

It has come to my attention that there are some who have things to say which are more directed towards me that aren’t exactly appropriate to approve ( I am talking about comments). There were two in particular that I received today (which I have not approved in respect to them because I am writing about their comments), and I tried to e-mail the two people but one of the e-mails I sent was sent back to me because the e-mail provided was fake. If you have something to say towards me that will make me want to reply, PLEASE DO provide an e-mail address that is valid so that I may get back to you. Otherwise, I have no idea if you will get my reply to your comments. Also, if you would like clarification on something written in a post here, please do write a valid e-mail address in your comment too so I can e-mail you with the clarification. I will not approve a comment regarding clarification if the e-mail is in it, for your protection, unless you specifically say that it is alright with you that I make the comment viewable.

This does not apply to regular comments and/or questions that any of you may have about certain topics, such as wanting a post written to get the Bible’s perspective on certain things (and basically things that fall under what I initially said could be commented about so that I could write posts in regards to requests).

When reading this blog, it is absolutely essential that the posts be read carefully and completely . I have received comments that try to “accuse” me of things that aren’t true, due to the fact that they have not even read the posts in their entirety, otherwise they would know their comments don’t make sense and they are making false accusations which would be cleared up if they would just read the post instead of a few words. While I am on the subject of things that aren’t true, someone implied that I might be receiving some sort of monetary profit of some sort, so before anyone else asks about it, I want to make it clear that I do not receive any monetary  compensation/profits nor am I asking for any. I did not make this blog in hopes of  getting anything of any kind, and I think it’s very unfortunate that there was someone who would think otherwise.

“Hate mail” (or should I say comments and not mail?) is UNWELCOME here. In my very first post I made it clear that that was not what this blog was for.
Now, about RSS readers. I have received a few comments saying that this blog has been added to their RSS readers, and I would like to say that I am very grateful and think it is amazing. However, there was one comment from someone saying that they didn’t understand how to add the blog to their RSS reader. I am sorry to say that I do not know how to do that, otherwise I would write a little tutorial of some sort to help. So, if anyone who has added this blog or any blog to their RSS reader successfully, I would very much appreciate it if you could write a comment explaining how it is done so that those who want to add this blog to their RSS readers can learn how to.

Happy Reading and Thank You to all who read this blog 🙂 I sincerely hope that this is benefiting some of you out there.

“Mandyrene” asked this question some time ago in a coment:

“Has Satan and the demons (fallen angels), knowledge of the Bible by way of reading the scriptures and the written words of the prophets? Also, if they have or have not, please pass on any scripture knowledge that clarify your findings. This is of great interest to me, it leads to many questions being answered.”

I am sorry it took me a while to answer, but I wanted to make sure I was thorough enough, which I hope this post is!

In order to assist Satan in causing trouble here on Earth, it is logical that the demons (fallen angels; angels who took Satan’s side) would have to be able to see us humans, as well as hear us. We know that demons have certain abilities to do things physically (as was evident in Noah’s times when the bad angels who were on Satan’s side came down to Earth and materialized into human bodies to have sexual relations with the women of Earth as told in Genesis chapter 6, and also, Satan harmed Jehovah’s faithful servant Job’s family by killing all his children as indicates Job 1:18-19 when Satan causes the winds that are mentioned in those verses), so it wouldn’t necessarily be impossible for them to find a way to get a Bible to open and flip pages to read it. But, it is more likely that they would not want to do that, because it has Jehovah’s name in it and they are not on his side and don’t want to have anything to do with him because they know it is only a matter of time before they are destroyed for all the evil they have caused. And as James 2:19 says, “You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder”. They shudder just from the thought of what God has in store for them, because they know he is real and is true. It wouldn’t be necessary for them to read the Bible in order to know what is in it. Why? Going back to the story of Noah’s days, if you know the details of it, there were angels that had begun to notice the women of Earth (Genesis 6). This indicates (and therefore proves) that the angels (which later came to be called “demons” once they were thrown out of Heaven because of their complete rebellion) could see humans all the way from heaven. Because Satan and his demons roam the Earth 24/7 (if you’d like to think of it that way) it is completely possible, or I should say, they can surely see us and HEAR us speak of God’s word. When Satan and his demons were still able to go to Earth and back to Heaven as they pleased, they saw the Bible being written, so there is no doubt that they have thorough knowledge of it, which includes of course all the prophecies in it about what will happen to them. (ONE of these prophecies is at the end of this post…the one from Revelation)

Further proof that Satan knows what the Bible says:

When Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, Satan tried to tempt him three times. Matthew 4:5,6 talks about the second time he tried to tempt him: Then the Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him upon the battlement of the temple and said to him: “If you are a son of God, hurl yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels a charge concerning you, and they will carry you on their hands, that you may at no time strike your foot against a stone.’” Note, Satan said “for it is written”, showing he had knowledge of what the Bible says.

When Jesus lived here on Earth, on one occasion he expelled demons from two men. When he was expelling them from the men, “They screamed, saying: “What have we to do with you, Son of God? Did you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29).This indicates that they knew Jesus was Jehovah God’s son, but more importantly it is very clear that the demons were aware of the prophecy that said the time would come when they would be destroyed (and I say “more importantly” because this applies to the question at hand). As we know, the prophecy is found in the Holy Scriptures in Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10, so this also indicates that they had knowledge of the Bible and its prophecies.

I hope that answered your question, mandyrene, and I hope everyone who reads this blog found it to be easy to understand. If anyone needs clarification on something, please let me know. And, as always, I encourage each and every one of you to leave a comment if you would like, even to just say hello :), or to ask about something else you’d like to know about. I hope everyone is doing well!