1. Some quote from the early Roman Catholic church fathers, like
ORIGEN, who wrote:
"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 rejoicing over the day in which
they were born into this world."
1. Who was this man Origen? Was he Moses? Was he David? Was
he Elijah? Was he Peter or Paul? No! He was an apostate from
the true Church of God, a minister of the synagogue of Satan, a
founding leaders in the organization that became the Woman Whore
of Revelation, that is drunk on the blood of the saints of God.
He understood the truth of the Eternal about as well as Simon
Magus in the book of Acts.
Origen loved from 184-254 AD, in Alexandria, Egypt. He had a
school there. He did not believe the Bible was the infallible
word of God and he felt free to change it if he didn't like what
it said. He did write commentaries on most of the books of the
Bible. Notice what the New Standard Encyclopedia, vol.9 pg.0-155,
says: "One of the most notable of Origen's ideas was his Logos
doctrine. This idea had been expressed in John 1:1-5 and in other
Christian writings but Origen gave it the fullest treatment. In
Greek philosophy Logos was the name of the divine principle of
creation and rational world order. Origen applied the principle
to Christ's person and work. Subordinating the Son to the Father,
he treated Christ as the Logos (created by God) who brings reason
to the world. In this treatment he neglected the figure of Jesus
Christ as a man who lived and taught on earth. This doctrine
provided the foundation for the fourth century Arian Doctrine."
Origen taught that Jesus was a created being, created by the
Father God. He did not even believe that Jesus lived physically
on this earth. There are many contradictions in the writings of
Origen turning nearly all Bible events into allegories
wrote: "The Scriptures are little use to those who understand
them as they are written" (McClintock and Strong, Art,
"Origen" ). Origen was a student of Clement, and through him he
learned the teachings of the Gnostic heresy and like his master,
lightly esteemed the historical basis of the Bible. As Schaff
says: "His predilection for Plato (the pagan philosopher) led him
into many grand and fascinating errors" (Church History, vol.2,
p.791). Origen made himself acquainted with the various heresies
and studied under the heathen Ammonius Saccas, founder of
Neo-Platonism. He taught that the soul existed from eternity
before it inhabited the body, and that after death, it migrated
to a higher or lower form of life according to the deeds done in
the body; finally all found return to the state of pure
intelligence, only to begin again the same cycles as before. He
believed that the devils would be saved, and that the stars and
the planets had souls, and were, like men, on trial to learn
perfection. If fact he turned the whole law and Gospels into an
Origenism flooded the Roman Catholic Church through Jerome,
who worshipped at his feet, and wrote: "I love...the name of
Origen... I will not listen to the notion that so great a soul
was lost" (Dr. Newman, Apologia, chapter 7, p.282).
As one studies these so-called early "Church Fathers" one
can see they were FAR from being true ministers of the true God.
They had little bits of truth here and there, and that is often
how Satan works, but overall they were deceived heretics, who had
some pretty wild and crazy ideas at times, founded upon the
philosophies and reasoning of the world.
2. Did Origen ever write a full in-depth study article
carefully expounding from the word of God as to WHY the
celebration of some loved one's birthday is evil or sin? Not
that I know of. He just like many others jumped to wrong
conclusions by a lack of serious study of the word of the Lord.
3. God the Father held a celebration with joy together with
the host of heaven, some lowly shepherds and some rich wise kings
of the East, at the birthday of Immanuel when He was born into
the world of flesh and blood. And God the Father is NO SINNER!!
2. Others may say we have no example of Christ celebrating
birthdays in any way.
Just because Christ in the gospels is not recorded as
"doing" something DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY make what is not
recorded WRONG/EVIL/ or SIN!
Can you find in the gospels where Christ is recorded as
DANCING? No, you cannot! Does that mean "dancing" is per se wrong
Can you find where Jesus ever played a musical instrument?
No, you can not find it! Does that mean playing a musical
instrument is sin per se?
Can you find where Christ ever attended, on an annual basis,
as a custom, something like the "World Series" of the Baseball of
His day? No, it is not there, nothing like that is recorded!
Does the attending and having a celebration of joy with an event
like the "Super Bowl" or "Rose Bowl" game each year, constitute
evil or sin per se?
Maybe we have some off the wall fanatical "religious" person
out there who will say yes to the above, and that such are sin.
Well as they say, it takes all kinds to make the world go around.
Can you find Jesus attending and celebrating a person's
"wedding anniversary"? No, you can not! Does that mean
celebrating wedding anniversaries per se are evil or sin?
Are you getting the point? Are you understanding a very
important Bible principle and truth?
The word of the Lord is not a textbook on EVERYTHING! The
word says nothing about the car you are driving, or should buy.
It says nothing about the Internet, if it is evil per se. It says
little or nothing about societies changing customs from age to
age or nation to nation, as to their evil or good per se. Some
people have formed themselves into groups that will not use the
radio, TV, car, and a whole host of other things because they
said such modern change of custom was evil, and not of the Bible.
The word gives the basic Holy Commandments of the Lord and
says they will never change, they are good for all peoples of all
nations, everywhere. But a custom introduced in some age of using
a Microwave oven to cook in, instead of a wood camp fire, is not
mentioned as being evil or good per se. A nation that decides to
stop eating with "chop sticks" and use instead the "knife and
fork" at some point in history is not mentioned in the Bible as
being good or evil per se. A nation of people that have had
a certain custom for centuries and then decide to stop practicing
that custom for whatever reasons, is not mentioned in the Bible
as being either good or evil. On the other hand a people that
never observed a certain practice, like setting aside a day to
thank the secretaries of the land, and call it "Secretary's Day"
and then do decide to observe such a custom, is not mentioned as
being evil or good per se in the Bible.
Get the point? There are many things in life that God does
not say anything about, as to whether they are sin or evil per
se. Some customs come and some customs go for different reasons
within different societies over long or short period of time. If
the word of God has no DIRECT command against such customs then a
person needs to go very slow indeed in claiming such practices
are evil or sin. The principles of this article should apply in
such cases - if it's not from paganism to be used to directly
worship God with, then great care should be taken before
declaring such a custom is sin.
3. As birthday celebrations are a tradition and custom of a
nation or society (some nations may not have such a custom I
would guess) then often Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7 are given as
proof we should not observe, for it would be vain worship.
As covered in this article, the celebrating of a loved one's
birthday is usually a private family (close association group)
matter. Usually very personal. And is not done as some kind of
religious festival or worship service to directly say you are
obeying and worshipping God, by keeping His commandments. For God
has said nothing in His commandments one way or the other
regarding "birthday celebrations."
Like eating meat or not eating meat, both are acceptable
with God. You can eat meat or not eat meat, the Lord will accept
you whichever you decide. It makes no difference in your right
standing with Him as to which you choose to practice. God does
not command you to do either.
So it is with celebrating birthdays. God does not command
you to celebrate a birthday. But He also does not tell you in His
word that it is a sin or something evil or an abomination if you
do decide to celebrate a birthday of a loved one. He leaves it to
you. Whether you do or do not is your free choice within the law
of God. It is your freedom in Christ. God accepts him who does
and He accepts him who does not.
When you understand the truth of the matter, that nowhere
does God condemn or say it is sin to celebrate birthdays, it
COULD, in a particular situation become WRONG for you NOT TO
celebrate a birthday! For it is written, "Render.....tribute to
whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear,
honor to whom honor" (Rom.13:7). If you are in a country that
greatly honors BIRTHDAYS, it is very important to celebrate
loved one's birthdays, they make a big thing about it, THEN you
knowing it is not condemned as sin by God, would be wrong if you
did not honor their custom.
There are many different customs in many different nations
that come and go, stay for a period of time only or stay for
centuries, and many of those customs many not violate any law of
God. They are not condemned by God, and He leaves it to the
nation of people to do it or not to do it, for a short or long
period of time. And in the case of eating meat or not eating meat
it is an individual matter, within whatever the general practice
is of the country you live in. Because one nation for centuries
does not practice a certain custom does not automatically mean
that custom is sin in the eyes of the Eternal. Sin is defined by
the word of the Lord NOT by what some nation for centuries does
or does not do.
Just because it was not the national custom to practice
birthday celebrations in ancient Israel, does not mean that makes
it automatically sin. They did not celebrate wedding
anniversaries either in ancient Israel, nor did they have grade
12 graduation celebrations, but that does not automatically make
such celebrations, sin. The Jews normally celebrated a wedding
for 7 days, with lots of wine and dancing. Does that make it
righteous just because ancient Israel did it. Does that fact of
Israel having such a wedding custom for centuries like that, make
it evil or sin for some other nation NOT to have the same custom,
but only celebrate a wedding for one day, and not seven, and
perhaps drink no wine?
The Lord says nothing per se about wedding celebrations and
how long they were to last, with certain activities
(wine/dancing/singing etc.) during that event. It was left for
the people of the nations to decide for themselves, of course
within the law of God, if you were a nation under God.
Such customs and traditions did not nullify or "do away
with" any law or commandment of God. It was freedom WITHIN the
law of God!
If the Jews decided after centuries of observing weddings
with a 7 days celebration, to now only have a two-hour
celebration, with no dancing or wine, would that CHANGE in custom
automatically mean it was now evil and sin? If the Jews after
centuries of not observing wedding anniversaries, now decided to
observe such an event, would that by itself mean it was now sin
to celebrate such times? So likewise, after centuries of not
observing birthdays of loved ones by the Jews, they now decide to
observe such days, does not make those celebrations evil per se.
The world does CHANGE, things are not as they were in Abraham's
day, nor in the days when Jesus walked this earth. The world
changes and customs change, and NOT ALL of those changes are
EVIL. God changed the law of circumcision under the NT age, so
also the law of Jerusalem being the center of worship, and the
Levitical priesthood was also changed. Change from time to time
in ways of practice in a nation or with a people, is not
automatically sin. A nation of people moving from not observing
birthdays to observing birthdays, does not of and by itself mean
sin has been committed.
Now to specifically answer Matt.15:9 and Mark 7:7.
Please follow the important rule of study - read the
CONTEXT. The scribes and the Pharisees had introduced customs
and traditions that they taught their followers WERE TO DIRECTLY
WORSHIP GOD WITH. These ways of worship towards God were actually
"doing away with" some of the clear commandments of the Lord.
They were claiming these ways "worshipped" the Lord. Jesus said
they were HYPOCRITES! Their form of worship towards God was all
lip service while their heart was far from the truth. These
customs being discussed that were man made, were being used to
effect worship with God., while they nullified the Lord's
commandments that came first.
This form of worship towards God was truly in VAIN and was
But as I have stated before, I know of no one nor any
religious group, that teaches the observance of celebrating a
birthday of a loved one, is a religious form of direct worship
towards God, the same as worshipping God on the Sabbath day.
As before stated, birthday celebrations are personal private
celebrations of thanksgiving towards the human person you love,
and for what they mean to you in your life. Certainly you may
also thank God for giving them birth and giving them life, and
giving them to you to have and to love, but you are not directly
effecting worship towards God by honoring their life on their
birthday. It is not at all the same as worshipping God on the
weekly Sabbath and Holy Festival seasons of the year.
We do not use "Secretary's Day" of appreciation (maybe with
a card and flowers) to effect direct worship towards God.
So it is with birthday celebrations.
Then also, the celebrating of birthdays does not make the
"commandments of God of none effect" for it does not nullify nor
is it against any command of the Lord, as there is no command of
God that says, "you shall not celebrate the day of your loved
4. It is often argued that Christian "Church History" does not
record the early Christians celebrating on a wide scale -
Christian Church History also does not record early
Christians as a whole, observing "Wedding Anniversaries" -
"Mother's Day" - "Father's Day" - "Grandparent's Day" or
"Secretary's Day." Nor does it record them observing the feast
of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, or the Feast of Tabernacles.
And come to think of it, it does not record them observing
the 4th of July. It also does not record them observing Martin
Luther King Jr. Day either, on January 19th.
When we understand that Christian Church History is a record
in the main, the vast main, of the Mother of harlots and her
daughters who came out of her, then we will see little is
recorded in any detail as to how the true Church of God, lived,
taught, and practiced in their daily life. Then again even within
the true Church of God, customs and practices that are within the
liberty that is in Christ Jesus, are allowed to change, come
and go, as dictated by the ever moving and to some degree ever
changing, world and societies of the nations down through the
ages of time.
Jesus prayed that His disciples would not be taken "out of
the world" but be "kept from the evil that is in the world." I
hope you have seen in this long and painstaking study from the
Bible, that birthday celebrations per se are not evil.
Written November 1995. Appendix was revised in January 1998.