by Baruch Ben Daniel & Natanel Alent
Most souls realize that birthday parties do not have their origin in Scripture or the Household of Faith, therefore those who celebrate birthdays have ultimately gone elsewhere to establish their authority, and of course minhagim (traditions) is how birthdays came about. One might think birthdays being such a trivial matter, don’t need to be judged by the Authority of Scripture or the Beit Din, the fact of the matter is, there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. The Disciples of Yeshua are entrusted to yield to Yeshua’s authority within each Prophetic and Torah based directive given by the Word of YHWH. We as a people do solely rely on His Authority to establish our halacha (how we walk) and minhagim (traditions). YHWH is One and His Name One. He is not divided in Himself and neither are we who walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh. There is no authority given in Torah or the Ketuvim Netzarim (writings of the Nazarenes) to celebrate birthdays, but all who walk by Faith in Yeshua must each year do battle against the rank paganism of the Christmas birth of Jesus/Tammuz and also witness the propping up of green trees commemorating the festival of a pagan deity.
There is no tradition in Judaism of celebrating birthdays, otherwise we would have a list of birthdays from Noah, Abraham to Moses, King David and many others, but no such thing exists. There are of course Sages who have suggested that certain individuals were born on Moedim (Feast Days) or important days of Israel’s history, however there are no “birthdays” within Judaism, Torah, the Ketuvim Netzarim or the Household of Israel.
Spiritual Jews do not celebrate their birthdays, counting our days is one thing, celebrating them the way the world does is yet another. The fact is the Tanak only mentions a birthday once, and that was the birthday of Pharaoh. It was Pharaoh whose whole life was set out for him in advance, who never seemed to have the will to do the right thing. He is the only one who celebrates a birthday in the Tanakh. Pharaoh shows a defiance for the things of YHWH, he is the epitome of a pagan, an enemy of YHWH and an enemy of the Israel of Elohim. We must not take up a lukewarm value system over the matter of birthdays or anything else, “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”. The giving of gifts to children because of the ritual of birthdays can breed covetousness, greed, envy, rebellion, lack of appreciation etc, these are not the values that are to be visible within the Body of Mashiyach.
In Judaism souls are memorialized by their day of death, their yahrzeit – their personal anniversary, not the day of their birth. One who follows Mashiyach must certainly be spiritually born again to enter into Life. This spiritual re-birth looks forward to the Olam Haba (world to come) and pales the physical birth by a quantum leap. By elevating ones physical birthday the flesh is magnified above the spiritual.
The Moedim of YHWH are set times that provide opportunity to celebrate and be birthed in a spiritual new beginning into the Kingdom of Elohim. The Moedim are replete with infinite insights that take values of time and space in this present world, and reveal them inside an eternal dimension. YHWH instructs us to do what is pleasing to Him by His appointments, “If you turn away your foot from the Shabbat, from doing your pleasure on MY Holy Day; and call the Shabbat a delight, the holy of YHWH, honorable; and shall honour HIM, not doing your OWN ways, nor finding your OWN pleasure, nor speaking your OWN words…” Isaiah 58:13 We are also instructed of the annual Moedim (set times) that YHWH desires us to come before Him Leviticus 23, these Celebrations or Feasts unto YHWH are not optional for the people of Elohim, nowhere is there or can there be a mention of celebrating one’s birthday, this is an invention of the flesh that points the other direction. Those who are adamant to celebrate birthdays are at a loss to show how YHWH is part of their celebration, the fact is they are only justifying a man made value.
Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon : and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, says YHWH. As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.
The matter of birthdays causing division in the Body of Mashiyach is a very serious matter, there is no humor here. Many souls perish because of stubborn and willful defiance to the Word of YHWH on many levels. Something as insignificant as a birthday party could become a stumbling block for souls unwilling to stand down from un-sanctified humanistic celebrations and be used by the flesh to cut themselves off from the Body of Mashiyach.
And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Adonai YHWH! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, YHWH has forsaken the earth, and YHWH sees not. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as You have commanded me.
This prophecy tells of those who put a branch to their nose, they worshipped Tammuz, a seemly fun and innocent detour from YHWH, they made sun worship or humanism their authority for worship. The umbrella of all authority that is not of YHWH, comes from hasatan, hence the perilous present reality of relativism has become a most popular form of religion. The Judgment of YHWH against false worship proves very severe, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women”, the little children are to be slain, the little children carry the generational rebellion of their forefathers. Some say they wouldn’t do birthdays or Christmas except “we do it for the children”, they want the children to feel special and honored. Some say God is Love and He would never wipe out little children. Some say it’s the “Old Testament” thinking, YHWH did such things way back then, but not today. Some say they are under a dispensation of grace where God is Love and He forgives everyone. Some people make up their own gods through imagery in their minds, they’ve been told a lie and they believe it. YHWH is LOVE, He is Righteous and His Word protects us, but those who mock His Word and His Holiness are His enemies, and the enemies of His called out people. YHWH has not changed and conceded to paganism, people have.
It is one thing to observe a birthday party, it is yet another to do a party on Shabbat, and yet another to rebuke someone for giving a clear warning that there is more to a birthday party than eating some cake, and having a bit of “fun”. If anyone judges a brother for bringing this matter before the body, the entire body of Mashiyach will also stand judged on this matter, these issues are never just between a couple individuals. YHWH marks those who sigh and cry for the abominations in the land, and who refuse to compromise with Hellenism. Yet the Hellenists number as “legalists” those who walk in the FEAR of YHWH and are careful to Observe all that He has Commanded us to do. The people of YHWH are not in the least bit ashamed or concerned of the criticisms outsiders have towards any halachic decision given by the Ruach HaKodesh, in the Name of Yeshua. Netzarim Yehudi do not celebrate birthdays, in 45 years walking as a Netzarim Jew I have NEVER heard of Netzarim Jews celebrating birthdays, certainly not on Shabbat. The age and birthdays of those in the community are recognized by verbal mention, but not celebrated, those who have a family get together with a few friends do not do so on the birth date of their children and each one teaches their children the significance of a mikra kodesh vs a family party.
Some Talmidim of Yeshua grew up in homes where Christmas was celebrated and in the course of time separated the paganism out of their lives. The influences of paganism within Judaism and Christianity are many and we must all be vigilant to not become lukewarm. Grace is given to each one in Mashiyach to make distinctions and walk upright in Yeshua and Torah, while the world accuses us before our Father for being “legalistic” we aim to please our Father not men. We are called to be a peculiar people unto YHWH, but the love of many grows cold because of being anti-Torah. The Word of YHWH judges everyone equally, His Grace gives us the strength to lay down the things which do not profit. This over-emphasized extra-biblical feast day is clearly centered on the flesh, not the Creator. The celebration of birthdays is usually accompanied by a barrage of immunity-reducing, sugar-saturated cake and ice cream, otherwise known as the foods of Babylon see Daniel 1:9-16. “Forasmuch then as Mashiyach has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of YHWH. 1 Peter 4:1,2.
The Ketuvim Netzarim do not record the exact date of Yeshua’s birth, but we know it was during the Fall Feasts, certainly the Ketuvim Netzarim do not describe any birthday celebrations for Yeshua, yet various Christian groups set dates for a birthday party for “Jesus”, based on long established pagan dates. Roman Catholics and Protestants use December 25, Eastern Orthodox use Jan. 6, the Greek Orthodox celebrate on January 7th. In the “Holy Land”, the Orthodox churches use the old Julian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1578, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, to determine the date for Christmas. Accordingly, the Armenians celebrate Christmas on January 19th. According to Roman Catholic sources, their date for Christmas was changed from January 6th to December 25th in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun, which was celebrated on December 25th. The Greek founders of “the church” encouraged Greek Christians to continue all their pagan celebrations, but to use the name of Ieosus (Jesus) instead of Zeus, Ishtar etc. Clearly anyone who celebrates the birthday of Jesus has fallen into paganism, in more ways than one. Groups such as the JW’s and Mohammedans reject the commemoration of one’s birthday because of its pagan origins.
The celebration of birthdays has been historically embraced by non-Jews:
1. “And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants” Genesis 40:20
2. “But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.” Matthew 14:6
3. In 2Maccabees 6:7, there is the reference to the monthly genéthlia of Antiochus IV, during which the Jews were forced to partake of the sacrifices. Josephus (Wars of the Jews, vii. 3. 1) refers to Titus’ celebration of his brother’s and father’s birthdays (genéthlia) by slaughtering Jewish captives.
There is also the matter of Job’s children’s observance, “every one his day”:
“And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed Elohim in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Job 1:4-5
There is an affinity of such commemoration among the wicked as recorded in The Satanic Bible (Anton Szandor LaVey, (Air) Book of Lucifer – The Enlightenment, Avon Books, 1969, Ch XI, Religious Holidays, p. 96) regarding Birthdays:
“The highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birthday. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried. The Satanist feels: ‘Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself.” Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one. So, the Satanist celebrates his own birthday as the most important holiday of the year. After all, aren’t you happier about the fact that you were born than you are about the birth of someone you have never even met? Or for that matter, aside from religious holidays, why pay higher tribute to the birthday of a president or to a date in history than we do to the day we were brought into this greatest of all worlds? Despite the fact that some of us may not have been wanted, or at least were not particularly planned, we’re glad, even if no one else is, that we’re here! You should give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself whatever you want, treat yourself like the king (or god) that you are, and generally celebrate your birthday with as much pomp and ceremony as possible.”
who enter into the Kingdom of Elohim are not to subscribe to pagan tradition, the Scripture says:
“A good name is better than precious ointment;
and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”
“Has a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods?
But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.”
“That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
1 Corinthians 1:29
“And again, YHWH knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Therefore let no man glory in men…”
1 Corinthians 3:20-21
The celebration of birthdays is a tradition that justifies the flesh, it is generally used as an excuse to eat foods of Babylon or do mundane and trivial activities for the sake of “amusement” that merit nothing for the world to come. Whenever pride and the flesh rise up in our souls, Truth and Sobriety for the Word and Spirit of YHWH takes the back seat. Although some politely choose not to celebrate birthdays, their family or friends push the issue and try to impose their will. Perhaps some feel a need to give recognition, hoping you will return the favor? Perhaps some want to indebt you, so you feel obligated to recognize their birthday? Do we want recognition to come, from YHWH or from men? It might be good to determine why some feel celebrating birthdays is of such vital importance?