I was just thinking today...what if we were to place a higher importance on celebrating our spiritual birthdays (day of baptism), with as much anticipation and enthuseism as we do our chronological birthdays! How do you think this will impact our lives, and our walk with God? I mean, after all, we didn't have much in the say of our being born into this world, but we certainly do/did have a choice in becoming a baptised member of the remnant of God's people, so shouldn't that merit more diligent consideration to our sense of values? I want to bring emphasis to this, as I think that we are more caught up in worldly traditions, than we allow ourselves to be aware of.... and these 'little' differences, and, and often do, effect our walk with the Lord (or lack thereof), and therefore can make a big difference in the outcome, should we choose to take a closer examination!
What are your thoughts on this subject? Please add your comments, ALL are welcome, so don't be shy! Thanks!
Births of babies were highly celebrated by families in Scripture, especially the firstborn. This may be a personal preference issue for some, but there are more examples of of birthday celebrations in Scripture than there is any legitimate argument against it. IOW, no one has the right to condemn someone who does celebrate their birthday.
With that being said, I know of some who also celebrate their Baptism date as the day they were "born again". it's really beautiful!
Really Sarah? I'd be keen to read that. Please post.
D. Earl T.,
While there is no direct objection to the celebration of (spiritual) birthdays, I think it would be spiritually "downlifting" since it runs the risk of focusing on self (it's MY birthday) rather than what Christ has done in my life.
Secondly, it smacks of spiritual arrogance in a very subtle way. Let me explain.
Once in a while I attended Christian Union meetings and I noticed that almost invariably, those who were in leadership were people who had been "saved" for long periods (some from as young as their teenage years. This was trumpeted in every testimony. It sounded like an attempt to intimidate young/recent believers and place those who had been saved for longer periods on a pedestal simply by virtue of being saved for so long. Remember the parable of the servants who came to harvest in the morning complaining to the master for paying them the same wages as those who came at the ninth and eleventh hours?
On the other hand I have come across recent believers who have demonstrated consistent and keen prayer lives, selflessness and genuine interest in matters of faith. Ironically, some of those who have been in the faith for long even in the Adventist Church have fallen despite their long experience walking with God. In the Bible, David's fall demonstrates that falling is not dependent on how long you have walked with God. Judas too betrayed the Lord yet he had walked with Jesus for just as long as the other disciples.
Consider what paul says in I Cor 10:
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Please let me clarify: The celebrations that scriptures specifically speak to are when a child was weaned.
In Jewish history the birthday milestones are celebrated with the greatest celebration being at the time of a person's death, as it is a reflection of what the person accomplished in their lifetime. Will post specific scripture and information when I return from Worship this afternoon/evening.
HAPPY SABBATH, EVERYONE!
I got baptised on my birthday... so I can celebrate both births :-)
Nowadays it is more about thanking God that He has granted me another year of life and extended my probation so that this miserable, obstinate sinner still has the hand of mercy extended to him. One day, by God's grace, I will be able to celebrate another birth and will be served by Christ Himself. Every birthday that passes is a reminder that it is God's grace that sustains me - whether I still live because I have not progressed to the point where God can put me to sleep or whether it is because He is moulding and shaping me to stand amongst the 144,000, I know not.
I will be more than satisfied with the sleep... just to get there is enough. The bordered garments would be cool but... just to be there is enough.
Sarah I agree with you. You always have intelligent and biblically insightful things to say. I also very much agree with all you said here John. I think birthdays are fine to celebrate as long as we acknowledge it wasn't the birthday that got me here , it was Jesus. I know each day that passes and I grow older and each time I see a birthday that's a blessing just to be alive that comes from God! That's something God gave me as a gift of grace. No one can tell me otherwise, cause I know of plenty folks my age and younger who are no longer here. They don't get to celebrate birthdays anymore, so praise the Lord for birthdays!!!
Exactly! My prayer for 2012 at Adventistonline.com that people will follow this principle in their search of what is best for us as Christians, rather than "a few" seeking to make everything "wrong" or "evil":
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."--Phillipians 4:8, 9.
We have now established that the Bible records negative examples of birthday celebrations, while it is silent on celebrating, or even identifying, the birthdays of all of God’s faithful servants—including Christ.
But what does the Bible specifically say about your day of birth?
Most people think that the day of one’s birth is special. Celebrating it certainly does seem andfeel like the right thing to do. 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” (Ecc. 7:1).
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?” (Jer. 20:14,18).
If the day of our death is better than the day of our birth, and some of God’s greatest servants said that their birth date was far from being a special day, then how special can this day be? According to Scripture, it is not a time to express joy, sing and expect gifts, simply because one is born into the world on a specific date.
Then where did birthday celebrations come from? The astonishing answer is from the pagan practice of astrology! Thousands of years ago, when 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 God.
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 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.)
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. The lighted candles for the cake may have originated from the birthday of the Greek moon goddess Artemis. Pagan worshippers honored her every month with moon-shaped honey cakes. Because the moon glows with light, the cakes were decorated with lighted candles.
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.
It should now be clear that birthdays are not only unbiblical, they are pagan!
Why does God care whether or not you celebrate birthdays? After all, it is a chance for you to give presents to someone and make him or her feel good. What could be wrong with this?
After God freed Israel from slavery, He clearly instructed them, “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein you dwelt, shall you not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I bring you, shall you not do: neither shall you walk in their ordinances” (Lev. 18:3). God commanded that they not defile themselves with the practices and customs of the surrounding nations (vs. 24-29). “Therefore shall you keep My ordinance, that you commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that you defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God” (vs. 30).
This is an emphatic command from God. He does not want His servants dabbling in the customs of this world.
But what about those who reach age eighty, ninety or one hundred years old—should we ignore altogether the many years of life experiences they have gained? No. In our current society, where senior citizens are routinely ignored and considered to be a burden, it is certainly permissible to acknowledge someone who has reached a considerable number of years. Someone who has lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the Atomic Age, the creation of the modern nation of Israel, the Cold War, men walking on the moon, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination, civil rights marches, race riots, the rise and collapse of the Berlin wall and the worldwide growth of the Internet, has reached an age where special honor should be naturally conferred upon them.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “The hoary [white or gray] head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” People who have lived to great age, sometimes reflected by pure white hair, often have great wisdom and experience to share with younger generations. Simple acknowledgment that they have reached age 70, 80, 90 or 100 shows them honor and appreciation. It is not wrong to acknowledge that one has reached a milestone in a long life.
What we have described above is far different than celebrating birthdays with all of the usual pagan traditions! Celebrating the day of one’s birth, as though it were a special occasion, iswrong. It violates God’s command. It keeps people selfishly focused on their temporary, physical lives, when God’s purpose is to give mankind eternal life in His Family. True Christians should be focused on how their lives are preparing them for rulership on this earth at the Return of Jesus Christ.
Realize that God hates all pagan customs and traditions—birthday celebrations are not an exception!
I started to address this by discussing the context of a depressed and hurt prophet (Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet) and the context of what Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 7, but think we need to address the real underlying issue: Pagan origins.
You and many others focus on "who started it first" as a means of deciding whether or not something is right or wrong.
1. Baptism by immersion is pagan in orgin and yet in Matthew 3, that is precisely how Jesus was baptized. Does that mean we should not be baptized by immersion? Does that make Christ evil? Does that make the Seventh-day Adventist Church heathen because this is one of our Fundamental Beliefs? Absolutely not!
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."--Matthew 3:16, 17.
"The practice of baptism in pagan religions seems to have been based on a belief in the purifying properties of water. In ancient Babylon, according to the Tablets of Maklu, water was important as a spiritual cleansing agent in the cult of Enke, lord of Eridu. In Egypt, the Book of Going Forth by Day contains a treatise on the baptism of newborn children, which is performed to purify them of blemishes acquired in the womb. Water, especially the Nile's cold water, which was believed to have regenerative powers, is used to baptize the dead in a ritual based on the Osiris myth. Egyptian cults also developed the idea of regeneration through water. The bath preceding initiation into the cult of Isis seems to have been more than a simple ritual purification; it was probably intended to represent symbolically the initiate's death to the life of this world by recalling Osiris' drowning in the Nile.
In the cult of Cybele, a baptism of blood was practiced in the rite of the Taurobolium: where one was covered with the blood of a bull. At first this rite seems to have been to provide the initiate with greater physical vitality, but later it acquired more of a spiritual importance. A well-known inscription attests that he who has received baptism of blood has received a new birth in eternity. However, the fact that this baptism was repeated periodically shows that the idea of complete spiritual regeneration was not associated with it.
The property of immortality was also associated with baptism in the ancient Greek world. A bath in the sanctuary of Trophonion procured for the initiate a blessed immortality even while in this world. The mystery religions of that period often included ablution rites of either immersion or a washing of the body for the purposes of purification or initiation. Other concepts said to have been associated with these forms of cultic baptisms included the transformation of one's life, the removal of sins, symbolic representation, the attainment of greater physical vitality, a new beginning, spiritual regeneration. It is believed that all ancient religions recognized some form of spiritual cleansing, renewal or initiation that was accomplished through a washing or immersion in water." Baptism: A Pre-Christian History
More to come.....
Could not leave this out:
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."--Luke 2:11-14.
That sounds like a birthday celebration to me!
It seems to me and I not judging here we do place birthday celebrations and graduations even at a high priority and give expensive gifts to glorify people . at Christmas time we spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on gifts we think someone has to have to be loved .
Is it actually showing love to lavish gifts onto others that only seems to ego based and even puffs them up? How much money is wasted on fashion for instance to be popular? Giving gifts is not wrong persay at any time and I will not say it entirely wrong but perhaps in this time we living in we shoul d examine ourselves and see why it necasary to do this at ones birthday as if this is some great event?.
ARE we being good stewards of the money entrusted unto uis by God ? What did our early Pioneers of our faith practise and have we fallen away from what we should b edoing when we at the very edge of the last days?
I hear what you are saying, but not everyone---I would even say that more than some do not spend that kind of money. I know that my family certainly does not. Most people buy on sale, layaway, and look for a deal.
If that is what is being done, then how can it be assumed that they are not being a good steward?