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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate New Year's Eve / Day?

The Bible admonishes Christians to "walk decently, not in revelries and drunken bouts." (Rom. 13:12-14; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Pet. 4:3) Since New Year's festivities are often characterized by the very excesses that the Bible condemns, Jehovah's Witnesses do not participate in these excesses. The Bible admonishes Christians to be moderate and self-controlled in their conduct. (1 Tim. 3:2, 11)

Granted, not everyone celebrates the New Year by drinking heavily and committing acts of violence. Many today feel that they share in New Year’s festivities without going overboard. So why shouldn't Jehovah's Witnesses be willing to participate in New Year's customs as long as they remain moderate and self-controlled in their conduct? Because Jehovah's Witnesses also consider the origin and significance of this popular celebration.

New Year's Celebrations are Rooted in Pagan Customs

New Year's festivities are not new. Ancient inscriptions indicate that they were held in Babylon as early as the third millennium B.C.E. The celebration, which was observed in mid-March, was crucial. "At that time the god Marduk decided the destiny of the country for the coming year," says the World Book Encyclopedia. The Babylonian new year celebration lasted 11 days and included sacrifices, processions, and fertility rites.

For a time, the Romans also began their year in the month of March. But in 46 B.C.E., Emperor Julius Caesar decreed that it should begin on the first of January. That day was already dedicated to Janus, the god of beginnings, and now it would also mark the first day of the Roman year. So on the first of January, people "gave themselves up to riotous excess and various kinds of heathen superstition." - McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia

Notice what the 1966 World Book Encyclopedia says:

"In ancient Rome, the first day of the year was given over to honoring Janus, the god of gates and doors and of beginnings and endings. . . . New Year's Day became a holy day in the Christian Church in A.D. 487, when it was declared the Feast of the Circumcision. At first, parties were not allowed on this day because the pagans had followed that custom. This was gradually changed and celebrations could again be held." - Volume 14, page 237.
Additional Reading:
The Bible’s Viewpoint - Should Christians Share in New Year’s Festivities? (g02 1/8 pp. 20-21; Watchtower Online Library)

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Avoid Pagan Customs?

If pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use today, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them. (2 Cor. 6:17) Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.

But some may still wonder why Jehovah's Witnesses consider customs that have pagan origins to be so bad. "After all," they may ask, "aren't there many things which originated, or are associated with paganism - pharmacies, calendars, etc.?"

Consider the two examples concerning Luke and Paul. When Luke wrote in Acts mentioning the Areopagus ('Ares Hill' - Ares is the Greek god of war; 'Mars' is the Latin god of war), he didn't feel the need to change its already established name to something no one would recognize. Furthermore, Paul actually went to this place devoted to a pagan god and preached. And Paul accepted the Areopagite, Dionysius (Greek name for 'god of wine') and had him join him - Acts 17:19-34. Luke and Paul certainly did not become participants in something associated with pagan origins.

So these necessary things are not a celebration of pagan gods. But it would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name.

While we today have no practical option but to use things like the Gregorian calendar (which uses the names of pagan Roman gods), we do have a choice whether or not to participate in customs which were originally devoted to honoring these gods. And according to Scripture, we should take advantage of that choice.
Additional Reading: 
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Gregorian Calendar
(Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
Can the Pagan Customs of Christmas Really Be MADE Acceptable to God?
(Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian?
(w07 12/15 pp. 8-9l; Watchtower Online Library)

But Would Having Some Fellow Christians Over To One’s Own Home on New Year’s Eve Be Wrong?

What about arranging for a group of Christians to gather together on that day because it is an occasion when they are free from secular work and are able to do so anyway? If someone is planning a gathering for December 31, or is planning to attend one, it would be good for that one to examine their motive as well as the situation involved. For instance, is the gathering being planned simply because it is New Year’s Eve? Is there special enthusiasm about the gathering because it 'just happens to fall on New Year’s Eve'? Will the planned activities mimic what the rest of the world does on that day? If so, regardless of how some may rationalize against it, it still would be a celebration of New Year’s.

However, if it is out of the proper motive for the gathering, and if their conduct in every way befits Christians, then they certainly do not need to avoid one another’s company on any day simply because it is a day that the rest of the world generally misuses. Each Christian can take into consideration their own motive in harmony with their Bible-trained conscience. (1 John 2:15-17; Rom. 14:13; 1 Tim. 1:19)

Additional Reading:
Should We Celebrate Holidays?
(bh p. 222-p. 223; Watchtower Online Library)


To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses, please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information on Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs and practices you should look to the source at


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Refuse Blood Transfusions?

Jehovah's Witnesses do not consume, donate or transfuse blood, because God Himself consistently made it clear for humans to "abstain from blood". God began with commanding Noah and his family to abstain from blood. (Gen. 9:4) He repeated this through the Mosaic law (Lev. 7:26, 27; 17:10, 11, 13, 14) and He continued to remind us through the pages of the New Testament. (Acts 15:28, 29; Acts 15:19, 20) This is because God has obviously attached a highly important moral principle to blood. (Lev. 17:11)

Because this command went as far back as Noah, Andrew Fuller, viewed by some as "perhaps the most eminent and influential of Baptist theologians," wrote:

"This, being forbidden to Noah, appears also to have been forbidden to all mankind; nor ought this prohibition to be treated as belonging to the ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation. It was not only enjoined before that dispensation existed, but was enforced upon the Gentile Christians by the decrees of the apostles, Acts XV. 20. . . . Blood is the life, and God seems to claim it as sacred to himself." - The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (1836), p. 751.

How Important is it to "Abstain From Blood"?

A close examination of the wording used at Acts 15:28, 29 shows how important it is for Christians to "abstain from blood":

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these ESSENTIALS ['these necessary things' - RSV]: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell." - Acts 15:28, 29 (NASB)

The wording of the Scriptures here does not indicate that this is a relatively unimportant commandment. It says it is "ESSENTIAL".

"Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Want to Live?"

The fact that Jehovah's Witnesses want to live is evidenced by their closely following the advances made in the field of bloodless medicine and surgery. There are endless examples and much documentation of their utilization of this.

Some critics of Jehovah's Witnesses have made false accusations concerning Jehovah's Witnesses' motivations in abstaining from blood. But would Jehovah's Witnesses REALLY be so eager to find quality, medical alternatives to blood transfusions for themselves and their children whom they deeply love if their refusal of blood was tantamount to a form of suicide or a "right to die" as some opposers falsely claim?

Christians who truly follow God's command to "abstain from blood" do not decline all therapies. They reject just one therapy, which even many experts admit come with dangers.

More Information From the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses:

What Does the Bible Say About Blood Transfusions? (JW.ORG)

Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses accept blood transfusions? (JW.ORG)


Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept any minor fractions of blood? (w04 6/15 pp. 29-31; Watchtower Online Library)

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept any medical products derived from blood? (w00 6/15 pp. 29-31; Watchtower Online Library)

In the light of Bible commands about the proper use of blood, how do Jehovah’s Witnesses view medical procedures using one’s own blood? (w00 10/15 pp. 30-31; Watchtower Online Library)

BLOOD (Insight-1 pp. 344-346; Watchtower Online Library)

Do You Value Life as God Does? (lv chap. 7 pp. 74-85; Watchtower Online Library)

I Accepted God’s View of Blood - A Physician Tells His Story g03 12/8 pp. 12-15; Watchtower Online Library)

Showing Respect For Blood (bh chap. 13 pp. 125-133; Watchtower Online Library)

The Growing Demand for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery - Blood and Jehovah’s Witnesses (g00 1/8 pp. 7-11; Watchtower Online Library)

Blood Transfusions—A Long History of Controversy (g00 1/8 pp. 4-6; Watchtower Online Library)

Blood Fractions and Surgical Procedures (lv pp. 215-218; Watchtower Online Library)

BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

BLOOD (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Blood (Reasoning From the Scriptures p. 70-p. 76; Watchtower Online Library)

Pages in Defense of Jehovah's Witnesses Stand on Blood

God's View of Blood

Jehovah's Witnesses - Setting the Record Straight

Search For Blood-Related Documents From Jehovah's Witnesses United

Links to Information About Bloodless Medicine

No Blood

Bloodless Medicine and Sugery Hospitals Directory

Network for the Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives

Transfusion-Free Cardiothoracic Surgery - University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Swedish Services Bloodless Programs

Legal and Medical Resources Concerning Blood Transfusions

Legal and Medical Resources Concerning Blood Transfusions

Blood Transfusion And Outcomes

Articles Concerning Bloodless Surgery and Medicine

Medical Alternatives to Blood Transfusions (

Blood Transfusions—How Safe? (

Quality Alternatives to Transfusion (

You Have the Right to Choose (

Witness Patients Often Do Better (

'Bloodless' surgery avoids risks of transfusion - Techniques first used for Jehovah's Witnesses gaining popularity (MSNBC)

Blood Transfusions Harmful When Guidelines Ignored (Epoch Times)

Evidence in favor of bloodless surgery mounts (Digital Journal)

Jehovah's Witnesses leading education drive as hospitals adjust to No Blood requests (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Meeting Life's Challenges Head On - Krystie's Operation Without a Blood Transfusion (BBC NEWS)

The Problem With Transfusions (Time Magazine)

Treating patients like Jehovah's Witnesses could save lives: expert (The Age)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Monday, December 23, 2013

Can the Pagan Customs of Christmas Really Be MADE Acceptable to God?

Many people today readily admit they already know that many origins of Christmas customs are often attributed to paganism. They know that pagans started some of these holidays and celebrations, and they may have corrupted some customs. (See: Christmas - It's Origins And Associations) But the standard reasoning seems to assume that a believer can make the holidays Christian.

It is just this kind of rationalization that prompts some to feel that, despite the pagan origins of Christmas, it is not wrong to heartily join in these celebrations. This holiday and it's traditions, they say, can be observed for the Lord. They may even point out, for example, that Paul wrote to the Romans, `He who regards one day as special does so to the Lord' (Romans 14:6). (Click HERE for a closer examination of this Scripture.)

They may reason that their perspective gives these holidays a godly purpose. Pagans may have offered these holidays to their idols, but if they offer them to their God then, therefore, they are God's days. After all, they may feel that they need celebration in their lives. So they become convinced that they need rituals, traditions and excuses to gather together.

Even though they may be totally unaware of it, these people are willing to accept any reasoning to keep these enjoyable traditions and will convince themselves with this emotional appeal. Most of these people will find a reason to keep on doing what their hearts desire no matter what evidence or Bible proofs are provided for them (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Prov. 28:26, KJV, NASB).

This article, however, is written for those few who are willing to examine both sides of an issue and (in spite of the inclination of their hearts to follow enjoyable traditions) truly desire to follow God's word as expressed in the Bible.

Can the Pagan Customs of Christmas Really Be Made Acceptable to God?

We must accept God's word over the desires of our hearts and the traditions of men. And we must learn from the lessons found in the Bible concerning the disastrous results of man following his heart's desire (and his own "reasoning") instead of obedience to God's word. For instance, Adam knew God's word concerning the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He knew absolutely that he was not to touch it at this time - this was God's command to him. And yet, the desires of his heart allowed false reasoning to convince him that this forbidden knowledge was in his best interests. (Gen. 2:15; 3:1-6)

Another example of "reasoned" disobedience to God's word: Moses was up on Mount Sinai for so many days that the Israelites feared that he must have died. So they made an idol in the shape of the golden calf that they had known all their lives during their Egyptian slavery. They made sacrifices to it and called it the very same God who had brought them out of Egypt. Even Aaron built an altar in front of the calf in order to have a festival to Jehovah.

(The highly-respected New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1984, Tyndale House Publ. tells us that this golden calf was intended to either actually represent Jehovah or, possibly, to act as "a pedestal over which he [Jehovah] was enthroned." - p. 504.)

Now God had commanded them to have only one God, Jehovah. So this festival and idol were really intended in His honor (or so they reasoned in their hearts). They were taking pagan religious customs and "making them clean and holy"! The only problem is, worshipers of the true God don't decide for themselves what is right or wrong in God's eyes. This is exactly the same terrible sin that Adam and Eve committed.

On the next day during the festival (to "Jehovah") God's wrath against such disobedient ones was partially fulfilled and thousands died. (Ex. 32.)

We may well understand the reasoning of the Israelites and their desire to fall back on customs and ceremonies that they had grown up with in Egypt and felt secure and comfortable with. But the whole point of this example is that they expressly disobeyed Jehovah's clear commandment (Ex. 20:4) and reasoned in their own self-deceiving hearts that they could make this action "clean and holy to God" by giving the pagan idol Jehovah's name and making the pagan celebration solely in HIS honor. Compromise, then, should have brought them the best of both worlds. Instead it brought the wrath of the only true God and death!

"The whole narrative of the golden calf (Ex. 32) reveals the extent of the contrast between the religion which stemmed from Mt. Sinai and the form of religion congenial to the unregenerate heart. These religions, we learn are incompatible .... it is a most significant thing that when Israel turned to idolatry it was always necessary to borrow the trappings from the pagan environment .... whenever the kings of Israel and Judah lapsed into idolatry, it was by means of borrowing and syncretism." - New Bible Dictionary, p. 504, Tyndale House Publ., 1984.

So Israelites didn't reject their God openly, but continued to "worship" him by adding (or reverting to) pagan customs in God's name. They "made" these customs, celebrations, etc. clean and holy to the one true God (or so they reasoned). But it was never acceptable to Jehovah who demanded pure, untainted worship.

Notice what the leaders of the only true religious organization on earth at the time of Jesus were doing. Jesus said to them:

"`Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." You have let go the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.' And he [Jesus] said to them: `You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!'" - Mark 7:6-9, NIV.

How many times has it been heard how hundreds of millions of members of Christendom can "make" pagan celebrations and customs pleasing to God? The emotional attachment to celebrations and customs we have grown up with can be understandable. There can be a strong desire to keep observing such things that have delighted us for so long and have provided feelings of security and bonding to loved ones all our lives.

Certainly the Israelites in their terrible hour of need at Mt. Sinai, when all seemed lost, understandably yearned for such things. And yet their reasoning is identical to that of those who wish to "make" pagan Christmas celebrations and customs pleasing to God.

But the only real consideration must be: Is it pleasing to God? Is it truly in line with His Word? We can know only by examining His word, the Bible! Obviously the Israelites learned that such reasoning was terribly wrong and worthy of death. They learned the hard way what Jesus emphasized to those religious leaders of his time who were also "setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" - These later Israelites would lose the opportunity for eternal life also, because of their reasoning and traditions of men.

Martin Luther wrote,

"Thus we, although having the right faith, fall into new disbeliefs. This is what the devil brought about in olden times when he misled the children of Israel from the temple at Jerusalem to innumerable other places. It was all done in God's name, and with every appearance of sanctity; all the prophets preached against it, and were martyred for doing so. But, nowadays, no one preaches against it...!" - p. 458, Martin Luther, Selections From His Writings, Dr. John Dillenberger, Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961.

Moses concluded with this clear warning by Jehovah: "See that you do all that I command you; do not add to it or take away from it." - Deut. 12:32. In other words, we are not to decide what is good and evil in God's "food" for us! We must, unlike Adam, the Israelites, and those who wish to "make" pagan Christmas celebrations and customs pleasing to God, obey all of God's word in spite of what we want in our hearts or what seems "reasonable" to us.

"The pillars and the asherah were both forbidden to Israel [and they were both frequently returned to time and again by the Israelites] .... The asherah was wooden, as we learn from its usual destruction by burning (Deut. 12:3; 2 Ki. 23:6), and probably originated from the sacred evergreen, the symbol of life. The association of these with Canaanite fertility practice sufficed to make them abominable to Yahweh [Jehovah]." - New Bible Dictionary, p. 504.

Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.

Yes, idolatry includes anything even associated with pagan gods. This would even include merely speaking their names in a conciliatory manner or raising an asherah pole, symbol of the sacred evergreen, (even if you "cleansed" it by using it in a ceremony "honoring" Christ and calling it a "Christmas Pole," for example).

"In the New Testament the word ... (idololatria), afterwards shortened occasionally to ... (idolatria) [`idolatry'], occurs in all four times, viz., in 1 Cor. 10:14; Gal. 5:20; 1 Pet. 4:3; Col. 3:5. In the last of these passages it is used to describe the sin of covetousness or 'mammon-worship'. In the other places it indicates with the utmost generality all the rites and practices of those special forms of paganism with which Christianity first came into collision." - Encyclopedia Britannica, p.71, v.12, 14th ed.

Notice how strongly this idolatry (which includes "all the rites and practices of ... paganism") is condemned in the NT: Rev. 21:8; Gal. 5:20, 21.

Even in the first century of Christianity many of those who believed themselves to be Christians let their hearts and "reason" seduce them into making certain pagan practices "clean" for Christians. Notice this quote from the Roman Catholic Bible The New American Bible (1970), St. Joseph edition: footnote for Rev. 2:14-15 -

"Like Balaam, the biblical prototype of religious compromisers..., the Nicolaitans in Pergamum and Ephesus accommodated their Christian faith to paganism."

And notice how strongly this was condemned by Jesus: He would come and "fight against them with the sword of [his] mouth"! (Rev. 2:16)

Which View is Correct?

So are the few Christians who say "we must keep our religion unspotted from the world and worship God in truth with the pure worship He has commanded" correct in not mixing any paganisms into their religion? Or are the many who say "I can `make' pagan customs and ceremonies into acceptable Christian offerings on the altar of true worship" really correct?

Even Martin Luther tells us,

"The world and the masses are and always will be unChristian, although they are all baptized and are nominally Christian. [True] Christians, however, are few and far between, as the saying is. .... [True] Christians are always in the minority and are in the midst of non-Christians." - Martin Luther, p. 371.

"Wide is the gate and broad [easy-going, appealing] is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow [not so easy-going, not always appealing to the heart of many - Jer. 17:9] the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." - Matt. 7:13-14, NIVSB.

The `many' spoken of here are actually self-deceived "Christians":

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he [the `few' above] who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" - Matt. 7:21-22, NIVSB.

Yes, these are people who really believe they are Christians. They believe they have taught God's truth in Jesus' name to others. (Footnote for Matt. 7:22 in NIVSB: "prophesy. In the NT this verb primarily means to give a message from God, not necessarily to predict.") They call Jesus "Lord" and did many things in his name. But these many "Christians" have deceived themselves and have not truly done the will of Jesus' Father in heaven. They are rejected by Jesus Christ: "Away from me, you evildoers!"

Many rejected the pure religion of Jehovah in OT times by mixing in various paganisms and "making" them clean to Jehovah. Only a relative few of them kept their religion as pure as Jehovah had commanded.

The same thing has occurred, as predicted in the NT above, in the Christian religion down to today. In spite of the Bible's clear counsel, only a few of those who believe they are Christians are actually on the Narrow Road that leads to eternal life. Many others think they can do it their own way - they, like Adam and Eve, want to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. The results must be, as for Adam and Eve, what is at the end of the Broad Road: Destruction.

"Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them [f.n. in NIVSB says `In spite of the remarkable privileges given to Israel, they failed to obey God, thus incurring his displeasure. Of the adults who came out of Egypt, only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter Canaan.']; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: `The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.'" - 1 Cor. 10:5-7, NIVSB.

The NIVSB f.n. for 10:7 tells us the last sentence by Paul is a quote that refers to the golden calf incident of Ex. 32. So here the Apostle Paul also uses the example of the golden calf to warn Christians about mixing paganisms with true religion!

But Paul continues - "Therefore, my dear friends [Christians in the first century Corinth congregation] flee from idolatry." And the NIVSB adds in its footnote for this verse: "flee from idolatry. Like that described in Ex. 32:1-6." Paul concludes with, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" Footnote in NIVSB: "arouse the Lord's jealousy. By sharing in pagan idolatry and worship." - 1 Cor 10:14, 21-22.

And in his second letter to these Christian Corinthians Paul again warns against ANY compromise with pagans and paganisms:

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [`Satan' - f.n.] .... What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? .... `Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you...says the Lord Almighty.' Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." - 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1, NIVSB.

The footnote for 6:16 says,

"agreement ... between the temple of God and idols. There can be no reversion or compromise with the idolatry they have forsaken for the gospel."

So, how is it that the pure "unleavened" Christianity of Paul's time has deteriorated into the pagan-saturated religion of Christendom today?

"If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by paganism." - The History of Christianity, Eckler.

"Christianity did not destroy Paganism; it adopted it" - The Story of Civilization: Part III, Will Durant.

Yes, God has always demanded that our "sacrifice" to him, no matter how small, must be pure and untainted. The principal was laid down repeatedly in the OT. E.g., "Do not sacrifice to the LORD [Jehovah] your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him." - Deut. 17:1, NIVSB, (Cf. Lev. 1:3,10; 3:1). Even in "grain offerings" when the grain was made into flour and baked before it was offered, there was to be absolutely no leaven or "yeast" in that offering. The leaven, then, was figurative of an impurity, comparable to a defect or flaw found in an impure animal sacrifice, and made such a flawed sacrifice detestable to God.

So, can we get away with a tiny bit of "leaven" in our "sacrifices" to God today? No more than we can get away with a tiny drop of cyanide in a glass of pure drinking water. Paul tells us of a saying that makes that very point:

"Have you never heard the saying, `A little leaven leavens all the dough'? The old leaven of corruption is working among you. Purge it out, and then you will be bread of a new baking. As Christians you are unleavened Passover bread .... So we who observe the festival must not use the old leaven, the leaven of corruption and wickedness, but only the unleavened bread which is sincerity and truth." Further explaining, Paul says: "you must have nothing to do with any so-called Christian who leads a loose life, or is grasping, or idolatrous.... You should not even eat with any such person." - 1 Cor. 5:6-8, 11, New English Bible.

No, God still tolerates absolutely no "leaven" mixed into the Christian "sacrifice" of true worship. "I the LORD do not change." - Malachi 3:6, NIVSB.

Note the example of the golden calf. It was made from the gold jewelry of the Israelites themselves. Obviously the Israelites were not allowed to keep that pagan image of the calf no matter how they "cleansed" it or "gave it a Godly purpose"! But surely they could recast that extremely valuable gold back into jewelry or even into utensils properly used in the worship of Jehovah!! But no, in spite of its great material value, it must never be used again by God's people in any form, for any purpose! - Deut. 9:21. What could be a more obvious demonstration of the exclusive devotion required by God and the lengths God's people must go to to ensure pure worship? We must not knowingly "purify" and "reuse" anything that has been made for paganistic false worship!

So, if pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use to honor God and Christ, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God! We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them! "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." - 2 Cor. 6:17.

Those who "make" pagan celebrations and customs pleasing to God are clearly, tragically, terribly wrong when they say things like: "My perspective gives these holidays a godly purpose. Pagans may have offered these holidays to their idols, but I offer them to my God and, therefore, they are God's days." If a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations.

Related Articles:

Christmas - It's Origins And Associations (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Christmas Customs—Are They Christian? (w00 12/15 pp. 3-7; Watchtower Online Library)

Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian? (w07 12/15 pp. 8-9; Watchtower Online Library)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas - It's Origins And Associations

There are many wonderful occasions for Christians to observe or commemorate. However, God does not approve of certain customs if they come from false religion or are against Bible teachings. (Matthew 15:6) If a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations.                                        

The majority of this page contains quotes and references concerning the pagan origins and associations in connection with: DECEMBER 25, JESUS' BIRTHDAY, GIFT-GIVING, FEASTING, MERRY-MAKING, CHRISTMAS TREES, MISTLETOE, HOLLY, and YULE:


"Neither scripture nor secular history records the date of Jesus' birth; even the season of the year is not stipulated. Some evidence points to spring, but it is not conclusive. The only thing reasonably certain about the coming of the Christ Child is that his birth did not take place in winter. .... In A. D. 350 Pope Julius I formally designated December 25 as Christmas. He chose that date because it coincided with important pagan festivals. These, in turn, were linked with the winter solstice [the shortest day of the year]." - How it Started, p. 54.

"It was noted later that this date [Dec. 25] would fall within the rainy season in Palestine, so that the shepherds would hardly have been in the fields as they were when Jesus was born." - p. 1425, The World Book Encyclopedia, 1958.

Isaac Asimov in an article for Saturday Review tells us that the ancient pagan Romans celebrated

"a week-long Saturnalia [honoring the Roman god Saturn] from Dec. 17 to 24. It was a time of unrelieved merriment and joy.... gifts were given all around." Asimov continues, "the worship of Mithra, a sun-god of Persia, was becoming popular, especially among the soldiers. The Mithraists celebrated the birth of Mithra at the winter solstice, a natural time, and fixed on the day December 25 so that the popular Roman Saturnalia could build up to the Mithraist `Day of the Sun' as a climax.

"At that time, Christianity was locked in a great duel with the Mithraists for the hearts and minds of the people of the Roman Empire. .... Sometime after 300, Christianity managed the final coup of absorbing the Saturnalia, and with it scored its final victory over Mithraism. December 25 was established as the day of the birth of Jesus and the great festival was made Christian. There is absolutely no Biblical authority for Dec. 25 as having been the day of the Nativity." (Cf. "Sol Invictus", p. 725, An Encyclopedia of Religion, 1945 ed.)

"December 25 was already a major festival in the pagan Roman world, the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or `Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,' a feast honoring the renewal of the sun at the winter solstice. Pagan celebrations on December 25 had included feasting, dancing, lighting bonfires, decorating homes with greens, and giving gifts. So when this became a Christian [?] festival, the customs continued, but with a Christian [?] meaning imparted to them. Throughout the [Catholic] Middle Ages, Christmas was a richly varied religious holiday. However, during the Commonwealth, the English Puritans, repelled by both the pagan practices and the religious ceremonies, forbade any religious or secular celebration of Christmas. The English celebration returned with the return of the Stuarts ["near-Catholic" Church of England monarchs], but Christmas observances were still outlawed in Puritan New England for many years; and not until the 19th century did Christmas become a legal holiday in America." - p. 414, Vol. 4, Encyclopedia International, Grolier, Inc., 1966.

(Also see: The Date of Jesus' Birth; Defend Jehovah's Witnesses.)


"Early Christians [from time of Christ until the 4th century] frowned on [celebrating anyone's birthday], which was too closely linked with pagan customs to be given the approval of the church." - How It Started, p. 213.

The Christian Book of Why, by Dr. John C. McCollister (Lutheran minister and university professor, graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary), Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., 1983, tells us on p. 205:

"Christians of the first century did not celebrate the festival honoring the birth of Jesus - for the same reason they honored no other birthday anniversary. It was the feeling at that time by ALL Christians that the celebration of all birthdays (even the Lord's) was a custom of the PAGANS. In an effort to divorce themselves from ALL pagan practices, the early Christians refused to set aside a date marking Jesus' birth. As a result, the first celebration of Christmas by Christians [?] did not take place until the fourth century."

Think about it for a moment. Exactly who were included in "ALL Christians of the first century" (1 A. D. - 100 A. D.)?

Yes, the Jews themselves never celebrated birthdays until long after the death of Jesus. They considered it a purely pagan custom and detestable to the God they worshiped. Jesus and his Apostles continued this belief and so did their followers for centuries!

"As late as 245 [A. D.] Origen (hom. viii. on Leviticus) repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ, `as if he were a king Pharaoh [Gen. 4:19-22].'" - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., p. 642, Vol. 5.

(Also see: The Date of Jesus' Birth; Defend Jehovah's Witnesses.)


The Saturnalia, a pagan Roman festival honoring the Roman god Saturn, has supplied many of the elements found in Christmas.

"Most of the Christmas customs now prevailing in Europe [and America] ... are not genuine Christian customs, but heathen customs which have been absorbed or tolerated by the Church... The Saturnalia in Rome provided the model for most of the merry customs of the Christmas time.... Christmas inherited the general merriment in a more restrained form (excessive only in eating and drinking) [but see 1 Pet. 4:3, 4]: games, giving of gifts (especially to children), abundance of sweet meats and, as more ceremonious elements, burning of candles..." - Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Hastings, Vol. III, pp. 608, 609.

"Saturnalia presents included wax dolls, given to children. A charming custom, no doubt, by times of record, but with a macabre past: even contemporaries thought this probably a vestige of human sacrifice, of children, to aid sowing." - History Today, as quoted in 22 Dec. 1992 Awake!.

"The early Church in Rome had a particularly hard battle against two other great pagan festivals, the week-long Saturnalia, which began Dec. 17, and the Kalends, which greeted the New Year. The first festival was a time of licensed misrule, often presided over by a lord of merriment, not so much Santa as fat Saturn himself, the orgiast of eating, drinking and other kinds of naughtiness. It was during Kalends, when the year changed, however, that gifts were ritually exchanged, often tied to the boughs of greenery that decorated houses during the festivities.

"The attitude of the early church toward all this indecent jollity was predictably frosty. Its fathers, notably the fulminating St. John Chrysostom, urged no compromise with heathen abominations." - Simon Schama, professor of history at Harvard University, in a feature article of the 24 Dec. 1991 issue of The New York Times.


"Many countries claim the distinction of having launched the custom of erecting Christmas trees, but it may have begun independently in several parts of Europe. Ceremonial worship of trees in ancient pagan rites almost certainly led to the decoration of trees at the time of the winter solstice. German emigrants [coming to the U.S.] brought with them the custom of setting up trees in their houses at Christmas." - How It Started, pp. 52, 53.

"It is believed that the custom is a survival of the tree worship of ancient German tribes." -- "Tree worship was common in Scandinavian countries.... When the pagans of Northern Europe became Christians [?], they made their sacred evergreen trees part of the Christian festival, and decorated the trees with gilded nuts, candles (a carry-over from sun worship), and apples to stand for the stars, moon, and sun." - pp. 1429, 1425, The World Book Encyclopedia, 1958 ed.

"I will stretch out my hand against [those worshiping me falsely in] Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests - those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD [Jehovah] and who also swear by Molech, those who turn back from following [Jehovah] and neither seek [Jehovah] nor inquire of him." - Zephaniah 1:4-6, NIVSB. The footnote for verse 1:5 reads: "swear by the LORD ... by Molech. Syncretism (worship of one's own god along with other gods)."

So again we see God's absolute hatred of "every remnant" of pagan worship mixed in with his true worship. Obviously this includes remnants of sacred tree worship and pagan worship of "the starry host" (stars, moon and sun)! But what were the decorations on the sacred evergreen tree intended to represent? "decorated the trees with gilded nuts, candles [electric lights today] (a carry-over from sun worship), and apples to stand for the stars, moon, and sun."

"From the earliest times the worship of trees has played an important part in the religious life of European peoples.... tree-worship is well attested for all the great European families of the Aryan stock. Amongst the Celts the oak-worship of the Druids is familiar to everyone. Sacred groves were common among the ancient Germans, and tree-worship is hardly extinct amongst their descendants at the present day. How serious that worship was in former times may be gathered from the ferocious penalty appointed by the old German laws for such as dared to peel the bark of a standing tree. [In times of famine starving peoples subsisted on the inner bark of certain trees.] The culprit's navel was to be cut out and nailed to the part of the tree which he had peeled, and he was to be driven round and round the tree till all his guts were wound about its trunk. The intention of the punishment clearly was to replace the dead bark by a living substitute taken from the culprit.... Proofs of the prevalence of tree-worship in ancient Greece and Italy [including Rome itself] are abundant." - pp. 106, 107, 108, The New Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer, Revised and edited by Dr. Theodor H. Gaster, Mentor Book, 1964 printing.

Is it any wonder that any trace of pagan worship is abhorrent to God?


"Why mistletoe [for Christmas decoration] instead of some other plant? Because this parasite which draws its nurture from oaks and other trees was regarded by the Druids of ancient Britain as endowed with supernatural power. .... Christians tried for centuries to discourage any use of mistletoe at any season of the year. The deeply ingrained practices rooted in [pagan] festivals around the time of the modern Christmas proved too stubborn to be eliminated, however." - How It Started, pp. 53, 54.

"Mistletoe is the famous Golden Bough, honored in Norse legend and worshiped by the Druids." - p. 337, Celebrations - The Complete Book of American Holidays, Robert J. Myers, Doubleday & Co., 1972.


"The Druids of prehistoric Britain revered the plant we know as holly. .... It was all but inevitable that the use of the semi - sacred plant should become linked with the Christian [?] celebration that supplanted the older pagan one. Many scholars even think that `holly' is an adaptation of an early form of the word holy." - How It Started, p. 56.


"In most of Europe [Christmas] is known as `Christ's Birthday.' Scandinavian countries still use the pagan name `Yule Day.' .... The Druids blessed [the Yule log] with great ceremony at the winter feast. (See Druid.)" - pp. 1425, 1426, The World Book Encyclopedia, 1958 ed.

"Yule (yool) n. Christmas. OE geol, originally a twelve-day heathen feast" - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1973, Dell.

"The burning of a huge log in the fireplace on Christmas day is a tradition followed by many European Christians that was borrowed from the Norsemen who burned a huge oak log called the Juul (pronounced `Yool' or `Yule') in honor of Thor, the God of thunder. After Christianity became the accepted faith of many Norsemen, they retained this custom as a part of their Christmas celebration. Later, the Scandinavians adopted the practice and even referred to the season as the `Yule season' or `Yuletide'." England and other European countries later adopted the tradition. - The Christian Book of Why, Dr. John C. McCollister (pastor and university professor, graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary), p. 215, Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., 1983.


"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? .... `Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. `Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you ...' says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Cor. 6:16, 17, NIVSB. [NIVSB f.n.: "agreement...between the temple of God and idols. There can be no reversion to or compromise with the idolatry they have forsaken for the gospel (cf. 1 Th. 1:9)."]

For More Articles Concerning Christmas / Holidays, See:

Christmas - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses Category)

Beliefs and Customs That Displease God (w05 1/1 pp. 27-30; Watchtower Online Library)

A Balanced View of Popular Customs (g00 1/8 pp. 26-27; Watchtower Online Library)

Why Do Some People Not Celebrate Christmas? (w12/12; JW.ORG)

Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian? (w07 12/15 pp. 8-9; Watchtower Online Library)

Christmas Customs - Are They Christian? (w00 12/15 pp. 3-7; Watchtower Online Library)

The Truth About Christmas (g 12/10 pp. 5-8; Watchtower Online Library)

How Should Jesus Christ Be Remembered? (w04 12/15 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)


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Friday, December 20, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Does Mathew 28:19 Really Prove the Trinity Doctrine?

Trinitarians seem to think that the few Scriptures that happen to mention the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one breath somehow means that they are the same person. But if one actually examines these Scriptures they will see that there is no mention of these three being the one God. In fact, the actual wording of the "trinitarian" 2 Cor. 13:14, when examined, proves it to be evidence against a trinity concept. There, it states that there is only one called "God" and that is the Father and that God is mentioned as a separate and distinct individual FROM the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Likewise, Mt. 28:19 is extremely weak trinitarian "evidence".

Even Trinitarian New Testament language experts tell us that Bible phrases beginning "in the name of..." indicate that the secondary meaning of "authority" or "power" was intended by the Bible writer. - p. 772, Vine. Therefore, Matt. 28:19 actually means: "baptizing them in recognition of the power [or the authority] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit."

That W. E. Vine specifically includes Matt. 28:19 in this category can be further shown by his statement on p. 772 of his reference work. When discussing the secondary meaning of "name" ("authority," "power") he says that it is used

"in recognition of the authority of (sometimes combined with the thought of relying on or resting on), Matt. 18:20; cp. 28:19; Acts 8:16...."

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 245, makes the same admission when discussing Matt. 28:19:

"The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority."

Noted trinitarian scholars McClintock and Strong say in their Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature concerning Matthew 28:18-20:

"This text, however, taken by itself, would not prove decisively either the personality of the three subjects mentioned, or their equality or divinity." (1981 reprint, Vol. X, p. 552)

And trinitarian scholar Kittel in his Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

"The N[ew] T[estament] does not actually speak of triunity. We seek this in vain in the triadic formulae [including Matthew 28:19] of the NT."

The fact that "name" is singular at Matt. 28:19 is only further proof that "authority" or "power" was meant and not a personal name. If more than one person is involved, then the plural "names" would be used (compare Rev. 21:12). Even trinitarians admit that their God is composed of 3 separate persons. And each one of those "persons" has his own personal name (except, as we have seen, the holy spirit really does not)! Therefore, if personal names were intended here for these three different "persons," the plural "names" would have been used in this Scripture.

Since it clearly means "in recognition of the power, or authority of," it is perfectly correct to use "name" in the singular. In fact, it must be used that way. We even recognize this in our own language today. We say, for example, "I did it in the name [singular] of love, humanity, and justice."

It is significant that Scriptures show that the personal name of God and the personal name of Christ are two distinctly separate names. It is also significant that there is no mention in the entire Bible of any personal name for the holy spirit.

If Jesus were really saying that Jehovah, Jesus, and the holy spirit had personal names and these names must be used during baptism, he would have used the plural word "names" at Matt. 28:19. And we would see the Father's personal name ("Jehovah" - Is. 63:16; 64:8 - Ps. 83:18 and Luke 1:32 - Exodus 3:15 and Acts 3:13) and the Son's personal name ("Jesus" - Luke 1:31, 32) and the holy spirit's personal name ("?") all being used in Christian baptism ceremonies for the past 1900 years.

In spite of the extreme weakness of the trinitarian "evidence" for Matt. 28:19, it is nearly always cited by trinitarians because, incredibly poor as it is, it is one of their very best trinitarian "proofs"! And it is generally hailed by trinitarians as the best evidence for the deity of the holy spirit! This certainly shows how extremely weak the scriptural evidence is for a trinity!

Additional Reading:

Scriptures that mention together the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Is the Trinity a Bible teaching? (w12 3/1 p. 23; Watchtower Online Library)

Holy Spirit - How baptized in its “name.” (it-2 pp. 1017-1027; Watchtower Online Library)

Baptized in the Name of Whom and What? (w10 3/15 pp. 10-14; Watchtower Online Library)

What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father”, ‘in the name of the Son’, and ‘in the name of the holy spirit’? (w02 4/1 pp. 10-15; Watchtower Online Library)

What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father”, ‘in the name of the Son’, and ‘in the name of the holy spirit’? (wt chap. 12 pp. 110-119; Watchtower Online Library)

Mt. 28:19 - NWT (Defending the NWT)   

Does Mt. 28:19 prove that the Holy Spirit is God? (Search For Bible Truths)   

Concerning Mt. 28:19 (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers) 

Shem Tov's Hebrew Matthew 14th century manuscripts (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)   

Some comments by scholars and translators (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)  


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