Birthday celebrations have pagan roots. According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, these celebrations originated from the belief that on a person’s birthday, “evil spirits and influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants” and that “the presence of friends and the expression of good wishes help to protect the celebrant.” The book The Lore of Birthdays says that in ancient times, birthday records were “essential for the casting of a horoscope” based on “the mystic science of astrology.” This book adds that “birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes.”
Scripture, however, condemns the use of magic, divination, spiritism, or “anything like this.” (Deuteronomy 18:14; Galatians 5:19-21) In fact, one reason why God condemned the ancient city of Babylon was that its citizens practiced astrology, which is a form of divination. (Isaiah 47:11-15) Servants of Messiah are not preoccupied with the roots of every custom; yet when the Scriptures give such pointed indications, we do not ignore them.
The early Ekklesia did not celebrate birthdays. The World Book Encyclopedia says that “they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.” The Bible shows that the apostles and others who were taught directly by Yeshua established a pattern that all Ekklesia should follow.—2 Thessalonians 3:6.
The only commemoration that Ekklesia are required to keep involves, not a birth, but the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. (Luke 22:17-20) This should not be surprising, for the Bible says that “the day of death is better than the day of birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1) By the end of his life on earth, Yeshua had made a good name with Elohim, making the day of his death more important than the day of his birth.—Hebrews 1:4.
The Bible never refers to a servant of Elohim celebrating a birthday. This is not simply an oversight, for it does record two birthday celebrations by those not serving Elohim. However, both of those events are presented in a bad light.—Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21-29.