Going back to the days of the International Bible Students associated with Charles Taze Russell who were dubbed the “no hellers” because they rejected the myth of a fiery hell, up to the present, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known more for what they do not believe or practice rather than for what they do believe.
In more recent decades Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known as the people who do not celebrate Christmas or birthdays; who do not believe that Jesus died on a cross; who do not believe that Jesus is God; who do not take blood transfusions; who do not salute the flag; who do not vote, nor fight for their country etc., etc.
Ironically, this perception of Jehovah’s Witnesses confirms that they are no part of the world, as Jesus said his true followers must not be. Can it honestly be said of the multitudes of churchgoers that they are no part of the world? Truthfully, there is virtually no distinction between the average churchgoer who confesses a belief in Jesus and those who practice non-Christian religions or no religion at all. For example, has there ever been a war in which churchgoers have not participated? Perhaps there are a few individuals who happen to belong to a particular religion who refuse to take up arms and kill their fellowman, but the mainstream religions of Christendom have always blessed and supported the wars of the nations, all the while professing to adore the Prince of peace.
For those who have more than a passing interest in these matters and who wish to know why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate this or that, this is a brief presentation of the reasons.
Originally the International Bible Students celebrated Christmas and Easter and birthdays and all the rest and a crucifix and crown used to appear upon the cover of the Watchtower Magazine. That was the situation up until 1925, or thereabouts.
It is well known that Jesus was not born on December 25th. His birth occurred in October. Furthermore, the original Christians did not celebrate Jesus’ birth. How then did the institution originate?
It is now common knowledge that the Romans had an annual revelry during the week of the winter solstice called the Feast of Saturnalia. (For more information on the pagan origins of Christmas click here) After the 1st century Christians had passed off the scene wicked men infiltrated Christianity, even as the apostles foretold. The apostate bishops then empowered the emperor of Rome to decide doctrinal matters for Christians. This opened the door for the eventual development of the great church systems of Catholicism and Orthodox. In order to appeal to the pagan masses the churches adopted many pagan concepts and holidays. To this day the masses of people who consider themselves to be Christian have far more in common with pagans than they do with original Christians. (Why do some people not celebrate Christmas?)
(Easter has a similar origin associated with the spring equinox. The word “Easter” is even drawn from the ancient fertility goddess known as Ishtar. Click here for article)
The apostle Paul once wrote to the Corinthians expressing his concern for their spiritual welfare, saying to them: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and the table of demons. Or ‘are we inciting Jehovah to jealousy’? We are not stronger than he is, are we?”
Although people no longer offer animal sacrifices to God, as the Jews were once required to do, nonetheless, religious people engage in activities that could be considered sacrificial. For example, Christmas time is marked by great feasts and gift giving and of course, sharing in drinking. So, in a sense, that is the “table” associated with the holiday. But since the pagans did the very same things and Christians merely adopted the rituals of those who out-rightly worshipped the demons, is it not obvious that the practices and excesses of Christmas are also sacrifices made to the demons and not to God?
The real reason Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas and Easter, and all the rest, is because they do not wish to become sharers with the demons.
Undoubtedly, the one thing Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for doing is knocking on doors. The original Christians were also known for their public witnessing. This is because Jesus commands his followers to preach and teach others about him and the kingdom of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses have preached the message of God’s kingdom to the farthest corners of the earth and have made the Bible and Bible literature available in hundreds of languages.
The activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses is truly noteworthy as it is no doubt preliminary to the fulfillment of Jesus’ words where he foretold that the good news of the kingdom would be preached in all the inhabited earth, as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.