Jehovah’s Witness Accept Pagan Influence
AUTHOR: Branch, Rick
PUBLISHED ON: April 29, 2003

            Jehovah’s Witness Accept Pagan Influence
                          Rick Branch
                          Arlington, TX

Ask any person to name one unique doctrine of the Watchtower
Bible and Tract Society and most will mention the Jehovah’s
Witnesses abstention from celebrating any type of holiday

It matters little which holiday, be it as famous as Christmas or
as little known as Sady Hawkins Day.  The Jehovah’s Witness will
be of the same opinion – They are of Pagan influence!

Throughout the history of the Watchtower, much has been written
on the subject of holiday celebrations.  What follows is but a
very brief overview of their railings against such practices.

In one of their books, they exclaim, “History books tell us that
Easter was not celebrated by early Christians and that it is
based on ancient pagan practices. … It is of pagan origin, and
therefore displeasing to God” (The Truth that leads to Eternal
Life, pp. 147-148, emphasis mine).

While it is true that some of the secular symbols of Easter, such
as the bunny, the colored eggs, etc., can be easily traced back
to pagan rites, the Watchtower seems to be saying if pagan
influence can be positively linked to an event, ceremony or
season, then the entire season should be laid aside as pagan.

Taking this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, will
raise some interesting dilemmas for the Watchtower!

The Witnesses continue their attack on calendrical events by
asking a key question.  “Yet does it really matter that Christmas
and Easter are not Christian celebrations but actually had their
beginning with worshipers of false gods?”  (You Can Live Forever
In Paradise On Earth, pp. 213-214).

This question is then answered with, “How much more important it
is for true Christians today to keep away from holidays that God
never said should be observed and that came from false religion!”

Aside from avoiding things with origins in the worship of false
gods, the same book continues by explaining, “So holidays that
tend to exalt a man or human organization are not in harmony with
God’s will, and true Christians will not share in them” (Ibid).

Hence, if a holiday or even a specific idea had its origins in
false religions, then according to Watchtower logic, it should be

But what if its pagan origins were only recently discovered?
What if the Watchtower has practiced paganism itself, then,
discovering its error – what would its response be?

Though an event or occasion was previously acceptable, if it is
found to have its origins in a false religion or was instigated
for the glorification of a particular man, it becomes
categorically imperative for the Witness to reject said
occasion – immediately!

This sudden change can be seen in the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s
Witnesses which explains, “In Pastor Russell’s day, Christmas was
celebrated at the Old Bible House in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

“Ora Sullivan Wakefield recalls that Brother Russell (founder of
the Watchtower) gave members of the Bible House family five- or
ten-dollar gold pieces at Christmas.

“What caused the Bible Students to stop celebrating Christmas?
Richard H. Barbar gave this answer: `I was asked to give an hour
talk over a (radio) hookup on the subject of Christmas. … That
talk pointed out the pagan origin of Christmas.

“`Did we mind putting those pagan things away?’ asks Charles John
Brandlein.  `Absolutely not.  This was just complying with new
things learned, and we had never known before they were pagan.

“`It was just like taking a soiled garment off and throwing it
away.’  Next, birthday celebrations and Mother’s Day were
discarded – more creature worship” (p. 147, parenthesis added).

Thus, when pagan influence is discovered in an area, though it
had been formally observed, that practice is put away.
One final yearly celebration made by nearly ever person – whether
they want to or not – is the birthday.  The Watchtower has linked
this event to paganism also.

In an Encyclopedia type book, the Jehovah’s Witness organization
writes, “Clearly, then, the festive celebration of birthdays does
not find its origin in either the Hebrew or Greek Scripture.

“Astrology teaches that the life and fortune of a person largely
depends on the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of
birth, hence the need to observe annually the return of the stars
to that position.

“The horoscope is accordingly consulted by such cultists to learn
of one’s fortune” (Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 237).

The birthday, according to the Watchtower, is pagan on two
counts.  First because it exalts a particular individual and
second because the Witnesses link it to the Occult practice of

What then has the Watchtower repeatedly and unequivocally stated?

If something can be demonstrated to have pagan influences,
connected with the worship of false gods, the exaltation of a
particular person or an astrological link, the Jehovah’s Witness
must cease observing it – immediately!

                      Those Pagan Months

It seems odd, that if Jehovah’s Witnesses are to have absolutely
no association with anything of pagan origin, why they would
print on the cover of every Watchtower and Awake magazine, the
names of the months of the year.

These are Pagan!

According to The New Encyclopedia Britannica, “January… (is)
named for Janus, god of doorways and beginnings.

“March… (is) Martius, named for the god Mars.

“April… The Romans considered the month sacred to the goddess
Venus, and its name may derive from that of her Greek equivalent,

“June… (is) probably named for the goddess Juno” (Vol. 8, p.
292, parenthesis added).

Other months derive their names from equally pagan origins.

“February: named from Februalia, a time period when sacrifices
were made to atone for sins.

“May: named for Maia, the goddess of growth of plants.

“July: named for Julius Caesar.

“August: named for Augustus, the first Roman emperor” (Academic
American Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 28).

Thus, the names for the months of the year, which are used by
every Jehovah’s Witness, have their origins in pagan festivals,
false religions and the exaltation of ancient heathen rulers.

The remaining months of the year derive their names from the
Latin numbers seven through ten, September through December,

The problem for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, does not stop
with the names for the month.  The problem of paganism effects
the Witness on a daily basis.

                        Those Pagan Days

Similar to the problem experienced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses
with relationship to the months of the year, the days of the week
also have acquired their names from pagan origins.

“The days assigned by the Romans to the Sun, Moon and Saturn were
retained for the corresponding days of the week in English and
several related languages.  The other weekdays names in English
are derived from Anglo-Saxon words for the Gods of Teutonic
mythology” (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 12, p. 555).

If the Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the idea of birthdays due to
their “astrological connection,” to be consistent, must they not
also reject the names of the week days because of their
astrological connection?

Sunday: “To understand the meaning and significance of Sunday as
the first day of the week it is necessary to consider the five
contributions which have been made to its place in the calendar
and to its observance:
“1) the worship of the sun among ancient peoples, 2) the
popularity of Mithraism among the Romans, 3) the Roman observance
of the day of the Sun…” (Collier’s Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, p.

Monday: “Derived from Lunae Dies, day of the moon, the name
reflects the ancient observance of feast days dedicated to the
moon, either as goddess or as planet” (Ibid, Vol. 16, p. 440).

Tuesday: “In the Roman calendar the corresponding day was dies
Martis, and the same reference to war is conveyed by the origin
of Tuesday.  Tiw’s day is derived from Tyr or Tir, the wrestler
and the sons of Odin, or Woden, the Norse god of war” (Ibid, Vol.
22, p. 506)

Wednesday: “…corresponds to the Roman Dies Marcurii.  The name
is a derivation of the Scandinavian Woden (Odin), chief deity of
Norse mythology” (Ibid, Vol. 23, p. 379).

Thursday: “It derives its name from the Middle English Thoresday,
or thursday and it corresponds to the Roman dies Jovis.  Thor,
the god of strength and thunder, defender and help in war, is the
counterpart of Jupiter or Jove” (Ibid, Vol. 22, p. 298).

Friday: “It derives its name from the Germanic name Frigg, given
to the wife of the god Odin and meaning `beloved’ or `loving'”
(Ibid, Vol. 10, p. 416).

Saturday: “…corresponding to the Roman dies Saturni, or `day of
Saturn,’ the Roman god of agriculture” (Ibid, Vol. 20, p. 449).

If Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly concerned about influence from
pagan sources, false religions and astrological contamination,
they must never again use the names of the months or the days of
the week.
                  Biblical Response to Holidays

With reference to Christmas, it must be remembered that Jesus
birth was celebrated by several biblical people.

To name just a few – the Wise Men, Elizabeth, the shepherds, Mary
and Joseph (Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2).  In addition to these,
some non-Earthly beings also celebrated – “a multitude of the
heavenly host” (Luke 2:13).

Concerning each man’s birthday, the Bible speaks of a man who was
“perfect and upright” in the eyes of God.  This man was “…one
that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

This same man “sanctified” his sons after each of them had
feasted on “his day.”  Surely, if the celebration of an
individuals days were evil, this righteous man would not have
sanctified his sons.

Who was this man? Job! (Job 1:1-5)

Also, concerning other festivals, holidays and special times of
the year, the Apostle Paul makes his point quite clear.  In
Romans 14:1-14 he explains the idea that each individual may
“…esteem one day above another….”

However, regardless of which day, if any, one believes to be more
important than the other day, it should be esteemed in relation
to the worship and adoration of the Lord.

In his commentary on this passage in Romans, John Murray writes,
“Compelled conformity or pressure exerted to the end securing
conformity defeats the aims to which all the exhortations and
reproofs are directed.

“What ever he does or refrains from doing is `unto the Lord’ and
so he may never be destitute of the consciousness that he is
serving the Lord Christ” (The New International Commentary on the
New Testament: Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 2, pp. 178-179).

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