Food for Thinking Jehovah's Witnesses
“‘But you are seeking great things for yourself. Stop seeking such things. For I am about to bring a calamity on all flesh,’ declares Jehovah, ‘and wherever you may go, I will grant you your life as a spoil.’.”
Disclaimer: this site does not claim to hold the truth. The reader should be able to exercise good judgment, carefully examining the Scriptures as to whether these things are so. (Acts 17:11)
Israeli Bar Avaddhòn
Keep Doing This in Remembrance of Me

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. - Matthew 11:12

On Friday, April 19, 2019, millions of Jehovah's Witnesses and supporters around the world will gather to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ. However, most of them will attend this important event as “observers”, watching the bread and wine “pass” from hand to hand without eating or drinking. It will be so, because according to the official doctrine of the Organisation, the “anointed” are the only ones to have the right to eat the bread and drink the wine, since Christ would have made a covenant for a kingdom with them only, opening them the prospect of going to heaven, and that therefore, they are the only ones to have been invited to partake of the emblems. All others, that is, those whose destiny is earthly life, are invited to attend respectfully being observers and not partakers.

Obviously, the first question to be faced would be how to be sure of the anointing of such or such person, since the only way to understand it seems to be the own conviction of the individuals concerned. In order to prevent everyone, one fine morning, declaring themselves “anointed”, we highlight the serious responsibility that an individual has for “eating or drinking unworthily” (1 Corinthians 11:27) and we add that the number of the elect should be complete, or in other words, that the one who claims to be anointed certainly has mental problems. It is therefore expected that the anointed are of advanced age. But does the Bible really teach this doctrine?

This is an issue that will be discussed in a future article (a search on this site may also lead to a reflection based on the studies of men like Perimeno, for example). In any case, it is important to ask whether, when he initiated the commemoration of his death, Jesus made it clear that only those who harbour a “heavenly hope” have the right to partake of the emblems.

From the moment that the future kings of the kingdom of God are not chosen a priori, since Jehovah's Witnesses do not teach predestination, but they will be chosen from among those who “press forward”, as the text in the foreword of this essay says, one should come to the conclusion that all Christians must partake of the emblems since they are all potential “anointed”. - Confronting Philippians 3:13, 14

Luke 22:19, 20 speaks of the body that will be given and the blood to be poured out “in your behalf”. Who is he talking about? Was the blood of Christ poured out only for his twelve apostles and a small number of Christians? Who will benefit from the ransom? Only the “anointed” or all who have faith in him? (1 John 2:2) Is it not said about the great crowd, which Jehovah's Witnesses make reference of the earthly nature, that is, those who will survive to Armageddon to live on earth, that they wash their white robes in the blood of the lamb? (Revelation 7:9, 14) Is not Jesus dead for all?

As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: “Take, eat. This means my body.” And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, saying: “Drink out of it, all of you, for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” – Matthew 26:26-28

Jesus himself explains that the commemoration of his death is, precisely, a remembrance of the significance of his death that benefits everyone and that allows the forgiveness of sin and therefore, eternal life, and not the covenant with co-rulers. The covenant for a kingdom is reported in Luke 22:28-30, after the quarrel between the apostles, while the commemoration is already concluded. Jehovah's Witnesses who love the scriptures more than their own religion are encouraged to take the time to read these verses.

Jesus says that they have constantly stayed with him in his trials and so, in harmony with Matthew 11:12, they pressed forward to seize the kingdom. Because of this, Jesus was able to make this covenant with them.

It is obvious that the death of Jesus opens the way for the heavenly resurrection, and therefore, the resurrection of this small group, but there is no indication that only the few presumed leaders would be entitled to participate by partaking of the emblems. His death was to be the ransom that was to benefit all mankind and it was the main motive that “everyone exercising faith in him” should remember. - John 3:16

When he says, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me,” Jesus was talking about eating bread and drinking wine, not just observing. Similarly, by “many,” he meant all who would have exercised faith in this sacrifice, recognising its meaning. So, for what reason only those who nourish the heavenly hope should partake of the emblems?

It is very likely that the recent history of Jehovah's Witnesses is responsible for this interpretation, from the time it was taught that the “great crowd” was a secondary heavenly class. Since the components were second-class, that is to say, less faithful and less pure than the others, it was not conceivable to give them responsibilities. This has created substantial differences from the beginning, a difference that persists today. This creates objective difficulties in considering everyone as one flock under the direction of a single shepherd (John 10:16), all equal (Acts 10:34), without envy or jealousy (Matthew 23:8). This interpretation is also risky because of the human weakness which aims to attribute an exaggerated importance to men. - 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:6-8

Certainly some will find fault with these claims, but if the Governing Body members “must all be anointed,” we can not honestly say that we all consider ourselves equal because the facts have more force than the words. It is likely that we will be quoted Romans 8:14 to affirm that the Bible itself makes this distinction between “anointed” and “non-anointed”. The verse says that “all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons. However, take into consideration the context of Romans chapter eight.

There will be a contrast made between the Mosaic law and the law of the spirit “that gives life in union with Christ Jesus [and] has set you free from the law of sin and of death”. It will read again that “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit” and then that “if you live according to the flesh, you are sure to die; but if you put the practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live. For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons.” Thus, it is sufficient to read the context to understand without prejudice that this awareness is not about whether we are” anointed “or not, but if we live according to the desires of the flesh or the spirit. The contrast that is spoken of is between those who are in harmony with the flesh, and who are therefore destined to die, and those who are in harmony with the spirit. This is not a contrast between “anointed” and “non-anointed”. There is no opposition between those who have “heavenly hope” and those who have “earthly hope”.

In addition to establishing who can be defined as “sons of God”, that is, ALL who are in harmony with the Spirit, Paul goes on to say that “the spirit itself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God ”, therefore, that we are aware that we live according to the spirit of God and not according to the desires of the flesh. - Romans 8:16

It follows from this that “partaking of the emblems” is not related to the certainty of having heavenly hope rather than earthly hope.

Even the term “anointed” as used by Jehovah's Witnesses is misleading. If we know that God predestinates no one to be king and priest - otherwise, it would be unfair to urge to press himself forward if the games were already made, is not it? - we can not accept the belief that some are anointed in this sense. Moreover, despite the fact that the biblical anointing has to do with royalty or with the Holy Spirit, we know that no one is king among us (Matthew 23:8-12), by the very admission of Jehovah’s Witnesses, today no one can boast of being anointed with the Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:8

Even the distinction between “being inspired” and “being guided by the Spirit” (expression often used to justify obvious doctrinal and organisational errors) is unclear, nor even how to be guided by the Spirit means to be anointed. In the past, God poured out his spirit on many who had no heavenly hope, since the ancient Hebrews believed in the earthly resurrection. Prophets like Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Elisha, to name but a few, were undoubtedly anointed, but did they ever have the heavenly hope? We know that since the death of the last apostle, the gifts of the spirit have ceased and so, in what sense are the “anointed” anointed? If they are not chosen in advance (we do not know whether they will reign in heaven, at the end), that they have no gift of the Spirit (these have ceased in the first century) and that they are not even inspired, what distinguishes an anointed from another servant of God? If we are all brothers, as Jesus says, and no one should place himself in a position of superiority by calling himself a conductor or master, how can we reconcile the understanding that the anointed ones are already sons of God, while the great crowd would be at the end of the Millennium? Does this give the impression of a single flock and a single shepherd? And all the verses that, according to the present understanding, would apply to the anointed ones, while the others would only benefit by extensions, discourage envy and force us to consider ourselves all equal? Is being called “Son of God” or not a question of semantics?

In the Bible, the only distinction made between those who are “sons of God” and those who are not, has to do with those who love or do not love him (Deuteronomy 32:5, 2 Corinthians 6:18). Thus, if no one is really “anointed” and there are no elected people to gain the kingship, it means that we are all equal, all encouraged to run toward the same goal, the sanctification of the name of God and not the place of the final destination, all invited to “press” us forward in good works and that we are all “one flock, one shepherd”. - Romans 12:10

"Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection” and therefore, there is indeed a great superiority of those who will receive the first resurrection over the others, but this will happen only after their death and resurrection (Revelation 20:6). Jehovah will be the only one to determine who is part of the kings and priests and the people concerned won’t know until the end. The apostle Paul himself could not say with certainty that he had received the prize: he could only “press forward”. - Confronting Philippians 3:13, 14

So during the commemoration, who should partake of the bread and wine? The answer is simple: ALL Christians.

We should all partake of the emblems, because it concerns the importance of his death and NOT the covenant. Moreover, no one will be anointed until Jehovah pours out his Spirit again. - Acts 2:17

How to reconcile this understanding with the term “holy” if, as we have seen, no one is anointed until God has poured out his spirit?

The Bible mentions many holy people. In Leviticus 20:26, we read that Jehovah, who is holy, pretends holiness among his people. As long as he was faithful, the nation of Israel was holy. Those who are in charge of judging must be holy. The faithful angels are called the “holy angels”. It is evident that the title “holy” is used in the scriptures without any particular connection with hope.

We also understand that there are various levels of holiness. Jehovah, in fact, is holy in the highest degree. Those who receive the first resurrection will have a superior position to all holy angels, suggesting that even their holiness will be greater. This happens, however, only after their death and resurrection. - Confronting Daniel 7:27

Moreover, let us not forget that John 17:17 reminds us that it is the truth of the Word of God that makes us holy.

Each of us can be holy to the extent that he puts the Word of God into practice in his own life. We can start doing it at the next commemoration. - Psalm 119: 105

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