A MEMORIAL OF OFFENSE
February 6, 2014
Each year, Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide gather to commemorate Jesus’ death. This year, their Memorial will be held after sundown on April 14, 2014. Already, their Governing Body is gearing up for the evening by printing invitations and giving directions to the congregations on how the event should be conducted. The invitation is entitled “An Occasion You Should Not Miss.” It states:
“You are cordially invited to attend this meeting, during which further information on the significance of Jesus' sacrificial death will be presented.”
To add to the ‘excitement,’ the March 2014 Watchtower publication, “Our Kingdom Ministry,” poses the question: “Will this Memorial be our last?” We, the authors of this website, certainly hope so! It is time for these offensive events to come to an end. It is time for our brothers and sisters who have the courage to openly confess union with Christ to refuse to participate in their ‘Remembrance of Rejection’ – their ‘Memorial of Offense.’
The Remembrance of Rejection
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses encourages as many people as possible to attend the Memorial with them. This is a perfect opportunity to encourage the attendees to look to Christ Jesus as their leader, their exemplar, and the one to whom they must confess union with in order to gain life.
“So Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him.”
– John 6:53-56
Notice that this is not a prophecy. This is a plain and open teaching that is very clear and to the point. Unless we eat and drink of the Christ, we have no life or sharing with him! Yet, the Governing Body actually teaches that one can refuse to eat and drink of the Christ, and still live forever on the earth – as if Jesus does not have authority over the earth! They take great pains to explain their convoluted theories about everlasting life on earth, which is a theory Jesus never taught. They have the audacity to prepare the ‘evening meal,’ tell their members to dress up and invite their family and friends, and then instruct the public speaker to unabashedly dare the attendees to eat! By the time the speaker has finished his convoluted explanations, the audience is afraid and confused, and do not even want to touch the plate and the glass as they are passed! The audience actually believes that if they partake of the emblems, they will displease Jehovah. Jesus said eating and drinking the bread and wine will lead to life; yet they believe eating the bread will lead to their death! They have turned the Memorial completely upside down!
The Memorial is also the perfect opportunity to encourage all attendees to enter the race for life and join the ‘Christian congregation’ by becoming members of Christ’s body:
“Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation.”
– Colossians 1:17-18
“I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for you, and I, in my turn, am filling up what is lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh on behalf of his body, which is the congregation.”
– Colossians 1:24
“He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.”
– Ephesians 1:22-23
Yet the Governing Body teaches that one does not need to be a member of Christ’s body to gain life. They teach that one can be on the outside as ‘associates’ of the body of Christ. They teach that one can hang around near the fringes of the true congregation, and gain life ‘by extension!’ What foolishness! We are ashamed that we ever bought into that nonsense!
The Memorial is also a perfect opportunity to explain the good news that every one in attendance is offered the gift of sonship with God through their faith in Christ Jesus, and is in line to receive the heavens as their inheritance:
“The true light that gives light to every sort of man was about to come into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not know him. He came to his own home, but his own people did not accept him. However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name. And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
– John 1:9-13
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.”
– Matthew 23:8-10
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s offspring, heirs with reference to a promise.”
– Galatians 3:26-29
Yet the Governing Body teaches that Jehovah’s Witnesses are only friends of God, not sons of God, and certainly not brothers to Christ. They teach that one does not need to inherit the kingdom of the heavens; one can be just as happy with life right here on earth! In essence, they teach that one does not need Christ for anything. The Governing Body views Jesus as nothing more than a sacrificial offering who did his duty and then turned everything over to their care as his appointed ‘faithful and discreet slave!’
It seems the Governing Body has arranged this gathering for the sole purpose of ‘thumbing their noses’ at Jesus, letting him know in no uncertain terms that they want nothing to do with him. Last year, they coaxed over 19 million people to gather together to remind Jesus that they reject the heavenly hope, they reject the offer of sonship, and they reject him as their leader. In fact, they reject everything he lived and died for in favor of the commands of men and fleshly teachings. This is not a gathering in the spirit of the apostles and 1st century Christians. It is more like the type of gathering we would expect from the scribes and Pharisees and those who called for Jesus execution – those who truly ‘celebrated’ his death – rejoicing at it!
No greater offense can be demonstrated than to take this one event that Jesus holds sacred and the one event that he commands us to remember him by, and use that as an event of obstinance, of stubborn rejection, of outright derision in the very face of the Son of God, who is surely aware of their actions. They are dishonoring Jesus in the worst possible way. To join together on the one night Jesus commands us to sup with him and then defiantly refuse to eat? Who does that? What arrogance! What disrespect!
The Memorial commemorations hosted by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are nothing more than a marketing and public relations campaign to recruit more members to the organization; the speakers take great pains to make sure no one joins with the Christ. They talk about the benefits of Jesus death, but they wholly ignore his glorious life, his merciful ministry, and his actual teachings, including the call for all to follow him into the heavenly places he prepared for us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father are many dwelling places. Otherwise, I would have told you, for I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you home to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
– John 14-1-3
Jesus is surely disappointed with all those who join in this charade. Jesus said that when two are more are gathered in his name, he would be in their midst. (Matthew 18:20) Can you find any reason why Christ would ‘be in the midst’ of those who shut up the kingdom of the heavens? Imagine his feelings as he watches 19 million people reject him as his symbolic flesh and blood is passed from person to person. And imagine the joy of the great adversary the Devil as he watches this same scene and relishes his cunning ability to turn Jesus’ own celebration against him! Enough of this facade of spirituality! It is time to steadfastly and unambiguously stand with Jesus, and tell the adversary “Get behind me!” (Mark 8:33) It is time to participate in the true Memorial Supper where we can be certain that Jesus is ‘in our midst.’
The True Memorial Supper
The Memorial instituted by Jesus on the night of his death is not to be an ‘informational meeting’ or a proselytizing and recruiting session. It is a solemn meal among friends who confess their union with Christ Jesus by participating in the event and actually eating the meal. We are not to listen to a speech about him, we are to share with him! We are to remember the glorious life he lived on our behalf and his courageous death, and commit ourselves to lead a similarly faithful life and courageously give up our fleshly bodies when the time comes.
Over the past two Memorial Suppers, we encouraged our brothers to attend with Jehovah’s Witnesses for the purpose of showing the Governing Body that the sons of God do exist and are growing within the organization. And we also encouraged these brothers to have a second Memorial Supper in their homes with their true brothers where the Christ is surely present. It was hoped that the Governing Body would take note and re-examine their teachings. Since they believed a decrease in partakers indicated the doors to the kingdom were closed, perhaps when they see an increase, they will know that the doors remain wide open. Instead, they choose to ignore these new sons, disrespect their hope, and even ‘beat’ these new brothers. (See Defending Our Living Hope, and Question and Response 1/9/14.) To this day, they stubbornly position themselves with their backs to the doors of the heavenly kingdom and fight with all who attempt to enter.
For this reason, we call upon all of the sons of the Father and the brothers of Christ Jesus to commemorate the Memorial Supper of 2014 in the same manner Jesus and his apostles did – in private homes with no spectators.
Recall that the first Memorial Supper was instituted after a Passover Meal. The Passover was not celebrated at the temples or the synagogues. Each family had a private meal at their homes where they often invited close friends to share with them. Everyone in the household, including the children, were welcome and present and participants in the celebration. The children were not ‘passed over’ by the adults as if they were not beneficiaries of the freedom they celebrated. It was a commemoration of their emancipation from Egyptian captivity by symbolically reliving the night when ‘death passed over their houses.’ They ate matzah and bitter greens to remind them of their bitter slavery, and then they drank wine as symbolic of their newfound freedom. After the meal, they recited the story of their exodus from Egypt and they kept doing it year after year as a remembrance.
In the same manner, the first Memorial Supper was a private gathering of people who loved and respected one another, and who were there at the invitation of Jesus to share a meal with him. There were no servants or attendants, nor any spectators or observers. Everyone came for a meal, and ate the meal that was laid out before them. This was their night of remembrance of their transference from the rule of men ‘into the kingdom of the son of his love.’ (Colossians 1:13) They partook of the bread of life which represents the life Jesus lived for the whole world so that anyone who partook of the bread, and lived as he lived, would also have life. (John 6:53) They drank of the wine that symbolized the blood of the new covenant – the Spirit of Truth that was poured out on our behalf. (Titus 3:4-7) All who drank it openly confessed their willingness to commit to the leading and guidance of the Spirit. (John 16:13) And afterward, Jesus reminded them of his ministry and the glorious future awaiting them. (John 13:31-17:26)
When we formally celebrate this year’s Memorial Supper on April 14, 2014, let us do so in the spirit of the first Memorial. Let us join together in our homes with family and friends who share our glorious heavenly hope, who want to be a part of Christ’s body, and who want to ‘keep on doing this’ in remembrance of Christ Jesus. If the saying is true ‘that you are what you eat,’ then take a big bite and show the Christ in no uncertain terms that you belong to him! And after we have partaken of the emblems, let us carry on uplifting conversation about our hope, about our Lord and about our wonderful Heavenly Father.
Let this year’s Memorial Supper celebrate our Christian Jubilee – ‘good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom to the crushed ones.’ (Luke 4:18-20) Let it be a turning point in our faith where we abandon the stewardship of men and accept our place as sons of God. And not only this night, but ‘as often as we get together’ and ‘whenever we gather together’ for a meal (1 Corinthians 11:26), let us relive and honor our Christ-won God-given liberty without hindrance.
Let us leave behind the errors of men and their attempts to dishonor Christ and circumvent his plain and open teachings. The ‘blind may lead the blind,’ but if you recognize the error of the Memorial of Offense, do not let the blind lead the seeing. Let us remove ourselves from those who operate as a restraint and who carry on lawlessness. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
We know that many of our brothers and sisters associated with the Watchtower organization will feel uncomfortable not attending the Memorial with their congregation. They wonder what they can say or how they can explain to others their reason for not attending, without drawing unnecessary negative attention to themselves. We suppose some will say that they attended another Memorial, or that they decided to commemorate the night the way Jesus and his apostles did, at home in private. Whatever they choose to say is up to them. The important things is to do what Jesus commanded – eat and drink of his symbolic flesh and blood in remembrance of him.
This is not a mere doctrinal matter. This is a salvation issue. It is a matter of life and death. Jesus was very clear that unless one is born of spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom. Those who think they can follow the commands of men instead of the plain and open command of Jesus will be sorely disappointed. They are the very ones the Christ was referring to when he said:
“Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’”
– Matthew 7:21-23
He never knew them because they followed men and did not ‘contend according to the rules.’ (2 Timothy 2:5) They never became a part of the true congregation – the body of Christ. They never openly confessed union with him. They refused to partake of his symbolic flesh and blood. Thus, they disowned him, so he will disown them in return:
“Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.”
– Matthew 10:32-33
We cannot emphasize this enough. Our brothers cannot allow the fear of men to prevent them from doing what they know to be right. They cannot give more allegiance to the temporary in opposition to the everlasting. God is not one to be mocked. And who knows. Maybe by your absence from their Memorial, our brothers who have not yet awakened to their sonship will take note and re-examine their own faith. Maybe by your faithfulness, you will lead many to righteousness and Daniel prophesied:
“And those having insight will shine as brightly as the expanse of heaven, and those bringing the many to righteousness like the stars, forever and ever.”
– Daniel 12:3
This requires faith and courage. As you read these words, the Spirit of Truth is bearing witness with you. You know what is right and you know what you must do. Will you have the faith and courage to do it? If you step out on faith, you can be certain that your celestial family and the spiritual brotherhood of the sons of God will support you.
‘The time that has passed is sufficient for us to have done the will of the nations.’ (1 Peter 4:3) Now is the time to do the will of the Father by aligning ourselves in union with Christ and ‘eating and drinking’ at the Memorial Supper. And if those around you refuse to obey the clear command of the Christ, then wipe the dust off your feet and let the dead bury the dead. But have no part in their Memorial of Offense.
We welcome your comments.
Related Questions and Responses
02/07/14 Is it premature to suggest that people not attend the 2014 Memorial
hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
02/09/14 Brother is determined to celebrate the Memorial Supper
with Jehovah’s Witnesses