THINKING AHEAD - MEMORIAL 2013
December 31, 2012
This coming year, Jehovah’s Witnesses will memorialize the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, on March 26, 2013, after sundown. It will mark the anniversary of the courageous and noble end of the matchless earthly life our ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), by the will of the First Father of ALL, who sojourned as the Son of God/Son of Man during the first century.
Up to this night and beyond, everything Jesus did was for our benefit. He wanted us to know the truth about ourselves and our relationship to God. He wanted to correct the grave misconceptions about the nature of God – that He is not just a powerful potentate, but He is our own heavenly Father. Jesus wanted to elevate our personal dignity, as not mere servants of God, but as His sons who bear His image and encapsulate His spirit – the incorruptible seed of the Father. (Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23)
And even beyond that, Jesus wanted the entire world to know that we are all one big potentially happy, but currently dysfunctional, family. To that end, he commanded his disciples to take the message of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man to the most distant parts of the earth – to every nation, and tribe and peoples and tongues. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) No, Christ Jesus was not just a prophet or a wise man or a progenitor of one religion. He has a divine relationship with all mankind – Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, the various tribal and aboriginal people, even atheists and agnostics. By the First Father’s will, all mankind owes their existence and survival potential to and through Christ Jesus.
But the onus is on Jesus’ disciples who form the Christian nation to be examples of the Christ and the life he led. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
“But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and he committed the word of the reconciliation to us.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Yes, brothers and sisters, Christianity has a God-given, Christ-exemplified mission.
“We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: “Become reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
In this way, we can lead other faith-nations to honor and recognize their Creator, and to continue in their worship of the true God, the First Father of ALL. Our commission is not to make them all ‘Christians,’ but to show them how to be ‘Christ-like’ in their dealings with one another. The 2013 Memorial will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to have a fresh start in the true ministry of reconciliation.
To date, we have published many articles that establish our true relationship to God and to the Christ. Here are a few:
Moving Forward in Faith (a discussion of the book of Galatians)
Hold Fast to the Sacred Secret (a discussion of the book of Colossians)
Foreordained from the Founding of the World (a discussion of the book of Ephesians)
Being Born Again (a discussion of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus)
Freedom of the Children of God (a discussion of sonship from Jew to Christian)
We have answered many question, both publicly and privately, clarifying the one hope for all faithful mankind and showing how the Christian Bible writers all directed mankind to the heavenly hope as sons and daughters of God – scriptures such as these:
“Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:19-21
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, just as he chose us in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love. For he foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
– Ephesians 1:3-5
“I continue mentioning you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him; the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he called you, what the glorious riches are which he holds as an inheritance for the holy ones, and what the surpassing greatness of his power is toward us believers.”
– Ephesians 1:16-19
“I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature,be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.”
– Philippians 3:14-15
“As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.”
– Philippians 3:20-21
“We thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in connection with Christ Jesus and the love you have for all the holy ones because of the hope that is being reserved for you in the heavens. This [hope] you heard of before by telling of the truth of that good news which has presented itself to you, even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world just as [it is doing] also among you, from the day you heard and accurately knew the undeserved kindness of God in truth.”
– Colossians 1:3-6
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you, who are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
And we repeatedly showed that NO Christian Bible writer encouraged the pursuit of an earthly hope. On the contrary, they strongly exhorted the brothers to let go of, and turn away from, the pursuit of things of the flesh, which would include the idea of an eternal earthly hope.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes.Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way.”
– John 14:1-4
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
“For there are many, I used to mention them often but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, and their finish is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things of the earth.”
– Philippians 3:18-19
“If, however, you were raised up with the Christ, go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Keep your minds fixed on the things above not on the things upon the earth.”
– Colossians 3:1-2
Even in the first century, man tried to change the good news that Jesus himself taught, of sonship with God and entry into the heavens, to their own liking, but Paul warned against this:
“I marvel that you are being so quickly removed from the One who called you with Christ’s undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. But it is not another; only there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed.”
– Galatians 1:6-9
Jesus did, however, speak of two different destinies for mankind, but we would hardly refer to them as two hopes.
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”
– Matthew 25:34
“Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, ‘Be on your way from me, YOU who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
– Matthew 25:41
Instead, the Christian Bible writers emphasized the unity and the oneness of our brotherhood and of the hope we hold in common:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all 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
“I, therefore, the prisoner in [the] Lord, entreat you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with long-suffering, putting up with one another in love, earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace. One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all [persons], who is over all and through all and in all.”
– Ephesians 4:1-5
“Also, let the peace of the Christ control in your hearts, for you were, in fact, called into it in one body. And show yourselves thankful.”
– Colossians 3:15
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Timothy 2:5
This good news of the Kingdom of the Heavens was so important that Jesus’ disciples willingly laid down their lives for it. It was not a distant fantasy. It was real to them.
“Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19
And it should be real to all of us – so real that we, too, will willingly give our all to honor our God and his Christ, in the face of any and all opposition by family, friend or foe:
“Everyone, then, that confesses union with me before men, I will also confess union with 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. . . . He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me. He that finds his soul will lose it, and he that loses his soul for my sake will find it.”
– Matthew 10:32-33, 37-39
This coming Memorial of the Lord’s Evening Meal will be our opportunity to stand up for the Christ and prove ourselves worthy of him. It will be our opportunity to extend the borders of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by inviting as many as possible to share with us in our commemoration of this night – whether it be done in public with the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or whether it be done in private. (We will provide more information on these options in a future article.)
And we want to keep ever mindful of the manner in which we recognize, publicize and participate in this night:
“Any man that has disregarded the law of Moses dies without compassion, upon the testimony of two or three. Of how much more severe a punishment, do you think, will the man be counted worthy who has trampled upon the Son of God and who has esteemed as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt?”
– Hebrews 10:28-29
No, brothers and sisters, let us not show contempt for this night or esteem the sacrifice of the Christ as if it has meaning for only a few thousand, but is of ordinary value for the billions of people on the earth today. Let us be participants and sharers in Christ’s sacrifice, not merely observers as if we were spectators at a sporting event. No, sign up, get in the race, and contend according to the rules:
“Moreover, if anyone contends even in the games, he is not crowned unless he has contended according to the rules.”
– 2 Timothy 2:5
We, for our part, will continue our efforts to reach our governing brothers to emphasize the importance of this night and this most holy celebration. And we will continue to build up the household of God with encouraging and uplifting spiritual food as we near the 2013 Memorial, including a few articles to whet our appetites so that we will be fully prepared for this eventful night. We believe the articles will include ideas that you may not have yet thought about! So stay tuned.
As we were writing this article, we received an email from a sister who has terminal cancer. She has accepted that she is a daughter of the Father and a joint heir with the Christ, and wants to make her hope known publicly at the next Memorial. However, she does not believe her fleshly tabernacle will endure until March 2013.
We were so touched by her sentiments that we want to share our dear sister’s email with you, our readers, to encourage you to stand up, even now, not waiting for March 2013. Let your hope be made known to others with whom you communicate. Let your light shine that others may give glory to God and accept His offer of sonship. (Matthew 5:16) Here are her words:
“Greetings to you and to all who may be here by chance or by God's spirit, which I believe it to be the latter. I've been a Witness in the name of Jehovah, but as I’ve grown to Honor our Christ and to Witness regarding Jesus in his stead being Christians. I’m a Christ Witness and in no way am I dishonoring the Father because he was sent by his and our Father. I say these things because of the self-aggrandizing self-promoting nature of the Governing Body these days. I don’t have very many days left on this earth due to my illness, so I just wanted to let it be known by all your readers and before God, Jesus and the holy angels that my hope is to be with the Christ in heaven. You see, I don’t have to pretend as to my hope, the living hope. Don’t wait friends, be truthful to yourself. Death will find its way to us ALL. I won’t see another Memorial. None of us have that promise. I urge, NO I beg, each Witness to search in your heart for truth and truth will be given. God Bless your courageous, bold and refreshing articles. Thank you.”
To our dear sister, we hope you have an opportunity to read this article to know that your words are affecting many, and will affect many more. With your final words, you give glory to the Christ. You are indeed proving yourself worthy. We have no doubt that Christ Jesus will confess union with you before the Father. (Matthew 10:32) And to all our readers, we encourage you to ready yourselves for activity in the coming months. We may find ourselves in a situation very similar to the first century Christians who made the unequivocal decision to ‘obey God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) Gird up your loins for activity. This is indeed the appointed time!
With true love and sincere affection, your brothers.