QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
01/08/18 - If I have chosen to follow Jesus, can I partake even though I have an earthly hope?
On January 8, 2018, we received the following email:
After reading your article on who should not partake of the emblems, I have chosen Jesus Christ as my saviour and wish to follow him. But I feel that I still have the earthly hope here on earth once Jehovah creates a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness is to dwell. Am I still able to partake of these emblems?
To the author, thank you for your email. We suspect there are many Jehovah’s Witnesses who can no longer deny that every follower of Jesus should partake of the Memorial emblems. Yet they still hold onto the idea that they have the so-called “earthly hope.” We understand why this presents a dilemma for them, but this dilemma is easily resolved if we allow the scriptures to be our guide. We have written several articles that highlight the relevant scriptures, some of the articles are listed below. In the meantime, we would like to pose a few questions and make a few observations to stimulate your thinking.
Your email states: “I have chosen Jesus Christ as my saviour and wish to follow him.” That is commendable. That is what Jesus asks of all of us. But we wonder: How far will you go? How far will you follow him? Will you, like most Jehovah’s Witnesses, follow him only up to the door but will not enter? Are you willing to follow him through the door and into the heavens where he is currently residing? If it is your desire to follow Jesus wherever he goes (Matthew 8:19-22), then you do not have an earthly hope. You have the heavenly one! Recall Jesus said:
“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 expects his followers to be in the places he prepared for them in heaven. If that were not true or if there was another destiny, he would have told us. He never did.
From your email, it is clear that you understand there is a heavenly hope. But who taught you that there is an earthly hope? How did that teaching originate? Surely, you have read:
“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 4:4-6
According to Paul, there is only one hope – the heavenly hope – the only hope discussed and encouraged in the Christian scriptures. Any other hope is just “another sort of good news’ that is discouraged in the Bible. Recall this scripture:
“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.”
– Galatians 1:6-8
Paul went so far as to say that those who are not pursuing the “upward call” need a mental adjustment:
“Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead. I am pursuing down toward the goal of 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 3:13-15
So, yes brother, if you are following the leading of the spirit and allowing the scriptures to guide you, then not only should you partake as a follower, but you should partake as a son of God with the heavenly hope:
“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.”
– Romans 8:14-17
The idea that there is an earthly hope is a fabrication created by well-meaning, but misled men. They view their own speculations about what certain prophecies mean as superior to the plain teaching of Jesus and the apostles. They have created “another sort of good news” which is why the Watchtower organization has to constantly change and update their teachings.
But the good news as taught by Jesus is unchanging. His teachings ARE the brightest light and the solid foundation upon which his followers should build their faith. Those who build their faith on the plain and open teachings of Jesus will be unshakeable. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
We understand how difficult this plain teaching is for many to accept. We, too, held the same belief in our spiritual infancy that we had an earthly hope. But when we began to trust the spirit of truth to guide us (John 16:13), and learned to trust the plain reading of the scriptures, our “powers of discernment were trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:14) If you do the same, and accept the scriptures for what they actually say, you, too, will find your way to the true hope, the only hope – the heavenly one. And then you can partake with a clean conscience knowing that you are doing what you ought to have done.
To further the discussion, here are some articles that you might want to consider:
After reading these articles, if you continue to have questions on your sonship and your eternal hope, please do not hesitate to write us again.