QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On March 19, 2013, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Greetings Brothers, I was a Jehovah’s Witness for 35 years, but left about ten years ago. Since leaving the organization, I have continued to read and love the Bible, and I try to serve The Lord as best I can. I have recently come to realize my need to partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's command. In my reading of the Bible I realize this applies to all, and not just a select few. As a result of telling another ex Jehovah’s Witness about this, I was directed to this site. I found your articles about the Memorial very helpful, and I have noted some of the scriptural points you have made. I have a question I want to ask you.
“Where I live I have no access to other like minded people. My ex-Jehovah’s Witness friend lives hundreds of miles away from me. On Memorial night I dearly want to partake of the emblems. Would it be acceptable for me to do it alone at home? I think it would be, but I would appreciate your feedback, or any suggestions on the matter. Many thanks, and God bless you.”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are glad that you have decided that you must partake in honor of the Christ. Because of your faith, you find yourself in the position that many ex-Witnesses find themselves. They want to partake and have a true fellowship of like minded people, but they do not know where to find them. We have a few suggestions.
1. If you have family and friends who are not yet like-minded, why not explain to them the Christian hope and invite them to share the Memorial Supper with you. That includes even your young children, if you have any.
2. You can go to a Memorial Supper hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to find other partakers with whom you can exchange numbers and develop a friendship. While some may not be like-minded yet, you might find many are, or at least they may be open to further discussion of the heavenly hope.
3. In our modern era, you can share a Memorial Supper with your friends by Skype, or FaceTime, or similar electronic means. Take advantage of these new avenues of communication.
4. And, of course, if there truly is no one to share the Supper with, then by all means, honor the Christ alone, knowing he is with you on this occasion by means of the Spirit of Truth.
If there are no like-minded Christians around you, then you have a wide open ministry. You do not have to go door to door, but you can talk to people in your day-to-day activities about the Christ and the heavenly hope and you can thereby develop a fellowship. You will be a true pioneer in your community!
This is an exciting time to recognize your sonship with God. A whole world will be opened to you, much more so that you now realize. We have so much more to share in this regard. Please stay tuned and let us know how you chose to commemorate the Memorial Supper.
On March 19, 2013, we received a comment from a visitor regarding an article he read on another website about who may partake at the Memorial Supper. We have already written articles on most of the issues raised, except this one:
“What are your thoughts to the argument that only 144,000 are anointed based on the fact that only 11 faithful apostles were invited to the first Memorial Supper?”
To the author, thank you for your inquiry. We read the link to the article you provided and we find a few problems.
The writer of the article commits the same errors that so many Bible students commit. The writer uses prophecy to interpret the plain and open teachings, instead of using the plain and open teachings to interpret prophecy. The writer uses isolated verses to prove points while failing to consider the context. And the writer tries to pour the ‘old wine into the new wineskins.’
We believe if anyone simply looks at what Jesus taught, and what the Christian Bible writers preached, there would not be so much confusion. But these are difficult things to convey to people who are have set themselves up as prophets with their own private interpretations, as we are seeing with the Governing Body. (2 Peter 1:20) Without a true spiritual intervention and a divine revelation, all prophetic interpretations are simply opinions. (We note the Governing Body has not yet claimed to receive divine intervention or divine inspiration.) We ourselves have written many articles, but in them, we are not interpreting prophecy. We are showing what the plain and open teachings are and what the prophesies say, not what they mean. But let’s get to the issue raised.
The fact that only the 11 faithful Apostles were participants in the first Memorial Supper is not proof that only a limited number of persons were admitted in the covenant instituted and mediated by Jesus. The Passover was not a large group or congregational commemoration. The Passover was conducted in private homes with close family and friends. (Matthew 26:17-19) So it is not unusual that the first Memorial Supper included only Jesus’ close friends.
We wrote an article on the subject of partakers based on the plain and open teachings of Jesus entitled The Great Crowd of Partakers. It discusses, and effectively invalidates, the Doctrine of the 144,000, which is the basis for the argument that only a limited number can partake at the Memorial Supper. See also Eating and Drinking Worthily, which shows plainly that all who exercise faith in Jesus Christ must continue participating in the Memorial Supper until Christ returns. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
These are our thoughts.
On March 18, 2013, we received the following comment:
“I am still somewhat confused about the heavenly hope. I do see your point of it being even more wonderful than the earthly hope. I also understand that we may be here (on earth) for a time and then something else develop (heavenly). That seems logical and would be loving on our Father's part.
“Maybe it is a weak spirit on my part that I haven't been able to imagine more. It seems that to be able to be both earthly and spirit at times would be the most exciting. I do know that the spirit would be so much different and in many ways superior to flesh. However, it doesn't seem that Jehovah would create an earth for Adam's home if it were not his intentions for the home of the human race. The earth is so wonderfully made as is the fleshly creation.
“Even though I haven't fully grasped this point about leaving the earth, I do so feel that I must partake of the emblems at the Memorial. What do you say to those that have not caught up with the heavenly hope yet but do firmly believe that we should all be brothers with Christ and remember him at the supper by sharing in the emblems.
“Is one with an earthly mind set and hope also one of God's Sons?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are glad you are opening your mind to the plain and open teachings of Jesus.
Your studies of the Bible surely show that the only hope Jesus taught or the Christian Bible writers preached about was the heavenly hope. The idea of everlasting life on earth did not enter into the Christian teachings until the early 1900's when men attempted to interpret the prophecies in the book of Revelation. (See Proving Ourselves Worthy of the Christ) Anyone reading the Bible alone would never come up with the idea of an eternal earthly hope. The heavenly hope is real, the earthly hope is speculative, at best.
As you wisely say, the ideal situation is for us to enjoy life on earth for a time and then later enjoy the heavens. That is exactly God’s purpose! The only bug in the plan was the rebellion of Lucifer/Satan/the Devil and the error of Adam and Eve. However, when man gets back on tract and back in line with the divine purpose, through the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20), our time on the earth will be much more pleasurable and enjoyable (Psalm 46:9; Psalm 67:6; 72:16; Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; 33:24; 35:1, 6, 7; 65:21-23; Hosea 2:18), while we await our grander purpose in the heavens. The earth is wonderfully made, but it is only the pre-game show! The real life is in heaven. (1 Timothy 6:19)
You ask whether one with an earthly mind set and hope is also one of God’s sons. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“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 8:15-17
The sons of God are those who are led by spirit and who will inherit the heavenly kingdom. Those who have not gained that understanding or appreciation yet would not be considered as sons of God. If you are turning away from the heavenly hope, then it is mandatory that you advance in your thinking, develop yourself into a spiritual person, and line yourself up with the correct mind set and the true hope as Paul counseled:
“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
If a person rejects the heavens in favor of the earth, he will get his wish. When his body wears out, he will return to the earth and his thoughts will perish. (Psalms 146:4) On the other hand, if he aligns himself up with the true hope – the heavenly one – then when his body wears out, the body will return to the earth, but his life, his personality, his essence will be resurrected in a new incorruptible body and he will live on in heaven! (1 Corinthians 15:42-49) Remember, the resurrection Jesus promised is to heaven, not earth. (See The Promised Resurrection)
In the meantime, it is important for all who claim union with Christ to honor him by participating in the Memorial supper. And very soon, if such a person allows himself to be led by spirit, specifically the Spirit of Truth, he will know that everlasting life is granted to those who follow the Christ – into the heaven.
We hope we have answered your question. If not, please feel free to write us again.
On March 14, 2013, we received the following comment:
“1 John 5:1 is a clear answer to any attempt to limit the number of the anointed: [According to the New English Translation of the Bible (NET)] ‘EVERYONE who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God.’ Also from the NET Bible. ‘The verb gennao- here means to be fathered by God and thus a child of God. The imagery in 1 John is that of a male parent who fathers children.’ A similar thought is found at John 1:12 from the NET Bible ‘But to ALL who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children.’ CAN ANYTHING BE CLEARER!! And these words were written AFTER the book of Revelation!”
To the author, thank you for your email. We agree with you. The matter is quite clear. There is no limit to those who could be faith sons of God and thus, no limit to those who have the heavenly hope. You make an excellent point that the words in 1 John 5:1 and John 1:12 were written AFTER the book of Revelation, after John received the vision of the 144,000.
According to the book, “All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., the writing of the book of Revelation was completed circa 96 C.E., whereas the writing of the books of 1 John and the Gospel According to John were both completed circa 98 C.E.
In your email, you quoted from the New English Translation of the Bible (NET). For the benefit of our visitors, we will provide a few more translations so that all can be sure of what John the Revelator himself believed as to how many believers could become sons of God.
Regarding 1 John 5:1:
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
– King James Version
“Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child.”
– Revised Standard Version
“Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and everyone who loves the one that caused to be born loves him who has been born from that one.”
– New World Translation
Regarding John 1:12:
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
– King James Version
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
– Revised Standard Version
“However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”
– New World Translation
These scriptures leave no doubt that ‘all who believe’ have the power to become sons of God by virtue of their faith. Thus, anyone who attempts to limit that number is in direct conflict with the words of Jesus as recorded by John the Revelator.
Thank you again, and please continue to share your observations.
On March 7, 2013, we received a comment regarding our recent article The Great Crowd of Partakers where we stated that the 144,000 are not prophesied to be the kings and priests pursuant to Revelation 5:8-10, but rather the kings and priests are said to be a great crowd, as identified in Revelation 7:9.
Here are the scriptures we were referring to:
“And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense, and the [incense] means the prayers of the holy ones. And they sing a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.’”
– Revelation 5:8-10
“After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands.”
– Revelation 7:9
And here is what the article said:
“Here, John is told that a multi-national great crowd are the ones who would be kings and priests! How did we miss this point? How did those who developed the Doctrine of the 144,000 fail to see that the kings and priests are not the 144,000, but are really a ‘great multi-national crowd?’ This clarification makes a huge difference in the fundamental teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It reveals that the teaching that only a limited number of mankind would qualify as kings and priests is a misinterpretation – an error.
“Instead, John the Revelator tells us that those who would serve as kings and priests are unnumberable! No man is able to count the number of those who would serve as kings and priests. Doesn’t that now effect our view of who can and should participate in the Memorial Supper? And doesn’t it now effect our view of who can enter the Kingdom of the Heavens? It certainly should!
Here is the visitor’s comment:
“‘You bought persons’ [from Revelation 5:8-10] does not say ‘a great crowd.’ It could mean one person of each tribe, tongue, people and nation. In that case, the crowd is maybe great, but it is perhaps less than 144 000. It could mean a lot of people, but it is not sure that it refers to Revelations 7:9. So ‘kings and priests’ must not be the ‘great crowd.’”
To the author, thank you for your email. You make a good point. We did not mean to say that the ‘great crowd’ of Revelation 7:9 is the same group as the persons ‘out of every tribe and tongue and people and nations’ of Revelation 5:9-10. Although they could be the same. We mentioned that the group at Revelation 5:9-10 who are said to be kings and priests are an unnumbered crowd – we do not know the number.
As you said, it could be smaller than 144,000; but you must also realize that it could be quite a bit larger. It could be millions. John does not reveal the number. So our point is that since we do not know the number of those who will be kings and priests, the Governing Body cannot use the number of 144,000 to teach that there is a limit to those who would be in the ‘covenant for a kingdom’ or who would have the heavenly hope.
At this point in our ministry, we do not attempt to interpret prophecy. So we are not trying to interpret the identity the ‘great crowd’ or the ‘144,000.’ We are simply showing that it is unwise to use the symbolic and prophetic book of Revelation to establish doctrines, especially doctrines having to do with matters of eternal salvation.
If you have any more thoughts on this matter, please feel free to write us again.