Sunday 15 March 2009

The Memorial, Ransom and New Covenant

The Memorial is an annual event when Jehovah's Witnesses give official thanks to Jesus for His Ransom Sacrifice, and thus their way to eternal life. We will look at the subject of the Ransom first.

The Ransom and the New Covenant are treated in a very legalistic way by the wtbts.
This is an example from the reasoning book under the heading of "The Ransom" in which
there is an argument used to back up the position of the majority of attendees who refuse to partake of the emblems on the night.

"Reasoning" p. 309 par. 2

John 10:16: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (These “other sheep” come under the loving care of Jesus Christ while the remnant of the “little flock” of Kingdom heirs is still on earth; thus the “other sheep” can be associated with the Kingdom heirs as part of the “one flock.” They all enjoy many of the same benefits from Jesus’ sacrifice, but not identically so, because they have different destinies.)

So the "little flock" are the only partakers, everyone is told at the Memorial. The rest are the "other sheep" who do not partake but strangely STILL get the benefit of Jesus sacrifice.
I have yet to see in God's word where this arrangement is explained, or have any Witness explain how association with "the remnant" gives a person salvation by proxy.

It seems incredible to me that the" Faithful Slave" devote SEVEN whole pages to their discussion of the ransom in this book WITHOUT mentioning the Last supper or ANY of the relevant scriptures that speak of partaking of the flesh and blood of Jesus, and absolutely NO MENTION of 1 Tim 2;5 which says that Jesus is our mediator (i. e. all mankind who accept the sacrifice). Also NO MENTION of the NEW COVENANT. They have reduced the whole subject to a discussion of the origins of sin, and why we need the Ransom , and crucially leave THE ONE PAGE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS that you need to finish the project.

Right at the end however is the rub.

page 310

What is required of us in order to benefit lastingly from Jesus perfect sacrifice?

John 3;36 "he that exercises faith in the son has everlasting life"

so far so good......Biblical ,accurate and simple.....

Next question from page 311 "Reasoning"

What effect should this provision have on how we use our lives?

Titus 2; 13,14 " Christ Jesus ......gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own , zealous for fine works" (Appreciation for this marvelous provision should move us to have a zealous share in those works that Christ assigned to his true followers)

VERY, VERY clever. A scripture that speaks of the Ransom AND works in the same context! Almost like one needs to show the works to benefit, rather than good works being a result of dedicating one's life to Jesus.

So that verse is really telling us that if we really appreciate what Jesus did then we will do the works that he assigned us to? Sounds suspiciously like the parable of the faithful slave that he also "assigned"or appointed to "work" for his interests.

The verse says that the people for himself (not Jehovah) would already be zealous for fine works. But what they want people to take from the verse is that it's those works which are really the key.... Yes the Watchtower works program: Meetings, field ministry, assemblies, pre. study.And "Jesus true followers"?....Jehovah's Witnesses today.They are the ones who have the knowledge and the appreciation and the works to go with it.

Surely the most appreciative act a person could do would be to accept the Ransom or New Covenant provision which the wts seem to think are two separate things.

The Bible makes it very plain what is required of ANY individual wishing to please God.

Pray to God through Jesus.(John 14:6-9)

Put faith in and believe in Jesus as one's only saviour (Titus 2:13)

Ask for your sins to be forgiven,(Matthew 6:9,10)

Show you want to be one of Jesus' brothers by sharing the Lord's meal when you get the chance.
(1 Corinthians 11:26)

The "Reasoning" book also has a section on "The Memorial" where we can get an idea of the Watchtower teachings on that subject.

Pages 266-69

The first point to be made is there's no basis in scripture to say that it should only be celebrated once year, as though to do so more often would be somehow showing a lack of respect or a devaluing of Jesus provision.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:26 . . ".For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives."

Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus arrived in 1914 so why do they still observe the Lord's evening meal?

Let us assume that we should properly observe it regardless of whether or not Jesus arrived in 1914. What should one do on such an occasion?

Most of the material deals with the subject in a fair and objective manner, explaining it's significance and who Jesus asked to partake.
Then this question is posed on page 267:-

Who is to partake of the bread and the wine?

Who partook when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal shortly before he died? Eleven faithful followers to whom Jesus said: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.” (Luke 22:29) They were all persons who were being invited to share with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom. (John 14:2, 3) All who partake of the bread and wine today should also be persons whom Christ brings into that ‘covenant for a kingdom.’

Again this is Biblical and sound so far.

Then this next section says on page 268:-

How many are there that partake? Jesus said that only a “little flock” would receive the heavenly Kingdom as their reward. (Luke 12:32) The full number would be 144,000. (Rev. 14:1-3) That group began to be selected in 33 C.E. Reasonably, there would be only a small number partaking now.

Jesus did indeed utter those words, but where in any of the gospels did Jesus make the statement that is presented after his words? Namely that the number of those who would inherit the Kingdom would be limited to 144,000 of persons who go to heaven?
It's nowhere to be found.

What about the apostle Paul who was quoted above, did he perhaps in the 14 books of the Bible he wrote make mention of the number being limited to 144,000 persons having the heavenly hope?
No he did not.

A question to ask one's self is; if you have the hope of living in a paradise earth, when did this secondary hope become available?
In the early days of the organisation which is now known as Jehovah's Witnesses EVERY person had the heavenly hope as the Bible describes. "Only from the year 1935 did the "other sheep" class have an earthly hope" would be what most Witnesses would say.

However this is actually NOT now what is the official doctrine.In 2007, the 1935 teaching was changed with a simple admission:

"Thus it appears that we can not set a specific date for when the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope ends." Watchtower 2007 May 1 p.31

So very simply put, if the heavenly hope didn't actually close in the year 1935 then where does that leave those who claim an earthly hope?
"Judge " Rutherford didn't even bother TRYING to give credibility to the year by means of scripture, for there are no scriptures to support the year in question. Instead he used the mention of a "great crowd" in Revelation to insist that these were the ones who would have the earthly hope. This in itself was a reversal in doctrine from the notion that the "great crowd" was a secondary heavenly class of less faithful ones.
Every time the book of Revelation mentions the "great crowd" it's in a heavenly setting, not on earth!
Revelation 19;1 even says "After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd IN HEAVEN." which the Revelation Climax book does not even try to explain.( page 272 Rev climax)

It's a stark thought, ask yourself when did your earthly hope become available?

Can it be backed up by scripture?

Why do you feel that you will be living forever in a paradise earth when the New Testament consistently speaks of "the Kingdom of the Heavens"?

What does Jesus say about your hope for eternal life?
He made the statement below a full year before the Lord's evening meal was first held knowing it would be the only hope for mankind.

(John 6:53) . . .Accordingly 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.

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