My son and I came home one day to find a leaflet from our local Kingdom Hall. It was an invitation to their annual commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion tonight – April 14.
Do any of you know more about the JW’s beliefs about this? I tried searching their website a few years ago and was frustrated by what I couldn’t find there. My understanding is that they deny the divinity of Christ as well as His bodily resurrection.
Today is called the memorial and is tied into passover. Basically it is the symbolic taking of bread and wine. JW’s are Unitarians and believe that Jesus was Michael the Arch-Angel that came down from Heaven. I’ve known many JW’s over my life and most of them are good, moral people they just believe in odd things related to Christ, the end times and the after life.
Here is a video of their Memorial service. If you didn’t attend, it looks like you didn’t miss much. They pass the bread and wine (the “emblems”) like a bucket brigade around the congregation and no one partakes.
Sometime ago I found an app called “A4C”, answers for Catholics. It has some breakdown on different religious group as well as answers for many questions about Catholic faith. One of the breakdowns is on the Jehovah Witnesses. I know it’s in the apple store but I don’t know about android. I think it a great tool to have.
Just after I read this, I went to the front door and saw that we had also received a leaflet about the JW service - we’re in Northern England. I thought it was a coincidence, having just read about it on here.
Went outside for half a minute, came back in to find my dog had already grabbed it and chewed it up. Guess she doesn’t want me to go to a JW service!
They do not deny he was crucified just that it was on a stake as opposed to a cross. This is their way of using the “cross” as a pagan symbol furthering their claim that Christendom, as we celebrate it, is in fact pagan. :shrug:
I received this pamphlet too and was just confused and baffled. Haha. Knowing what they believe about Jesus and knowing how quickly and fervently they double talk (he was A god but not THE God and we worship him but not really, etc. etc. etc.) I threw the pamphlet out without much thought.
Getting a straight answer probably isn’t going to happen but… does anybody know why they do this on the 14th? What is the possible reasoning for that?
they follow passover timings from what I can tell. Nisan 14, from memory. I went last year and cried the whole time. Seemed so sad that Christ tells his followers in the bible to take the bread and wine, and they are content to just watch it pass them by. Seemed an apt symbol. More so now I believe in transubstantiation.
(though obviously I know transubstantiation doesn’t happen there…)
This is so true. I wish all who believe the bread and wine is symbolic would experience this. I can’t help feel they would come out seeing how symbolism can be taken to this extreme on its way to loosing even its symbolic meaning. :eek: I can see it as even being blasphemous to some degree.
The invitation was to what the Jehovah’s Witnesses call: “The Memorial of Christ’s Death.”
According to their understanding of events, Christ commanded that his death, not his resurrection, be memorialized. Like the Passover, the JWs believe this Memorial should be commemorated only annually.
On the night of the Memorial, Jehovah’s Witnesses assemble to hear a sermon which generally covers the following:
*]Jesus died to offer a ransom to free humanity from sin.
*]Jesus is now the mediator of the New Covenant between God and 144,000 human beings who replace natural Israel as God’s people.
*]Only those who are of this select group of 144,000 may partake of the emblems of unleavened bread and wine (which are passed around at the end of the meeting).
*]Only the 144,000 may hope to live in heaven where they will share in Christ’s 1000-year rule of earth.
*]All others can hope to live under that rule on earth (they do not go to heaven)
*]God began selecting this select group of the 144,000 in the 1st century.
*]No others but the remaining ones of 144,000 may partake of the emblems since they are not in the New Covenant.
Up to now the Jehovah’s Witnesses have officially taught that “proof” that we are facing the end of the world can be found in the dwindling number of those who partake at their annual Memorial gathering. Around 1990 the number of Memorial partakers was around 8,800. The number of “remaining” ones jumped upwards of 5000 since to over 13,000 last year. Members of the JWs are assigned to watch and make a report of each person who partakes of the bread and wine at each Memorial gathering and send the report to their world headquarters in New York.
For almost a century the official teaching of the JWs was that God ended the call to become a member of the 144,000 in the year 1935. With little reason why, the current Governing Body (their main teaching group) has recently dismissed this teaching, even though they excommunicated many up till then who explicitly disagreed with the 1935 date.
The Divinity of Jesus as Defined by the Watchtower
They will claim that they do not deny the divinity of Christ, even though they do not believe in the Holy Trinity. Their official teaching to date has been that St. Michael the Archangel laid down his angelic life to be born as a perfect human through the Virgin Mary (yes “Jesus” doesn’t exist, it’s just St. Michael in disguise). Since angels can be said to be “godlike,” the Witnesses will claim that this means their belief in Jesus includes belief in his divinity. However they do not believe that Jesus is God, and their use of the term “Son of God” is limited to the English language use of “son,” namely an offspring and not the Semitic and ancient Roman use of the expression “Son of God” which meant an earthly incarnation of a deity.
No Bodily Resurrection Since Jesus is St. Michael the Archangel
They do indeed deny belief in a bodily resurrection. Their reasoning is that God’s justice demands the physical payment of a dead human to balance the scales of justice: a perfect human life to counter the sin of Adam who lost his human life. Therefore to them it is not the value of Christ’s shed blood but the literal offering of a dead human life that St. Michael was able to satisfy God’s justice with. The dead body of the human is part of the appeasement to Jehovah that must be included, they claim, otherwise the ransom will not satisfy.
If St. Michael was resurrected in bodily form, they reason, the archangel would have had to “take back” what he had “offered,” namely a perfect human form and life. Therefore “Jesus’” physically vanished in the tomb so Jehovah’s wrath could be appeased by his dead human form, but St. Michael came to life again as the archangel since he proved faithful and didn’t deserve to die himself.
They mistakenly refer to this “return to life as a spirit being” as “resurrection,” even though the Greek word for “resurrection” means a “physical reanimation” or a “standing up again” of a corporeal (non-spirit) person.
I don’t believe that shunning and abandoning family members that leave the cult is the definition of “good, moral people.” My mother is disfellowshipped and her brother will have no contact with her at all.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are not just Christians with weird beliefs, they are a dangerous cult that can and do rip families apart. Their blood policy has also saw the death of thousands of innocent Jehovah’s Witnesses, men, women, and children.
They get the archangel bit from a passage in scripture that talks about Christ coming with the voice of an archangel I think. I’m afraid I’m very rusty on the specifics, it’s a long time since I studied with them.
The cross being a torture stake, as far as I can tell, is a later invention of theirs, like their aversion to Christmas, which they did celebrate early in their history.