Taking apart the Memorial

by jgnat 77 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • reniaa

    Hi jgnat I gladly accept your friendship If i seemed hesitant it's only because you never know how seriously you should get involved with people you may never meet :) and only know what they tell you.

    I know my responses on forums are intermittent and can be indepth or brief lol that depends how tired I am, Not reveal to much but my life is extremely complex beyond the average person in a big way, So it can be days between my reading this forum or then i can have lots of time on it. Also sometimes I just don't feel like exposing myself to the bitterness towards Jw's on JWD forum which can be intense.

    You are a lovely person and your work on this memorial subject alone is very commited, although I don't agree with some of your conclusions, I recognise you may have the stronger position, Your arguements are thoughtful and well put down :)


  • *summer*


    as you write...your responses on this forum may be intermittent, in depth, or brief.

    but they sure are of interest...at least to me!:-)

  • reniaa

    Thank you summer you are another lovely person that has made my stay on JWD worth all the taking part. :)

    I found jgnats memorial scripture comparative posts extremely informative really putting things in place,

    Here's another question that I know has some debate value,..

    Did judas leave before or after the memorial meal?

  • jgnat

    A quick note to you, raniaa, so you know I haven't forgotten you. I've had the pleasure of building many friendships from the board, and meeting many posters face-to-face. None have been disappointing. It is odd, though, the first few times we talk. So much is gained from facial expression and mannerisms. What I know about the poster has to catch up with what I learn.

    Not that one musn't be careful, but there are ways of really knowing people through this medium. I am convinced of it.

  • jgnat

    Narkissos, my apologies that I have not responded to your discussion sooner. Your thoughts are so well put-together, I need time to frame my reply, to give your thoughts the time they deserve.

    It's a danger, isn't it, to try and harmonize the scriptures where there isn't any?

    Absolutely. Thanks to scholars like you, I've learned to reconcile that there will be oddities and differences. This approach rubs off some of the gloss off the "Holy Bible", and perhaps makes room for modern inspiration. If all truth had been resolved 2,000 years ago, why have we changed so much as a society since? Common laborers have a say in their government, not just landowners. Slavery is reprehensible. Women are equal men and are not property. War is not noble. Children are to be nurtured, not treated as spare laborers. The common soldier is not dispensible. Literacy is not only common, it is promoted as protection from ignorance. The earth is to be protected, not just exploited. These are all relatively modern concepts that did not exist in bible times. As a modern Christian, I have incorporated all these concepts of rightness. Even though the bible is generally silent on these issues.

    So thank you for showing a plain interpretation of a difficult scripture (baptism for the dead) to show up that the bible is not harmonious. Which leads me to a simple answer to your question, reniaa. We don't know when Judas left. So perhaps it does not matter.

  • Narkissos


    Your last post reminded me of an illustration I once read from an Evangelical theologian (I may have referred to it before, but I find it excellent, even though I don't remember who it was): he said, in substance, that the Bible was like the first written acts of an unfinished play, and all subsequent generations of Christians, including ours, had to write the continuation. How are the first acts, however great, an authority to them as they try to achieve this task? They can cherish them, refer to them, absorb their spirit -- but at some point they have to invent, because slavish repetition would ruin the work instead of leading it to completion. And, like it or not, what will be added is bound to change the meaning of what is already written.

    As to the question whether Judas was present at the last Passover meal, Eucharist included, Luke 22 clearly implies that he was:

    Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
    Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
    Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it." They asked him, "Where do you want us to make preparations for it?" "Listen," he said to them, "when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, 'The teacher asks you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" ' He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there." So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
    When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.
    He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!" Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this.
  • undercover
    As to the question whether Judas was present at the last Passover meal, Eucharist included, Luke 22 clearly implies that he was...

    I've noticed that the Society makes a distinction between the Passover meal and the "meal" or Eucharist that follows.

    The publications will say something like, "After the Passover was concluded and Judas left, Jesus instituted the Memorial..." or words to that effect anyway.

    This is how they get around the whole "was Judas there or not" argument.

    Again, this is an example of the Society interpreting the Bible to suit its doctrine. The Scriptures clearly places Judas at the event but the Society can't have that. If Judas was at the actual event and partook, then what significance is it that only the 144,000 or their remnant are allowed to partake today? If Judas was allowed to partake and Jesus clearly knew he was set to betray, then wouldn't it follow that the partaking of the emblems is not some private ritual for Christ's brothers?

  • TD

    Something else that strikes me as odd about the JW memorial is the actual date of the observance.

    In discussing this, there are two terms that are important to differentiate. --"Day" and "Date."

    "Day" is the daylight period from sunrise to sunset. --Roughly 12 hours in the spring.

    "Date" is the cardinal number on the calendar which represents a 24 hour period including both "Day and "Night."

    JW's observe the memorial right as the Date of the 14th begins. Sometimes, in fact just a few minutes after it begins. In other words, on the 13th Day, the JWs know that they will be celebrating the Memorial that evening. Many of them arrange to get off of work early that day. An explanation of this usually figures very prominantly in the sermon. It is always pointed out that the Jewish calendar Date begins in the evening and now that sunset has occured, it's technically the 14th and therefore okay to begin.

    This means that the Day after the JW memorial is still the Date of the 14th and the 15th will not begin until the following evening, typically 24 hours after the JW memorial.

    Okay so far?

    Now the Bible says that the passover sacrifice was chosen on the 10th day of the month.

    Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. (Exodus 12:3)

    It also says that the animal was kept until the fourteenth day of the month and then slaughtered at twilight:

    Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. (Exodus 12:6)

    So at the point when twilight of the 14th gives way to darkness and the sun has fully set, the 15th has begun and Passover is celebrated.

    In proof of this, note that the Bible is explicit that the next Day after Passover was the 15th:

    The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out boldly in full view of all the Egyptians (Numbers 33:3)

    Or as the New World Translation puts it:

    And they proceeded to pull away from Ram´e·ses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. Directly the day after the passover the sons of Israel went out with uplifted hand before the eyes of all the Egyptians.

    Taken together, it is crystal clear that Passover technically was observed on the 15th. --After sundown on the 14th Day. Note that this is 24 hours after the JW's observe the Memorial

    The next question would be whether Jesus and the apostles followed this timing (i.e. The Law) or not. On this, the synoptics are pretty much in agreement: (The Johannine gospel is nebulous since Caiaphas seems be eating the Passover meal later -cf. John 18:28)

    "On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' " So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve" (Matthew 26:17-20)

    "On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve" (Mark 14:12-17)

    "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table." (Luke 22:7-14)

    The first Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is of course, the 14th since this was the day the lamb was sacrificed and the OT is explicit on that point. It also is crystal clear from Jesus statements quoted above that he was speaking prior to sundown on that Day of the 14th. Therefore it is also apparent that Jesus celebrated Passover with the apostles afterh sundown when the Day and Date of the 14th had ended and the Night and Date of the 15th had begun. This is precisely when modern Jews celebrate Passover.

    Is this important? I suppose it depends on your perspective. It's not important to me, but you would suppose that to JW's, it would be very important. They spend a sizeable amount of time each year explaining why they (correctly) celebrate the Memorial when they do.

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