Greetings, and may you all have peace!
I am not sure if they still continue the practice, but they used to keep a count with the "A" or "O" on the publisher card. The current info, however, is in fulfillment with what I was told (and posted) a bit ago: they are going to do away with counting partakers (currently, they only count baptized partakers, not guests at the Memorial; however, they do currently count DF'd persons). They HAVE to do away with the count... because the number will continue to increase... and inexplicably so. Particularly for those who they DO accept: they deem those as replacements; however, if they are replacements, the number WOULD NOT CHANGE - one out, one in, same number.
But I need to address this comment, if I may, dear cedars (peace to you!):
Indeed - no instructions are given in this article as to the ramifications of partaking unworthily, which inevitably applies to any baptised publisher who partakes whilst being fully aware of the difference between a member of the other sheep and the little flock.
First, ALL were partakers at the time of Paul's words, so there was no differentiation between 'sheep'. Eating and drinking "unworthily" had absolutely NOTHING to do with that: it had to do with whether one was "clean" at the time of partaking... or not. Meaning, such one had to scrutinize the man they were ON THE INSIDE ("cleanse the inside of the cup")... or risk eating/drinking unworthily. What did that mean? It meant that if one was harboring hate and/or judging another... such one was not CLEAN... and thus, wasn't "ceremonially" FIT to partake of the meal. Such one, then, had to deal with whatever it is, including making peace ("leave your gift at the altar, go make peace, THEN come and offer up YOUR gift) with whomever they needed to. They needed to REMOVE the uncleanliness of their HEART... so was to be WORTHY of partaking. Otherwise, they were eating and drinking judgment against themselves ("With the SAME judgment that you are judging, you will BE judged.").
ALL, however, were SUPPOSED to partake... then AND now. Particularly those who run around telling others about being resurrected and living "forever":
"I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” [Jesus] said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. J ust as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”John 6:48-58
Because partaking has beneficial functions:
1. As to the flesh, it is the "leaves"... from the Tree of Life, which tree... or "true vine"... IS Christ, the Life. (John 14:6; 15:1-7) It is HIS flesh that is for the "curing" of the nations... that keeps the SPIRIT of those who belong to him FULLY alive, even after the flesh has died...
2. As to his blood, it is the "water" that "cleanses" our flesh AND our SPIRIT (the outside AND the inside... unlike H2O, which can only cleanse our flesh... on the outside... and only on the surface). So, for example, say you CAN'T cleanse whatever it is on the inside - you CAN'T get over your anger, etc. By means of the blood of Christ, your sin can be forgiven. Because sin is only forgiven where blood has been poured out).
It's almost implied that to do so would be of little consequence, despite Paul's dire warning in the scripture quoted above.
Paul's warning had nothing to do with a separation of the little flock from the other sheep. The "little flock" were the Jews; the "other sheep" were the nations, which included the 10-tribe kingdom of Israel AND other non-JEWS. All of these make ONE flock... with ONE Lord, ONE hope... and ONE baptism:
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” [Jesus] used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
"Therefore [Jesus] said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." John 10:1-17
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4
These two groups do NOT, however, describe or even correlate with the 144,000 and great crowd. The first is made of the 12 tribes of Israel (excluding Dan and including two shares for Joseph) and NOT just the Jews (who make up only ONE tribe)... because the PROMISE was made to Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob (Israel):
"I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel."
The second is made up of people from ALL nations, INCLUDING Israel, and thus, including Jews:
"... before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language..."
TOGETHER... these make up the nation of "kings and priests" that constitute the NEW Jerusalem... the people chosen as a "special possession" to be a holy nation to God, the MOST Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies (Psalm 68:4):
"And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. Youhave made them to be a kingdom and priests toserve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9, 10
What is to occur... and what the WTBTS hugely misses... is that the "great crowd" are those people of the nations who REPLACE those of Israel who proved themselves unfaithful. Israel in its entirety was SUPPOSED to be that nation of kings and priests; when they rejected the KING of that kingdom, however, the way was opened for them to be REPLACED... by people of the nations. A great multitude of people from the nations.
The "specialness" of the JEWS... is that Messiah would come through that line: out of the 2-tribe kingdom of Judah, made up of Judah and Benjamin. The term "Jews" comes from "Judeans" and other related Hebrew words. But the promise of being a royal nation was to ALL of Israel... and there are 10 OTHER tribes BESIDES the Jews (Judah and Benjamin).
The great crowd, then, are ALSO kings and priests... bought with the blood of Christ... as Revelation 5:9, 10 states. That is HOW they can be standing BEFORE the throne (and NOT "in sight of it", a totally false and blasphemous teaching!)... AND 'rendering sacred service.'.. IN the temple [of God]! ONLY A PRIEST CAN RENDER [SACRED] SERVICE...IN GOD'S TEMPLE:
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple;" Revelation 7:14, 15
And... these "wash" their robes... IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB. How do they DO that, though... unless they PARTAKE of that blood? They cannot.
So, I hope this clears up [some of] the false teachings of the WTBTS on this matter. There is NOTHING to fear of partaking... except, perhaps, an unclean heart. Even so, the Most Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies... is merciful. We KNOW that by knowing His Son and Christ, the HOLY One of Israel, JAHESHUA, the Chosen One of JAH (MischaJah)... whose blood so cleanses us... and THROUGH whom we can enter into the kingdom of God, the city of the NEW Jerusalem... which, ultimately, comes down OUT of heaven to rule... UPON the earth.
I this helps, truly, to at least disspell some of the more important false teachings of the WTBTS, if nothing else.
Again, I bid you all peace!
A slave of Christ,