What is the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial?

Celebrating the Memorial Meal of Bread and Wine

Every year on Nisan 14 (the day before the Passover on the Jewish Calendar), Jehovah’s Witnesses gather to observe the anniversary of the death of Jesus. It is similar to the Christian celebration of “Maundy Thursday” or the “Last Supper” that Jesus partook with His disciples just before He died to atone for our sins. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christ’s Resurrection or Easter, this is the only event they celebrate in His life. They call it “an observance of the Memorial of Jesus’ Death.”

At this event, they pass the emblems of the “Lord’s Evening Meal” representing the bread and the cup of wine that Jesus partook with His disciples, but they will not partake of any of these emblems because they believe that the New Covenant is reserved only for a special group of 144,000 people. Since most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe they are part of that group, most will not partake of the emblems. So the Memorial of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a very somber event, consisting of a short talk about why Jesus’ death is important and the passing of the “emblems” from person to person with none but only a very few (mostly elderly) partaking.

Note that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate any other event in the life of Christ because they claim that this is the only event Jesus commanded His followers to celebrate.   Yet, there is no command in Scripture against celebrating Jesus’ birth or resurrection and the Bible even states:

“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” (Romans 14:5, NIV)

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17, NIV)

 So the Christian celebration of other religious holidays (such as Christmas and Resurrection Sunday) is not un-biblical. For more information on the Jehovah’s Witness teaching that only 144,000 can partake in the New Covenant privileges (such as taking the “Memorial emblems” or the “Lord’s Supper”) and how to counter their false teachings on this topic with the Word of God see:

Is the New Covenant Only for a Group of 144,000 People?

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