Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses behind a literature cart. She invited me to their annual Memorial explaining it as a day set aside to commemorate Jesus’ death. I agreed with her on it’s importance and expressed my own appreciation for what Jesus’ death means to me. Then I asked her, “so at this service you have in which you celebrate His death, do you also celebrate His resurrection or do you have a separate service for that?”
And she actually said,
“OH, WE DON’T CELEBRATE HIS RESURRECTION.”
How sad. Not only do they reject the body and blood of Christ at their Memorial service, but they also go forth in their ministry boldly proclaiming there is no reason to celebrate His resurrection. Just what part of this is Christian?
This year the annual Memorial falls on Friday, April 15 which is also Good Friday. After two years of Zoom meetings, the Witnesses will now have the opportunity to meet in person once again at their Kingdom Halls. Many churches will hold their services that day also. In both services, you will hear about Jesus’ sacrificial death, but His resurrection won’t be celebrated at the Kingdom Hall as it will be the following Sunday morning in churches.
During the weeks prior to the Memorial, however, the Witnesses will be expected to attend a special talk explaining the hope which Jesus’ ransom sacrifice makes possible. They will undoubtedly present their version of the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous and explain the two classes of faithful Witnesses: the 144,000 who will rule with Christ in the heavenly kingdom and the greater number of earthly class JWs who will be subject to that rule on paradise earth.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re already familiar with what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach regarding their future hope. That’s one of the nice things about a cult: it allows no room for the diversity of interpretations. What the Governing Body has decided is “the truth” for ALL members across the world. There is a certain comfort in such conformity for its members and potential converts. But once a person leaves the mind control of the Watchtower and seeks understanding about life after death, it can get confusing. Some church funeral services will announce the deceased as already enjoying their heavenly reward, while another service will present a hope similar to the Witnesses in which the dead will be resurrected at a future date. Like everyone else, I have my own views to share on it. But unlike a cult or dogmatic religionist, I’m not promoting mine as the only truth that a person must believe in order to be a Christian. I recognize that I represent one view among many Christian interpretations when it comes to the hope of life beyond the death of the body. So if it’s a topic that interests you, I suggest you prayerfully read your own Bible as you explore what others have discovered in their reading.
In discussing the broad topic of “the resurrection” with another former Jehovah’s Witness, I found it both exhilarating and exhausting due to the many bunny trails our subject offered. I have a desk full of disjointed notes begging to be given an orderly form, so I’m endeavoring to build a series on my personal blog spot covering several aspects of the resurrection. The first question I was drawn to explore was when and how the concept of life after death entered the human mind according to the biblical account. My friend had questions about Revelation 20:5-6 and the first and second resurrection. This led us to explore the timing and order of the resurrection and many things in between.
Because both the Kingdom Hall and your area church will have plenty to say this month about the hope we have because of Jesus, it’s an appropriate time to invite readers here to explore what the Scriptures have informed me on the subject. If that interests you, just click on the link to my personal blog “Go Away, I’m Naked” and subscribe so you won’t miss the installments in this Resurrection series.
The first in the series poses the question…
Keep yourself in God’s love,
We have several articles and interviews concerning the Memorial of Jehovah’s Witnesses that you can read or listen to right here.
The Memorial https://www.4witness.org/the-memorial/
A First Time Visit to the Memorial https://www.4witness.org/a-first-time-visit-to-the-memorial/
What is the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial? https://www.4witness.org/what-is-the-jehovahs-witness-memorial/
Should You Go to the Memorial This Year? https://www.4witness.org/should-you-go-to-the-memorial-this-year/
Keith Visiting the Memorial Interview https://www.4witness.org/keith-visiting-the-memorial-of-jehovahs-witnesses-interview-with-keith-walker-hurting-to-healing/
Truth Invasion into the Kingdom Hall on Memorial https://www.4witness.org/truth-invasion-into-the-kingdom-hall/
Boldness on Memorial Night https://www.4witness.org/boldness-on-memorial-night/