Each spring, Jehovah’s Witnesses make a special effort to invite their neighbors and inactive members of their religion to The Memorial of Christ’s Death. They will gather at sundown on Nisan 14 for the one time of year in which they pass the emblems of communion. There will be song and prayer and a discourse on the meaning of the bread and wine. The sad part is that very few members of this sect, which they consider to be Christian, will partake of the body and blood of Christ. During the eight years I was accepted as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I never took the bread or wine passed to me. It was out of respect for Jesus Christ and his kingdom that I was deceived into doing this.
The first few years out I felt very uncertain about my absence there because I wanted to somehow keep a memorial. I was not gathering with my former brothers and sisters at the Kingdom Hall, but neither was I celebrating the communion sacrifice within the body of Christ, the church. Even though I stopped attending services at the Kingdom Hall and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I still was not certain if I could participate in communion. Now I am very certain why I stay away from that occasion and even more thankful that God has given me the right to partake with thanksgiving and understanding. I always wanted to do the right thing before Jehovah and so I had to reason through the process for myself in order to feel comfortable at my “first communion.”
This is a process of how I reasoned through it.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Cor 11:23-29)
This passage made me shudder and think. I wanted to commemorate the death of Jesus as he said to “do this in remembrance of me.” I knew from this section of scripture it was also very important to “examine myself” and not partake lest I bring judgment on myself for not “recognizing the body.” So my next challenge was to do just that–examine myself in relationship with Jesus Christ and to figure out what it meant to recognize the body. To my Watchtower-trained mind, the body meant the remnant of the anointed heavenly class numbering a total of 144,000 called to be co-rulers with Christ in his kingdom. Only they were part of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood and therefore only they partook of the communion sacrifice. But the Holy Spirit led my Bible reading and allowed me to see the new covenant and the body in a different light.
What is the body???
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink…. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12:12, 13, 27)
The body of Christ is a group of people who were “all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” I needed to recognize who this body was. Was it the 8,000 or so partakers at the Memorial among Jehovah’s Witnesses? What about that “one Spirit” part? Were they baptized under a different Spirit than I or the other remaining 7 million members of the Watchtower Society known as the “earthly class?”
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; (Eph 4:4, 5)
There is only one body and one Spirit. Did I receive God’s one Spirit at my baptism then or not? Did I also become part of the one body or not? Am I in the new covenant? Because there is only one Spirit, I knew the entire 8th chapter of Romans applied to me. There are not two Spirits, one for an anointed heavenly class and another for an earthly class as the Watchtower teaches. Those who do not have the Spirit of Christ do not even belong to him (Rom 8:9). So, if I have received this Spirit, then I am part of the body!
Jehovah’s Witnesses attribute verses 14-17 of Romans 8 only to the 144,000, but I knew God was calling ME His daughter throughout the whole chapter. I knew “the Spirit of God lived in me” (Rom 8:9) and had received “the Spirit of sonship” (Rom 8:15). I underwent a spiritual battle accepting that truth. My Watchtower indoctrination made me want to reject it. I can recall reading in Romans 8 and tearfully praying “thank you” to God for accepting me as His child and also apologizing for believing it because it was against my religious training in “Jehovah’s organization.” There was a demonic hold on me, but I became AWARE of it as I sensed the loss of grace whenever I apologized in favor of respecting my religion over what God was speaking to me. I knew that was a powerful Watchtower demon on me and I rebuked it in the name of Jesus Christ. I had never done such a thing before and came to realize Jesus was now fighting my battles and the Spirit was interceding through my prayers. That was a turning point. I accepted God’s grace and denounced the Watchtower four years after walking away from meeting attendance at the Kingdom Hall. Although I had been saved just prior to entering the Watchtower in 1996, I did not fully understand the grace I was under and therefore listened to “another gospel” presented by Jehovah’s Witnesses and came under the influence. This is what Paul was warning the Galatians about as well. They were saved by grace but were being misled into a religion of works and in danger of being alienated from Christ (Gal 5:4). Praise God, He restored me and I repented of my involvement in the Watchtower by trying to gain God’s favor through my own righteousness instead of boasting in the cross. I now proclaim not only his death and resurrection there, but mine also.
I realized as a member of the body of Christ, I am the church.
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Col 1:24)
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Eph 5:23).
I had “recognized the body” as it said to do and I had my first communion on September 9, 2007 “in remembrance of him.” The truth had set me free.
I now consider what goes on at the Kingdom Hall on the night of the Memorial of Christ’s death to be very sad. His body and blood were given in sacrifice for all. By believing this, we are welcomed into the new covenant. He wants to be our mediator and savior. And how do Jehovah’s Witnesses respond? They pass that loaf and wine and reject him! Millions of deceived people will gather this year for the Memorial of our Lord’s death and reject him–not because they do not love him, but because they’ve been lied to by a false prophet. The Watchtower Society claims that only 144,000 individual comprise the church or body of Christ. Only they have become part of the new covenant. Through that one body, other people come to salvation through association with them. I reject this because God’s word of truth proclaims that there is only “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Tim 2:5, 6).
And I echo Paul’s words in that same letter.
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 1:12-14)
I know why I will not be at the Memorial this year. But I also know the confusion, pain, and suffering that goes along with leaving the fellowship of Jehovah’s Witnesses and not understanding what we are invited into. The Memorial is a physical reminder of what satan has stolen from these people. And so, I ask you to pray for the lost.
God forgives us and wipes the slate clean the very moment we confess our sin. However, He may continue to show us the depth of the sin as time goes by so that we have full understanding of His view of it. He gives us the mind of Christ. I am thankful that it was enough to ask forgiveness when I had a surface understanding of my sin in being part of that Memorial ritual. Through prayer, God has revealed to my heart the DEPTH of the error in that annual observance. Perhaps I would not have been able to handle it if He revealed it all at once, but now that it’s been several years since my last Memorial, I see it as SATANIC. They trained me to mock the sacrifice. I was a Christ-loving, God-fearing person in that Kingdom Hall as are many JWs today and yet my conscience was inoperable to rise up and call what we were doing blasphemous. It was only when I repented and Holy Spirit flooded me that He could restore my thinking or even recognize the influence under which I was held captive. I am completely DISGUSTED by what goes on in Kingdom Halls at the Memorial now. I am not just repentant toward my part in that ritual, I am sickened by it. That is what God does for us in giving us the mind of Christ. He takes us on a journey to see it from His perspective so we can call the sin a sin and realize just how far from Holiness it is.
How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:29)
Unknowingly, I was INSULTING the Spirit of grace and trampling the Son of God underfoot. I did this by treating as UNHOLY the blood of the covenant that sanctified me. My religion prepared a ritual that appeared very sacred and godly. This kept me in bondage and blinded me. I was mocking God all the while thinking I was honoring Him. I know the depth of satan’s masquerading as an angel of light now. And because it was my religion that taught me to do this, I know who that religion is controlled and operated by and it breaks my heart because I know there are good people trapped in there. I feel no shame in exposing the Watchtower for who they are, it’s not because I want some power trip of watching walls fall down or a personal vendetta, it’s because I love Jehovah’s Witnesses and want to see God glorified and no longer mocked.
12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Cor 11:12-15)
Keep yourselves in God’s love, Julie