November 16, 2018

Jehovah’s Witnesses vs. Lord’s Supper

By Ron Halbrook

The Lord’s supper is observed by the Lord’s church on the Lord’s day.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses” are not the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not observe the true supper of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not observe it on the true Day of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The church of Christ began on the first Pentecost after Jesus arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter and the other apostles preached the death, burial, resurrection, and coronation of Christ at the Father’s right hand.  When the audience asked what they must do to be saved. Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” About 3,000 people obeyed the gospel “the same day.” As the gospel was preached day by day, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:38, 41,47). God taught his people to wear their Savior’s name: Christian (Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:16). The New Testament records the faith and practice of the Lord’s true church. Those who follow that same pattern of faith and practice constitute the Lord’s true church today.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses° are a modern cult started by Charles T. Russell about 1870. They took the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Columbus, Ohio in 1931.  God called the Jews “my witnesses” in the Old Testament, meaning that the miracles God performed in their history confirmed the reality of his existence (Isa. 43:9 13).  In the New Testament, only those who saw the resurrected Lord were referred to as his witnesses, but the term was not used in reference to Christians generally (Acts 1:8, 21‑22). The Jehovah’s Witness Cult has its own “translation” (actually, a paraphrase) of the Bible primarily designed to deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are not the Lord’s church.

The true church of the Lord observes the Lord s supper.  After the last Passover meal with his Apostles, Jesus took some of the remaining “unleavened bread” and “fruit of the vine” and gave it a new meaning. He taught them to eat and drink it as a memorial of his death “for the remission of sins.” He taught them to keep this memorial it the future in “that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:26‑28). The hearts of Christians who make up the church are the realm of the Father’s kingdom or rule through Jesus Christ, and that kingdom was fully established on Pentecost in Acts 2. The church is the kingdom, and in that kingdom of God Christ communed with his people by means of the Lord’s Supper from the very beginning of the church. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). This refers to worship, not social meals, and to the Lord’s Supper of the New Testament, not the Passover of the Old. All Christians in every church of the Lord ate and drank in this memorial (1 Cor. 11:17‑34; 4:15; 1:2).

The J. W. cult does not keep the true supper of the Lord. On rare occasions when they profess to prepare the Lord’s Supper, their doctrine bars 99.9999 percent of the members from eating and drinking of it.  In most places no one at all participates. They claim that God offers the hope of heaven to only 144,000 people, only those people may partake of the Supper all through history, and nearly all of them lived in the first century A.D. The great majority of their members are denied both communion with Christ in his supper and a home with him in heaven.

From its beginning, the church of Christ worshipped every first day of the week. It began on Sunday in Acts 2. The regular and consistent practice of every church of Christ is pictured in Troas: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread....” (Acts 20:7). “Upon the first day of the week” every member of every church was taught to make a financial contribution according to his ability for the work of the church (1 Cot. 16:1‑2; 4:15). Christians met for study and other spiritual activities on other days, but they met only on Sunday, and every Sunday, for the Lord’s Supper and the collection. God’s true people still do so today.

The Jehovah’s Witness cult claims that since Jesus first spoke of the supper at the Passover, “it is reasonable” to assume that he “meant” that the supper should be kept “only on Nisan 14,” the Passover date, “annually, not with greater frequency” (J.W. Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971,  p. 1076). This argument is based purely on human reason, supposition, and guesswork. On that basis, we could say that it is reasonable to assume that he meant we should keep the Passover in connection with the Lord’s Supper. If so, we should fatten the Passover lamb Nisan 10‑14, then kill and eat the lamb on the 14th. The Jewish Nisan is equivalent to our April. On April 15‑21, we should remove all leaven from our houses and eat only unleavened bread (Exod. 12:1‑28; Lev. 23:4‑8).

The mistake of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult is in trying to bring part of the Old Testament into the New. Jesus told his disciples what to eat and what it would mean when he ordained the Supper, but he said not one word about taking it on the date of the old Passover. They were still living under the Old Testament at the time of this teaching, but Jesus said they would not keep this Supper of communion with him again until the day of the Father’s kingdom (Matt. 26:29). The Father’s kingdom came on Pentecost, a Sunday, in Acts 2. Pentecost always came 50 days after Passover, which means Pentecost was always on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15‑16). When the kingdom came on Pentecost, the church did not wait a year until the next Passover date to observe the Lord’s Supper. Acts 2:41‑42 shows that the people converted on that very Sunday immediately began sharing the lord’s Supper.  Every church was taught to do the same thing (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 4:15). It requires a man‑made Aid to Bible (Mis‑)Understanding to declare the practice of the early church not “reasonable” for the church today.

The J.W. cult professes to provide the Supper by basing it on the day appointed for an Old Testament feast day. They are binding that much of the Old Law for today. Anyone who hinds part of the Old Law “is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law” (Gal. 5:3 4). Not only do they nullify Christ by denying his deity, but also they nullify Christ by justifying their date for the supper from the Old Law. Paul said of the Old Law,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ (Col. 2:16‑17).

The days, appointments, and dates of even Old Testament feast –  including the Passover – only foreshadowed the greater blessings of the gospel of Christ. Not one of those old dates is binding on Christians today for any purpose.

Acts 20:7 gives the J.W. cult no little trouble. They cannot find a single passage where any New Testament church ever observed the Lord’s Supper on the date of the Passover, but here is a passage which plainly shows the Supper was observed each and every Sunday. “And upon the first day of the week, preached when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” In a frantic effort to nullify the force of this text, members of the J.W. religion have said that Acts 20:7 refers to a common meal rather than the Lord’s Supper. No, Paul ate something to refresh himself at the start of a journey in verse 11, but verse 7 clear1y refers to the regular assemblies of the whole church for worship.

The New Testament repeatedly distinguishes the Lord’s Supper conducted by the church from common meals provided by individuals:

The Lord’s Supper

1. The breaking of the bread is in the context of worship (Acts 2:42).

2. All disciples assembled to eat the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

3. When “ye come together in the church,” eat the Lord’s supper rather than a common meal (1 Cor. 11:17‑34).

A Common Meal

1. Eating food from house to house is separate from worship assembles (Acts 2:46b).

2. Paul alone ate food to prepare for a journey – no one else was said to eat (Acts 20:11).

3. “If any man hunger, let him eat at home, that ye come not together unto condemnation” (1 Cor. 11:34).

We should never confuse the duty of the church to provide the Lord’s Supper with the duty of individuals to provide social meals separate from the work of the church.

The true church of Christ still observes the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day. One way we can know the J.W. organization is not the true church of Christ is that they repudiate the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day as recorded in the Bible. They substitute a man‑made observance on the date of a feast in the Old Covenant. Jesus warned, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:23).

[Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 8 (April 15, 1993), p. 14‑15]

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