Lord’s Evening Meal: Jehovah’s Witnesses hold Memorial meal

Painting of man holding cup before long angled table of men sitting

Communion of the Apostles, by Fra Angelico, c. 1440-41. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET FRIDAY, APRIL 3: As Passover begins for Jews around the globe, Jehovah’s Witnesses commemorate an event believed to have occurred on the first night of Passover in approximately 33 CE—the Last Supper, known as the Lord’s Evening Meal to Witnesses.

According to this Christian tradition: Jesus celebrated Passover together with his closest followers in the upper room of the home owned by John and his mother in Jerusalem. Hours before his crucifixion, Jesus instituted a special meal that would become memorialized in the Christian Church. After saying a special blessing over the unleavened bread and wine, and passing them around the table, Jesus announced: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses hold the bread and the wine of the Last Supper as symbolic of Christ’s body. (Learn more from JW.org.) The wine, the representation of Jesus’ blood, made valid a new covenant and ushered in a new practice for all future Christians. Jesus explained that his blood would be poured out for the forgiveness of sins.

Jehovah’s Witnesses point to accounts in Genesis, Jeremiah, Peter and Revelation that describe 144,000 faithful Christians who will go to heaven and serve as kings and priests for all mankind. (Read more from the Watchtower Online Library.) Each year, only a few thousand persons worldwide partake in the annual Memorial meal; all other Jehovah’s Witnesses attend the event but do not partake. Since Passover is only commemorated once per year, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the anniversary of the Last Supper and Jesus’ death should, too, be marked only once per year.

 

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Jehovah’s Witness: Participants, witnesses attend Lord’s Evening Meal

SUNSET MONDAY, APRIL 14: Jehovah’s Witnesses the world over gather tonight for the memorial of the Last Supper and Jesus’s death, better known as the Lord’s Evening Meal. Jehovah’s Witnesses observe the Memorial at the beginning of the Passover period each year.

Across the rest of the Christian world, the Last Supper is remembered later in Holy Week. Jehovah’s Witnesses also mark the evening’s events in a slightly different way: most attend the ritual while only a few thousand, worldwide, actually participate. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that only 144,000 faithful Christians can be a part of the new covenant that Jesus spoke of during the Passover meal, and that of those, only a few thousand in this generation may partake in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Evening Meal. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses attend the Meal as observers. (Read more at JW.org.)

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Categories: Jehovah's Witness