On the 14th of April 2014 I attended my 27th Jehovah’s Witness memorial. This was only the 3rd time I have gone though since coming out the Watchtower. I would like to say that is different from how used to be, but it is the same cold, disrespectful, insulating “celebration” of Jesus as it is every year.
This year was slightly different in the way I have done it in previous years. In Peterborough there were 7 different memorials across Peterborough some starting at 7.30 pm and some at 7.45 pm. So at about 6.45 pm the Pastor of the church I attend and UK Partnerships for Christ member Jason Wright and I went to one of the earlier slots. We stood outside with our signs…”We love Jehovah s Witnesses, that’s why we are here!” and the scripture from John 3:3 in the New World Translation “Unless ANYONE is born again, they can not see the kingdom of God”.
In the hour or so we where there despite our best efforts and despite some of these people who attended used to be very good friends of mine, no one would come and talk to us. At least with having signs, maybe someone will see it and it will bother them. Amazing really, they spend hours and hours trying to talk to people from door to door, and the 2 people who actually want to talk to them get ignored! Still it got about 7.30 so was time to shoot across town to attend the later meeting.
As we were slightly late, they did not have many seats left ….apart from the front row!! I past my disfellowshipped Uncle and gave him a hug. He was sat in the “disfellowshipped” row…but I headed my way to the front of the hall. For anyone who thinks this is disrespectful, my Uncle still believes this is “the truth” ….I don’t, so I therefore I reject their doctrine of disfellowshipping and shunning, instead I will continue to try and talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses about the gospel, because I love them enough to tell them the truth.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. First to the Jew, and then to the Gentile.
I sat respectfully with Jason Wright and listened to the man at the front, who like every year spoke to the congregation more or less word for word what he had been dictated to from the governing body. On a night that is supposed to be about grace, redemption and Jesus it was all about works, the organisation and Jehovah.
Work for the organisation and may be Jehovah will let you in to paradise on Earth. Only 144,000 will be going to heaven to serve with Jesus.
The man at the front then started his talk, and fairly quickly got into talk about how most people only get an earthly hope. He said that he liked to watch grand designs and how he was looking forward to being able to build his house in paradise. He also said about how amazing it will be for the children to play with lions and the pandas. No mention of the hope of being perfect so we can worship God in the way he deserves, it’s all about “Whats in it for me?”. This is the problem, the advert he was creating went something like….”People come to our religion and you can get into paradise, build your own home and have a pet lion” ….yet should it not be…. “Come to Jesus and repent, because your a sinner” not only that but the bible says that you may “know” you have eternal life..not “might have. No mention of the hope of being perfect so we can worship God in the way he deserves, its all about “Whats in it for me?”.
1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life.
The man at the front then said about how we need to know Jehovah who of course they don’t believe to be the same person as Jesus. I hope one day he reads John 14:7 – If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is”.
Its not about getting to know the Father, but rather getting to know the Son.
He went on to explain a bit about the purpose of the ransom and quoted Romans 5:12, which reads:- That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin,+ and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned …….he then proceeded to talk about the organisation and how that helps us get to know Jehovah, this means then we maybe able to be forgiven for our sin. If only he had kept reading Romans 5 then everyone who listened may have grasped the actual purpose of the ransom! Verse 16 and 17 reads…. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ
Now we get the context of verse. The ransom is a FREE gift of grace and we are declared righteous because of Jesus and all who believe rest in him.
A gift means that you get it without wanting anything back. If I said to you here is my car (its only cheap one so you won’t want it!!), and I say this is yours as a gift to you, and hand you the keys…then I say after handing them to you….oh by the way you owe £500…its no longer a gift!!
If you have to work for salvation, it is no longer a gift. Salvation is a gift found by being in Christ, not in a religious organisation.
This is how Jehovah’s Witness view the ransom in a nutshell. This picture is taken from page 65 of the live forever book…..
On so many levels this is wrong…
1) Jesus never sinned.
2) Jesus was Gods only begotten son, Adam wasn’t.
3) Even according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus created Adam (Colossians 1:16).
4) Jesus was so much more than a man.
The talk continued…..
Like every year the man said “Only 144,000 are going to heaven, and only these are to part take of these emblems. The ones of the earthly hope just observe” Then we all had to go to Revelation 14:1
And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads.
How from that do you get that only 144,000 are going to heaven and these are the only ones that partake of the bread and wine????
Revelation 7 tells us who the 144,000 are….. and in terms of the bread and wine…
John 6:53 – So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Please don’t think I am encouraging Roman Catholicism!! But Jesus has already said that this bread means his body and this wine means his blood….and if you don’t partake, you have no internal life…you know sometimes a bit of common sense goes a long way, the bible is clear that we all partake.
Even if only 144,000 people go to heaven and the rest on earth, where in the bible does it say that they just pass it around and don’t take it???
……So the bread and wine went round and from what I could see no one took it.
The meeting then ended with the chairman thanking the governing body for the outline and then invited everyone to the “special” talk on “Why would a loving God permit suffering”.
On the most special night of the year the final thing was “Brothers please clear the building within 10 minutes to let the next lot in”
That left 10 minutes to give a witness and that happened….
We introduced ourselves to an elder as “interested Christians” and Jason (Wright) was able to have a good conversation with Jonathan about that grace was a gift and then explained how he had researched Charles Taze Russell’s teachings and the history etc. The elder was un-able to respond as the Slovak group where now coming in, but took my number and said he would be in touch…..so far he hasn’t.
Keep Jonathan in your prayers as well as the Jehovah’s Witnesses that have another Jesus.
2 Corinthians 11:4 – For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
It was a good evening having the opportunity to reach out to the Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as one that is upsetting because you see first-hand the Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Jesus.