Because of the Watchtower teaching that only the anointed 144,000 are born again into the new covenant, at their annual Memorial service (their version of communion) only those who profess to be in this class are allowed to partake of the bread and wine. Others attend and watch, but the Watchtower says that the new covenant in Christ’s blood is not for them. (p. 133)
To show the Witnesses that this practice is unscriptural, I recommend that you draw the Witnesses’ attention to the following passages. Ask them to read them aloud.
Matthew 26:26-28 (The Last Supper) (p. 134)
In the Watchtower’s New World Translation, this passage reads as follows: “As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: ‘Take, eat. This means my body.’ And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, saying: ‘Drink out of it, all of you, for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.”
Ask, “Didn’t Jesus command all those present to eat and drink? Did he say that some should partake and that some should not?”
Most likely they will say that all of the apostles were of the 144,000. If so, ask, “Don’t you believe that Jesus’ ransom sacrifice applies to you? Don’t you believe that Jesus’ blood was poured out for the forgiveness of your sins as well as for the sins of the 144,000?”
John 6:53-56: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (p. 134)
Ask, “Why aren’t you included in whoever?”
Add, “I believe that Jesus is speaking of an inward experience of which partaking of the bread and wine is only a symbol. But when you pass the bread and wine along without partaking, aren’t you testifying that you have never had this inward experience which Jesus said was essential in order to have eternal life?” If they insist that this experience is only for the 144,000, say, “Jesus says that people who don’t eat his flesh and drink his blood have no life in themselves. Don’t you have life in you?”
1 Corinthians 10:16-17: “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” (p. 135)
Ask, “According to this passage, how many bodies are there? Why aren’t you included in all?”
Responding to Watchtower objections
Expect the Witnesses to make the following hopscotching argument to “prove” that only 144,000 go to heaven. (pp. 135-136)
- 1 Peter 1:3-4 says that those who are born again have an inheritance in heaven.
- Revelation 14:3 says those in heaven are the 144,000 who have been redeemed from the earth.
- Luke 12:32 says God will give the kingdom to a little flock.
- Revelation 20:6 says they will rule as kings and priests. If all Christians were born again and ended up in heaven, there would be no one on earth for them to rule over and no millennial kingdom.
I recommend that you make the following points in response:
- Heaven and earth are not mutually exclusive. Angels are able to exist in either place and to travel back and forth. There is no reason why Jehovah couldn’t enable resurrected, born again people to do likewise.
- Revelation 14:4 calls the 144,000 “firstfruits,” not the only ones who are born again and not the only ones who have access to heaven.
- There is nothing in the Bible that equates the “little flock” with the 144,000. Ask, “Why couldn’t the ‘little flock’ whom the Father gave the kingdom simply be the apostles to whom Jesus made that statement?
- There will be a millennial kingdom on earth. Those whom born again people serve as kings and priests will be the people of the nations who survive the tribulation, as well as their children who are born during the millennium.
Witnesses may deny that any unbelievers will survive the tribulation. Show them Revelation 20:7-8, which says that when Satan is released after the 1000 years he will again mislead the nations and gather to him “as many as the sand of the sea” for his final rebellion. They will encircle the holy city. Clearly, these particular subjects of the millennial kingdom are not true believers and their number is too large to count.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that all first century Christians were born again (Heaven bound) members of the 144,000, whereas today the vast majority of Witnesses are in the non-born again (earthly paradise bound) “other sheep” class. They believe that only the 144,000 are actually in the new covenant. The others benefit from it but aren’t a part of the covenant itself. Please read the following scriptures. How might you use them to show Jehovah’s Witnesses that all true Christians must be in the new covenant? Matthew 26:26-28; John 6:53-56; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (pp. 133-135)
- How would you respond to a Jehovah’s Witness who makes the following points? “1 Peter 1:3-4 states that those who are born again have an inheritance in heaven. Revelation 14:3 says those in heaven are the 144,000 who have been redeemed from the earth. Luke 12:32 says God will give the kingdom to a ‘little flock.’ Revelation 20:6 says they will rule as kings and priests. If all Christians were born again and ended up in heaven, there would be no one left to rule over and no millennial kingdom.” (pp. 135-136)
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