The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
Memorial of Founding the New World
 
    Jehovah God laid the foundation for a new world of enduring peace and righteousness nineteen centuries ago. Hence none of the political rulers and religious clergymen of Christendom today can possibly lay the foundations of a "better world of tomorrow", as they call it. The lives of the millions of persons that were slaughtered in the two world wars since A.D. 1914 provide no true foundation for a "new and finer world" of enduring peace.
    John, the son of the Jewish priest Zacharias, pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and spoke of him as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". (John 1:29) Hundreds of years before John, the prophet Isaiah had compared the coming Messiah to a lamb. His very likeness to a lamb signified that he would be slaughtered and put to death violently. Isaiah prophesied: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: ... He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because [like a lamb or sheep] he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. . . . thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin." (Isa. 53: 7-10)
    Before ever the Lamb, Jesus of Nazareth, was cruelly slain upon our earth Jehovah God the Great Shepherd foretold that he would have a company or body of faithful followers who would be conformed to his image. There is a small remnant of such faithful body-members on earth now. Hence the words of the apostle written at Ephesians 1: 3,4 apply to this remnant of today, namely: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world [at Christ's death], that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Moreover, today, and particularly from and after A.D. 1918 there is a multitude of persons who are sheeplike and who do good to that faithful remnant; and when the great tribulation is over, the Lamb of God in his Kingdom glory will say to this earthly class of sheep: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the ldngdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 25: 34) The Kingdom's blessings were prepared for them from the world's foundation because the Lamb of God died not only for "his body, which is the church", but also for all others of mankind that should believe on his sacrifice as a sin-offering and devote themselves to God through him.
    The slaying of the Lamb was the time when the foundation of the righteous new world was laid. This was not just at the time that Jesus of Nazareth presented himself to John the Baptist, about October 1 of the year 29, and was baptized in water. True, his baptism was to symbolize his dying to himself as a man in order that he might thenceforth live to God in fulfillment of all the prophecies that were written beforehand. At that time was when there took place what the apostle Paul describes at Hebrews 10:4-7, saying: "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not [of bulls, goats and lambs], but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, 0 God." From then on Jesus began to be baptized into death. But this baptizing into death was not finished at his water baptism in Jordan river, as is shown by his words to his disciples James and John just a few months before he was lolled: "With the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized." (Mark 10: 39) A little earlier that same year he said to all his disciples: "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accom-plished." (Luke 12: 50) This baptism into death was not all accomplished, and hence his being slain as a Lamb was not all completed, until he was brought to the slaughterers at Calvary and died on the torture stake Friday, April 3, of the year 33. At that time, then, the foundation of the new world of God's promise was laid. Therefore Christ Jesus can be spoken of as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". He had to die in order that all those gaining life in the new world might receive cleansing from sin in his blood and be forgiven their transgressions against God.
    By God's providence, the One rightly spoken of as the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" was slain in the flesh on the very same day that the Israelites slew their passover lamb and ate it together with unleavened bread A.D. 33. The "Lamb of God" had to die that same day of the passover sacrifice in order that he might act the part of the true passover Lamb whose blood has value enough to cancel the sin of all those of mankind who believe and accept him as their sin-offering. The first passover was held by the Israelites under Moses down in the land of Egypt in the sixteenth century before our common era. The firstborn offspring of all mankind and of beasts in Egypt were about to be killed by Jehovah's angel of death so as to break Pharaoh's proud resistance to Jehovah's demand that the Israelites be let go free out of Egypt- In order to have their own firstborn children and domestic animals passed over and spared and in order to prove their worthiness to he freed from Egypt by obedience to Jehovah God, the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice and eat the passover victim on the fourteenth day of the month Abib or Nisan. We read: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household: . . . and ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even [marginal reading: between the two evenings]. And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs they shall eat it."—Ex. 12:1-8, Am. Stan. Ver.
    Jesus knew that, at his death as the Lamb of God, the Jewish passover supper followed by its seven-day feast of unleavened bread would become out of date or obsolete. It could no longer serve as a "shadow of good things to come", because the good thing, the better sacrifice, Christ Jesus, had in reality come and had died as a foundation for the new world of righteousness. To longer celebrate the passover would be to attach more value to the shadow than to the reality, the substantial thing. It would show a lack of faith in the coming of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world. Hence persons that continue to celebrate the pass-over as of old are the ones that reject Jesus of Nazareth as the "better sacrifice", "our passover." (Col. 2:16,17; Heb. 10:1; 9: 23) To provide something in place of the annual passover supper, something that would turn their faith and remembrance in the right direction, Jesus instituted the new memorial. He instructed his followers to observe it regularly at the due time.
    That the remembrancer of Christ's death was set up right after the disciples had finished partaking of the passover lamb and had thus fulfilled the law of Moses by which they were bound, the several accounts show. Mark reports: "And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Mark 14:22-26) The kingdom of God, which Jesus here mentioned as in the future, is the kingdom of the new world of righteousness, in which Christ Jesus expected to be together with his faithful disciples, there to drink the cup, not of death under reproach, but of joy in glory. Consequently, the Memorial bore some relationship to the kingdom of God by Christ Jesus, and this adds proof that it is a memorial of the founding of the new world in which that glorious kingdom will hold absolute control for the blessing of all obedient humankind.
    Jesus instituted the new memorial at a definite time, namely, on the night of Nisan 14. This was the anniversary of the passover night of the Israelites in Egypt. That typical passover was celebrated just once a year on this date, regardless of the day of the week upon which the date fell. Jesus is the antitypical passover Lamb, and he instituted the new memorial in remembrance of himself. The type and the antitype should agree. The shadow and the substance should harmonize. Accordingly Jesus died and shed his blood upon the fourteenth day of Nisan after he had started a memorial in remembrance of himself. It Scripturally follows, then, that we should keep the memorial of Christ's death on the night of Nisan 14, or just once a year on this anniversary date, regardless of the day of the week upon which the date falls. Paul's statement concerning the Memorial cup, "This do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me," cannot Scripturally be explained to mean frequently or oftentimes during the year or several times a day. Paul knew the second coming of Christ Jesus would be a long way off, and hence that the disciples, although celebrating the Memorial just once each year, would do it often because of the many years before the Lord comes.
    For this reason the consecrated persons of goodwill, the Lord's "other sheep", who are cordially invited to be present at the Memorial supper should not and do not partake of the emblems. They respect the occasion and respect what it means by attending the celebration and observing what the anointed remnant do in obedience to the instructions of their Head. But they discern that they are not themselves anointed members of the body of Christ and are not baptized into his death nor called and destined to rule with him in his heavenly kingdom. They are seeking for everlasting life in human perfection on earth under that heavenly kingdom. For them to partake of the emblems would picture something that is not true with respect to themselves. Hence they do not partake.
    In view of this, the Memorial supper will one day cease to be kept upon this earth. That will be when the remnant of Christ's body, who bear about in themselves the dying of the Lord Jesus, will have proved their faithfulness to death, thereby finishing their earthly course. Hence the Memorial will not be celebrated during Christ's millennial reign after this remnant has been joined with him in the kingdom above. The Memorial is observed till his coming, to show forth the one thing, "his death," in which it is given to his anointed body-members to share as a gracious privilege from God. We repeat once again: "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death TILL HE COME." (1 Cor. 11: 26) This coming refers not to his coming into the Kingdom A.D. 1914, nor to his coming to the spiritual temple of God in 1918 for judgment work. It refers to his coming to the completion of his church, his bride in the heavenly kingdom, the full consummation of the marriage of the Lamb of God and his spiritual bride, the church.
    The redeemed ones of humankind will not celebrate the Lord's supper on earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ with his "bride". The earthly dead who will hear Ms'voice as King and who will come forth from the graves to opportunities for eternal life on earth will not celebrate Nisan 14 each year by partaking of memorial bread and wine. Not even the resurrected faithful ones of ancient times, from Abel to John the Baptist as mentioned with honor in Hebrews, chapter eleven, will thus memorialize Christ's death each year. No one of all these will be dying Christ's death, but will be living under Christ's kingdom in hopes of gaining eternal life in perfect flesh upon this earth. The consecrated persons of good-will today, the Lord's "other sheep", many of whom will pass through the world-destruction at Armageddon without dying, are part of that redeemed humankind that will prove worthy of justification to life eternal on earth through Christ's sacrifice. Hence redeemed mankind's abstaining from eating and drinking the memorial of Christ's death begins in actuality with the "great multitude" of persons of good-will of today, the "other sheep" whom the Good Shepherd is now gathering into a united company with his remnant.
    Realizing that the world nears its final end and that therefore the Memorial celebration will not be very often any more, let us all appreciate our privilege of taking due recognition of this blessed occasion this year and what years yet remain. Bear in mind, as we stand at the portals of the incoming new world of righteousness, that this is a memorial of the founding of that glorious new world.