Wedding Crashers


April 2, 2007– Tonight was the Jehovah’s Witnesses annual observance of “The Lord’s Evening Meal” or the “Memorial.” The Witnesses celebrate what most Christians refer to as communion only once a year. Before I describe the events of the evening, I’ll give a short summary of what happens at this ceremony.

Since this is the only religious holiday in which JWs participate, attendance at Kingdom Halls for this service is much like Christmas and Easter is for Christians. If you are associated with JWs in any way, and you could only make one meeting all year, this would be the meeting. Parking lots are filled and everyone is wearing their Sunday best. The service starts just after sunset.

A very respected man (an elder or someone of greater authority), will stand up in front of the audience and give a presentation that lasts approximately 45 minutes. The speaker will jump from verse to verse in the Bible attempting to prove that the only ones who are allowed to partake of the bread and wine are those of the anointed class, numbered at 144,000 members. Since there are a little more than 8,000 of them alive on earth today, and more than 16 million people in attendance at this event world-wide, the average Kingdom Hall does not have anyone who partakes of the emblems.

So basically someone will get up and speak about how important it is that JWs attend while emphasizing that practically no one will participate, pass the emblems around, watch everyone reject them, then go home. The obvious question arises, why attend in the first place? Before I answer that question, I’ll describe my evening.

This year a friend of mine, Jeff, attended with me. I drove over to his house to pick him up then we drove over to a local Kingdom Hall. Traffic was backed out onto the road from their parking lot and by the time we arrived, most of the parking places were taken. We found a couple of seats near the rear of the auditorium and sat down to wait for the service to begin. Since we were dressed business casual, it was not hard to guess that we were visitors. A couple of nice ladies to my left asked if we were visitors and let us borrow one of their song books.

The service opened in prayer and then the congregation sang one song. A Mr. Eric Mann gave the presentation tonight and used the same basic outline that I have heard every year for the last eight or so years that I have attended this annual meeting. Jeff and I took notes and followed every verse very closely. After Mr. Mann explained that the vast majority of people in attendance did not have the right to partake of the emblems, he asked, “So then, why are we here?”

He gave an illustration about receiving a wedding invitation that did not have your name on it. He thought it unreasonable for someone who received one of these invitations to refuse to go to the wedding just because their name was not on the invitation itself. He then said that it was necessary for us to come and honor those in the wedding even though we were not part of the wedding party. This illustration was meant to be understood that since Jesus instituted the new covenant with only the anointed (the wedding party), the rest of us could not participate in the memorial, but only observe. We should be happy for those who could participate just as those who attend a wedding and are not a part of the wedding party, still honor the bride and groom with their presence. I was glad for this illustration because it fit in perfectly with a question that I had already planned to ask of someone after the meeting.

After the speaker concluded, he invited another man up to pray for the bread which was about to be distributed. It is truly a sad thing to watch the plate get passed from person to person with no one partaking. I take this time to pray for those in the hall. I watch the plate move around the room and pray mostly for the children.

On a side note, I’ve been asked why I attend this meeting every year. The primary reason is that it is a wakeup call for me to see once again exactly how lost these people are. It helps me to emphasize on the fact that they are victims and not the enemy. Becky and I refer to this as the “Annual Rejection of Christ.” It is very sad to see people demonstrate in such a physical way that they are not part of the new covenant and hence do not have their sins forgiven.

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After the bread is distributed, the wine is next. Another man prays for the wine before the cups are passed. This time I witnessed something I have never seen before. A 50+ year old, red haired, lady in a blue dress took a small sip from one of the wine cups. I looked up at the attendant and he could not help but to scowl down at her. You may be confused as to why this man scowled

Watchtower theology teaches that the door for the anointed was closed in 1935. You must have been a baptized JW by the year 1935 to be considered part of the anointed class. Since this lady was clearly not that old, he doubted her sincerity. JWs are taught that if one of the former 144,000 fell from the position because of sin, then another person would have to take their place. By taking the elements, this lady was claiming to have done that.

After the service, some JWs behind us asked what we thought of the service and wanted to know if we had anyone to help us study the Bible. I said I would be interested, but wanted to know if there was someone available who could answer some of my questions now. They called over a congregation elder and his wife, introduced us and then left. Mr. and Mrs. M. were very cordial, wanted to know what we thought of the service and what questions we had.


The first question I had was sort of a side question, but I felt led to ask it anyway. It was a good thing I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit because the question really caught him off guard. Mr. Mann had made a point out of saying that Jesus instituted the new covenant with His faithful 11 disciples. Judas had supposedly been dismissed before Jesus distributed the bread and wine. Mr. Mann used Luke 22: 19-20 as a reference which in the New World Translation which reads;

“Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying:
‘This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.’ Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: ‘This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in YOUR behalf.’”

I asked Mr. M. if I understood this correctly, the idea that Judas was not present. He confirmed it and even spent a few minutes explaining what the speaker has said. I told him that I thought it interesting that Mr. Mann stopped at verse 20. Especially in light of the fact that verse 21 specifically states otherwise.

“But, look! the hand of my betrayer is with me at the table.

Mr. and Mrs. M. were troubled by the verse and were silent for a few moments before Mr. M. said that the betrayer was Satan. I have never heard that before. He didn’t look that confident and must have known that I was going to challenge the statement because the expression on his face was as if he was waiting for it. He tried to point out that there was a foot note near the word “betrayer” in his Bible and that somehow the note explained that the betrayer was Satan. He was really stretching because I checked the reference in my NWT when I got home and it doesn’t help his case at all.

At this time Jeff asked a question and made a good point. He asked how long it had been that Satan was Jesus’ enemy. When the JW agreed that it had been thousands of years, Jeff asked how Satan could be called a betrayer. Borrowing a line from a Michael Card song, he said that only a friend could betray. Since Satan had been an enemy for so long, why would he be called a betrayer? This stumped both of them. They understood the point and agreed that it didn’t make sense in this context. I then asked them to read on and look at verse 22.

Because the Son of man is going his way according to what is marked out; all the same, woe to that man through whom he is betrayed!”

I was glad that Mr. M read the verse out loud. I asked, “Woe to that what through whom he is betrayed?” He replied, “Man. Woe to that man.” I asked how this could possibly be speaking of Satan. Mr. and Mrs. M. admitted the difficulty in understanding this and said they would have to do some research to answer our questions.

I decided that it was best to move on in our discussion and get to the main question that I wanted to ask. It is neat to see how God arranges things because I was able to use the lady who partook of the bread and wine as a transition of getting to my question. I asked what the difference was between her and everyone else in the room who did not partake. Mr. M. said that there was no real difference only that she professed to have a heavenly calling and everyone else felt they were to live on the earth forever.

From my years of study about JWs and from Mr. Mann’s comments, I knew there was much more to it than that. The speaker said that the anointed would reign with Christ as kings and priests. I made mention of that and pointed out that she as a “king and priest” would reign over him some day. He looked like he wasn’t real comfortable with that thought and even doubted her profession, much like the attendant who glared at her after she partook. This struck me as odd. The speaker said that we can’t participate, but that we should all share in the joy of the anointed who can participate. Then, when one finally does partake, no one believes her.

In light of the fact that no one else takes the emblems, I wanted to know why we were all here. I made reference to the speaker asking the very same question. Mr. M gave me pretty much the same answer as the speaker, but that did not suffice. I wanted to know more and I wanted the JWs to think about things from a different perspective. I told Mr. M. that for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Judas was not at the table when Jesus instituted the new covenant. He was happy to accept that presupposition. I then asked;

“If Jesus made the covenant with only the anointed, and only the anointed were present at the table, then why are the rest of us here?”

He wasn’t following me.

“Jesus invited the anointed to join Him in the new covenant, correct?”

“Correct.”

“There was no one else present, right?”

“Right.”

“So only the anointed were invited?”

“Yes, that sounds right.”

“So where is our invitation to be here?” The anointed have a scriptural invitation to be at the table. Can you point to a place in scripture where anyone other than the anointed were at the table celebrating this annual event?

Mr. and Mrs. M. were starting to see my point.

“The speaker gave an illustration of having a wedding invitation that did not have your name on it, but showing up to the wedding anyway because you knew you were invited. Where is our invitation?”

Mr. M. explained that during the first century there were no other Christians except the anointed. Since that was the case, there is no invitation for the great crowd to attend.

“Mr. M. this is where I have the problem understanding your view. We are encouraged to attend this event out of honor and respect for those who can participate, but we have no invitation to be here in the first place. What do you call someone who shows up at a wedding they were not invited to?”

“A wedding crasher.”

“Exactly. How is crashing a wedding being respectful and honoring those whose wedding it is?”

“Yes, I see your point.”

That is a huge thing to hear a JW say. Both Mr. and Mrs. M. saw my point and had no answer. Mr. M. said that he would have to look into the matter for me and that these were good questions. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to get together after he has had some time to research the subject.

He has yet to call, but if he does not call by the 5th, I will give him a call to see how his research is going. Please pray for this couple. I have heard countless stories about JWs who have left the Watchtower and have become Christians because of a simple question that started to bring down the whole house of cards.

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17 Comments

  1. Thanks much for this, Keith. I’ll certainly link to it. Be blessed brother. May the Lord allow you to see the fruit of your labor.

  2. Hey Keith, did you partake in the emblems? See I got invited too buy some JWs at my work and I didnt go because I didnt know what to expect. First I felt that I would partake, but then I didnt know because this isnt a true lords communion is it? Anyway guy I feel encouraged that you went and were able to start spreading the gospel. I will Keep Mr. and Mrs. M in my prayers. Your Brother in Christ,

  3. Very encouraging brother. My prayers for the Lord using your efforts to secure the release of more captives.reed (friend of Jeff’s)

  4. thanks for this report. i never knew about this event.God is goodjpu

  5. Randall,No, I have never taken the emblems, but I may some day. The circumstance would have to be right and I would have to know for sure that the Lord was leading me to do it.

  6. If you were to do so, would you take the emblems for, say, shock value? To provoke a discussion of how all true believers are priests, elect, justified, etc?(These are real questions, not rhetorical.)Respectfully,ALAN

  7. What happens when you take John’s account of the Passover evening into consideration? (John 13:21-30) 21 After saying these things, Jesus became troubled in spirit, and he bore witness and said: “Most truly I say to YOU, One of YOU will betray me.” 22 The disciples began to look at one another, being at a loss as to which one he was saying [it] about. 23 There was reclining in front of Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, and Jesus loved him. 24 Therefore Simon Peter nodded to this one and said to him: “Tell who it is about whom he is saying [it].” 25 So the latter leaned back upon the breast of Jesus and said to him: “Lord, who is it?” 26 Therefore Jesus answered: “It is that one to whom I shall give the morsel that I dip.” And so, having dipped the morsel, he took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Is‧car′i‧ot. 27 And after the morsel then Satan entered into the latter. Jesus, therefore, said to him: “What you are doing get done more quickly.” 28 However, none of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose he said this to him. 29 Some, in fact, were imagining, since Judas was holding the money box, that Jesus was telling him: “Buy what things we need for the festival,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore, after he received the morsel, he went out immediately. And it was night.It shows that Jesus dismissed his betrayer. In fact, this has been discussed before in a Question from Readers article: *** w68 11/15 pp. 703-704 Questions From Readers ***● Had Judas Iscariot left already when Jesus instituted the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal?—J. D., Uruguay.Yes, the Scriptural evidence is that Judas was present for the Passover celebration with Jesus on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., but that he left before Christ instituted the memorial of his death.Of the four Gospel accounts, the only one that might lead a reader to a different conclusion is Luke’s. First, Luke mentioned the regular Passover celebration, in which Judas as a Jew would share. (Luke 22:15-18) In the next two verses, Luke 22:19, 20, he presented some of the comments Jesus made when instituting the new arrangement, the annual memorial of his death. Then Luke showed that sometime that evening Jesus indicated that one of the twelve apostles was a betrayer, which comment caused them to wonder whom he meant (Luke 22:21-23) If Luke’s presentation were accepted as being in chronological sequence, it would indicate that Judas was there when the bread and wine of the Lord’s Evening Meal were served.Let us remember, though, that even though Luke set out to present his Gospel in “logical order,” he did not always follow a strictly chronological order. (Luke 1:3) This can easily be seen from Luke 3:18-21. While this in no way limits the value of Luke’s Gospel, it being an inspired account, it becomes evident that the other Gospels should be taken into consideration to establish chronological sequence. Furthermore, Luke does not tell us precisely when Judas left the group. Surely it was before Jesus said: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials.” (Luke 22:28) So let us turn to the other Gospels to determine when the betrayer left.Both Matthew and Mark explain that a questioning arose among those gathered to celebrate the passover. Jesus had indicated that one of the apostles was a betrayer, and they wanted to know his identity. Both accounts indicate that this occurred “while they were eating” the Passover meal. (Matt. 26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21) While John’s Gospel does not cover many of the points already provided in the three Gospels that were written earlier, it does mention this questioning about the betrayer. John amplifies the matter by relating that Jesus identified Judas by giving him a morsel. Then what happened? John writes of Judas: “After he received the morsel, he went out immediately.”—John 13:21-30.With this expanded view of the questioning about the betrayer and the exit of Judas, we turn back to Matthew and Mark. Both go on to explain that then Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25) Consequently, the order of events appears to have been: The group, including Judas, ate the Passover meal. During the meal Jesus mentioned that one of the twelve was a betrayer, a questioning over his identity arose and Jesus definitely identified him. Immediately Judas Iscariot left to betray Christ. Following this, Jesus instituted the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal among the remaining eleven apostles, who had ‘stuck with him during his trials.’********************************Personally, I feel this annual meeting for celebrating the Lord’s Evening meal is an opportunity for me to show publicly my acknowledgement of my place in Jehovah’s arrangement. Jehovah, Jesus, the angels, and whoever else observe me passing the emblems, instead of partaking, will for sure know that I respect the arrangement and appreciate the significance of the event. Thanks for sharing your experience in attending this event, it’s always good to hear what visitors are thinking. Warm regards,Candace

  8. Rhology,Shock value. Some times shock value is a good way to get people to think. God commanded Ezekiel to do some pretty weird stuff. I am not saying that I would do it for shock value alone. Like I mentioned earlier, the circumstance would have to be right and I would have to know that God was directing me to do it.Although I have never partaken of the emblems, my wife has. She meets with some JW ladies every week and has already explained to them how she knows she will be in heaven immediately after death. Her partaking of the emblems gives her more opportunities with them.

  9. This stuff is great. I ahve a meeting on Thursday with a JW so I am going to see what I can take from here to ask him.

  10. Candance,I’ve read the pasted a portion of the WT article and I think it is a weak argument. The WT states; “Let us remember, though, that even though Luke set out to present his Gospel in “logical order,” he did not always follow a strictly chronological order. (Luke 1:3) This can easily be seen from Luke 3:18-21.”The whole idea is based upon Luke not reporting events consecutively. I’ve got two problems with this.1) Luke 3:18-21 is an obvious parenthetical statement and is not to be understood chronologically. Not only that, but Luke 1:3 in the NAS states that Luke reported things in consecutive order. I looked into the Greek word a bit and it definitely means consecutive. This leads me to my second problem with the WT reasoning.2)If we must assume that one or more of the gospel writers did not report things chronologically or consecutively, why assume it is Luke and not the other writers? This make no sense in the light of the fact that Luke said he would report consecutively. The other gospel writers made no such claims.On a side note, If this is such an important point to consider, the idea that Jesus instituted the new covenant with only 11 disciples present, why isn’t it made much more clear in Scripture?Candance, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, but I couldn’t help but notice that you missed the emphasis of the article. Where is your scriptural invitation to attend the memorial in the first place?

  11. Keith,It has never occurred to me that I was not welcome to be present at the celebration of the Lord’s Evening meal. (John 10:7-16) 7 Therefore Jesus said again: “Most truly I say to YOU, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All those that have come in place of me are thieves and plunderers; but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved, and he will go in and out and find pasturage. 10 The thief does not come unless it is to steal and slay and destroy. I have come that they might have life and might have it in abundance. 11 I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep. 12 The hired man, who is no shepherd and to whom the sheep do not belong as his own, beholds the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and flees—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them— 13 because he is a hired man and does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the fine shepherd, and I know my sheep and my sheep know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I surrender my soul in behalf of the sheep. 16 “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. As far as whether or not Judas was dismissed before the new convenant was instituted, I don’t argue the point with anybody, just share what I find to be reasonable, and if you don’t accept the explanation I posted, so be it. Warm regards,Candace

  12. Candace said, “It has never occurred to me that I was not welcome to be present at the celebration of the Lord’s Evening meal.”Could you please explain how John 10 has anything to do with the Memorial?

  13. Candace the point is not that you not welcome to the memorial of the Lord’s Supper. But rather the point is that a true memorial of the Lord’s Supper only had partakers present which illustrates the fact that the present theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is unbiblical. WHENEVER the Lord’s supper was commemorated in the bible by first century Christians ALL that were present had partaken. There is not a biblical referall for anything else but persons present partaking. It is actually an insult to God to be present at his table in which he present “to some” the symbolic body and blood of his sacrifice and not accept it.It disgraces the gist he is giving and those who do not partake the bible clearly states are those not destined to eternal life. John 6: “54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”Those who do not eat or drink shall not be raised up on the last day which says alot for the memorial as a NON-event which actually dishonors God rather than does him honor by those present that do not partake.In Him,Gus Astacio

  14. Candace – I wanted to get your opinion on something – In Matthew 10:5-6 Before sending out the disciples, Jesus instructs them “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”In Matthew 15:22-28 A non-Jewish woman comes to Jesus begging him to cast a demon out of her daughter – because she is not a Jew – Jesus answers “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”you posted John 7:16-“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.”My question : In light of Jesus’ “Jewish” only ministry while he was here on earth to his lost sheep (never ever a mention of a select 144,000 here or anywhere else in the Gospels or the entire bible outside of Revelation), and the fact the the Kingdom message was eventually taken to the Gentiles of the entire world who listened to his voice and look to him as thier sheperd (Gentile Christians starting in the book of Acts) -Isnt it more reasonalbe to understand the Lost sheep of Israel to be Jewish believers, and the sheep from another fold as Gentile believers – as opposed to a select 144,000 Jehovah Witnesses who only appeared in the late 1800’s and a earthly class of believers that appeared around the same time?Thanks for your input.

  15. Wow Keith, I must say, when Jeff told me you two were going and possibly partake, I felt like, why don’t you just leave them alone, but after reading your experience, my mind has completely changed as to why you did this. Those were great questions. I am surprised to even see Candace obviously reading this and commenting. She could get “in trouble” for doing this. The “organization” warns them of reading and looking into other material besides their own. Meaning not even watching Sunday services on tv, or listening to it on the radio. I have met you once before at Judy’s house and look forward to hearing more about your experiences. You may be my “a-ha” moment.—Adrienne (delseg)

  16. Did he (Mr. Mann) call you?

  17. Just to update you on the JW’s current beliefs.The 1935 rule has been abandoned. Not surprisingly, the number of partakers (those who drink the wine and eat the bread at the memorial) has been increasing ever since this doctrinal change. Instead of just over 8,000 annointed, the 2008 memorial reported nearly 10,000.This is of interest because in an earlier article the Watchtower cited the “ever-decreasing” number of memorial partakers as a sign that their predictions about the end of the world are coming true.

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