THINKING AHEAD TO THE MEMORIAL
March 27, 2012
The memorial of the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, after sundown, mark the anniversary of the courageous and noble end of the matchless earthly life our ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), by the will of the First Father of ALL, who sojourned as the Son of God/Son of Man during the first century.
Up to this night and beyond, everything Jesus did was for our benefit. He wanted us to know the truth about ourselves and our relationship to God. He wanted to correct the grave misconceptions about the nature of God – that He is not just a powerful potentate, but He is our own heavenly Father. Jesus wanted to elevate our personal dignity, as not mere servants of God, but as His sons who bear His image and encapsulate His spirit – the incorruptible seed of the Father. (Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23)
And even beyond that, Jesus wanted the entire world to know that we are all one big potentially happy, but currently dysfunctional, family. To that end, he commanded his disciples to take the message of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man to the most distant parts of the earth – to every nation, and tribe and peoples and tongues. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) No, Christ Jesus was not just a prophet or a wise man or a progenitor of one religion. He has a divine relationship with all mankind – Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, the various tribal and aboriginal people, even atheists and agnostics. By the First Father’s will, all mankind owes their existence and survival potential to and through Christ Jesus.
But the onus is on Jesus’ disciples who form the Christian nation to be examples of the Christ and the life he led. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Yes, brothers and sisters, Christianity has a God-given, Christ-exemplified mission.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
In this way, we can lead other faith-nations to honor and recognize their Creator, and to continue in their worship of the true God, the First Father of ALL. Our commission is not to make them all ‘Christians,’ but to show them how to be ‘Christ-like’ in their dealings with one another. Each Memorial of Jesus’ death will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to have a fresh start in the true ministry of reconciliation.
To date, we have published many articles that establish our true relationship to God and to the Christ. Here are a few:
(a discussion of Romans, Chapter 8)
(a discussion of the book of Galatians)
(a discussion of the book of Colossians)
(a discussion of the book of Ephesians)
(a discussion of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus)
(a discussion of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman)
(a discussion of sonship from Jew to Christian)
We have answered many question, both publicly and privately, clarifying the one hope for all faithful mankind and showing how the Christian Bible writers all directed mankind to the heavenly hope as sons and daughters of God – scriptures such as these:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:19-21
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
– Ephesians 1:3-5
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength.”
– Ephesians 1:16-19
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.”
– Philippians 3:14-15
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
– Philippians 3:20-21
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.”
– Colossians 1:3-6
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
And we repeatedly showed that NO Christian Bible writer encouraged the pursuit of an earthly hope. On the contrary, they strongly exhorted the brothers to let go of, and turn away from, the pursuit of things of the flesh, which would include the idea of an eternal earthly hope.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
– John 14:1-4
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
– Philippians 3:18-19
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
– Colossians 3:1-2
Even in the first century, man tried to change the good news that Jesus himself taught, of sonship with God and entry into the heavens, to their own liking, but Paul warned against this:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
– Galatians 1:6-9
Jesus did, however, speak of two different destinies for mankind, but we would hardly refer to them as two hopes.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
– Matthew 25:34
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
– Matthew 25:41
Instead, the Christian Bible writers emphasized the unity and the oneness of our brotherhood and of the hope we hold in common:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.”
– Matthew 23:8-10
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
– Ephesians 4:1-5
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
– Colossians 3:15
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Timothy 2:5
This good news of the Kingdom of the Heavens was so important that Jesus’ disciples willingly laid down their lives for it. It was not a distant fantasy. It was real to them.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19
And it should be real to all of us – so real that we, too, will willingly give our all to honor our God and his Christ, in the face of any and all opposition by family, friend or foe:
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.....Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
– Matthew 10:32-33, 37-39
Each Memorial of the Lord’s Evening Meal will be our opportunity to stand up for the Christ and prove ourselves worthy of him. It will be our opportunity to extend the borders of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by inviting as many as possible to share with us in our commemoration of this night.
And we want to keep ever mindful of the manner in which we recognize, publicize and participate in this night:
“Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
– Hebrews 10:28-29
No, brothers and sisters, let us not show contempt for this night or esteem the sacrifice of the Christ as if it has little meaning, but is of ordinary value for the billions of people on the earth today. Let us be participants and sharers in Christ’s sacrifice, not merely observers as if we were spectators at a sporting event.
No, sign up, get in the race, and contend according to the rules:
“Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
– 2 Timothy 2:5
We, for our part, will continue our efforts to build up the household of God with encouraging and uplifting spiritual food.
As we were writing this article, we received an email from a sister who has terminal cancer. She has accepted that she is a daughter of the Father and a joint heir with the Christ, and wants to make her hope known publicly at the next Memorial. However, she does not believe her fleshly tabernacle will endure until that date.
We were so touched by her sentiments that we want to share our dear sister’s email with you, our readers, to encourage you to stand up, even now, not waiting for the Memorial night. Let your hope be made known to others with whom you communicate. Let your light shine that others may give glory to God and accept His offer of sonship. (Matthew 5:16) Here are her words:
“Greetings to you and to all who may be here by chance or by God's spirit, which I believe it to be the latter. I've been a Witness in the name of Jehovah, but as I’ve grown to Honor our Christ and to Witness regarding Jesus in his stead being Christians. I’m a Christ Witness and in no way am I dishonoring the Father because he was sent by his and our Father. I say these things because of the self-aggrandizing self-promoting nature of the Governing Body these days. I don’t have very many days left on this earth due to my illness, so I just wanted to let it be known by all your readers and before God, Jesus and the holy angels that my hope is to be with the Christ in heaven. You see, I don’t have to pretend as to my hope, the living hope. Don’t wait friends, be truthful to yourself. Death will find its way to us ALL. I won’t see another Memorial. None of us have that promise. I urge, NO I beg, each Witness to search in your heart for truth and truth will be given. God Bless your courageous, bold and refreshing articles. Thank you.”
To our dear sister, we hope you have an opportunity to read this article to know that your words are affecting many, and will affect many more. With your final words, you give glory to the Christ. You are indeed proving yourself worthy. We have no doubt that Christ Jesus will confess union with you before the Father. (Matthew 10:32)
And to all our readers, we encourage you to ready yourselves for activity in the coming months. We may find ourselves in a situation very similar to the first century Christians who made the unequivocal decision to ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’ (Acts 5:29) Gird up your loins for activity. This is indeed the appointed time!
With true love and sincere affection, we stand with you all in Christ.