Do Jehovah Witnesses partake in Communion?
Once I attended a “Memorial Service” after being invited by the Jehovah Witnesses. Typically this event occurs on Nissan 14 or Passover, which is the day believed that Jesus had the Lords Supper with his disciples before being arrested and crucified.
The service for the most part seemed normal, until it came time for Communion. While the elders passed around the elements (Bread and Wine) everyone refused to partake in communion. This left me bewildered, and I had to research their reasoning for this. As we see from the JW.org website, only the 144,000 are in the “New Covenant” therefor they are the only ones who can partake in communion
This obviously brings some questions:
- If the majority of JW’s are not in the New Covenant, how are they saved?
- Jesus commanded us to “Do this in remembrance of Him”, if they are rejecting communion, are they not rejecting Christ?
- Where in the Bible does it state the 144,000 should only take Communion?
- Where in the Bible does it state the 144,000 are the only ones in the New Covenant?
Next I would like to take a look at some scriptures and compare it to there NWT (New Word Translation)
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of the Christ?v The loaf that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of the Christ?w 17 Because there is one loaf, we, although many, are one body,x for we are all partaking of that one loaf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NWT)
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul taught pretty deeply about Communion , mostly referenced 1 Corinthians 10 and 11. Here we see in both translations, we ALL partake in Communion. Even in the NWT this is very clear, there is no teaching here that only specific Christians are to partake in Communion.
Notice the Body of Christ (Christians) are One united body. Communion is an outward expression of that unity in Christ. Refusal to take Communion as a Believer, is almost the denunciation of professing Christ as Lord
And as they continued eating, he took a loaf, said a blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “Take it; this means my body.”x 23 And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, and they all drank out of it.y 24 And he said to them: “This means my ‘bloodz of the covenant,’a which is to be poured out in behalf of many.b Mark 14:22-24 (NWT)
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. Mark 14:22-24 (KJV)
In both translations, Jesus clearly says that his body and blood was poured out for many. Jesus didn’t say his offering was only for the 144,000. Jesus also says the blood is the sign of his New Covenant. Anyone who is saved by Christ is in his New Covenant. Jesus never says that only the 144,000 are in his Covenant. Secondly if you profess to be a Christian and are not in the New Covenant, how are you saved? Are you under the Mosaic Law then?
28 First let a man approve himself after scrutiny,y and only then let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment against himself 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 (NWT )
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 (KJV)
Here the Apostle Paul teaches that we should examine ourselves before partaking in Communion. Meaning if we should examine our relationship with Christ or have any unrepented sin, before we take Communion we should make sure we are coming to the Lords Table with pure intentions. Paul never says that only the 144,000 are to partake in Communion. As Paul says “Let them partake”
19 Also, he took a loaf,m gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body,n which is to be given in your behalf.o Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”p 20 Also, he did the same with the cup after they had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenantq by virtue of my blood,r which is to be poured out in your behalf.s Luke 22:19-20 (NWT)
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:19-20 (KJV)
Jesus clearly commands us to “Do this in remembrance of Him” Anyone who refuses Communion as a Christian is clearly defying the Lords commands. Nowhere in the New Testament does it state that Communion is optional or only specific to the 144,000
In fact if you truly have a personal relationship with Christ, you would want to partake in Communion to be in fellowship with him