The “Other Sheep” and the Lord’s Evening Meal
“[Jesus] is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.”—1 JOHN 2:2.
1. What positive results have come from the ‘preaching of the good news of the kingdom’?
JESUS said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Some of the generation of 1914 still survive to testify that Jehovah’s Witnesses have faithfully carried out this command. As a result, hundreds of thousands of honest-hearted people, disillusioned by this world’s failures, have responded positively to the good news. They have dedicated themselves to Jehovah God and given their allegiance to his Kingdom, making known this dedication by water baptism. There were 179,421 that took such a course of wisdom during 1984. In effect, they said to God’s name people: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”—Zechariah 8:23.
2. What factor has governed the timing for Jesus’ gathering his “other sheep”?
2 This ever-increasing “great crowd” of worshipers is part of those described by Jesus as his “other sheep.” (Revelation 7:9, 15; John 10:16) They have the grand hope of living forever in an earthly paradise. (Psalm 37:29) Jesus foretold that he would bring together these faithful followers of his after first giving his undivided shepherding attention to the gathering of a “little flock” of sheeplike ones toward whom he mediates the new covenant. (Luke 12:32; Hebrews 9:15) Having in mind this gathering of two sheeplike classes of people into “one flock,” we can understand why the apostle John stated that Jesus Christ “is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.”—1 John 2:1, 2.
Changes in Viewpoint
3, 4. (a) What changed viewpoint have many had regarding celebrating the Lord’s Evening Meal? (b) What did Paul mean by saying, “For as often as you eat . . . and drink”?
3 Many newly gathered ones of the “other sheep” used to celebrate Mass or Communion, the frequency and manner of celebration being governed by the beliefs of the particular religious organization to which they belonged. Now, however, these have come to realize that the Lord’s Evening Meal should be celebrated only once each year. Why is this so? Well, the Jewish Passover was celebrated just once each year, and Jesus started the Memorial on that same Passover night, Nisan 14. He then told his disciples: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” Paul adds: “For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26) Jesus clearly meant that his disciples should keep the celebration of his death on the Passover Day, which came once a year. Therefore, it has been celebrated “often” during the lifetime of the Christian congregation. In fact, the Memorial has already been celebrated 1,952 times.
4 There is another important difference in viewpoint that the “other sheep” class have come to appreciate. Instead of partaking of the bread and the wine as many of them formerly did in some church, they now find their situation “readjusted” to that of onlookers. Why is this so, and do we have Scriptural support for a procedure that allows for onlookers as well as partakers?—2 Corinthians 13:11; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
5. (a) Describe the fundamental steps a person must take to benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice. (b) Why has God specially acted on behalf of 144,000 of Christ Jesus’ followers?
5 For anyone to benefit from the “propitiatory sacrifice” of Christ Jesus, there are certain steps that need to be taken, regardless of whether that one entertains the hope of life in heaven or he entertains the hope of life in the earthly Paradise. These fundamental steps are as follows: (1) taking in accurate knowledge of God’s Word (Romans 10:13-15); (2) exercising faith (Hebrews 11:6); (3) repentance (Matthew 4:17); (4) conversion (Acts 3:19); (5) dedication (Luke 9:23); and (6) baptism (Matthew 28:19). It is after these steps have been taken that God acts in a special way toward a person he chooses to be one of the 144,000, or “little flock.” For what purpose? In order for the person to become God’s spiritual son with the prospect of being a priest and a king with Christ Jesus. (Revelation 20:4, 6) There is only a remnant of such spiritual sons now living, and these are the ones who properly partake of the emblems. This, then, accounts for the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses being observers and not partakers.
The Passover and the Memorial
6. Why have some contended that the “other sheep” should partake of the emblems, and what question does this raise?
6 Some have suggested that the increasing great number of “other sheep” should partake of the emblems. Their reasoning is: Since “the Law has a shadow of the good things to come,” and since one of the requirements of the Law was the keeping of the Passover by both Israelites and circumcised alien residents, this would imply that both classes of sheeplike ones in the “one flock” under the “one shepherd” ought to partake of the Memorial emblems. (Hebrews 10:1; John 10:16; Numbers 9:14) This raises an important question: Was the Passover a type of the Memorial?
7. In what respects was the Passover “a shadow of the good things to come”?
7 It is true that certain features of the Passover observance in Egypt were undoubtedly fulfilled in Jesus. Paul likens Jesus to the Passover lamb, saying, “Christ our passover has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7) The sprinkling of the Passover lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintels assured deliverance for the firstborn within each Israelite home. Similarly, it is through the sprinkling of Christ’s blood that “the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens” receive their deliverance, or “release by ransom.” (Hebrews 12:23, 24; Ephesians 1:3, 7) Furthermore, not a bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken, and this also found fulfillment in Christ Jesus. (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20; John 19:36) Hence, it is true to say that the Passover, in certain respects, was one of the many features in the Law that provided “a shadow of the good things to come.” All these features pointed forward to Christ Jesus, “the Lamb of God.”—John 1:29.
8-10. (a) In what important respect concerning the blood did the Passover differ from the Memorial? (b) How do the covenants associated with the Memorial highlight another difference? (c) To what conclusion does this lead us?
8 Nevertheless, the Passover was not strictly a type of the Lord’s Evening Meal. Why not? When the Passover was instituted in Egypt, the flesh of the roasted lamb was eaten, but none of the blood of the Passover lamb was eaten. In contrast, however, when Jesus instituted the Memorial of his death he specifically instructed those then present to eat his flesh and drink his blood, symbolized by the bread and the wine. (Exodus 12:7, 8; Matthew 26:27, 28) In this very important aspect—the blood—the Passover was not a type of the Lord’s Evening Meal.
9 There is something else that should not be overlooked. Jesus discussed two related covenants with his disciples, “the new covenant” and ‘a covenant for a kingdom.’ (Luke 22:20, 28-30) Both covenants had to do with the partakers’ being in line to share as priests and kings with Christ Jesus. But in Israel no circumcised alien resident could ever become a priest or a king. In this respect, also, we find a distinction between the Passover feast in Israel and the Lord’s Evening Meal.
10 So to what conclusion does this lead us? The fact that the circumcised alien resident ate of the unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and lamb of the Passover does not establish that those today of the Lord’s “other sheep” who are present at the Memorial should partake of the bread and the wine.
Importance of Attending the Memorial
11. For what important reasons should the “other sheep” attend the Memorial?
11 Does this, however, indicate that it is not important for those of the “other sheep” class to be present at the celebration of the Memorial? Certainly not! This is an occasion for all of Jesus’ sheeplike followers to remember Jesus in a very special sense. The “other sheep” on that occasion recall that they have already benefited because of their faith in Christ’s shed blood to the extent that they are now viewed by Jehovah as having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This is why they are able to render “sacred service day and night in [God’s] temple.” (Revelation 7:14, 15) They can also remember that they have to keep on ‘seeking Jehovah, righteousness, and meekness’ with the hope of being spared during “the day of Jehovah’s anger,” and thereafter having the joy of attaining to human perfection. Finally they can be declared actually righteous by Jehovah, which will be after Jesus hands over the Kingdom to his Father.—Zephaniah 2:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 20:5.
12. What benefits result from listening to the Memorial talk?
12 Another important reason to be in attendance is the fact that the truths discussed during the Memorial talk are among “the deep things of God,” ‘solid food belonging to mature people,’ not just the milk of “primary doctrine.” (1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 5:13–6:1) The Scriptural discourse will deepen appreciation for the love Jehovah displayed in setting up such a wonderful Kingdom arrangement for the blessing of the human family. It is also an opportunity for ‘looking more intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus.’ Never should the love Jesus displayed on our behalf, nor the sufferings he went through, be taken for granted. (Hebrews 12:2, 3) Furthermore, we all can agree that many of the precious thoughts Jesus discussed with his apostles when instituting the Memorial—thoughts regarding unity, love, and glorification of Jehovah’s name—can be shared by the “other sheep” as well as the “little flock.”
Showing Loving Concern for All
13. Why is it important to have the emblems passed to all in attendance?
13 It is important that everyone present at the Lord’s Evening Meal be reminded of the procedure instituted by Jesus. The actual passing of the bread and the wine from one to the other helps to deepen appreciation for the sacred things that have just been discussed that evening. It also enables each one to go on record as indicating what his hope of life is—heavenly or earthly.* Following the proper procedure brings the congregation into line with what is being done earth wide that evening.—1 Corinthians 14:40.
14. How can the elders show loving concern for one of the anointed who is sick on the night of the Memorial?
14 Suppose one of the anointed in a congregation is sick and unable to attend the Memorial. What then? Every effort should be made to have one of the elders take the emblems to that ill Christian and, if convenient, the elder can make a few appropriate comments before offering the emblems and closing with a fitting prayer. How encouraged the sick person will feel! Such acts of loving concern promote a spirit of love within the congregation. (See also page 31.)—Psalm 133:1.
15. Describe some other ways by which respect can be shown for the Lord’s Evening Meal.
15 Other interesting questions have been raised regarding procedure and the type of emblems to be used at the Memorial. The answers to these questions will be found on page 19 under “Showing Respect for the Lord’s Evening Meal.” The responsible elders would do well to follow carefully what is outlined therein.
The Need for Self-Examination
16, 17. (a) What question have some asked regarding participation in the Memorial, and who alone can give the answer? (b) How does God provide convincing evidence for those begotten by his spirit?
16 There are some who are distressed by doubts as to whether they are entitled to partake of the emblems. This question sometimes arises in the weeks before another celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal. Frequently such inquiries are made by some who have recently become associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Are you one who has had doubts of this kind pass through your mind? How can you determine the right course to take?
17 Paul recommended regarding the Lord’s Evening Meal: “First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and thus let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:28, 29) Did you notice that Paul says you are the one who is to do the ‘approving after scrutiny’? Of course, it is not wrong to talk over such a serious matter with a mature Christian, but you alone must determine your personal relationship with Jehovah and his Son. God leaves none of the 144,000 in doubt. We are assured: “The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.” It is God’s spirit that awakens in the heart of any member of Christ’s body the conviction that he is one of God’s spiritual sons. The chosen one knows this and does not have to ask another in the congregation for confirmation.—Romans 8:15, 16.
18. What historical facts regarding the “other sheep” are of interest to us?
18 The modern history of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows that since 1931 more attention started to be given to the “other sheep” through the Kingdom message. Then on May 31, 1935, with the delivering of the talk “The Great Multitude,”* the “great crowd” that the apostle John saw in vision was clearly identified with the “other sheep.” What did this new emphasis indicate? Surely that the gathering of the “little flock” was drawing to a close and the time had come for Jesus, through the administration of “the faithful and discreet slave,” to turn his attention to gathering the “other sheep.”—Matthew 24:45-47.
19. What personal examination may be advisable for those newer ones who have laid claim to being of the anointed?
19 With the foregoing in mind, we say to all those who have recently become associated with Jehovah’s people and who may have made some claim to being one of the anointed class: Examine carefully your relationship with Jehovah. Ask yourself, Is the heavenly hope that I profess to have somehow a holdover from a previously held church teaching that all church members go to heaven? Is my hope in any way connected with some selfish desire or emotional feelings? Paul said: “It is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18) Nor can the holy spirit of adoption lie. Therefore, anyone genuinely begotten by God’s spirit is not continually disturbed with doubts but is able to testify in all good conscience that he is one of God’s sons.
Celebrating in 1985
20. Of what importance is the Memorial to Jehovah’s Witnesses?
20 The Lord’s Evening Meal is, without question, the year’s greatest celebration for all true Christians. There is no other occasion like it in regard to importance, purpose or procedure. Hence, as the earth turns on its axis, causing the sun progressively to sink below the horizon around the earth, every congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, large and small alike, and every isolated group will meet together in obedience to the Master’s command.
21. What attitude and expectations should the Memorial in 1985 raise in the hearts of God’s people?
21 All sheeplike disciples are therefore overjoyed at the prospect of sharing together in another Memorial celebration. May this year’s occasion prove to be a time of upbuilding encouragement to all of Jehovah’s servants. May it instill in them the same spirit of confidence as that of their Exemplar, Jesus Christ, who said: “Take courage! I have conquered the world.”—John 16:33.
In one large congregation the practice has been for those serving the emblems to stand at the end of each row of seats and gesture to those in the row. Anyone wishing to partake had to indicate this to the server. However, as indicated above, this would not be appropriate.
This talk was given at Washington, D.C., by J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
Can You Recall—
◻ Why was the Passover not a type of the Memorial?
◻ What six steps must be taken before benefiting from Jesus’ sacrifice?
◻ Why is your attendance at the Memorial so vital?
◻ Why is self-examination beneficial before the Memorial?
[Box on page 19]
Showing Respect for the Lord’s Evening Meal
Emblems to Be Used
Unleavened bread: Bread, such as unseasoned Jewish matzoth, made only with wheat flour and water may be used. Do not use matzoth that are made with added ingredients such as salt, sugar, malt, eggs or onions. You can make your own unleavened bread using the following recipe: Mix one and a half cups of wheat flour (if unobtainable, use rice, corn or another grain flour) with one cup of water, making a moist dough. Then roll dough to wafer thickness. Place it in a baking pan and liberally fork it with small holes. Bake it in a hot oven until it is dry and crisp.
Wine: Use an unadulterated red grape wine such as Chianti, Burgundy, or a claret. Avoid dessert wines that have been fortified or altered with brandy, such as sherry, port or muscatel. Do not use wines with spices or herbs added to them, like Dubonnet and other aperitif wines. A homemade red wine may also be used if it has not been sweetened, spiced or fortified.
Kingdom Hall Preparation
Table for emblems: Cover table with a clean tablecloth and sufficient plates and wine glasses for efficient serving. The bread may be broken and the wine poured prior to the meeting. Jesus did not establish any ritualistic precedent regarding this matter. If conditions demand, cover the emblems with a clean cloth to protect from insects.
Servers: Instruct beforehand regarding procedure to be followed so as to avoid any delay or confusion in serving emblems to all in attendance, including the speaker and the servers.
Attendants: Sufficient attendants should be on hand well before the start of the meeting so that all can be welcomed on arrival and provided with a seat.
Flower decoration: This may be provided, but it should be simple and tasteful.
Time of celebration: Although the talk may start earlier, the emblems should not be passed until after sundown. It should be determined locally when sundown occurs on April 4 in your locality.
Memorial talk: The speaker should prepare well so that he can present his material within the allotted time. It should be clearly presented and encouraging to all present.
[Picture on page 17]
The Memorial deepens love for Jehovah and his Son