By The Librarian
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. observe the Memorial of Christ’s death (also called “the Lord’s Evening Meal” - 1 Corinthians 11:20) because Christians are commanded to. Jesus said to "Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:24) But how often? The Memorial of Jesus’ death is truly a memorial, and memorials are usually observed annually.
Additionally, when Jesus was on Earth, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his apostles, and then instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. Because this meal replaced the Jewish Passover it is appropriate to observe it just once a year.
Does Paul's use of the word "often" mean that the Lord’s Evening Meal should be celebrated more often than once a year? Referring to the institution of the Memorial of Jesus’ death, Paul wrote: “As often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Corinthians 11:25, 26) So what did Paul mean here? Did he really mean for Christ's death to be commemorated frequently - more often than once a year? Notice this excerpt from the w03 1/1 p. 31; Questions From Readers; par. 2: "In the context of 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26, Paul was discussing, not how often, but how the Memorial should be observed. In the original Greek, he did not use the word pol·la′kis, which means “often” or “frequently.” Rather, he used the word ho·sa′kis, which means “as often as,” an idiom meaning “whenever,” “every time that.” Paul was saying: ‘Every time that you do this, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord.’"
By The Librarian
Jehovah's Witnesses commemorate Christ's death as a ransom or "propitiatory sacrifice" by observing the Lord's Evening Meal, or Memorial. They celebrate it once per year, noting that it was instituted on the Passover, an annual festival. This is the only celebration the Bible commands Christians to observe.
Of those who attend the Memorial, a small minority worldwide partake of the unleavened bread and wine. This is because Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the majority of the faithful have an earthly hope. Only those who believe they have a heavenly hope, the "remnant" (those still living) of the 144,000 "anointed", partake of the bread and wine. In 2014, the number of persons who partook worldwide was
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , whereas the number who attended was Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
The Memorial, held after sunset, includes a talk on the meaning of the celebration and the circulation among the audience of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Jehovah's Witnesses believe the bread symbolizes Jesus Christ's body which he gave on behalf of mankind, and that the wine symbolizes his blood which redeems from sin. They do not believe in transubstantiation or consubstantiation. Because many congregations have no members who claim to be anointed, it is common for no one to partake of the bread and wine.
See also: What is the meaning of the bread and the wine served at the Memorial?
Jehovah’s Witnesses observe the Memorial after sundown on Nisan 14, according to the reckoning of the Jewish calendar that was common in the first century. The Jewish day begins at sundown and extends until the following sundown. So Jesus died on the same Jewish calendar day that he instituted the Memorial. The beginning of the month of Nisan was the sunset after the new moon nearest the spring equinox became visible in Jerusalem. The Memorial date is 14 days thereafter. (Thus the date for the Memorial may not coincide with that of the Passover kept by modern-day Jews. Why not? The start of their calendar months is set to coincide with the astronomical new moon, not the visible new moon over Jerusalem, which may come 18 to 30 hours later. Also, most Jews today keep the Passover on Nisan 15, not on the 14th as did Jesus in harmony with what was stated in the Mosaic Law.)
Memorial is always held on the first full moon after March 21st. It's always a full moon because Memorial is always held 14 days after the new moon. Hebrew months start on the new moon (the new month). Therefore Nisan 14 is always a full moon (+- 24 hours).
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Why is it observed annually?
Talk: The Last Hours of Jesus Christ
Particularly beginning in the 1930’s, prospective members of the “great multitude,” or “great crowd” of other sheep, began to manifest themselves. (Rev. 7:9, 10, KJ; John 10:16) These were at that time referred to as Jonadabs. For the first time, in its issue of February 15, 1938, The Watchtower specifically invited them to be present at the Memorial, saying: “After six p.m. on April 15 let each company of the anointed assemble and celebrate the Memorial, their companions the Jonadabs also being present.” They did attend, not as partakers, but as observers.
By The Librarian
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David H. Splane: Inviting All to the Memorial (Ps. 118:22)