MEMORIAL PARTAKERS – JWs WHO GO TO HEAVEN
(Investigator 102, 2005 May)
The Memorial is the
Jehovah's Witness (JW) commemoration of the death of Christ. It is the
JW equivalent of the Lord's Supper in other religions.
Until 1879 the sect celebrated the
"Lord's supper" every few weeks but since then annually near Easter.
The book Organized to Accomplish Your Ministry (1983) says:
"The date is determined by
counting 14 days from the new moon nearest the spring equinox, March
21‑22, as it would be visible at Jerusalem in the land of
Palestine." (p. 80)
Only some JWs partake of
the "emblems" – the wine and the unleavened bread. The majority do not
Memorial "partakers" are members
of the 144,000 who, according to JW belief, go to heaven after they
die. Non-partakers are of the "great crowd". These expect salvation,
eternal life, on a future "paradise Earth". Non-partakers attend the
Memorial as observers.
JWs believe that all
1st-century Christians belonged to the 144,000. More were chosen in the
next 18 centuries and the rest in the 20th century.
Those of the 144,000
currently alive are called the "remnant". The entire 144,000 are
referred to as the "little flock". Russell estimated that 20,000 to
30,000 were alive in the early 20th century. (Studies in the Scriptures
Volume 6 p. 95) Rutherford estimated in the 1920s that at most 50,000
of the 144,000 were on Earth. (Deliverance 1926 p. 282)
144,000 COMPLETED IN 1935
Most of the Remnant joined
JWs from 1919 to 1931: "This gathering of the anointed remnant from and
after 1919 continues on down more particularly to 1931…" (The
Watchtower 1942 March 1 p. 69)
In 1935 JWs started a new
"harvest". They started gathering the "great crowd" who would not go to
heaven but live forever on Earth: "Their being identified in 1935
as the great crowd of other sheep was an indication that the choosing
of the 144,000 was then about complete." (Revelation It's Grand Climax At
Hand! 1988 p. 125)
In 1935 the gathering of
the 144,000 was finished – except to replace a few who deserted the JW
How did the current
doctrine about the Remnant and "great crowd" come about?
ASCENT TO HEAVEN
In the 1870s Charles T
Russell (1852-1916) started the Watchtower cult that developed into JWs.
Russell taught that the
living members of the 144,000 or "little flock" would rise physically
to heaven in 1878:
Based on Paul's
statement at 1 Corinthians 15,51, 52 it had been expected ‘that at some
time the living saints would be suddenly and miraculously caught away
bodily, thenceforth to be forever with the Lord.' Believing this would
take place in 1878, some were disappointed… (Jehovah's Witnesses in the
Divine Purpose 1959 p. 19)
After the prediction for
1878 failed Russell tried 1881:
SEEMS DUE. We do not know the day or the hour, but expect it during
1881, possibly near the autumn… (Watch Tower reprints 1881 February p.
Wrong again. Therefore Russell made 1881 the end of God's "general
call" to join the "little flock". (Studies in the Scriptures Volume II
p. 235; Volume III p. 217) This meant that the 144,000 were complete in
1881 except for a few replacements when unfaithful ones dropped out.
But the replacements had to be converted and dedicated by 1881. (Watch
Tower Reprints 1901 November 1 p. 2901; 1900 August 1 p. 2676)
Meanwhile the date 1878 was
not discarded. It became the date the Kingdom of God started,
Christendom was "spewed out" by God, and the dead members of the
144,000 were resurrected to heaven:
…in the spring of 1878 all the
holy apostles and other "overcomers" of the Gospel age who slept in
Jesus were raised spirit beings, like unto their Lord and Master.
(Studies in the Scriptures Volume 3 p. 234)
Russell now predicted that
the ones still living on Earth would rise to heaven soon after 1914:
deliverance of the living saints must take place very soon after 1914
is manifest… (Studies in the Scriptures Volume 3 p. 228)
Once again, wrong! Russell
The Watch Tower Reprints
sum up Russell's ascent-to-heaven doctrine: "Brother Russell expected
the church to go beyond the veil in 1878, 1881, 1910 and 1914…" (1918
April 15 p. 6237)
ASCENT TO HEAVEN 1918
The cult's new president
was Judge Rutherford (1869-1942). He predicted 1918 for the ascent:
The seven days
before the Deluge may represent seven years, from 1914 to 1921, in the
midst of which "week of years" the last members of the Messiah class
pass beyond the veil...
Our proposition is that
the glorification of the Little Flock in the Spring of 1918 A.D. will
be half way (three and one-half years each way) between the close of
the Gentile Times and the close of the Heavenly Way, A.D. 1921. (The
Finished Mystery 1917 p. 64)
harvest began in 1878, there is ample and convincing proof. The end of
the harvest is due in the spring of 1918…During the entire forty years of
the harvest the sealing of the saints progressed…If the harvest has ended, then the
sealing is complete. The evidence strongly suggests that all the saints
are sealed. (Watch Tower Reprints 1918 May 1 p. 6243)
However, all the "saints"
were not "sealed" after all and they did not ascend. Why? Because again
a few replacements were needed:
Many of the
dear friends think that "the door is shut," and that opportunities for
service are at an end, or nearly so…The Society does not share this
opinion. It is quite probable that the harvest, in the sense that no
more will be spirit-begotten, ended in the spring of 1918, except as
some will fall out or be rejected, and others take their places. (Watch
Tower Reprints 1918 December 1 p. 6358)
As heretofore definitely set forth in THE WATCH TOWER, the harvest of
the wheat class covered a period of 40 years; that it had its beginning
in 1878 with the resurrection of the sleeping saints; ... that the
forty-year period would end, and did end, in the Spring of 1918. (Watch
Tower Reprints 1919 May 1 p. 6426)
At this stage the cult's
famous message "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" commenced. The
"Millions" message stated that ancient Bible heroes like Abraham,
Samson and Daniel would rise physically from the dead and take over the
world in 1925. The cult members believed they would then not be needed,
their work would be finished, and they could finally go to heaven.
Yes, wrong again. It all
proved false. The Bible heroes did not appear in 1925 and the Watch
Tower cult – the so-called "wheat class" and "saints" – did not go to
NEW INTERPRETATIONS FROM
In 1928 came the new
interpretation that the dead members of the 144,000 rose to heaven in
1918 as "spirit creatures". Those still in the flesh on Earth would go
to heaven individually at death.
Judge Rutherford, the
president of the JWs from 1917 to 1942, now divided the Remnant of the
144,000 into two subcategories:
- Those who joined the
cult by 1918 he called the Naomi class and Mordecai class;
- Those who joined the
cult from and after 1919 he called the Ruth class and Esther class.
In the book Preparation
(1932) Rutherford presented this interpretation in detail. (Pages 22,
45, 46, 78, 157, 164-166) The two groups, the pre-1919 and post-1919
converts, together constituted the Remnant of the 144,000.
Some of the Remnant then
alive, when Preparation was published in 1932, would live to
survive Armageddon. (pp 158-166) Preparation implies that the
Armageddon survivors would even include some of the "Mordecai class" –
the converts who joined up prior to 1919.
Frederick William Franz
(1893-1992), the fourth president of JWs, was baptized in 1913 and was
therefore of the "Mordecai class". Franz wrote:
A number of
these should survive still longer to see and go through the war of
Armageddon… (The Watchtower 1970 January 15 p. 52)
This, like everything
previously in this doctrine, proved false. When Franz died in 1992 the
pre-1919 converts were virtually extinct.
DOOR TO HEAVEN CLOSED IN
1935 – WHY?
By 1935 JWs had recovered
from the drastic membership losses that followed their failed
prophecies of the 1920s. Converts increased and their increased number
threatened to refute that:
1. The 144,000
is a literal number;
2. The harvest
of the 144,000 ended in 1918 except for replacements.
That's why Judge Rutherford invented two new interpretations:
- The call to heaven
stopped in 1935 except to replace a few who became unfaithful;
- A new "harvest" was
starting – the gathering of a "great crowd" who would join JWs but
won't go to heaven but get eternal life on Earth instead.
A REMNANT OF FRAUDS
In the 1930s the majority
who attended the Memorial partook of the wine and bread. Table 1 shows
figures for England:
Table 1 England
The yearly worldwide
figures are published in the JW Yearbooks and The Watchtower of
January 1. See Table 2.
Table 2 Worldwide Totals
American JWs provide almost
as many 20th-century candidates for heaven as the rest of the world
combined. See Table 3.
Table 3 USA
Looking again at Table 2 –
the worldwide figures – we notice something strange. If the door to
heaven shut in 1935 except to replace a few "unfaithful ones" the
decrease is much too slow.
Comparing the decrease with
population statistics used by governments and insurance companies leads
to the conclusion that the number of partakers in 2000 AD should be
nearer 500 than 8,600!
For a rough calculation
assume the average age of JWs in 1935 was 30. This means the average
age of partakers 68 years later – in 2003 AD – should be about 98 (or
slightly less if a few drop-outs were replaced with younger
However, the proportion of people who reach their mid-nineties is less
than 1% of the population. And 1% of the 1935 partakers is about 500.
Clearly, most of the
Remnant who partake of the "emblems" and identify themselves as going
to heaven are frauds.
DEEP THINGS OF GOD
JW Leaders have amended,
reversed or trashed not just their doctrine of the ascent to heaven but
most of their other doctrines too. Changed interpretations, flip-flops,
Yet they claim their
organization is: "the only Organization on earth that understands the
deep things of God." (The Watchtower 1973 July 1 p. 402)
They claim to be the only religion with God's approval and: "the
religion that is approved by God must agree in all its details with the
Bible." (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life 1968 p. 14)
They quote stooges who say:
"Jehovah's visible organization is a tremendously dependable source.
Never once has it misled me in any way." (The Watchtower 1984 June 1 p.
The JW doctrine of the
Remnant developed out of repeated prophecy failures. Statistics show
that most of the Remnant are frauds.