The Lord's Supper may only be celebrated on the 14th Nisan

by Eddie

This, at least, is what the WTS asserts and also sets out this as an unconditional doctrine (dogma).

Question: Is that ok or not?

The WTS refers to two biblical facts and events which cannot and should not be discussed away. Nevertheless, the question remains whether this is so correct.

As usual, we also start here with the Bible.

Fact 1 of the correct assertion of the WTS is that the Lord's Supper (or: also called Lord's Supper or Memorial Supper) was established on the 14th Nisan of the Jewish calendar, and

Fact 2 is that it was used immediately after the Passover, on the same evening, so to speak as a replacement or renewal of the same. All this can be clearly seen in the HS, no doubt about it.

Now it is only a matter of the question, must, as a law, so to speak, or at least as a commandment, this continue to be observed?

The WTS claims: Yes. Firstly, according to its argumentation, the date of the mission and the preceding event (the Passover) were always celebrated on this date as a remembrance, and secondly, according to the further argumentation, a memorial service – and it is such a memorial service – is usually celebrated only once a year, such as, for example, a wedding anniversary or other celebrations as well. It would be a kind of inflation, so to speak, if one would celebrate it more often, even daily.

You can understand it that way, no question. If someone understands it that way, then it is his personal thing that should not be challenged. Only, in return, if I see it that way, may I accuse the others of false doctrine?*

Beside the statement of Jesus "as often as you drink from it ... as often as you eat of this bread and drink of the cup", which indicates that the time and number of communion celebrations are completely free, there is no direct invitation in the HS to celebrate when and how to break bread, as it is also called. The Bible itself does not prescribe anything here. That is why the first problems in this regard already occurred quite at the beginning of the spreading of Christians. I take the following historical facts from given literature: "Kleine Konziliengeschichte", written by a priest, and "Das Imperium der Paepste", written by Hans Kuehner.

In the time between 155(?) and 166(?) Polycarp, who is said to have been a "disciple" of the apostle John, came extra to Rome(!) to the local "pope" Anicetus to discuss the so-called Easter holidays. In the later course of time, at the time of the "Pope" Victor I, 189 to 199 A.D., the Pope excommunicated the congregations of Asia Minor, since they did not join the needs of Rome, but continued to celebrate Easter, as in all Asia Minor, on the 14th Nisan and not eight days later. Saint Irenaeus of Lyon did not deny Victor I the right to set the holiday, but ultimately the right to excommunicate it. Even later, on May 20, 325, Constantine I had a holiday. ("the Great"), and which lasted until July 25 of this year, the Church under "Pope" Silvester I postponed Easter to the first Sunday after the full moon. Quite officially. Since then always the same.

So, also the church once postponed the holidays, or fixed them.

But back to the question, can one always only celebrate the breaking of bread on the 14th Nisan or can one do it at any time of the day or night and at any date?

Let us read Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verses 42 to 46:

But they persisted in the teaching of the apostles and in the community of the breaking of bread and in the prayers (...). Every day they remained unanimously in the temple and broke bread at home (...).

(Elberfelder Study Bible Edition)

Interesting: Daily they stayed ... in the community of the breaking of bread, it says here. Once a year there is nothing to be found here.

Interestingly, this thought is concealed in the NWT. There, instead of "breaking bread", it means "eating the meal" and is provided with a footnote in which "or breaking the bread" can be found in small print.

Question: Why so cumbersome? Why is this done in this way and not in direct translation? What's that all about?

When once a JW, who was placed somewhat higher in the JW hierarchy, was asked why one proceeded in such a way, he answered analogously: "The people who read this text passage should not think, the Original Christians celebrated the Lord's Supper daily". "But they did, according to this passage." "It may be so, but the slave" (this statement refers to the WTS leadership – see above) "says that it is not so, and if he says so, then it is so."

That already sounds like the old Nazi motto "Fuehrer order, we follow you!"

The Epistle to the Romans is just as clear in this respect as far as the cycle of coming together or the weighting of the Lord's remembrance is concerned. The passage from the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 14, verses 4 to 6:

Who are you to judge another man's servant? He stands or falls to his own master. But he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to uphold him. The one holds one day before the other, but the other holds every day. But let each one be fully convinced in his own sense. He who respects the day respects the Lord.

(Elberfelder Study Bible Edition)

In other words, while it is not wrong what the JW generally do, they must not say (unfortunately they do) that other faith communities or churches are wrong about this. That is precisely the dogma.

As far as the time of day is concerned, one can infer from the biblical statements and their actions that the Lord's Supper was set up after dusk. There was a specific reason for this: the Passover preceded the establishment of the New Covenant and this had to be celebrated after dark. Since the Lord was arrested on the same night (and he knew this in advance!), there was no more time left for him than to establish the New Covenant immediately afterwards on the same night – that is, during the darkness of the night. But that was and is also the only reason why only after the onset of darkness did all this happen. To create a law out of it again, as the WTS does, is not correct. If the WTS understands it as it understands it, it can gladly do so according to the text from the Epistle to the Romans quoted above. But she cannot accuse others of doing the wrong thing, as she usually does in her speeches and writings. That, too, is a dogma!

*See reference to the book "The Lord's Supper above at Dogma 2


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