Keep doing this in remembrance of me.
Night has fallen, but a full moon bathes Jerusalem in soft light. It is the evening of Nisan 14, 33 C.E. Jesus and his apostles have celebrated the Passover, commemorating Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage 15 centuries earlier. With 11 loyal apostles, Jesus now institutes a special meal—one that will memorialize the death he will experience before this day ends. Jesus says a blessing and passes unleavened bread to the apostles, saying: “Take, eat.” He takes a cup of wine, again offers thanks, and says: “Drink out of it, all of you.” Jesus will not pass other food items to them, but he will have much more to tell his faithful followers on this momentous night. So it was that Jesus instituted the Memorial of his death, also called “the Lord’s Evening Meal.”
When a loved one is gone we remember them fondly. But when they are with us there is no need to hold them on our memory. Jesus told his followers to “keep doing this in remembrance of me.” Paul went on to say to the Corinthians that the remembrance will only be observed “until he comes.”
This creates a bit of a dilemma for the Watchtower, since it teaches that Christ came in 1914. Obviously if that were true then the Lord’s Evening Meal would have ceased to be observed then.
To deal with this obvious discrepancy the Watchtower has resorted to teaching that Christ comes on more than one occasion. Supposedly his next scheduled coming is when he comes on the clouds of heaven, when every eye will see him. But does that fix the contradiction? No. It does not.
In Luke’s account of when Jesus instituted the memorial of his death Christ said: “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” And accepting a cup, he gave thanks and said: “Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves, for I tell you, from now on, I will not drink again from the product of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.”
Notice, please, the remembrance of Christ’s sacrificial death is obviously concluded —fulfilled, when the Kingdom of God comes, which harmonizes with the truth expressed in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
Of course, the central teaching of the Watchtower is that the Kingdom of God was fully established in 1914. Jehovah’s Witnesses are even required to believe that the first resurrection has begun. Essentially, all things have been fulfilled. But to paper over the obvious fact that nothing has significantly changed since the time the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord, the Watchtower teaches that although all things have been fulfilled and the Kingdom has come, it is coming again, evidently during the tribulation.
Another inconvenient truth is what is recorded in the 12th chapter of Luke. Addressing his little flock who have been promised the Kingdom, Jesus exhorted them to stay on the watch for his coming: “Be dressed and ready and have your lamps burning, and you should be like men waiting for their master to return from the marriage, so when he comes and knocks, they may at once open to him. Happy are those slaves whom the master on coming finds watching! Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table and will come alongside and minister to them. And if he comes in the second watch, even if in the third, and finds them ready, happy are they! But know this, if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into.You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.”
In the span of verse above Jesus used the words “come,” “comes” and “coming” four times. Is this coming the same as his coming on the clouds of heaven to execute the ungodly, —the coming that Jehovah’s Witnesses are on the watch for? The Watchtower says yes.
It is noteworthy that Jesus evoked the setting of the Lord’s Evening Meal, when his apostles reclined with the Lord at the table and immediately afterwards Jesus rose from the table and girded himself with a towel and assumed the duties of a slave when he began washing the feet of the disciples. Furthermore, as Jehovah’s Witnesses well know, the Greek word “parousia” literally means being alongside. So, Jesus coming alongside his disciples and ministering to them is what will occur during the presence of Christ.
It is then, Christ’s presence with his disciples that brings about the fulfillment of all things and the conclusion of the remembrance of him. No wonder Jesus stressed the importance of staying awake and being ready to receive him when he knocks.