For the longest time, we thought the number who partook at the memorial would go down. Instead it sneaks up by degrees—not like a tidal wave—but it sneaks up. What gives? Vic Vomodog texts me about it all the time, attaching ‘nyaah nyaah emojis.
Has it happened
1) because more persons feel they have the heavenly calling, that they will be among those ruling as kings and priests in all the earth?
(“And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”)
2) because more persons are feeling that one should partake regardless of what their future hope is, as though the ceremony itself is for all?
I have always thought it was #1 but I’ve seen comments seeming to support #2.
It’s a new thought to me.
Unless I am wrong (what are the chances?), whereas the earthly organization once suggested these new partakers, for one reason or another, were deluding themselves (emotional stress holdover from church days, for example), now they are just inclined to say, “it’s between them and Jehovah” without further analysis. That’s what my elder brother-in-law said when the topic came up.
The reason the Witness organization would first suggest they’re not quite pulling with both oars is because of this bit from the United in Worship book (1983). I much enjoyed that book for its new technique of embedding in most chapters a paragraph consisting of a series of questions and scriptures to reason upon, as I had first seen in the pioneer school.
The book, in chapter 14, presented the two callings as being filled sequentially. First, the heavenly hope:
(Para 5) “Their being called to heavenly life was not because they were somehow better than all the servants of God who had died before Pentecost of 33 C.E. (Matt. 11:11) Rather, Jehovah now had begun to select those who would be associate rulers with Jesus Christ. For some 19 centuries after this there was only one calling, the heavenly one…—Eph. 2:8-10.”
There’s no sense in calling out the ‘great crowd’ then because, by definition, they are not going to be around when the Great Tribulation comes. Calling out the great crowd comes later:
(Para 6) “In time the prescribed but limited number of 144,000 would be filled…. (Rev. 7:1-8) Then Jehovah, by means of his spirit and the understanding of his Word that he made possible for his visible organization, would direct matters so as to fulfill another part of his purpose, as described in Revelation 7:9-17. A “great crowd” out of all nations would be gathered, with the thrilling prospect of surviving the great tribulation and living forever in perfection amid an earthly Paradise. When we consider what has actually occurred, it seems evident that the heavenly calling in general was completed by about the year 1935 C.E., when the earthly hope of the “great crowd” was clearly discerned. Since then there have been brought into association with the comparatively few thousand remaining ones of the heavenly class millions of worshipers of Jehovah who are earnestly hoping to live forever right here on earth.”
The resulting $64K question (and answer):
Para 7) “Does this mean that none are now being called by God for heavenly life? Until the final sealing is done, it is possible that some few who have that hope may prove unfaithful, and others will have to be chosen to take their place. But it seems reasonable that this would be a rare occurrence.”
Alas, contrary to what the book forecasted, it’s getting to be an increasing common occurrence. Is it because more persons think they have the heavenly hope? Or is it that more persons are coming to feel they should partake irrespective of their hope?
Dunno. Even if I felt that second way (I don’t) I would not act on it because people would freak out— a sure way to advance the Darth Vader notion that “the student has become the teacher.” But if you thought the heavenly hope was yours, then you would go that way.