>Just (respectfully) curious.
Of course. Not everyone will agree with the following, but I respectfully offer it as an answer.
>Everyone, of course, is aware of Easter, which is the celebration of Jesus's resurrection, but this is the first I've heard of a memorial for His death.
The resurrection of Jesus is certainly important, but there is no command to celebrate it as an annual holiday. Easter, like Christmas, is thoroughly pagan.
>Is it exclusive to Jehovah's Witnesses, or do any other Christians observe it?
I'm not aware of any mainstream church observing it the same way that we do. We are not the only ones that reject Easter.
>do you have a different calendar than other Christian sects?
We follow the Hebrew calendar in determining the date. The Hebrew calendar, used by Israel during the time of the Mosaic Law, is a lunisolar calendar. Days start at sunset. Months start with an observable new moon, so day 1 would be a new moon, and day 14 would approximately be a full moon. Abib, sometimes called Nisan, is the first month of the year. (Exodus 12:2). The start of the year, Nisan 1, is the first new moon after the spring equinox.
The original Passover was Nisan 14. (Exodus 12:13). Jesus instituted the new observance on the same day as the Passover. Christians, not being under the Mosaic Law anymore, do not celebrate the Passover. But since we are commanded to "keep doing this in remembrance of me", it is reasonable to think that Jesus meant it to be done annually on the same day as the Passover. Jesus instituted this and was killed on Nisan 14.
Note that "Good Friday" is by definition a Friday, whereas Nisan 14 does not have to be. Nisan 14, during the year Jesus was killed, started at sunset Thursday, March 31, and ended at sunset, Friday, April 1, 33 CE (Gregorian).
The event held by Jehovah's Witnesses on Nisan 14 mirrors what Jesus instituted after celebrating the Passover with his apostles. (They were still under the Mosaic Law until Jesus died.)
1 Corinthians 11:23-26: "For I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to YOU, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was going to be handed over took a loaf and, after giving thanks, he broke it and said: “This means my body which is in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” He did likewise respecting the cup also, after he had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood. Keep doing this, as often as YOU drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as YOU eat this loaf and drink this cup, YOU keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives."
So, likewise, we have unleavened bread, and unsweetened red wine. A prayer is offered before each is passed to everyone present. Only the "little flock", Jesus's brothers who are anointed to rule in heaven as kings and priests actually eat and drink the bread and wine. (Luke 12:32). Every one else, the "other sheep", pass it to the next person without eating or drinking it. (John 10:16).
The bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Jesus. Instead they symbolize his body, and the covenant by virtue of his blood.
The distinction between the "little flock" and the "other sheep", as well as Jesus's ransom paid with his blood, and the new covenant should all be explained at the event. I can also discuss them here if you wish.
|Response Title||Author and Date|
|*Thank-you.||on Apr 16|
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