Why Must Christians Have Assemblies?
IT IS the practice among the members of many families to have an occasional reunion. This practice is prompted by the bond of family relationship that gives them a feeling of closeness. They want to be with one another and to talk about the fond memories and experiences they hold in common. These family assemblies are a joy to them.
As this is especially true with members of large families, so it is true with Jehovah’s witnesses. They are members of a very large family, a family that is tied together with a bond much stronger than blood relationship. What binds them are the beliefs and worship they hold in common. Their common worship of Jehovah God makes them brothers and sisters in a great family of Christians. Jesus made this clear when he told his followers, at Matthew 23:8: “All you are brothers.” It was this spiritual family that he had in mind when, on another occasion, he said that whoever leaves fleshly brothers and sisters for the sake of his name would gain many times more.
The members of this great family of Christians are aliens in a world that has no love for God and no respect for his laws and purposes. Peter referred to Christians as such when he said: “Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires.” (1 Pet. 2:11) They are aliens because they are no part of the world, just as Jesus was no part of it. He said to his followers: “You are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”—John 15:19.
Since the members of this spiritual family have nothing in common with the world, they love to have periodic assemblies. It is a joy for them to be among crowds of spiritual brothers and sisters who worship the same God, respect his laws, and look forward with the same keen anticipation to the fulfillment of his promises regarding a new world. This is a welcome change from being like an isolated island surrounded by a disturbed sea of humanity alienated from God. Instead of being among people whose every imagination and thought of their hearts is only evil, a person who is at an assembly of Jehovah’s people is among persons who love right principles and whose thoughts are on the uplifting truths of the Scriptures.
This is one of the reasons why Jehovah’s witnesses will come from many parts of the world to assemble in New York city from July 27 to August 3. For eight glorious days they will gather with thousands of spiritual brothers and sisters in New York’s two largest stadiums. They will renew old friendships, exchange experiences and discuss their future prospects. Their joy will exceed that of any family reunion.
But more than that, this Christian assembly will be a feast of spiritual fat things. It will be another example of how Jehovah God arranges a table of spiritual good things for his people while their enemies are still in control of the earth. “And in this mountain will Jehovah of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa. 25:6, AS) The spiritual fat things served at such Christian assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses are nourishing, strengthening and edifying. This is another thing that makes the coming international assembly a thing of great interest to God’s people.
Since we are now living in the last days of the present world when the wicked are growing worse, it is imperative for God’s people to assemble frequently for mutual encouragement and edification. That is why the apostle Paul gave the implicit instruction to “consider one another to incite to love and right works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—Heb. 10:24, 25.
The world events that are fulfilling Bible prophecies prove that the day for Jehovah God to vindicate his name is drawing very near. Now is the time when all members of Jehovah’s great family of Christian children and grandchildren must come together in assemblies for encouragement and instruction. Such assemblies of the New World society not only benefit Jehovah’s people but benefit persons of good will, whose attention is attracted by them. We can therefore expect much good from the great international assembly this summer. None of God’s great earthly family will want to miss it.