Memorable Assemblies of God’s People
MORE than fifteen centuries before the Christian era an unforgettable assembly of Jehovah’s worshipers took place at the base of Mount Sinai. A crowd of over two million were assembled there for nearly a year. Before their astonished eyes God manifested his presence in a striking manner. “And on the third day when it became morning it came about that thunders and lightnings began occurring, and a heavy cloud upon the mountain and a very loud sound of a trumpet, so that all the people who were in the camp began to tremble. Moses now brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they went taking their stand at the base of the mountain. And Mount Sinai smoked all over, due to the fact that Jehovah came down upon it in fire, and its smoke kept ascending like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain was quaking very much.”—Ex. 19:16-18.
This great assembly was marked not only by a manifestation of Jehovah’s presence but also by the personal instruction he gave them. He communicated with them and even gave them a detailed law. This was indeed an outstanding assembly.
Many centuries later another memorable gathering took place in Jerusalem. It was at the time the completed temple was dedicated by Solomon. Here was another assembly in which God manifested his presence in a visible way. “The house itself was filled with a cloud, the very house of Jehovah, and the priests were not able to stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of The [true] God.” (2 Chron. 5:13) This unforgettable gathering lasted fifteen days.
A much smaller but very noteworthy assembly took place A.D. 33. This was the gathering of Christ’s disciples in an upper room on the day of Pentecost. It was during this small assembly that God’s active force visibly manifested itself by what looked like tongues of fire. “Suddenly there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And tongues as if of fire became visible and were distributed to them, and one sat upon each one of them, and they all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance.”—Acts 2:2-4.
Because of the miraculous power they received they could speak the good news of God’s King and kingdom in the native tongues of the many people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. This amazing manifestation of God’s power made this a memorable assembly.
The modern-day worshipers of Jehovah God also have had unforgettable assemblies, even though God’s power has not been manifested in the awesome manner that it was in the ancient gatherings. There was, for example, the nine-day gathering at Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1922. It was at this assembly that God’s spirit stirred up his people to move forward in an earth-wide work of advertising the King, Christ Jesus, and the Kingdom. Today this good news is being proclaimed by more than 700,000 zealous witnesses.
The first big international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses was held at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1946. It set the pattern for future mass gatherings of Jehovah’s people. It was a foretaste of the immense conventions held in New York city in 1950 and 1953. The New York assemblies were remarkable in that they had more than 100,000 people in attendance.
It was at the 1950 assembly that Jehovah’s witnesses were thrilled with the release of a new translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, by the New World Bible Translation Committee. The assembly in 1953 proved to be the greatest gathering of Jehovah’s modern-day witnesses. The world’s largest mass immersion took place at this assembly when more than 4,600 people symbolized by water baptism their dedication to serve God. But even though these two assemblies were great, the one planned for this summer will be greater. It will be the third international assembly held in New York city and will undoubtedly be another great milestone in the history of memorable assemblies of God’s people.