Assembly Realizations Exceed Anticipations
REALIZATION is greater than anticipation! How true that is, not in the old world, but in the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses! But is that not what we should expect? Did not Jesus tell his apostles that they would receive a “hundredfold now” for all they had given up to follow him? And did not the apostle Paul state: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him,” but which ‘God has revealed through his spirit’? No question about it, the peace with God, the understanding of his purposes, the hope of the new world, the association of others of like mental disposition, the progressive learning of new truths and the privilege of giving them out to others far excel what men of honest heart anticipated when they first came in touch with Jehovah’s people.—Mark 10:30; 1 Cor. 2:9, 10.
Striking proof of this is seen in the blessings received at the larger assemblies held by the New World society. These most forcefully bring home to each one in attendance that “all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah,” that it is good and pleasant when brothers meet together in unity, also that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Isa. 54:13; Ps. 133:1; Acts 20:35.
At this time all Christian witnesses of Jehovah and their good-will companions are looking forward to the Peace-pursuing District Assemblies that are to be held throughout the world during 1960. Much happiness is in store for all that attend them, and we may be certain that all will find that here again realization will exceed anticipation, even as it did in previous assemblies.
This certainly was true of the Theocracy’s Increase Assembly held in 1950 at the Yankee Stadium. Would the Witnesses fill the place? They not only filled it but packed it out, with a total of 123,707 at the Sunday public talk. For eight days Witnesses from sixty-seven lands heard Bible programs presented in twenty-one different languages, and 3,381 were baptized. There the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was released. What a surprise that was! Also, The Watchtower appeared for the first time in its present form, a 32-page instead of a 16-page journal. New also was the Bible-study aid “This Means Everlasting Life” as well as several booklets, including a new songbook. In addition to these publications in English there were many new ones in other languages.
That 1950 assembly had no more than closed when the attention of Jehovah’s witnesses world-wide was directed to the series of “Clean Worship” assemblies to be held in Europe and which reached their climax with one held at the Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., in October. Hundreds of Witnesses from abroad converged on London, Paris, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and other places for these assemblies. How glad they were that they had made the effort to attend, and how happy their hosts at these convention cities were to welcome their brothers from so many faraway places! At the London assembly a set of tracts was introduced as well as the Bible-study aid What Has Religion Done for Mankind? Here it was brought out that the prophecy at Isaiah 32:1, 2, about “princes” is having fulfillment at the present time. After hearing the thrilling reports of these assemblies, not a few of those who had failed to go abroad for them resolved that if there ever were another series of European assemblies they would attend them. Such had their opportunity in 1955. But in the meantime came the delightful district assemblies of 1952 and the magnificent 1953 New World Society Assembly, also held at Yankee Stadium.
High as the hopes for it ran, here too realization exceeded anticipation. More were baptized—4,640; more attended the public lecture—165,829; and nearly three times as many new publications were released—seventy-five in all. Among the more notable ones in English were “Make Sure of All Things,” “New Heavens and a New Earth,” and the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. I, containing the Octateuch, the eight books from Genesis through Ruth. Here the training program, with the objective of making each Witness capable of giving doorstep sermons, was initiated. And among the many new things learned were that the “precious things” of all nations, of Haggai 2:7, were the great crowd of “other sheep” now being gathered and that Gog, of Ezekiel’s prophecy, was none other than Satan the Devil himself.
At the close of this memorable second Yankee Stadium assembly the president of the Society, N. H. Knorr, told of plans for the 1955 assemblies, which were to spread across the United States and on through Europe. For two years the Witnesses looked forward to these, in the meantime enjoying the district assemblies of 1954. They planned, and saved and worked for them, and made them the subject of their prayers. As a result, when the time came, Witnesses by the thousands, from the four corners of the earth, traveled to Europe for “probably the biggest mass movement of Americans through Europe since the Allied invasion during World War II.”
“Triumphant Kingdom” was the name of these assemblies and a triumph they proved to be for God’s kingdom. Each five days in length, they began in Chicago, Illinois, and ended in Helsinki, Finland. Included in the new Bible literature introduced at the English-speaking assemblies was the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 11, Qualified to Be Ministers, You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, and What Do the Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”? Appreciated by all, but especially by those who came underground from East Germany to the German assemblies at Nuremberg and Berlin, was the talk “Cautious as Serpents Among Wolves,” which showed that the Scriptures justify the “war strategy” of hiding true facts from the enemy.
The Iron Curtain kept the Witnesses from visiting their brothers in Russia. Most fitting therefore was the feature of the 1956 district assemblies: a petition to the U.S.S.R., requesting, among other things, that the Witnesses outside of Russia be permitted to visit their brothers residing within that country.
Of the rich “Life-giving Wisdom” district assemblies of 1957 it also was true that realization exceeded anticipation. Especially outstanding were the five talks based on the Bible’s five poetic books. The New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. III, which consists of these books, was released at the close of the last of these talks, “The Loved Woman of the Superlative Song.”
And what a convention the 1958 Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses was! For eight days huge throngs of Witnesses from 123 different lands filled both Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. Many striking new truths were heard, regarding the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel in particular. New publications released included the beautiful and simply penned From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” and the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. IV. Perhaps the most thrilling feature was the adoption of the Resolution that exposed Christendom’s perfidy and showed to the world where the Witnesses stood: foursquare for Jehovah’s name, Word and kingdom. Indicative of the magnitude of the assembly was the number baptized—7,136—and the public meeting attendance—253,922.
Only yesterday, it seems, we had the stimulating Awake Ministers District Assemblies of 1959. In the United States twenty-two of these were held, at which 230,566 attended the public lecture and 4,890 symbolized their dedication by water baptism. Of particular interest were the two talks, “Practical Wisdom in the Space Age,” and “Keeping ‘Clean from the Blood of All Men.’” A special treat at most of these assemblies was the new publication Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, containing a comprehensive and up-to-date history of the modern witnesses of Jehovah.
Truly, all who attended any or all of these assemblies had reason to confess that realization exceeded all anticipation. They found Jehovah to be true to his promise: “Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says [Jehovah] of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”—Mal. 3:10, RS.
In addition to all the foregoing there were still many other joys that accrued to those who attended these assemblies. Think of the joys of anticipation and preparation, of planning and saving to attend the assemblies, especially the international ones. Think of the joys of traveling together to and from the assemblies, not overlooking the opportunities of witnessing along the way. And at the assemblies, in addition to the spiritual feast provided, there were the joys of meeting old friends and making new ones, of serving in an assembly department as well as in the field ministry.
Will you put Jehovah to the test this year by attending at least one of the Peace-pursuing District Assemblies? If the obstacles to your doing so seem insurmountable, remember that God blesses us according to our faith and that, by the very nature of things, the greater the cost and effort, the greater our spiritual appetite and enjoyment; the more we pay for something the more we value it. So let all who love peace and would pursue it, witnesses of Jehovah and their good-will companions, “taste and see that Jehovah is good” by leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to attend one of these assemblies and learn that here again realization can be indeed greater than anticipation.—Ps. 34:8.
Peace-pursuing assemblies will be held in the following locations shown in the United States, Canada and England:
JUNE 16-19: Manchester, England, Manchester City Football Ground.
JUNE 23-26: Fort Worth, Tex., Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum; Nashville, Tenn., Grandstand, Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
JUNE 30–JULY 3: Toronto, Ont., Canada, Grandstand, Exhibition Park.
JULY 7-10: Los Angeles, Calif., Wrigley Field.
JULY 14-17: Sydney, N.S., Sydney Forum; Washington, D.C., Griffith Stadium; Wembley, Middlesex, England, Empire Pool.
JULY 21-24: Sacramento, Calif., Grandstand, State Fairgrounds; Birmingham, England, Bingley Hall.
JULY 28-31: Detroit, Mich., Briggs Stadium; Edmonton, Alta., Canada, Edmonton Gardens; Portland, Oreg., Multnomah Stadium; Glasgow, Scotland, Crossmyloof Ice Rink.
AUGUST 4-7: Salt Lake City, Utah, Utah State Fairgrounds Coliseum.
AUGUST 11-14: Boston, Mass., Fenway Park.
AUGUST 25-28: Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City Municipal Stadium; Miami Beach, Fla., Miami Beach Exhibition Hall.
The president of the Society will be visiting branch offices in Europe as well as serving at assemblies, or speaking to congregations, in the following cities:
LILLE, FRANCE: June 10-12, Palais de la Foire Commerciale.
PARIS, FRANCE: June 13, Salle Pleyel.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND: June 16-19, Manchester City Football Ground.
OSLO, NORWAY: June 22, Nordstrandshallen.
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN: June 23-26, Svenska Mässan.
HELSINKI, FINLAND: June 30, July 1, Messuhalli.
AALBORG, DENMARK: July 2, 3, Aalborg Race Track.
HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: July 7-10, Houtrusthallen.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: July 11, 12, Dancing Palace.
LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG: July 13, 14, City’s Theater.
STUTTGART, GERMANY: July 14-17, Neckar Stadium.
VIENNA, AUSTRIA: July 21-24, City Hall.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: August 11-14, Fenway Park.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: August 25-28, Municipal Stadium.
[Picture on page 293]