“Divine Sovereignty” Assemblies Demonstrate Reality of Kingdom Rule
Never in all history have humans been able to establish a government that united all mankind and benefited everyone. This is more evident in our time than ever before. Repeatedly governments fail to solve national problems, and, as a result, they are overthrown. This has happened with increasing frequency in recent years.
But while human rule is obviously failing, God’s rule is not! His purpose is to rid the earth of all the present-day unsatisfactory governments and to replace them with his heavenly kingdom under Christ. (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 6:9, 10) Under the rule of that one government for mankind, all peoples will be united in an unbreakable bond of love, peace and security. And this purpose of God is moving ahead irresistibly right now!
What evidence is there that the existence of God’s heavenly government is a reality in our day? One evidence is the fact that more than two million people have become willing subjects of that ruling kingdom. They accept the sovereignty, the rulership of God over their lives. They obey the laws and principles of that heavenly government, and reap the benefits. Hence, already there is a united people world wide, having one government over them, submitting to God’s sovereignty.
The submission of these people to divine sovereignty and the reality of Kingdom rule are clearly shown by what they do with their lives. An example of this is the faith and conduct they demonstrate at their large annual assemblies. This year, too, all around the globe, hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses gathered for “Divine Sovereignty” District Assemblies. In the United States alone, ninety-eight of these were held in various cities, with nearly one million attending.
At these assemblies there was visible evidence of the beneficial effect that submitting to divine sovereignty has in the lives of people. It gave substance to the promise of God’s Word that Kingdom rule would unite people of all different nationalities and cultures now, even before his new order completely replaces the old.—Isa. 2:2-4.
An important factor in unifying people under Jehovah’s Kingdom rule is the uniform instruction and counsel they receive at all times. This was evident at the assemblies because the program, with its talks, Bible dramas and demonstrations, was the same throughout the earth. Therefore, God’s servants all over the world receive the identical Bible instruction—a tremendous force for unification.
ASSEMBLY THEME HIGHLIGHTED
On the first day of the assemblies, their theme was highlighted in the talk “Letting God Be the Sovereign of Our Lives.” The speakers showed that we have to make up our mind whom we will serve. And our choice means life or death, since it is Jehovah’s sovereignty that will prevail. All other rulerships will have to bow before him. Those that refuse will be crushed out of existence.
This theme of Jehovah’s sovereignty was featured throughout the assembly, and also made prominent on the final day in the public discourse “One World, One Government, Under God’s Sovereignty.” The speakers noted that nationalism has always divided mankind, and that no government of man has ever overcome it. As a result, the human family is near calamity.
What is missing from all the political attempts to unify the human family? The speakers noted that this was the “unselfish cooperation with the One whom many nations claim to worship,” Jehovah God. There can never be one world under one government without that cooperation. And since not one of the political nations cooperates with God, never could today’s competing national groups achieve one world under one government. The speakers emphasized that the time for God’s toleration of these conflicting political nations has come near to its end. Soon all of them will have to bow before the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.
The prospect of witnessing the end of this present wicked system and of surviving into a new order is truly a faith-sustaining hope amid this troubled world. This hope was reinforced by the information in the new 384-page book entitled “Man’s Salvation out of World Distress at Hand!” Released in English and Spanish on the third day of the assembly, it provides fresh insights into the prophetic book of Isaiah, the prophecies and parables of Jesus Christ, and the meaning of events that lie immediately ahead. It deepens appreciation for the grand spiritual paradise that God’s servants now enjoy, and strengthens their conviction that deliverance into God’s new order is near.
DRAMAS EMPHASIZE DOING DIVINE WILL
The need to keep awake to the urgency of the times and to do the divine will zealously was also emphasized throughout the assembly. This is so even if the exact date of the coming “great tribulation” is not known, since the evidence of fulfilled prophecy shows that it is very near. In this regard, one delegate to the Los Angeles assembly said: “The fact that we can’t pinpoint a date was balanced by the drama ‘“Keep Your Senses” and Go On Building with the Greater Noah.’” He added: “This drama showed the error of people who did not consider the matter urgent in Noah’s day, and who were destroyed in the Flood. We certainly do not want to be like those people who refused to get into the ark because they thought the matter was not urgent.”—1 Pet. 5:8.
Another dramatic presentation was entitled “Do Not Become Unevenly Yoked with Unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 6:14) It vividly enacted the disaster that befell King Ahab of ancient Israel because of his being unevenly yoked in marriage with a pagan worshiper, Jezebel. Ahab compromised his faith in God by succumbing to the corrupting influence of his wife Jezebel. She too lost her life because of her contaminating influence in Israel and cruel treatment of Jehovah’s faithful servants. So today Christians who put themselves under a yoke with one who is not bound by dedication to God put their lives in danger. The principle is true: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—1 Cor. 15:33.
Fine counsel to Christian women was given in the drama “That the Word of God May Not Be Spoken of Abusively.” (Titus 2:5) In an outstanding way it showed that the entire life of the Christian must be a demonstration of Christian qualities. Love must be shown to unbelieving mates and neighbors, as well as to those within the congregation. Outsiders often judge the faith of Christians by the kind of people they are, not just by what they preach. Christian women were shown how to deal with problems that newer believers, who may still reflect worldly ways, find it hard to handle. It was pointed out that mature Christian women do not need to leave such matters up to the elders in the congregation, but can give these newer ones very valuable assistance.
On the final day of the assembly the very touching drama “Pure and Upright Practices—Necessary to a Child’s Life” portrayed the story of the prophet Samuel as a boy. Because his parents inculcated God’s laws and principles into his heart from childhood, young Samuel was able to counteract corrupting influences when serving at the temple in Shiloh. The drama highlighted the need for parents to sound the truths about Jehovah down into the hearts of their children by using good teaching methods.
Many were the expressions of appreciation for the assembly program. At one assembly a delegate said: “The well-executed dramas, the talks and demonstrations, all made up a rich spiritual meal. It enhanced our appreciation of Jehovah as our Divine Sovereign and also showed the need to help others to do the same.”
SHOWING SUBMISSION BY GOOD WORKS
Those now united under God’s sovereignty show it by their faith and their good works, worshiping and working unitedly with their fellow Witnesses. And many people who are not Jehovah’s witnesses note this harmony. For example, a bus driver transporting delegates to the Los Angeles assembly stated: “I think your assembly has been carried on beautifully. I only wish we could run our government the same way you people run your organization. The thing that impresses me so much is the way you people conduct yourselves.”
A person who attended an assembly for the first time, in Cicero, Illinois, remarked: “I have never seen anything like this before in all my life. I have never seen so much love between peoples of all nations together at one time.” At the Syracuse, New York, assembly, a newly baptized person who previously had been Roman Catholic and a member of a motorcycle gang said: “I wanted a brotherhood, but didn’t find it before. But in Jehovah’s organization I have found this brotherhood and love between peoples of all races and backgrounds.” This unity demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ words at John 13:35: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”
God’s Word also shows that true Christians would have “good order,” that they would be “orderly.” (Col. 2:5; 1 Tim. 3:2) This too was often noted by observers. At the Sheffield, England, assembly a transportation official said: “I would prefer to have Jehovah’s witnesses every weekend and the football crowd once a year, rather than the other way around.” Why? He explained: “Jehovah’s witnesses are well behaved and wait patiently when queueing.”
At Cleveland, Ohio, 57,027 gathered for the assembly. Afterward, the Cleveland Press headlined an editorial “Welcome, Witnesses,” and commented: “Never has the city had such an orderly convention.” It added: “The Witnesses believe the end of the world is imminent. We’re glad they chose Cleveland while there was still time.” City officials were so impressed that in a letter to the assembly the mayor wrote: “We hope that the city was as good a host as you were guests. Yours was a most orderly session, and the delegates certainly brought a great deal of credit to themselves and their religion by the way they conducted themselves while they were here.” The officials were so cooperative that they even agreed to reroute airplanes that had been flying directly over Municipal Stadium where the convention was held so that the delegates would not be disturbed by their noise!
A police officer assigned to the Cleveland Stadium said: “We wish that all of the assemblies here were like the Witnesses when they are here. We haven’t had any problems with unruliness, and one of the things that everybody has commented on is the fact that everything is so clean and that the Witnesses have been very nice to us, very courteous. When you tell them to stop for traffic, they stop. You know, they are really a model group to take care of.” And at the Bozeman, Montana, assembly a motel manager stated: “If all people were like Jehovah’s witnesses, we wouldn’t need policemen!” Nor armies either!
Thus, when the Bible foretold that under God’s Kingdom rule his people would “not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore,” it also said that the evidence of this would be demonstrated by God’s servants now, in “the final part of the days.” In all nations today, Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are well known for their peacefulness and respect for law and order.—Mic. 4:1-4.
“A FAMILY AFFAIR”
God’s Word instructs Christian parents to ‘go on bringing up their children in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.’ (Eph. 6:4) Observers at the assemblies noted that the worship of Jehovah’s witnesses is a “family affair.”
In an article entitled “Family Affair—Witnesses Convening,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle said of the assembly at that city’s Coliseum: “It’s definitely a family affair. All ages are represented, from babies in arms or strollers to older folks in wheelchairs.” The article added: “Everywhere one looked there were family groups.” What a contrast this is to the world in general, where more and more the family unit is disintegrating, and where parents rarely, if ever, teach their children about God and his purposes!
Nor are these family members simply idle listeners. At the Allentown, Pennsylvania, assembly an overseer noted: “Swarms of young people helped to clean up the trash and junk remaining from an antique and junk show held the day before. Everywhere one could see young and old busily engaged in picking up trash and cleaning.” Such family cooperation prompted the operating manager of the Lakeland, Florida, Civic Center to say: “I wish all kids were as well trained as those who are Jehovah’s witnesses. I see them working, carrying mops and brooms.”
The training of young ones to be submissive to Jehovah’s laws bears fruitage. At Syracuse, New York, a lawyer whose office is across the street from where the assembly was being held commented to the auditorium’s manager on how surprised he was to see such orderly family groups. The next day the manager told the Witnesses: “How do you keep the children so quiet? Look, everyone is paying attention!” That day he went to a refreshment stand at the assembly to get some food. While he was doing so, he dropped a dime from his pocket, unknown to him, and walked back to his office. A young Witness boy saw the dime drop, picked it up, and followed the manager into his office to return the dime. Amazed and pleased, the manager stated: “I know that this is what he should do. But how many young boys today would do so?” The answer is: Those whose parents have trained them to submit to Jehovah as Sovereign, for God’s counsel is to ‘conduct yourselves honestly in all things.’—Heb. 13:18.
The Bible tells Christians: “If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10) It also says that God would have a people “zealous for fine works.” (Titus 2:14) This quality of working hard for God’s Kingdom interests is also displayed at Christian assemblies.
An example of this is what happened in the Canadian city of Victoria, British Columbia. The night before the assembly, there was a lacrosse game in one part of the facilities to be used, and a bingo game of 500 people in another part. After these events the grounds were littered with rubbish. While the participants were still leaving, at 10:30 p.m., about 500 of Jehovah’s witnesses poured into the premises to take up preassigned tasks with clockwork precision. The sight of all these workers transforming the site into a clean, adequate assembly ground with such swiftness made the officials gasp in amazement. One said that he “couldn’t believe his eyes.” He added: “It’s phenomenal.” Within four hours the entire area was scrubbed clean, the huge carpeted platform was put into place, the sound system installed, and freezers, tables and cooking equipment were put into place for the beginning of the assembly a few hours later.
A coliseum official at the Little Rock, Arkansas, assembly declared: “When I look around this stadium and see Jehovah’s witnesses working, it reminds me of a beehive.” And at Corvallis, Oregon, the chief of security for Gill Coliseum, after watching the Witnesses erect assembly facilities, declared: “That beats anything I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a building go up so fast in my life. Everyone knows just what to do.” A Memphis, Tennessee, television station editor who observed the assembly there stated: “There’s something about you people that others simply don’t have. It’s the way you work together. I’ve never known any people like Jehovah’s witnesses.” And an official of the Lakeland, Florida, Civic Center remarked: “I would rather have a crew of Jehovah’s witnesses than professional workers. Jehovah’s witnesses get more done in twenty minutes than professionals do in four hours!”
Part of this hard work involves cleaning assembly sites before, during and after the assembly, free of charge. This too amazes others. A Memphis Coliseum staff member said: “I had always heard you were clean people, so I wanted to see for myself. I see that it’s true. When this place is in use it is usually a mess. I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen the Coliseum this clean.” A Columbia, South Carolina, Coliseum official declared: “The reason I love to see Jehovah’s witnesses come is that I know the building will be cleaner when you leave than when you came.”
Obvious reasons for cleanliness are comfort, health and appearance. But there is another. When a newspaper editor inquired as to why Jehovah’s witnesses go to such trouble, he was told that for the next four days the area was to become like a big Kingdom Hall, and so it should be cleaned like one. The Witness he talked to also said: “We’d like the Coliseum to be so clean that we wouldn’t be ashamed to ask Jehovah’s holy spirit to be here.”
Thus, by their works in harmony with their faith, Jehovah’s witnesses demonstrate that one world under one government, God’s heavenly kingdom, is already a reality among God’s people! As one observer commented: “Jehovah’s witnesses are the only people that live by Jehovah’s sovereignty and not just talk about it.” That is why the speakers could state during the final session: “Consequently, at the very start of God’s righteous new order of things, there will already be one world on earth under one government, regardless of the tribes, peoples, races and nations to which the tribulation survivors belonged.”