Divine Justice—A Cause for Rejoicing!
“COME sing with us . . . ‘Jehovah reigns; let earth rejoice.’” Those words were part of a song on the lips of some 9,000 Arabic, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish delegates to the “Divine Justice” District Convention in Montreal, Canada. The conventioners swarmed onto the field at Olympic Stadium for the closing moments of this four-day convention to join in song with 36,900 delegates already in the stadium.
The other language groups had been present for the same convention program in nearby arenas and auditoriums. Now they joined the French and English conventioners in a moving display of brotherhood and loyalty—something that could be realized only among servants of the God of true justice, Jehovah. In view of widespread injustice in the modern world, the convention theme—“Divine Justice”—was a timely one indeed. Interwoven throughout the program, this theme enhanced our appreciation for this cardinal attribute of Jehovah God.
“Happy Are Those Observing Justice”
This was the theme of the first day of the convention. (Psalm 106:3) The chairman’s address of welcome made it clear that divine justice is not just the cold legal exercise of a judicial function. Rather, it is the maintaining of what is right in an impartial and fair way according to God’s standards. Jehovah sets the highest standards and is perfect in justice because he adheres to these. Hence, it can be said that “all his ways are justice.”—Deuteronomy 32:4.
This was further highlighted in the keynote address, entitled “Justice Marks All of God’s Ways.” Jehovah has never deviated from his righteous standards but has employed the same just ways in dealing with all imperfect mankind. (Malachi 3:6) Though some may falsely accuse God of being unjust because they see wholesale lack of justice in human society, he is not responsible for the waywardness of corrupted mankind.
Since Jehovah is a lover of justice, he expects us to exercise this quality by doing what is right and fair. We must do this toward our fellowman and our families, within the congregation, and in all aspects of our worship. This brings rich blessings, as can be seen from what was presented on the program during the remaining three days of the “Divine Justice” District Convention.
“Receive the Discipline That Gives Insight”
The second day of the convention had the foregoing theme, based on Proverbs 1:3. We were urged to “Accept Discipline and Become Wise,” that being the title of an early part on the program. Discipline from Jehovah marks a way of life that includes the refining of our mental faculties and moral makeup. It is also an expression of God’s love for us. (Hebrews 12:4-11) Such discipline keeps us sensitive to the highest standards of justice—divine justice.
These positive expressions were followed by the talk “Be Clean in Mind and Body.” How thought-provoking it was! It impressed on us the need to present ourselves to God as pure, clean, and holy people. Why? Because Jehovah is supremely clean and holy—a condition that sets him apart from all the filthy gods of the nations. Reflecting on this talk, one young brother remarked: “Everything about our mental, moral, physical, and spiritual cleanness was examined. Our dress, grooming, home, car, and personality were all given attention.” An elder observed: “Putting such counsel into practice will make our brothers stand out more than ever from the people around them and will provide a measure of health unknown by the world in general.”
The modern-day drama “Marked for Survival” added a sense of urgency to the program, for divine justice must soon be satisfied. This touching presentation vividly showed that it is urgent for all to open their eyes to the significance of our times. Indeed, before false religion is struck down, we must run to the place of refuge and be definitely marked for survival.
In the afternoon, a symposium of speakers attested to the need for “Disciplining in Righteousness Within the Family Circle.” Husbands and fathers were admonished to have a spiritual program in the home, taking the lead in prayer, study, and sacred service. The manly qualities of the father and how he handles his headship have a telling effect on a child’s view of authority, both divine and human. Therefore, Christian fathers must be fair and consistent in their discipline. They need to display empathy and warmth, thus keeping open the lines of communication with their children.
Parents were encouraged to adapt their instruction to the children. It is important to give children insight by considering how to teach and what to teach in order to reach their hearts. The objective is to have the truth influence the entire family in a wholesome way.
The final speaker of this symposium made a warm appeal to children to do what Jehovah expects of them within the family arrangement. Youths were urged to avoid the rebellious spirit of today’s permissive society and to rejoice in the discipline that gives insight.
In remarks based on Proverbs 2:1-9, conventioners were encouraged to “Keep Searching as for Hid Treasures.” It was illustrated that spiritual gems can be found through diligent study and research. Speaking on the subject “Look to Jehovah for Insight,” the next speaker explained that insight is the ability to see into a situation, to look beyond the obvious and get the sense of something. (Matthew 13:13-15; Romans 3:11; Ephesians 5:17) This thrilling day then came to a climax when the Olympic Stadium was tied in by telephone with many other cities in Canada and the United States. The two-part symposium was highlighted by the release of the two-volume publication Insight on the Scriptures, containing more than 2,500 pages of informative articles and illustrations that will deepen our appreciation of spiritual matters.
“His Judgments Are True and Righteous”
On the third day, which had this theme based on Revelation 19:2, there was much to make us rejoice. The talk “Moral Cleanness Is the Beauty of Youth” made a strong appeal to young people. They were urged to prize the beauty associated with maintaining God’s standards of physical, moral, and spiritual cleanness. Sexually explicit songs, immoral television programs, pornographic movies and literature, and peer pressure constantly bombard Christian youths. According to one source, only an exceptional young person has not had premarital intercourse by 19 years of age. But the audience applauded warmly when the speaker commended the thousands of Witness youths who show themselves exceptional by maintaining a high standard of righteousness. Early marriages are fraught with problems, and it was shown that Paul’s words about marrying because of being “inflamed with passion” are addressed not to teenagers but to those “past the bloom of youth.”—1 Corinthians 7:9, 36.
“Do Not Yoke Yourselves With Unbelievers” was the next topic. Obeying God’s command to marry “only in the Lord” spares us painful consequences. (1 Corinthians 7:39) Moreover, nothing is more strengthening to a marriage than shared devotion to Jehovah and adherence to his righteous standards. We were next helped to see how we should be “Acting With Respect and Godly Fear.”
Then came an exciting highlight—the talk “Baptism That Leads to a Favorable Judgment,” followed by the immersion of newly dedicated persons. It was stressed that more was expected of them than merely putting away the filth of the flesh. Repentance, conversion, and a lifetime of sacred service must be associated with their dedication and baptism if they are to enjoy a favorable judgment from Jehovah.
The afternoon program surely was memorable. Again by telephone hookup, members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses electrified audiences across North America with the stirring presentation of the symposium “The Appointed Time Is Near.” For decades, Jehovah’s anointed witnesses have proclaimed divine judgment messages against Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. At this convention, however, these messages took on a stronger tone. Babylon the Great has been guilty of violating Jehovah’s righteous commandments. She merits destruction, for “her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” Thus, as Jehovah’s angel declares, “in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Revelation 18:5, 8.
Speaking on the subject “The Infamous ‘Harlot’—Her Fall and Destruction,” the last speaker of this symposium drew attention to the grand climax of Revelation. This climax is reached with the marriage of the Lamb, who unites with his bride, the holy city, in blessing mankind with eternal life. Jehovah’s name is sanctified! The symposium concluded with the moving statement that the appointed time is nearer than we may think! Indeed, the grand climax of Revelation is at hand!
While the audience was still applauding, there came the release of the new 320-page book Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! What a cause for rejoicing! This publication surely will be an effective means of announcing that Babylon the Great is doomed, that the nations now face Armageddon, and that Jehovah is about to execute judgment. Let all appreciative ones answer the invitation of “the spirit and the bride” to “come” to the waters of life. (Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17) This thrilling printed release was followed by another cause for rejoicing. With joyful conviction, convention audiences unanimously adopted a very clear and frank resolution stating our abhorrence of Babylon the Great.
“Justice—Justice You Should Pursue”
Based on Deuteronomy 16:20, this was the theme of the final day. The speakers of the morning emphasized the fact that to benefit from divine justice, we must be different from the world. Consider the talk “Maintaining Spiritual Health in a Sick World.” It showed how we can avoid contamination from a spiritually unhealthy world by guarding against fleshly weaknesses, worldly influence, and “the machinations of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, 12; Romans 7:21-25; 1 John 2:15-17) The talk “Does Your Faith Condemn the World?” showed that if we have faith like that of Noah, we will stand out as different from the world. In Noah’s day, there was a marked difference between the Flood survivors and those who perished. The same is true today.
This important point was highlighted in the Bible drama “Jehovah’s Judgments Against Law-Defying People.” It vividly compared the law-defying people in the days of Noah and Lot with those living in our time. Noah and Lot stood out in sharp contrast, and their faith condemned their contemporaries. Do we personally stand out as different from people today who are preoccupied with material things and are lovers of what is bad?
The public talk, “Justice for All by God’s Appointed Judge,” was an absorbing analysis of the apostle Paul’s speech to men of Athens on the Areopagus, or Mars’ Hill. Surrounded as we are by gross injustices and false religion, the apostle’s words have great meaning for us. Especially do we have reason to rejoice because we are living at a crucial time of judgment when we can take action to have God’s approval. Yes, as Paul said, Jehovah purposes “to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man [Jesus Christ] whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.”—Acts 17:31.
As the program drew to a close, we were urged to “Keep Pursuing Justice as the Climax Nears.” This splendid four-day convention filled us with determination to do so. The program also impressed us with the scope of our international brotherhood. For instance, what a joy it was to hear from visiting missionaries who had been serving faithfully in their assignments for years!
We left the convention with renewed determination to remain separate from this world and to keep clean spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically. As we joined harmoniously in closing song, we were glad to sing Jehovah’s praises, grateful that divine justice gives us great cause for rejoicing.
At over 125 conventions in the United States and Canada alone, 1,440,932 persons were present and 19,878 were baptized
[Pictures on page 26]
1, 2. The publications Insight on the Scriptures and Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! being released at Yankee Stadium, New York City, by Governing Body members J. E. Barr and W. L. Barr
3, 4. Scenes from the Bible drama “Jehovah’s Judgments Against Law-Defying People”
5. Thousands were baptized in symbol of their dedication to Jehovah God
6. Scene from the modern-day drama “Marked for Survival”
7. Visiting missionaries, such as John Cutforth of Papua New Guinea, shared their experiences with conventioners