The Pure Language Unites a Great Crowd of Worshipers
THE God-given pure language is a force for Christian unity. Proof of that was apparent to all who attended the convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in West Berlin from Tuesday through Friday, July 24 to 27, 1990, since Witnesses from 64 different countries were present.
When the “Godly Devotion” District Conventions were held in Poland during the summer of 1989, thousands of delegates came from Russia and Czechoslovakia, but only a few hundred were present from East Germany. How the world situation has changed politically since then! This time, an estimated 30,000 delegates from East Germany met with Witnesses in Olympia Stadium in West Berlin. The convention was typical of the hundreds held in other parts of the world, generally on Thursday through Sunday.
In his opening address of welcome on Tuesday, the chairman recounted the role that conventions had played since 1919 in helping Jehovah’s Witnesses to make progress in speaking the pure language. This convention would likewise help all in attendance to improve in their ability to speak the pure language and to live by it. He reminded the delegates that by their very grooming and conduct, Jehovah’s people make manifest the progress they have made in speaking the pure language.
“A Pure Language for All Nations”
Fittingly, the keynote talk of the convention featured the foregoing theme. It was based on Zephaniah 3:9, where God promised: “Then I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.” The pure language involves a proper understanding and appreciation of the truth about God and his purposes. Only Jehovah can provide this by means of his holy spirit. Love of the truth must be the motivation for learning the pure language, which is free from all moral uncleanness.
Furthermore, speaking the pure language is not just a matter of using a certain vocabulary. Rather, our way of life must be in agreement with what comes from our lips. In fact, our tone of voice, facial expression, and gestures are also important, for they reflect what we are inside. To keep up with the expanding pure language, we must have a consistent study program and regularly attend all congregation meetings.
Learning the Pure Language
As a talk on Tuesday afternoon stressed, learning the pure language means “Progressing From Basics to Maturity.” Growth is essential if we are to keep developing spiritually. That means taking advantage of all provisions for spiritual advancement and applying Bible principles daily.
To become proficient in the pure language, we must be “Taught by Jehovah,” the title of a symposium on Thursday morning. The first speaker showed how this was ‘Exemplified by Jesus Christ.’ That Jesus was taught by Jehovah was evident from his words and actions. So we want to imitate him in how he taught. And as Jesus always submitted to his Father’s will, so must we.
The next three speakers showed how Jehovah teaches by means of meetings and assemblies. We benefit from all five congregation meetings and should not neglect any of them. Each meeting is vital to our spiritual advancement. Jehovah also teaches us by means of our circuit assembly, district convention, and special assembly day programs. To benefit from all of these, we must listen attentively and then put into practice what we learn.
This symposium was followed by the talk “Sacrificing for Personal Study.” To find time for it, we must heed the counsel at Ephesians 5:15, 16 to buy out time from less important things.
A logical goal of our learning the pure language is dedication and baptism. This truth was highlighted in the talk “Baptism of Those Learning the Pure Language.” This language is leading many to dedication and baptism. However, one must thereafter continue to follow Jesus’ pattern by zealously preaching the good news, putting on the new personality, and keeping separate from the world.
Solid Spiritual Food
Conventioners were also delighted to receive solid spiritual food based on the fulfillment of prophetic dramas. On Thursday afternoon, two talks were based on themes taken from Ezekiel’s prophecy. The first, “Jehovah’s Celestial Chariot on the Move,” described a colossal, glorious, fear-inspiring celestial conveyance moving at lightning speed. It pictures Jehovah’s heavenly organization, which God rides in that he lovingly directs its every move, using it to carry out his purposes. Ezekiel pictures the spirit-anointed remnant, particularly since 1919. Especially since 1935 have they been joined by the “great crowd.”—Revelation 7:9.
The following talk was entitled “Keep Pace With the Visible Organization.” There is no question that God’s visible organization is keeping up with his celestial chariotlike organization. As did Ezekiel, Jehovah’s servants today must obediently carry out their prophetic commission despite indifference, ridicule, or even opposition. Keeping pace leads to many blessings now and everlasting life in God’s fast-approaching new world.
On Friday morning, solid spiritual food was also provided by means of three talks based on Isaiah chapter 28. The first of these showed in forceful terms that the spiritual drunkards of ancient Israel and Judah pictured the spiritual drunkards of Christendom. And as the former experienced Jehovah’s adverse judgments, so will those of Christendom.
The talk that followed, entitled “Their Refuge—A Lie!,” contained the stern warning: Just as ancient Judah’s trusting in Egypt proved to be a vain refuge, so will be Christendom’s alliance with political powers of our day. The third talk on Isaiah chapter 28, “Keep Warning of Jehovah’s Unusual Work,” was directed to God’s people. What Jehovah will do to Christendom is rightly called unusual, for it will come as a complete surprise to her. Today, Jehovah is a crown of glory to the small band of anointed Christians and to more than four million “other sheep.” (John 10:16) The speaker concluded with the stirring words: “May our zeal, determination, and loyalty contribute to the everlasting praise of our God, Jehovah!”
Speaking the Pure Language Means Showing Brotherly Love
On Wednesday afternoon the conventioners had it driven home to them that speaking the pure language also means to “Consider Orphans and Widows in Their Tribulation.” The fatherless boys can be helped by receiving personal training. We can show consideration for widows by kind words of encouragement, by including them in our Christian activities and social gatherings, and by giving them material assistance if they are deserving and truly in need. Interviews showed how these things were being done.
On Thursday afternoon, another heartwarming talk showed “How Christians Care for One Another.” Jehovah’s Witnesses have a fine record of caring for one another, especially when such disasters as hurricanes and earthquakes strike, when there is a need to write to officials, or when there are local needs. But when difficulties arise because of human imperfection, we should apply the principles involved in Jesus’ counsel at Matthew 5:23, 24 and Mt 18:15-17. Especially when it comes to business arrangements between brothers is there need for mutual respect and the exercising of care so that neither the employer nor the employee takes selfish advantage of the spiritual relationship.
Speaking the Pure Language Means Watching Our Conduct
The need to watch our conduct was repeatedly stressed. Thus, the first speaker on Tuesday afternoon spoke on the theme “Hearing and Keeping the Word of God.” He showed that there were two main reasons for our coming to conventions: to take in accurate knowledge and to be motivated to act on that knowledge.
The first talk on Wednesday morning posed the searching question “Christ ‘Hated Lawlessness’—Do You?” It is not enough to love righteousness. We must also hate lawlessness so as to have a good conscience, to maintain a good relationship with Jehovah, to avoid bringing reproach on his name, and to avoid reaping the fruits of lawlessness—corruption and death.
Closely related to that theme was the next talk, entitled “Reject Worldly Fantasies, Pursue Kingdom Realities.” Satan, Eve, and the fallen angels all pursued fantasies to their undoing. Worldly fantasies, consisting of materialistic dreams or those dealing with illicit affairs, result in disillusionment if not also gross wrongdoing. To counteract these fantasies, we must pursue Kingdom realities by means of study, prayer, meeting attendance, and the public ministry.
To live upright Christian lives, we must also heed the counsel given Wednesday afternoon in the talk “Christians—Live Within Your Financial Means.” Failure to do this is bound to have harmful effects both physically and spiritually. The course of wisdom is to curb one’s selfish yearnings by not going into needless debt and by planning a realistic budget and then sticking to it. At all times we need to cultivate godly devotion. Along with self-sufficiency, this is a means of great gain.—1 Timothy 6:6-8.
The importance of watching our associations was highlighted in Tuesday’s talk “Are Your Friends Jehovah’s Friends?” Our friends should be Christians who have put on the Christlike personality and are zealous in the preaching work. Worldly acquaintances are not friends of God, and we cannot socialize with them without harm to ourselves. Even within the congregation, we must be selective if our associations are to be truly upbuilding.
The foregoing counsel regarding conduct was graphically underscored by the modern-day drama. It was entitled “Coping With the Devil’s Crafty Acts.”
Pure Language Counsel for Families
Greatly needed was the Wednesday talk “Parents—Fulfill Your Obligations!” Parents themselves must know God’s will and be doing it to the best of their ability. They must also inculcate God’s Word in their children. Moreover, it is not enough just to take children to Christian meetings and out in the field ministry. They must be taught to love Jehovah and to see the practical wisdom of doing godly things.
Next came a symposium on “The Family in Our Day.” The first speaker showed that the family originated with God. Fathers must communicate well regarding spiritual matters. Mothers must be good homemakers, and children must show respect for Jehovah by cooperating with their parents.
The following speaker showed that the family is “Under Assault by Adversaries.” Economic pressures are taking their toll. The workplace abounds with temptations to do wrong, and media presentations reek with violence, illicit sex, and appeals to materialism. Instruction must begin early, and great diligence is required to overcome worldly influences. Good use must be made of the theocratic tools provided by the Watch Tower Society.
The next talk, dealing with the family’s ‘Preservation Into the New World,’ further underscored the serious responsibility that parents have. The training of children must be done with the greatest earnestness. Fine counsel was given regarding family Bible studies and what to study, all with the purpose of reaching the hearts of children. Only then can parents and children hope to be preserved into the new world as a family.
Furnishing fine counsel for a family situation in which many Witnesses find themselves was the talk “Coping Within a Divided Household.” Those in such circumstances were counseled never to give up hope that the unbeliever might someday become a believer. Spend time with the unbelieving mate and make sure that you measure up to all that is required of a Christian partner. You can get help from the elders or perhaps from others in divided households.
Speaking the Pure Language to Others
Most fittingly, much attention was given to our making use of opportunities to teach the pure language to others. Thus, on Wednesday morning the conventioners heard the talk “Use Your Valuable Time Wisely.” To do that we must establish priorities, in keeping with Matthew 6:33, which says: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” That includes setting aside time for personal Bible study, attending all the meetings, and being regular in the field ministry. This requires that we buy out time from less important though pleasurable activities. Several interviews showed how some were doing this.
We must never forget that we are Jehovah’s Witnesses. On Thursday afternoon, a number of demonstrations drove home that very point under the theme “Keep Speaking the Pure Language on Every Occasion.” These demonstrations showed how this can be done in street witnessing, in informal witnessing, and by the use of the telephone. Unselfish love for Jehovah God and our neighbor will motivate us to speak the pure language at every opportunity.
Closely related to this theme was the next presentation, “Blessings of Those Not Begging Off.” In striking contrast with Christendom stands the worldwide teaching organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Individually, we must resist all pressures, such as official opposition, widespread apathy, and economic problems. Demonstrations based on the book Reasoning From the Scriptures showed how these pressures can be overcome.
Also encouraging zealous preaching was the Bible drama Doing God’s Will With Zeal. It showed how zealous Jehu was for Jehovah’s name and how important it is for us to display similar courage and zeal for God’s work.
There were two outstanding releases in English and in German during the convention. The first of these publications was introduced in connection with the talk entitled “Saving Your Life With Blood—How?” The speaker first told of the risks associated with blood transfusions. He pointed out that there are many alternatives to blood in compensating for blood loss. But Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from blood not because it is unhealthy but because accepting it is unholy. They abstain, not because blood may be polluted, but because it is precious to God. The blood that is truly life-saving is the ransoming blood of Jesus Christ. In conclusion the speaker delighted all his listeners by displaying the 32-page brochure How Can Blood Save Your Life?
A second valuable release came in connection with the talk “Search for Jehovah, You People.” By and large, people are not searching for God. The existence of many different religions demonstrates how misdirected man’s search for God has been because he has ignored God’s Word. As seen by our Memorial reports each year, millions need to be helped to take their stand for Jehovah. Isaiah 55:6, 7 shows that Jehovah truly is a loving and merciful God, ready to “forgive in a large way.” As his Witnesses, we have been given the pure language so that we might help others to join us in serving Jehovah shoulder to shoulder.
Today, Jehovah’s people are faced with a challenge due to mass movements of populations. As a result, all kinds of religions may be professed by people in our territory. So that we can help Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, and those of many other religions, the Society has provided the fine 384-page book Mankind’s Search for God. It authoritatively presents the basic teachings of main religions outside of Christendom. But it also traces the record of false religion within Christendom. This book can open the way for starting Bible studies with people professing many different religions.
Public Talk and Concluding Comments
“Become United by the Pure Language” was the title of Friday’s public talk. The speaker showed that although three thousand different languages now act as barriers to unity, the pure language is a mighty unifying force. It has safeguarded Jehovah’s Witnesses against Babylonian errors, has taught them respect for the sanctity of life and blood, and has helped them to live by Bible principles that benefit them spiritually and physically. All need to be concerned about learning and speaking the pure language, for only those doing so will survive Armageddon. There is no time to lose in heeding the counsel at Zephaniah 2:1-3.
After some fine Scriptural counsel on the need to “Be Vigilant With a View to Prayers,” came the concluding remarks based on the theme “Walking in Accord With the Pure Language.” The number now walking in accord with the pure language is truly increasing. And regard for the pure language was shown by those attending these conventions by their cleanness, orderliness, and organizational harmony. The new printed releases will help all of Jehovah’s Witnesses to spread the pure language more effectively.
The final convention speaker reminded all of the need for endurance. He indicated that as a result of this convention, all should be strengthened in their determination to press forward. He then concluded with the words: “May we continue to keep walking in accord with the God-given pure language so that we can glorify our loving heavenly Father, Jehovah God, now and forevermore!”
[Box on page 26]
The peak attendance at the convention in West Berlin was 44,532, and 1,018 were baptized. It took the baptism candidates 19 minutes to file out of Olympia Stadium, and during this time there was continuous applause. There was a special section for the English-speaking delegates. Some 6,000 of these heard the entire program in their language. At this convention, there were also 4,500 from Poland; during two noon hours, members of the Governing Body gave brief talks for their benefit.
[Pictures on page 24, 25]
1. Olympia Stadium, West Berlin
2. Printed convention program
3. Two hundred buses brought delegates from East Germany
4. Polish conventioners were happy to receive printed releases
5. Floral decorations brightened the scene
6. A. D. Schroeder, one of the members of the Governing Body on the program in West Berlin