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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose


Doing the Divine Will from Now On into Eternity

LOIS: We are anxious to hear about the 1958 Divine Will International Assembly now that our appreciation of the organization of Jehovah's witnesses has been sharpened so by our discussions. Of course, we saw some of its remarkable features on television and Tom read almost everything the newspapers printed about it, which was considerable. Personally, I was impressed by the mass baptism you held, but I'll have to admit I was just a little disturbed by the headlines when you passed that resolution charging the clergy with delinquency.

TOM: Come on now, Lois, why don't you admit it? You were downright angry. I remember your very words: "Why can't they let the preachers alone?" Of course, you wouldn't read the article, which I thought gave some very good reasons for their charges.

LOIS: Well, I know better now, so suppose we let John get on with his account, shall we?

JOHN: I can't think of a better introduction than to read the opening paragraph of the report in the Yearbook:

God's kingdom rules—throughout the universe! As never before in history it made its presence felt in the earth in the summer of the year 1958, not with any violence, but with a remarkable peaceful demonstration. Never before did it have so many of its ambassadors and envoys assembled together for training and consultation and for a united public testimony and proclamation as then. The world-known Yankee Stadium and the neighboring Polo Grounds, the largest baseball parks in metropolitan New York city, literally overflowed with myriads, yet without disorder of any kind, just as befitted representatives of the great Government of universal order. Daily for eight days in succession more than 145,000 of them came together and deliberated concerning the interests of God's kingdom; and peace, orderliness and brotherhood reigned among them. The tension, the fierce charges and countercharges, the rivalry and the clash that marked the official gatherings at the United Nations capital a few miles to the south did not disturb or mar a single session of the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses from Sunday, July 27, to Sunday, August 3. Coming from at least 123 countries and island groups, yet they met together in loyal unity around the now-ruling kingdom of God. a

Politically, that was a particularly crucial period for international relations, as the report goes on to show, with total war threatening in the Middle East:

The earthly situation was shaping up dangerously. For an international nonpolitical assembly of any size to be held the time seemed to be most inopportune. Especially so when delegates would come from the four quarters of the earth, even areas in the trouble zone, and would be dependent upon the world transportation system.

However, the long-announced international assembly had not been misnamed. It was the


"Divine Will" for it to be held, and world conditions had to yield to it. The Most High God of heaven, who rules by means of his enthroned Son Jesus Christ, displayed his power to rule in the midst of his demonic and human enemies. He restrained the forces behind the Eastern and Western blocs of nations in order that the ambassadors and envoys of his heavenly kingdom might assemble in peace according to divine will. b

When notice of the assembly was published in The Watchtower nineteen months in advance, the Society had already secured the contract for use of Yankee Stadium. But, in view of the growth of the New World society since 1953, it was evident more room would be needed than these facilities made available.

TOM: It was fortunate that you were able to obtain the use of the Polo Grounds also.

JOHN: It was providential. The Society had been watching with keen interest the developments with regard to this baseball park of the New York Giants because it was ideally situated in relation to Yankee Stadium and because a proposed shift of the New York Giants from New York city to San Francisco, California, if effected, would make it available. So, when the transfer was approved on August 19, 1957, the Society's president immediately closed a contract with the owners to use the Polo Grounds simultaneously with Yankee Stadium.

Then came the problem of procuring an ample and convenient site for a Trailer City. But repeated efforts proved fruitless. Finally it become plain that the divine will was for all the theocratic assemblers to meet together at one site "in direct contact with one another and in full view of one another, under one administration, for one combined demonstration of Christian love, fellowship and solidarity." So the brothers were advised there would be "no trailer city." c

Additionally, the Society planned for other vital meetings with key members of Jehovah's visible organization. To accommodate them conveniently and to provide further overflow seating, the New Rock-land Palace was rented, just one city block south of the Polo Grounds.


Long before the first official announcement of the Assembly, behind-the-scenes preparations were already under way.

The Assembly was to be a world-impressive demonstration of the power, organizability, theocraticalness and presence of God's kingdom. Hence the Assembly needed the utmost of preparation, with due attention to the thousands of details. There is nothing slipshod about God's kingdom. For an assembly of the size estimated, an organized personnel of ten thousand voluntary workers had to be assembled and assigned to departments and duties, from workers serving on the platform program down through the twenty-two listed departments, yes, down to the vital cleaning and sanitation department. Everything deserved to be done for the comfort, convenience and help of the Assembly delegates that they might better enjoy the program of platform events and of united field activities in advertising God's kingdom, for eight days straight. One can well imagine the extensive and intensive planning, arranging and organization work that had to go forward. Not only was there an organizational structure to be worked out, but many physical structures had to be prefabricated for the platforms and their decorations, for the booths, for the sound-equipment facilities, and for many other things. A tremendous amount of printing in many languages needed to be done on short order. This kept the Society's factories in Brooklyn working night and day, for weeks. d

One of the major undertakings was finding rooming accommodations for more than 150,000 guests who would come from more than a hundred lands and largely with limited means for lodging and other assembly expenses. To spark off this campaign a "kick-off" meeting attended by 9,000 was held on Saturday afternoon, April 26, 1958, at Yankee Stadium. The


next morning the largest number ever to launch a rooming-accommodations campaign was out in the field. In spite of strenuous efforts throughout the weeks that followed, the first weekend of the Assembly month saw more than 30,000 room requests still not accommodated, but the faith and perseverance of these diligent rooming workers were rewarded. Just a few days before the Assembly's start the room requests and the accommodations secured were balanced out, with several hundred excess accommodations on hand for those arriving without having made advance request.

Convention headquarters were located in the Watchtower Building, the Society's new thirteen-story printing plant at 77 Sands Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. The entire eleventh floor was turned over to the pre-convention organization and every square foot of space was fully utilized.

Taking advantage of the Assembly, the Society's president arranged for a meeting of all the Branch servants:

Despite the troubled world conditions, only two of the Branch servants were prevented by men in worldly authority from answering the call to the visible headquarters of Jehovah's witnesses in Brooklyn. The Society's president, who has visited almost all of these Branch offices and factories around the globe, appreciated the need for all the Branches to carry on the functions of their various departments uniformly, according to proved efficient methods. So, after he himself had made a personal inspection of the Society's biggest and most complicated Branch in Brooklyn over several weeks, he composed an all-embracing book of guidance and instruction for all Branch organizations and had it specially printed. This large-size 158-page loose-leaf book is entitled "Branch Office Procedure of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania"; and its instructions were to be put into effect from September 1, 1958, forward. This new book required study and discussion. On July 16, or about two weeks before the Assembly began, the Society's president called together all the more than eighty Branch servants present, together with their respective assistants, totaling all together 160 overseers, to the Kingdom Hall located in the Brooklyn Bethel building, at 136 Columbia Heights. There, day after day, he went over this Branch Office Procedure book with them, discussing it, enlarging on it, answering their questions upon it, until two days before the Assembly opened. The gift of a copy of this special book to each one of the Branch servants was, in effect, the first release of the international assembly, or at least a preliminary release.

Inasmuch as each Branch is equipped with this instruction book and must follow it, Jehovah's witnesses in any territory around the globe may have the fullest confidence in the particular Branch that supervises their witness activities and congregational affairs. They know that such Branch, no matter how distant from headquarters and no matter how small or recently established, is operating according to the most advanced, up-to-date procedure, in full harmony with all other Branches, even the oldest and largest. Thus no one should despise or ignore any one Branch, but every active witness of Jehovah should appreciate that the entire organization of many parts is working in complete unity. Each witness should therefore co-operate and be submissive. e


According to the skillfully planned program, each of the Assembly days was given a name that emphasized some theocratic principle or activity:

Beginning with Sunday, July 27, the days were named in the following order: Faithfulness Day, Exclusive Devotion Day, Expanding Our Ministry Day, Tasting Divine Goodness Day, Fullness of Service Day, Fearless Ministry Day, "Your Will Come to Pass" Day and God's Kingdom Day. Thus on the eighth and last day the names culminated in a theme that called attention to the outstanding teaching of the Holy Bible, God's kingdom. This harmonized perfectly with the subject of the public lecture that climaxed the closing day, "God's Kingdom Rules—Is the World's End Near?" This theocratic kingdom is inseparable from the divine will, for it is by God's kingdom that the model prayer to the heavenly Father is carried out, "Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth." (Matt. 6:9, 10 [NW]) All the discussions and talks of the preceding seven days led the assemblers into a grander, soul-filling appreciation of God's glorious kingdom that has been ruling in the heavens since 1914 by his enthroned Son, Jesus Christ. f


The Divine Will International Assembly was no assembly for dedicated Christians just to enjoy a relaxing good time together, listening to some entertaining program or to eulogistic speeches in praise of themselves. The Yearbook report explains the lofty purpose of this grand assembly and details some of the wonderful provisions made by the "faithful and discreet slave" to provide essential nourishment and equipment to the New World society, equipping all its members for a firmer and more proficient place in the divine purpose:

The Assembly was arranged to be and it proved to be a most instructive training school, with the latest, most advanced Scriptural and organizational information to be given out. To this end, not only were the Society's Branch servants called in, but all the district and circuit servants and as many foreign congregation servants understanding English as possible were brought to the Assembly. These were key men in the New World society of Jehovah's witnesses around the globe. They especially needed and deserved the counsel, the training and the mighty tonic spiritual effect that were to be imparted at the Assembly. Besides these, practically all the graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, who were still active in full service as missionaries and special pioneers, were brought in. Congregations all around the globe had made voluntary contributions to the Watch Tower Society toward meeting the travel expenses of all such worthy ones; and this aided greatly in bringing them to the Assembly from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Americas and the many islands of the seas.

The Society's president made provision for meeting in special morning sessions with these outstanding representatives and appointed servants of the Society. It was particularly for such special sessions that the New Rockland Palace was engaged. On Tuesday morning, July 29, 1,211 missionaries who make use of fifty-eight languages in their territories met with the Society's president and the teaching faculty of the School of Gilead to hear encouraging talks and to enjoy a special tray-dinner together. All thirty-one graduated classes of Gilead were represented, thirty-one missionaries being from the first class of 1943. Wednesday morning marked a meeting with another group of full-time workers whom the Society sustains, namely, the special pioneers, who are doing vitally needed witness work in many lands in specially assigned locations.

Many circuit and district servants had had schooling in Gilead, but at 9:30 a.m., both Thursday and Friday, at the Palace, the Society's president met with all the circuit and district servants from all lands and nationalities. This was with a view to improving their ministry as special overseers of the many congregations in their circuits and districts. These two mornings of discussion and of taking counsel together at the Palace were supplemented by the talks "Keeping Strict Watch on How We Walk" and "Shepherding the Sheep with Skillfulness" by the Society's vice-president and president respectively on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, these talks being particularly directed to district, circuit and congregational servants, all of whom sat together in a reserved section of the stadium to hear these special talks.

A further talk Saturday morning by one of the Society's directors from the headquarters' Service Department, on the subject, "Overseers, Keep Your Congregation Alive," emphasized the importance and responsibleness of spiritual overseers, on whatever level of service privileges they find themselves. Overseers with a still larger supervision received due attention during the Assembly itself when the Society's president met again with the Branch servants, together with their assistants, at the Palace on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. g

All these meetings had a spurring and educational effect on all those privileged to take part in them. They gave evidence of the loving interest of the Society's spiritual governing body in the welfare of the flock and, through the instruction imparted, further equipped the key servants of the visible organization to fulfill their own responsibilities as overseers.


From the first day, the Assembly program held forth the promise of surpassingly grand things for Jehovah's servants from all over the world, presenting further evidence of the unity of purpose of these Christian assemblers:

From the start the Assembly was marked by internationality. Each day the temporary chairman in each stadium was of a different nationality, as follows: American, Japanese,


Brazilian, Filipino, Mexican, Northern Rhodesian, Ghanan, Egyptian, Moroccan, Argentinian, Austrian, British, Ceylonese, Grecian and French. Moreover, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning, two-hour sessions were held in various sections of the two stadiums in twenty foreign languages to give Assembly resumes to those not well acquainted with English. h

In one of the opening features on the first Sunday morning, July 27, Branch servants from fifteen foreign countries spoke on the theme "We Are Glad It Is the Divine Will that We Are Here." Then the American Branch servant, in his capacity as Assembly Chairman, delivered a cordial Address of Welcome to an audience of 122,061 from 123 or more lands.

Also on the opening morning's program were seven zone servants speaking on "Zone Servants Representing the Nations." These servants were traveling representatives of the Society's president assigned to visit those Branches in their respective zones. Since 1956, the globe had been divided into ten zones, each one taking in a number of the Society's Branches, and on January 1, 1956, the first of the zone servants inaugurated this new service of inspecting the Branches.

Sunday afternoon, 103 students of the thirty-first class of Gilead took their special places at the home plate of the Yankee team's baseball diamond. This was the time scheduled for their graduation exercises. In the running track around the stadium, in their respective class groups, sat the still-active missionaries and full-time workers of the preceding thirty classes. Many were in national costume. All followed the proceedings with rapt attention, as did the entire audience of 180,291 Witnesses in and around both ball parks. Even rainfall, that began halfway through the School president's hour lecture, "Stay by These Things," did not budge them from their seats. These newly trained Kingdom educators were now ready to be sent forth on their mission to fifty-two lands.

Many were the reports of Branch servants, missionaries and special representatives from around the earth, all of which kept the international make-up and activity of the New World society to the fore, and which swept the attentive audiences through the length and breadth of the 164 lands where Jehovah's witnesses were preaching in more than 120 languages. Outstanding was the feature "Behind the Iron Curtain." The Yearbook comments on this:

To add some heart-stirring realism to this report from behind the penetrable Iron Curtain, the Swiss delegate played a tape recording that had been smuggled across a number of frontiers. By means of this the audience of 127,802 on Saturday morning actually heard a group of underground witnesses sing in four-part harmony two sacred songs from our 1928 Songbook and heard a message of greeting and prayerful good wishes from an underground overseer. What loyalty God's kingdom calls forth! i

Branch servants, and district and circuit servants shared in the educational program, and representative brothers of Brooklyn Bethel also served on the platform in vital features:

The counsel and instruction given from the Scriptures not only had in mind the representative responsible servants of the earth-wide organization but also dealt with the Christian obligations of parents and children, husbands and wives, and the hundreds of thousands of congregation members who take part in Kingdom preaching. In fact, all features of Christian living were touched upon in the platform talks, and much practical advice from God's Word was given. j

A new educational feature was introduced on Friday, August 1:

The thirty-minute discussion of "Theocratic School for Fearless Ministers" stirred up a sustained applause when the speaker, the Society's president, sprang a surprise on his


combined audience of 173,079 Friday night. What was it? That, from the beginning of 1959, sisters in the congregations were to be privileged to enroll in the weekly Theocratic Ministry School. They would then take part in the platform presentations to the extent of demonstrating how to give six-minute sermons to people at their homes, these sermons being based on an assigned number of pages in the new publication entitled "From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained." This was for the sisters a really serious assignment in the Theocratic Ministry School, for they were to be counseled afterward by the school servant on their presentation. k

Wednesday morning, July 30, Tasting Divine Goodness Day, afforded a sight without equal since the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem A.D. 33, over nineteen centuries ago. This was the occasion of the largest mass baptism of Christians on record. All the baptismal applicants were seated immediately in front of the speaker, who addressed them on the subject "Baptism According to the Divine Will." What followed is described in the Yearbook:

[The speaker] had two basic, searching questions to ask them in order to learn whether anything prevented them from getting baptized. At his request the baptismal applicants rose to answer audibly in unison these two determining questions. At that moment the great crowd of observers sent wave upon wave of heavy applause surging through the vast stadium. Why? Because so many stood to show that nothing prevented them from symbolizing their dedication to God through Christ by water baptism.

At the Orchard Beach swimming area miles away, where they were transported by seventy-five-passenger buses, they trooped into the sea in thirty lines to be baptized. At the end of two and a half hours the count of those actually baptized ran up to 2,937 men and 4,199 women, to total 7,136. This was 4,136 more than were baptized that day of Pentecost long ago, and they represented far more than the sixteen nations that were represented on that Pentecost. The Pentecostal baptism of 3,000 in water was in response to the revealed fact that Jesus was seated as Lord and Christ at the right hand of his Father in heaven. The baptism of 7,136 at the 1958 Divine Will International Assembly was a record-breaking response to the fact that God's kingdom rules since the world-disturbing year of 1914. 1

It was on Friday, August 1, that the Assembly passed the resolution Lois spoke about at the beginning of this evening's discussion.

LOIS: I've thought about this resolution many times during the weeks you and Maria have been coming here, especially when you described the series of indictments and resolutions adopted by Jehovah's witnesses from 1922 to 1928. But how was this one different?

JOHN: It was different in many ways. No other resolution had actually been presented as a featured part of the program. This one was; in fact, the major portion of one whole afternoon's session was devoted to it with a full explanation first as to the reasons for its adoption. Besides, advance notice was given; the entire Assembly was urged to be present for that session. Furthermore, many different nations were represented. Another thing, its distribution afterward differed in that all copies were presented personally face to face, and were followed up later by return visits. Let's read the account in the Yearbook:

For a couple of days prior to Friday an urgent appeal was made for all delegates to be present Friday afternoon when the issue was to be submitted to the Assembly, "Why This Convention Should Resolve." To the boundless joy of the whole Assembly, the amazing number of 194,418 responded to the invitation. For three quarters of an hour the Society's vice-president laid before this applause-happy multitude Scriptural reasons why the Assembly should seize this unequaled occasion to unite in an unequivocal resolve, thus going on record before God, angels and men. Eagerly, for the next fifteen minutes, they listened to the Society's president as he read declaration after declaration of the proposed Resolution. This outrightly exposed Christendom's clergy as the most reprehensible class on earth today. It reaffirmed the witnesses' own theocratic principles. It unashamedly proclaimed God's king-


dom by Christ to be the sole means of salvation for all men who long for peace and security. It strongly asserted their determination to serve and preach God's kingdom in love, peace and unity and without letup, like our faithful brothers behind the Iron Curtain, until Jehovah himself brings the witness work to a world-smashing finale by his own act of testimony at Armageddon. Applause greeted the president's motion that the Resolution as read be adopted. His motion being seconded, he put the question, and 194,418 voices roared out a unanimous Aye! The consequences of this forthright Resolution all those who heartily adopted it stand ready to meet with Almighty God's help. m

TOM: How many copies were distributed? Was it published in booklet form?

JOHN: It was published as a four-page tract, the same size as The Watchtower. A bold red headline across the top of the first page read: "How Has Christendom Failed All Mankind?" Then underneath, as a secondary heading: "Who Today Is Taking the Lead Toward a Righteous New World of Perfect Government, Lasting Peace and Universally Shared Happiness and Prosperity?"

All together, throughout the world, 70,000,000 tracts were distributed in fifty languages, mostly in December, 1958, the month the campaign began.

TOM: That was the most extensive distribution any tract was ever given by the Society, wasn't it?

JOHN: Yes, especially when you remember these were all handed out personally. They were not just left under someone's door or passed out on the street like handbills. n Then the publishers made return visits to determine the reaction and answer any questions that might have been aroused. As a result many new home Bible studies were started.

Another distribution given this resolution brought considerable response also. The resolution and the entire text of the talk that introduced it at the Assembly were published in the November 1, 1958, issue of The Watchtower and mailed out by the congregations to all ministers, prominent businessmen and men in public life in their respective territories. The response was varied and many favorable comments were received.


TOM: Were any new publications released at the Assembly?

JOHN: Yes, indeed. Here are some comments from the Yearbook on releases:

Unknown to the tens of thousands attending the Assembly the New World Bible Translation Committee had finished its work on Volume IV of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures on April 13, 1958. So it released it for the Watchtower Society's factory to print. Volume IV contains the translation of the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations. Jehovah having provided his witnesses with this latest translation of these three Bible books, it was apparent that his special messages for the Divine Will International Assembly should be drawn from those prophecies. They were. The reprehensibility of Christendom's clergy as set forth in the Resolution that the Assembly adopted was foreshadowed by Jehovah's denunciation of Judah's religious leaders, in Jeremiah, chapter 23. Other principal speeches were likewise based upon the prophecies contained in this latest volume of the New World Translation. The president's keynote speech on Monday afternoon, "Signs and Wonders in the Time of the End," rested chiefly upon Isaiah's prophecy; similarly the vice-president's speech on Tuesday afternoon, "Divine Loving-Kindness and the Kingdom," and his speech on Saturday night, "When Jehovah Rises Up to His Unusual Work." The president's speech of Wednesday afternoon, "Down with the Old—Up with the New!" was a present-day application of dynamic prophecies of Jeremiah, who, together with men of good will, survived the shocking destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 607 B.C. At the dramatic close of this Jeremian speech the Society's president evoked great applause from his audience of 150,282 by releasing Volume IV of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Tens on tens of thou-


sands of copies of it were eagerly taken by the vast throng at the close of the session. o

Then on Thursday afternoon, July 31, the Society's president spoke on the subject "Maintaining Our Spiritual Paradise" and crowned the occasion by his entirely unexpected display and release of the glowingly beautiful, handsomely illustrated book entitled "From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained." It was a book of 256 pages and larger in page size than other bound books of the Society. This description of its contents should be helpful:

This book wastes no time and space discussing false doctrines of worldly religions, but simply explains the God-honoring truths of the sacred Bible as these came to the surface in the outworking of God's purpose to restore obedient humankind to an everlasting earthly paradise. But this restoration has to be preceded by the establishing of God's heavenly kingdom and his restoring first a spiritual paradise for his faithful Christian witnesses. It was this spiritual paradise that had to be maintained now with faithfulness and fruitfulness by its blest, happy inhabitants. p

The book was published, not with children in mind, but for the purpose of satisfying the need and craving of adult persons in many lands who needed a primary or elementary manner of approach to the study of God's Word.

One of the outstanding publications of the Society was released on Saturday afternoon, August 2.

Why the international assembly was embellished with the title Divine Will dawned on the delegates, especially Saturday afternoon. The day's name itself was drawn from the words of our Lord's Prayer. This was true also of the president's speech, "Let Your Will Come to Pass." For twenty-three times his audience of 175,441 applauded his descriptions of how divine Jehovah had carried out his will in heaven and earth. This has been despite the opposition by Satan's hosts of angels in heaven and by the mighty world powers on earth, from the days of the first world power Babylon, Jerusalem's destroyer, down to the atomically armed seventh world power, Britain-America, of today, together with the eighth world power, the United Nations. By his heavenly kingdom, which Jehovah God gave to the once "lowliest of men," Jesus Christ, in 1914, the God of heaven will have his will come to pass in the coming battle of Armageddon and also afterward in the endless new world. With a deepened appreciation of how God accomplishes his will the Assembly applauded the president's announcement of the title of the beautiful new 384-page book, "Your Will Be Done on Earth." The distribution of 228,000 copies into their hands by the next few days bespoke the yearning they felt for the unfolding of the prophecies of Daniel and of other holy inspired men that this book offered them. q


Now the Assembly was drawing to a close. But, as we mentioned earlier, the program was designed to reach its climax on God's Kingdom Day, the final Sunday. Nor did it miss its mark:

For both heaven and earth the final Sunday afternoon was a happy time. Certainly the great King of heaven, Jehovah God, and his reigning Son, Jesus Christ, rejoiced together with the holy angels to have God's kingdom preached by one mouthpiece to the largest visible audience on one occasion. From heaven they looked down on an audience of more than a quarter of a million persons, 253,922 by count occupying all seats in the two Assembly stadiums, thousands standing in close formation out on the baseball outfield behind the speakers' platform in Yankee Stadium, all seats in the overflow tents being occupied, and thousands standing listening on the walks outside the stadiums and tents. The challenging subject of the public address, so widely advertised over the weeks, was "God's Kingdom Rules— Is the World's End Near?" Showing a fine grasp of his subject, the speaking witness of Jehovah, the Society's president, proved by Scripture and by prophecy fulfilled since 1914 that God's kingdom by Christ has ruled in the heavens since that date. This unavoidably denotes that the end of this political, commercial, religious world is near. No vacuum will follow its complete end at Armageddon, for God's everlasting new world of righteousness will glorify heaven and earth after Armageddon, and forever His will shall be done on earth in a paradise state as it is done in the holy heavens above.


This was indeed something for this overwhelmingly great audience to hail, and hail it they did, with a finale of applause that was really a tribute to the Kingdom message. During the intermission that followed they gladly accepted the proffered two free copies apiece of the booklet containing the full text of the speech, half a million copies of which had been printed and brought to the stadiums for this exalted occasion. Judging from the big audience of the preceding Friday afternoon, we believe that about 60,000 of the invited public had turned out and joined the Assembly in listening to this glad message of God's now ruling kingdom. r

Many of those 60,000 must have remained in response to the invitation to hear the president's closing remarks following a brief intermission. The attendance at the final session was 210,778, the second-largest of the entire Assembly. What they heard amply rewarded them:

There are people who want to preach this Kingdom message. In April alone there were 787,967 ministers. That is an increase of 71,066 over last year's peak of publishers. Do you realize that these publishers are conducting 546,968 Bible studies each week? Last year the average was 413,049. Right now we are conducting 133,000 more Bible studies weekly than a year ago. Keep up the good work! If we do there will be many more than 71,000 publishers coming into the organization within the next twelve months. . . .

What is our responsibility? There were 1,159,212 people who attended the Memorial in April [of 1958]. This is 84,049 more than in the previous year. The other sheep are being gathered. There is a big difference between the 1,159,212 who came to the Memorial and the 787,967 who went in the field ministry in April. The potential then is great. There were 370,000 persons who showed interest enough to come to that meeting. Someday those 370,000 persons ought to be publishers. We are not stopping with those, however. We are carrying on over a half million Bible studies. Jehovah's witnesses are growing. They are a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the earth. Let's continue to be that way.

While the New World society of Jehovah's witnesses is growing rapidly the remnant are decreasing. In 1957 15,628 persons partook of the emblems. This year, 1958, 15,010 partook, a decrease of 618. But what joy the remnant have, seeing the great work going forward. s

The president then discussed the wonderful new publications that had been released during the Assembly and then asked the question:

And the next release? Well, I guess I had better tell you a little about that now. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is planning to put up a new building on Columbia Heights across the street from the present Bethel home at 124 Columbia Heights. I would appreciate it if the ushers would walk down the aisles and give postcards out sufficient to the number of adults sitting in the sections and you will have the postcard in your hand while I am talking about it. You may keep this colored postcard.

Why do we need this new building? That's simple. You can see why by just looking around you. This organization is growing and Bethel is crowded to the limit and we need a larger building to house the family, which family is needed to take care of all of your needs around the world in all languages. This building, of course, cannot be constructed for at least another year. The people living in the apartments now on this property will be out by January 1, 1959, and then by Jehovah's undeserved kindness we hope to demolish these buildings and begin construction of the new 12-story structure.

All of you know that one of the purposes of the Society is to train ministers and we hope to do a lot of training of ministers in this building. We are going to advance, by Jehovah's direction and under the guidance of the holy spirit, the educational program and we are going to bring ordained ministers from all parts of the world to Bethel and give them a ten-month training course. This organization is expanding. It needs more ministers to supervise the work in all the lands of the earth and we intend to do this right in Brooklyn.

There will be special training rooms for these ministers and special instructors will be assigned to look after that training. The charter of the New York Society authorizes the Watchtower Society to instruct ministers and train them for ministry and missionary work and we want to prepare them for the great religious work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom throughout all the world the best we possibly can.

Does this new special training mean that Gilead School at South Lansing, New York, is going to change? No, we intend to keep that school operating, only we expect to enlarge its operation. If it is Jehovah's will that we continue on in this service work, by 1961 it is the


Society's hope that places like Gilead School, the new Branch home in Toronto, Canada, the new building in London, England, the large structure in Wiesbaden, the Paris office and a number of other Branches where we have large structures will be turned into schools to train certain individuals.

First of all, district servants need training, as do circuit servants. Then we will begin training congregational servants. The period of time spent will not be nearly as long, but probably two weeks to one month, and if overseers can arrange their time (I am speaking of those other than circuit and district servants) so that they can get away from their places of employment for a month, then they can attend a special training course in overseers' activity.

The educational work is not on the decline, but rather it is on the move forward. This you have seen through this convention. The theocratic ministry school in the congregations now training the sisters will mean great educational advances. There has been a release of a booklet to teach people to read and write. We want to move to higher levels of understanding so that we can get deeper into the thoughts of Jehovah as he has expressed them in His Word, so that we can know of his purposes. So if it be the divine will that we continue in this great work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom for a number of years, then the Society is prepared to train all of its overseers over a period of time in the principal Branch offices throughout the world.

The details of this arrangement for 1961 will be given later, but we are telling you now, to show that the Society is planning ahead for a greater understanding of Jehovah's Word and purposes. Truly a tremendous responsibility rests upon us when 70,000 new people come into the organization every year. We need teachers! We need people who understand the truth! and who can help others to learn! Do you want to be one of these teachers? t

TOM: There is nothing we'd like better. From what we've seen and heard in the last sixteen weeks we are convinced that there is only one way to do the divine will. Lois and I have been talking about it for some time now and we're both determined to get busy and share in preaching the good news. We hope you and Maria will help us to do just that.

JOHN: You can be sure we will. And there is no time to lose. After these thrilling events of the summer of 1958 and the closing remarks of the Society's president at the Divine Will International Assembly, some features of the new program began to develop immediately. On November 25, 1958, the contract was signed for demolition of the old buildings on the site of the proposed Bethel annex and on December 8 the buildings started to come down. March 25, 1959, the plans of the new Bethel addition were approved and the building permit was granted and by April 7 the demolition crew finished and moved out to make way for the excavators. On April 16, 1959, the first big Diesel engine shovel was brought in to begin digging for the foundations of the new building.

The Society offered the brothers an opportunity to share in financing the construction, not by soliciting donations, but by offering the Society's Promissory Notes to the brothers in return for loans in units of $100 at 3 percent annual interest. Here is an excerpt from the Society's letter of April 1, 1959, addressed To JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN THE UNITED STATES:

Many of you will recall in 1926, in 1946, and again in 1955, new facilities were financed by Jehovah's people lending to the Society sufficient funds to provide for the construction and equipping of new buildings. Those loans have all been paid off. We believe Jehovah's witnesses will again make financial provision enabling the 1959 expansion to continue without interruption. To give Jehovah's witnesses the privilege of sharing in this, the Society will again borrow money from the brothers who wish to make loans and will issue its Promissory Notes dated June 30, 1959.

The Promissory Notes of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., will be issued in any amount that is a multiple of $100.00.

Meanwhile, on February 21, 1959, the Society's president left New York by plane bound for Africa and a three-and-one-half months' inspection tour of the Society's Branches and missionary homes. His itiner-


ary provided for a check of all the Society's new large Branch buildings where it was planned that the new training schools for congregation servants would be instituted in Africa and Europe.

Immediately after the announcement in Yankee Stadium work had begun on the course of study for these schools. The course that was developed was called Kingdom Ministry School and consisted of twenty-four school days of ninety-six classroom sessions and twenty instruction talks or lectures. The subjects selected for study were Kingdom Teaching, Field Ministry, Speaking and Overseers.

TOM: That sounds like an excellent program of training and a very practical curriculum. When did the first class start?

JOHN: The first group called consisted of twenty-five, these being United States circuit servants and wives, who were not graduates of Gilead. They began the course March 9, 1959, at Gilead and completed it April 3. The second class began on April 13 and finished on May 9.

LOIS: with so many exciting developments going on we're anxious to get into the work too. It just seems that we've lost so much time already. I'd give anything to have been at the Divine Will International Assembly.

JOHN: Well, it's too late for that now, of course, but you can still put yourself right into the middle of the assembly and enjoy many of its thrilling features.

LOIS: what do you mean? How can we do that?

JOHN: Listen to this item in the Kingdom Ministry for May, 1959:

It is with great pleasure that the Society announces the release of the new film "Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses." Starting May 2, 1959, it will be shown at all circuit assemblies on Saturday evening, followed by a special forty-minute program.

To make possible the showing of the new film on Saturday night, the circuit activity meeting, featuring the fine program on the art of teaching at home Bible studies, and which has been so much appreciated by the brothers, will replace the service meeting and ministry school on Friday night.

Plan now to attend all three days of your coming circuit assembly, and do all you can to encourage newer publishers and persons of good will to attend with you. u

This is a full-color film, an hour and a quarter in length, with a running commentary. We'd certainly like to have you see it with us.

LOIS: We'll not need much encouragement, I can assure you. We certainly appreciate the time you've spent with us and the mental picture you've given us of the growing New World society. Now, with an opportunity like this to see the brothers from all over the world in session at the Assembly, we wouldn't miss it for anything. When is our circuit assembly scheduled?

JOHN: Next weekend. Maria and I will be happy to take you and Tom with us. We expect to have along another young couple with whom we've been conducting a home Bible study. We would like for you to meet them. This will be their first assembly too.

All over the world new ones are beginning to share with Jehovah's witnesses in the joys of Kingdom service. The New World society is on the increase. In December of last year, 1958, we reached a new world-wide peak number of 805,401 publishers of the good news. v Later at the celebration of the Lord's evening meal on March 23, 1959, the world-wide attendance was well in excess of 1,200,000, but few more than 14,400 partook of the emblematic bread and wine. w This large attendance showed up the possibility of induct-


ing thousands more preachers of the good news into the field service. Why, during April of 1959, which was the last month of the four-month campaign for getting new subscriptions for the Watchtower magazine, our world-wide report showed that over 860,000 actively shared in preaching that God's kingdom rules and this world's end is near. All these preached in 170 lands, but it is remarkable that one seventh or 14 percent of these witnesses of Jehovah are working behind the Iron Curtain right now. x

TOM: Well, that is amazing! Certainly, whatever turn events may yet take before Armageddon, Jehovah's witnesses have undeniably demonstrated their place in the divine purpose.

JOHN: Yes; and divine prophecy makes certain that Jehovah's witnesses are here to stay and enjoy further privileges, to the vindication of his universal sovereignty. In harmony with their determination to minister to God continually day and night, their yeartext for 1959 was taken from Revelation 16:15, in which the glorified Jesus Christ warns of his coming to the battle of Armageddon and says to his followers at Jehovah's spiritual temple: "Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments." So they want to stay awake in Jehovah's ministry and, at Christ's coming, prove worthy of retaining their ministerial garments forever.

TOM: I certainly want to get into such ministerial "outer garments" as soon now as I can.

LOIS: And I too! Tom and I together!

JOHN: Splendid! But that will require study and activity.

TOM: Lois and I appreciate that fact. And so from now on you and Maria are going to keep coming over here each week, not to tell us just about the modern history of Jehovah's witnesses, but to help us to become such ourselves. We'll need to have you start a home Bible study with us. Can you take time to do this?

LOIS: Oh, please, do!

JOHN: I'll be only too glad to do so, just a week from tonight. Our most effective Bible study aid for use in a home Bible study has been the Watch Tower publication "Let God Be True." Its twenty-six chapters set out the basic doctrines of the Bible, God's Word.

TOM: I'll be glad to contribute right away for copies of this book for Lois and me. Bring them over as soon as you can, and tell us what to study in advance so we'll be able to prepare.

MARIA: Do you also have your Tuesday nights open?

TOM: Yes. Why?

MARIA: Well, because on Tuesday nights Jehovah's witnesses all around the earth hold group Bible studies in Service Center locations, these being mainly in homes of the brothers. There is such a Service Center study very convenient for you to attend, in this neighborhood—in our own home. About twelve of us are studying the book released at the 1958 International Assembly, entitled "Your Will Be Done on Earth." Before study, we all go out together witnessing in the territory round about, for about an hour.

LOIS: oh, that'll be an easy, helpful way for Tom and me to get into the preaching work, as well as to increase in knowledge.

TOM: Yes, and we are also eager to start attending the regular meetings you Witnesses hold in your Kingdom Hall. We need to take advantage now of Jehovah's every provision that we, too, may serve with you forever as Jehovah's witnesses in the divine purpose.

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