Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
A convocation is a time when people are formally called together to hear a procla-
mation, announcement or attend a formal celebration. Biblically, God, through
Moses and the priests, called together the Children of Israel to holy convocations;
times when there was to be a special celebration or observance to Jehovah by His
earthly people, the Jews.
Today we might think of a convocation as a formal assembly of some kind. During
1961-1965 when I was going to Drake University (originally established by a Chris-
tian denomination), once a week there was a religious convocation that all students
were “encouraged” to attend. Though it was ‘strongly recommended’ that students
attend the convocation, very few students actually attended. Today, probably only
private religious colleges and universities still have such convocations. In some
cases they are ‘mandatory’ with all students expected to attend.
In New Testament Christianity, the only such observance that would be even re-
motely similar to an Old Testament convocation would be when the assembly meets
together to remember the Lord Jesus Christ in His death (1 Corinthians 11). How-
ever, today in the day of grace, though our blessed Lord Jesus has told us that “as
often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do shew the Lord’s death till He
come” (1 Cor. 11:26), being thus “assembled” for such a “convocation” is not a
religious commandment as it was in the Old Testament. It is, rather, a ‘loving re-
quest of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ for those who belong to Him. It would be a
sad, strange thing if one who knew their sins were washed away in the precious
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, had no desire to do what the He has asked all
believers to do.
In the Old Testament, one solemn departure from Jehovah’s holy convocations is
found in Isaiah 1:13. “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto
me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies (convocations), I cannot
away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting (convocation).” This was the result
of God’s dear, chosen, earthly people falling into idolatry, yet keeping the outward
form of convocation rituals. Those convocations were no longer held in heart love
for Jehovah or in obedience to Him and thus He rejected them as false. The Lord
refused to accept what was sacrificed to Him by His people when they acted in such
a disobedient way before Him.