With all the agitation and excited anticipation that surrounds the approach of the “new millennium” it is vital to keep our minds well focused on the spiritual implications of these events. The new millennium for which we look will not be ushered in with revelry and folly but with righteousness and truth. Our “end of- year” combined activities will be conducted in the usual manner and provide the ideal environment for young and old to join in Bible study and social activity so that we might be spiritually fortified for the year ahead, whatever that year may bring. Obviously it is our daily prayer “… Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and our heart’s desire is that this may be indeed the beginning of the New Millennium! However, in the meantime we are exhorted to “occupy” in the best possible way and to witness to those things most surely and actively believed among us.

This year the End-of-Year Studies, led by Brother John Martin, will take us back to the times of the Judges which describes a situation so applicable to the days in which we live when “every man does that which is right in his own eyes”. We are familiar with the theme of the Judges—“sin brings suffering… seeking God brings salvation”—and it is certain that the measure of suffering in parts of this world is quite beyond our comprehension or experience. It was not until Israel cried unto Yahweh for deliverance that His arm brought deliverance. Many of us have not been touched by the kind of personal suffering experienced by thousands of whom we hear but we must still cry out for the deliverance that is promised when Yahweh shall give the King His judgments and righteousness unto the King’s son.

Meanwhile we live in a world torn by conflict and destruction—a very negative and evil environment. Every man is set on establishing his own rightness irrespective of the well-being of others or the progress of a common cause. It is necessary to ensure that this attitude does not infiltrate into the Ecclesia of God. It is so easy to unwittingly adopt the confrontational, duplicitous political attitudes with which we are constantly assailed in the media and in the disposition of those around us in the workplace or public places of the world.

With some of these concerns in mind Our Heritage article in this issue of The Lampstand is from the pen of the late Brother Islip Collyer, entitled “Our Work Must be Constructive” and under the heading of Contemporary Issues, some very constructive thoughts on “The Principles of Reconciliation” by Brother Mark Giordano. Too often our response to a problem is reactive and negative rather than pro-active and positive: too often we pull down and destroy rather than build up and construct. The Body of Christ needs nourishment and tender, loving care, but too often the members of that body are mal-nourished, depressed, confused and discouraged because of negative, reactionary attitudes. The principle as Brother Collyer points out is “be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”: it is of little value to destroy an evil unless we have some good thing with which to replace it.

Our feature articles also focus on the times of the Judges, with suggestions and aids for preparation for the end-of-year studies. Additional Bible marking notes have been prepared and are included with this issue of The Lampstand as a supplement. Bible marking is an excellent exercise to prepare our minds for the studies and to help the remembrance and implementation of Divine principles after the activities have passed and we are faced once again with the challenges of the day-to-day living of the Truth.

In addition to the above, we conclude in this issue the series on God Manifestation based on Eureka volume 1, and continue the series on the Apocalypse with the second instalment on the Trumpets based on Revelation 8 and 9. Both of these subjects are elevating and instructive and can give us a positive vision of that time when we hope to be participants in the celebrations that will welcome the Millennial dawn in every corner of the earth. Whatever the coming year may herald we are sure that “the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:7,8).