“The Bible is the enlightener. If men would not be carried about by every wind that blows, let them study this. It will unfold to them the future, and make them wiser than the world. The coming years will not be years of peace. The policy of the Autocrat will be to throw his adversaries off their guard, and take the Sultan (Turkey) by surprise. He is to ‘come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter into the countries, and overflow and pass over. And many countries will be overthrown’. This is the career marked out for him; which neither France, nor England, nor the world combined can obstruct or circumvent.” (Elpis Israel p385).

So wrote Brother Thomas nearly 160 years ago: every part of it remains true to this very day! The Bible is the only true “enlightener” for those who desire to “walk in the light”: and world events should constantly remind us that each national participant in the Purpose of the Deity has his assigned part to play—“the Autocrat” of Russia, as Brother Thomas describes him, being singled out for a “starring role”. As Solomon said at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:56) “Blessed be Yahweh that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant.”This was so in an incipient form in the kingdom of Solomon. We can therefore be assured that what Yahweh has promised He will most certainly accomplish in the ultimate sense of all that remains to be fulfilled in the time to come. And how much of His plan with the nations is still outstanding! It would be folly indeed to imagine that all that remains could not be accomplished in a moment.

To ensure that we are not “carried about by every wind that blows” we need to develop faith which comes by hearing the Word—not just academically with the understanding but morally with the heart. It is lack of faith rather than lack of understanding that causes men and women to fall away from the Truth. Why would we invest in this system of things when we know that it is all about to pass away? Investment of time, money, interest or commitment to the present order of things must surely indicate a lack of faith—a lack of heartfelt belief that what Yahweh has promised concerning the “times of the Gentiles” is about to come to pass. Certainly we have a commitment to render Godly service to our earthly master, whatever form that may take: but there the matter ends. Worldly ambition and “labouring for the wind” is described by the wise man as “a sore evil” and at this late stage in the scheme of things it is manifestly utter foolishness.

Belief—or faith—is not a simple matter. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, failed through lack of faith (or belief) even though they were placed in what was surely an ideal environment, in communion with the Elohim and surrounded by the paradise of Eden. Israel likewise, we are told, could not enter into their promised inheritance “because of unbelief”; for although they intellectually comprehended the Gospel preached to them it did not kindle within them a response of faith. They had witnessed signs and wonders, a miraculous deliverance and the evident presence of Yahweh among them, yet they simply did not believe what they were told any more than Adam and Eve truly believed the word spoken to them.

Faith Looks to the Past and the Future

What is faith or belief? Paul tells us in Hebrews 11 that “faith is a confident anticipation of things hoped for, a full persuasion of things not seen.” This is the faith without which, he tells us afterwards, God is not, and cannot by any possibility be pleased. IT IS A FAITH WHICH LAYS HOLD OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE. The person who possesses it knows what is testified concerning Jesus by the apostles, and is fully persuaded of its truth; he also knows the exceeding great and precious promises which God has made concerning things to come, and he confidently anticipates the literal fulfilment of them. Faith then looks forward with a confident hope and backwards in full assurance of the validity of the record of past events and promises! The knowledge of what God has done in the past creates within the believer an assurance that He will also perform that which He has promised for the future. This is faith!

But there is something more. Faith must be an active thing: it is “faith which worketh [or is energised] by love” says the Apostle in Galatians 5:6. Love is the motivating force which makes faith a pro-active ingredient directing our life toward the fulfilment of all that we intellectually comprehend. Such a faith is God-honouring, for the greatest thing we can do for the Father is to believe Him. The over-arching question we need to ask when addressing any matter of doctrine is, “What does it say about God?”—that is, what does it say about His character, His faithfulness, His mercy, His wisdom or His goodness! The answer is not a matter of intelligence but of morality: it is not a matter of understanding alone, but of faith.

“A man cannot honour God more than in believing what He promises and doing what He commands;… The unswerving obedience of faith is the ‘faith made perfect by works’ tried by fire. God is pleased with this faith, because it honours Him. It is a working faith. There is life in it; and its exercise proves that the believer loves Him”(Elpis Israel, 1939 Edition p75).