The book entitled The Faith in the Last Days, was produced by The Christadelphian in 1948 to commemorate the centenary of the writing of Elpis Israel. It consists of a compilation of valuable articles written by Bro John Thomas and in the Introduction, Brother John Carter made the following observation in relation to the value of Elpis Israel itself.
“The book is comprehensive, and its sufficiency to enlighten men and women concerning the great salvation is evident from the fact that it has been the means of very many being led to the Truth. For many years it was the one book which was available to introduce the Gospel. A few years later the same truths, in the form of chapters on items of the Faith, were made available in the book Twelve Lectures, later entitled Christendom Astray, by Robert Roberts, but Elpis Israel opens up a wide and comprehensive view of the whole Scriptures. The first two sections of the three into which the book is divided, will in the writer’s judgment never be surpassed.”
This extract from Elpis Israel is an example of the value of the book as expressed by Brother Carter and is complementary to the Daily Bible Readings article on Genesis contained in this issue of The Lampstand.

Men and beasts, say the scriptures, “have all one ruach or spirit; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast”. The reason assigned for this equality is the oneness of their spirit, which is proved by the fact of their common destiny; as it is written, “for all are vanity”: that is, “all go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again”. Yet this one spirit manifests its tendencies differently in men and other creatures. In the former, it is aspiring and God-defying, rejoicing in its own works, and devoted to the vanity of the passing hour; while in the latter, its disposition is grovelling to the earth in all things. Thus, the heart of man being “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know or fathom it?” Solomon was led to exclaim, “Who knoweth the spirit of the sons of Adam, which exalts itself to the highest, and the spirit of a beast which inclines to the earth?” (Eccl 3:19–21). We may answer, “None, but God only”; He knoweth what is in man, and needs not that any should testify of him (John 2:25).

But, from this testimony someone might infer that, as man was made only “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5), and yet has “no pre-eminence over a beast”, the beast also is but a little lower than the angels. This, however, would be a very erroneous conclusion. The equality of men and other animals consists in the kind of life they possess in common with each other. Vanity, or mortality, is all that pertains to any kind of living flesh. The whole animal world has been made subject to it; and as it affects all living souls alike, bringing them back to the dust again, no one species can claim pre-eminence over the other; for “one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other”.

Man, however, differs from other creatures in having been modelled after a divine type, or pattern. In form and capacity he was made like to the angels, though in nature inferior to them. This appears from the testimony that he was made “in their image, after their likeness”, and “a little lower than the angels”, or Elohim. I say, he was made in the image of the angels, as the interpretation of the co-operative imperative, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. The work of the six days, though elaborated by the power of Him “who dwelleth in the light”, was executed by “his angels, that excel in strength, and do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20). These are styled Elohim, or “gods”, in numerous passages. David says, “Worship him, all ye gods” (Psalm 97:7); which Paul applies to Jesus, saying, “Let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb 1:6). Man, then, was made after the image and likeness of Elohim, but for a while inferior in nature. But the race will not always be inferior in this respect. It is destined to advance to a higher nature; not all the individuals of it; but those of the race “who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age (the future age) and the resurrection from among the dead … who can die no more; for they are equal to the angels and are the sons of God, being the sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:35,36).

The import of the phrase “in the image, after the likeness” is suggested by the testimony, that “Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth” (Gen 5:3). In this respect, Seth stands related to Adam, as Adam did to the Elohim; but differing in this, that the nature of Adam and Seth was identical; whereas those of Adam and the Elohim were dissimilar. Would any one be at a loss to know the meaning of Seth’s being in the image of his father? The very same thing is meant by Adam being in the image of the Elohim. An image is the representation of some form or shape; metaphorically, it may signify the exact resemblance of one character to another. But in the case before us, the parties had no characters at the time of their birth. They were simply innocent of actual transgression; no scope having been afforded them to develop character. The Elohim, however, were personages of dignity and holiness, as well as of incorruptible, or spiritual, nature. The resemblance, therefore, of Adam to the Elohim as their image was of bodily form, not of intellectual and moral attainment; and this I apprehend to be the reason why the Elohim are styled “men” when their visits to the sons of Adam are recorded in the Scriptures of Truth. In shape, Seth was like Adam, Adam like the Elohim, and the Elohim, the image of the invisible Increate; the great and glorious archetype of the intelligent universe.

Seth was also “in Adam’s own likeness”. While image, then, hath reference to form or shape, “likeness” hath regard to mental constitution, or capacity. From the shape of his head, as compared with other creatures, it is evident that man has a mental capacity which distinguishes him above them all. Their likeness to him is faint. They can think; but their thoughts are only sensual. They have no moral sentiments, or high intellectual aspirations; but are grovelling in all their instincts, which incline only to the earth. In proportion as their heads assume the human form in the same ratio do they excel each other in sagacity; and, as in the monkey tribe, display a greater likeness to man. But, let the case be reversed; let the human head degenerate from the godlike perfection of the Elohim, the standard of beauty in shape and feature; let it diverge to the image of an ape’s, and the human animal no longer presents the image and likeness of the Elohim; but rather, the chattering imbecility of the creature most resembling it in form. Adam’s mental capacity enabled him to comprehend and receive spiritual ideas, which moved him to veneration, hope, conscientiousness, the expression of his views, affections, and so forth. Seth was capable of the like display of intellectual and moral phenomena; and of an assimilation of character to that of his father. He was therefore in the likeness as well as in the image of Adam; and, in the same sense, they were both “after the likeness of the Elohim”.

But, though Adam was “made in the image and after the likeness” of the “Holy Ones”, the similitude has been so greatly marred, that his posterity present but a faint representation of either. The almost uncontrolled and continuous operation of “the law of sin and death” (Rom 7:23), styled by philosophers “the law of nature”, which is an indwelling and inseparable constituent of our present economy, has exceedingly deformed the image, and effaced the likeness of God, which man originally presented. It required, therefore, the appearance of a New Man, in whom the image and likeness should re-appear, as in the beginning. This was “the man Christ Jesus”, whom Paul styles “the last Adam”. He is “the Image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15); “the effulgent mirror of the glory, and the exact likeness of his person” (Heb 1:3). Hence, in another place, Paul says, he was “in the form of God” (Phil 2:6,7,8) and also “made in the likeness of men, and in the form of a man”. Being thus the image and likeness of the invisible God, as well as of man, who was created in the image and likeness of the Elohim, he made himself equal with God in claiming God for his Father (John 5:18), though born of “sinful flesh”. Though thus highly related in paternity, image and character, he was yet “made a little lower than the angels”; for he appeared not in the higher nature of Elohim, but in the inferior nature of the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16). This was the first stage of his manifestation, as the present is of the saints who are his brethren. But he is the appointed “heir of all things, on account of whom the ages were rearranged by the word of God, so that the things seen exist not from things apparent” (Heb 1:2;11:3). But, says the apostle, “we do not yet see all things put under him: but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that by the grace of God he should taste death for every man” (Heb 2:8,9). Having been thus laid low, and for this gracious purpose, he is no longer “lower than the angels”. He is equal to them in body: and made so much superior to them in rank, dignity, honour, and glory, “as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb 1:4).

In Jesus, then, raised from the dead incorruptible, and clothed with brightness as when he was transfigured upon the Holy Mount (Matt 17:2), we behold the image and likeness of the invisible God. When we contemplate him by faith, as we shall hereafter by sight, we see a Mirror from which the glory of Yahweh is reflected in intellectual, moral, and physical grandeur. He that would know God, must behold Him in Christ. If he be acquainted with Him as He is portrayed in the prophets and apostles, he will understand the character of God, whom no man hath seen, nor can see; Who chargeth His angels with folly, and before Whom the heavens are not clean. Jesus was the true light shining in the darkness of Judea, whose inhabitants “comprehended it not”. Through him, God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shone into the hearts of as many as received him; to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; that so they might receive power to become the sons of God, believing on his name (2 Cor 3:18; 4:6; John 1:5,12).

How consoling and cheering is it, then, amid all the evils of the present state, that God hath found a ransom, who is willing and able to deliver us from the power of the grave; and not only so, but that “at the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:17-25), when he shall appear in power and great glory, “we shall be like him; because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Then will the saints be “changed into the same image from glory”, now only a matter of hope, “into glory”, as seen and actually possessed, “even as the Lord” himself was changed, when he became “the spirit giving life”, or “a quickening spirit”.