We live in a time of intense pressure, pressure in society and the ecclesia. It is a world of uncertainty and anxiety, fear and suspicion. What is needed at such a time?

The leaders of our world look to more rigorous safeguards, stricter policing, stronger military, more wiretaps, more security cameras, and more secret agents. Meanwhile the wider population seeks refuge in entertainment, amusing itself to death.

Our Lord warned of such times, times of trouble and unrest, times of apathy and preoccupation, times of smiting fellowservants. He said these would be the conditions preceding his return. We are in them. The Lord warned us to be watchful—watchful, not of each other, but for each other. He urged the ecclesia to be a community of therapists, providing much needed nutrition for their brethren.

What better nutrition than to strengthen faith and to revive our hope and vision of the Kingdom. What we all need in these times is an anchor, a firmly rooted hope and vision. This alone will ground and settle, brace us to meet the issues of life with depth of perspective and largeness of heart. This alone will furnish the settled view that can look out upon the world with equanimity. This alone will arrest the slide into a reactionary mode and steer us in a positive course, not blown about by every wind of controversy.

The Kingdom we look for is a real political entity. It will be developed out of a real revolution. Its aristocracy will be real people, once frail and mortal, then mighty and deathless. We hope to be amongst that brilliant elite. We hope our brothers and sisters will be. Then we hope to be one, one with each other as Christ is with his Father as he prayed just before going to the cross (John 17). This is a high ideal. Christ’s unity with his Father was complete. Every thought was brought into harmony with the Spirit. He prayed “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” This is a remarkable concept. The pinnacle of achievement to Christ is not the cross but the world seeing that God has loved us with the same love He had for His only begotten son! Every one appreciates a noble friend. When that friend has the power to help us, the stream of our gratification is broadened immeasurably. But here is something on an altogether different level. To be recognised by the world as being on intimate terms with the Lord of the Universe is something else. And linked to that, Christ prays that we all may be one. We are one because we are one with Yahweh and His son. This is the highest reward of the Kingdom; there is no greater joy, nothing can eclipse it.

The time of preparation is now. In the Kingdom we will not suddenly be in perfect unity with people we once had no time for. There will not suddenly be harmony where there was discord, trust where there was once suspicion, love where there once was rancour. Our vision of the Kingdom needs to include more than just ourselves, else it will be a desperately barren experience. The joy of the Kingdom is in the beauty of Divine nature shared. Herein lies the moral basis to the Kingdom. The moral transformation must precede the physical.

Brother Thomas wrote,

“Such is the revealed purpose of the Most High. But a consummation like this requires preparation; and that, too, a very long one; especially as it is to be developed upon certain moral, as well as political, principles. When the time shall come for the Kingdom to be possessed, it will be said to the heirs of it, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. From this, it appears that the work of preparing the Kingdom takes from the foundation of the world to the resurrection of the dead. All this time the Kingdom is preparing; but when the King descends and rebukes the nations and wastes the land of Nimrod with the sword and makes Israel a strong nation, it will then be said that the Kingdom is prepared. The reader will probably inquire, what does this work of preparation consist in that it should take so long a time? This is an important question, and, in reply, I remark that if physical force only were employed in preparing the Kingdom, it need not take so long. A kingdom may be set up in a few days, and abolished as speedily, as we have witnessed in our own time. But it is not so with the Kingdom of God. The physical is subordinated to the intellectual and moral; and as men, among whom it is being prepared are so earthly and sensual, the mental progresses much more slowly than the physical; and therefore, a kingdom founded upon moral principles requires longer to prepare, but is more enduring when completed.”

We have a Hope guaranteed by God’s own existence. A hope that promises to take us within the veil, into the very presence of Yahweh Himself. Such a hope is an anchor to the soul. What are we all doing to strengthen our vision? What are we doing to strengthen our brother’s vision?

Our Feature in this issue of The Lampstand is entitled Cameos of the Kingdom. It is intended to positively deal with some of the issues referred to above in a series of articles addressing three aspects of our vision of the future. The Joy of Immortality considers the wonderful, mind-expanding concept of our hope of ultimate unity with Yahweh Himself. Parables of the Kingdom focuses on the exhortations of warning and encouragement contained in the Olivet Prophecy recorded in Matthew 24 and 25. It challenges us to see if we are truly honest with ourselves as to our true aim in life or whether we are, at times, self deceived. If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem highlights some of the Scriptures that record the feelings and love for that city by the Psalmists and others. In a series of contrasts between the City of Jerusalem today and Jerusalem in the Kingdom Age, we are able to visualise the time when Jerusalem shall be “the city of the great king” and we are encouraged to make “Jerusalem our chiefest joy”.