The last fifty years have seen two important developments involving Israel which have significantly influenced our Christadelphian community. One is the emergence of the modern State of Israel which has now been in existence for forty eight years—longer than the life time of many of our readers. Those who did witness the birth of the State in 1948 can doubtless recall the great excitement in the brotherhood and it is proposed that, in our next issue of The Lampstand—God willing—we will give consideration to our relationship with the natural seed of Abraham and modern Israel in particular. The other significant development in this period was a rejuvenation of interest in Elpis Israel, the best known pioneer work, first published in 1848 by our late Brother John Thomas. Ecclesial life in South Australia and further afield has been greatly influenced by the emergence of Elpis Israel Classes and, in many cases, the ecclesias which have developed therefrom. We have therefore included a special feature in this issue of The Lampstand entitled “Elpis Israel”.
Here, then, is a book peculiarly adapted to the times. It will show the people what the Gospel is—what is the obedience it requires—and enable them to discern the times; that the Lord may not come upon them at unawares, and take them unprepared. It is a book, not for these times only, but for all the years preceding “the time of the end” and thence to the epoch of the restoration of the Kingdom and Throne of David. It is named ELPIS ISRAEL, or Israel’s Hope: for the Kingdom of which it treats is that which is longed for by all intelligent Israelites, and for which, said Paul, “I am bound with this chain”. Elpis Israel, Preface page xix.

One hundred and fifty years have passed since Elpis Israel was first published and over that period of time many brethren and sisters and young people have testified to the value of this book in helping them to understand more of the important principles of the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Home study “Elpis Israel Classes”, ecclesial “Elpis Israel Classes” and even “Junior Elpis Israel Classes” have proved invaluable aids in personal and group Bible study for many people. As a means of regenerating interest in this excellent book and showing its influence in the formation and development of ecclesias in South Australia, our Special Feature in this issue of The Lampstand includes the following articles,

  • Elpis Israel Classes—Their Origin and Purpose; a brief historical review of the movement which commenced in Adelaide more than fifty years ago. It traces the development of these classes and how, in many cases, they led to the development of ecclesias in suburban Adelaide. • Why You Should Read Elpis Israel, with comments by past writers including Robert Roberts and John Carter.
  • The Sure Word of Prophecy indicating the value of Part 3 of the book dealing with The Kingdoms of the World in Their Relation to the Kingdom of God.
  • How to Conduct an Elpis Israel Class containing points worth considering when reading Elpis Israel as part of a study group.

In addition to our Special Feature, we highlight several important activities that have occurred in recent weeks including the End of Year Studies on the life of Noah, the School of the Prophets conducted at the Hebron Camp-site and the opening of Heritage College—the first Christadelphian school in this city. We are pleased to be able, once again, to include a full cover centre spread depicting some aspects of these events.