“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:2,3

This is a special edition of The Lampstand. Special, for the times call for it! The world rushes headlong to its destined end. A spirit of madness is in the air, spreading terror and confusion among all nations, dragging them inexorably into the vortex of Armageddon (Rev 16:14–16). Everywhere politicians, be they despots or democrats, are being discredited by their corrupt behavior, losing all credibility among their former adherents, and leaving the world with a desperate need of sound reliable leadership. The scene is set for the introduction of “the king of kings and lord of lords”. “Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment” (Isaiah 32:1).

Everywhere confidence is at an all time low, and the trends in the world are sorely affecting our brotherhood at a time in the world’s history when our own confidence should be at an all time high. Confusion and rumours are having a deadly effect among many of our brethren and sisters, as they see the dissolution of all things in the world around them and even in the brotherhood of Christ. Modern technology has opened up a window of opportunity for every whim of opinion to be instantly transferred from one computer screen to another, from one screen to many others with but the touch of a button. Reputations of brethren and ecclesias are torn to shreds, and then relayed with astonishing speed into all parts of the Ecclesial world. Doubts are sown in the minds of true and honest hearts, which only survive the flood of ‘information’ because they are true and honest. Even though many are protected by their ignorance of this technological marvel, they hear from others of the ‘awful’ things supposedly transpiring, which breeds gloom and distrust where formerly there was love and confidence.

This is not to say that there are no reasons for alarm, as there is no doubt that the Truth is under siege in this evil age. The solution however is not in spreading rumours that engender doubts and fears, but in addressing the issues properly, whilst ensuring that our brethren are fed positively with the wholesome words of truth, concentrating on the principles of integrity, honesty and love, too often forgotten in the rush of modern development.

On the other hand, we have much to be joyful about, and this issue of the The Lampstand takes delight in elucidating these fundamental elements of our faith which bind us together in the midst of a world becoming undone by all the corruption to which it is subjected. As a committee, we make an appeal to our readers to consider the simplicity, yet the profundity of these everlasting principles of righteousness. The articles themselves will of necessity be brief in an endeavour to catch the essence of the matter. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8).

For God So Loved the World

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for a world undone. Comprehension of this almost incomprehensible love of God will provide a motivation that neither law nor fear could ever produce. Into this sad world of sin and death, when men had filled up the measure of their fathers’ wickedness, at that awful moment in history, God Almighty, being under no obligation to man, sent His Son to save them. Through his mother he was found in fashion as a man, set-about with all their inherent weaknesses, tempted in all points as they, and being by the feelings excited within him when enticed, well acquainted with all its weak points. To save others

he also himself was born to die, being under death’s dominion, thus sharing our weakness, to defeat it, and then to make it possible for us to share his strength.

The Fellowship of His Son

Fellowship is based upon our agreement in doctrine and principles resulting from our understanding of doctrine. Even so, fellowship can only be properly comprehended by the experience of it. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6).

We are called by God to “the fellowship of his Son” (1 Cor 1:9), and how would it be possible to enter into that meaningful relationship with him if we did not experience “the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil 3:10). True fellowship results when there is a genuine interest in the concerns of another, when there is no self-interest involved in the empathy we feel for each other. “I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil 2:20,21).

To be able to share fellowship together will necessarily involve forgiving one another, not for doctrinal defection, but for those weaknesses we all display from time to time. By exercising such forbearance toward each other we not only achieve an experiential fellowship with others, but ensure for ourselves that our sins will also be forgiven (1 John 1:7).

We Ought to Lay Down Our Lives for the Brethren

There is to be only one standard of judgment in the finality of things: “for inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. Into the hands of Jesus Christ, God has committed all future judgment, and the reason given is that he is “the Son of man” (John 5:27). Perhaps we may have thought it better if the reason were that he is “the Son of God”. Soon we are to stand face to face with one of our own race, who represented us in life and death. Whether he will represent us in resurrection to eternal life will depend on whether we endeavoured to represent him in our lives. Mistakes, genuinely repented of, he will forgive; excuses he will not accept, because he is the Son of man.

In this age of chaos it is not difficult to find the cause. Men in high places oppose the political principles of the other, and are constrained by no moral standards in so doing—hurling personal abuse across the chambers of government, lying, casting aspersions upon each other, and by so doing they create impossible barriers toward agreement, and in the process lose all credibility among the public who witness the sorry spectacle. We have certainly “not so learned Christ”.

Honesty, integrity, and the greatest of all virtues, love itself, are the moral principles on display in our Lord’s life. By his constraint in not reviling when reviled, not threatening when threatened, not reverting to guile in matching guile, he set an outstanding example for us to follow, and earned the respect even of the Roman Governor before whom he was tried (1 Pet 2:21–23; John 19:6).

Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh

Prophecy is an exciting subject that captivates the mind. Excerpts from the visual and printed media tell us of the signs of the times and the certainty of the coming of our Lord. Look what is happening in Russia, in Europe, particularly in the Middle East, in Israel itself. But time is far spent; attention should be focused more on reality than prophecy. The moment of truth is about to burst upon us all: “at midnight there was a cry made, behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Matt 25:6).

What a day! Let us not awake to a dream, but to a reality. Hear the voice calling us to his side, knowing the thrill that this world is to pass away. The real world is that which is in front of us, and this present existence is now like a shadow, racing away across the earth before the rising sun. Be confident that “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thess 5:9). Our confidence is not in self but in that great work accomplished by God in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Conclusion…

We commend to our readers the following articles that will expand these themes. God has not promised relief from our problems, but has assured us of the strength to live above them. The shadow of the cross fell across every path our Lord took, yet when the time came for the reality of its sufferings he purposefully strode toward it, because he saw past it…. “And it came to pass when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Let us take courage.