“Watch Israel—for God Does” has been a favourite lecture title in our community over many years, but are we still watching Israel as we once did? “The people of the Book”, “the people of God” are certainly still the “apple” of
His eye, but how active and aware are today’s Christadelphians in practical support for Israel?

For close on fifty years now, the nation of Israel has existed in the land of Israel. The euphoria of those early days of statehood has given place to the day to day maintenance of a community with all its subsistence requirements, added to the unique burden of absorption of thousands of new immigrants annually, super added to the daily vigilance for survival. Many of our older brethren and sisters can still recall this euphoric beginning, but the majority of Christadelphians today have known only the fact of Israel’s nationhood: they have never known a time when the whole nation was in dispersion and struggling to maintain its existence, without a homeland and without an identity.

This issue of The Lampstand draws attention to an aspect of our Christadelphian heritage which some feel has lately been neglected amongst us in many areas—our awareness and concern for the people of Israel and the unfolding development of their role in prophecy. Yet the days in which we live are unlike any that have gone before in their portent of glorious things to come. The world stage is set for the revelation of events into which “the prophets have enquired and searched diligently”: and Israel is at centre-stage.

Some would still recall the thrill of excitement at each report of developments in Israel: the visits of large numbers of brethren and sisters and young people, by invitation, to the Jewish synagogue after a Sunday evening lecture to attend some significant activity or hear a guest speaker: the powerful proclamation from our platform of the destiny of Israel and the hope of the Gospel—an Israelitish hope. Brethren gave freely of the little they possessed of this world’s goods, knowing that as we reap the riches of their “diminishing” so we should minister to them in things natural and material as we are able.

Some of these things are recalled for us in articles featured in this issue, together with eyewitness accounts of life in the Promised Land today and the celebration of 3,000 years of the city of Jerusalem. How often do we pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

how much do we love the very stones of that place? The Psalmist declares, “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof” (Psa 102:13,14).

There is no room for complacency. There is a time of grief and anguish still ahead in the long, dark history of Yahweh’s people and we cannot stand aloof, for our destiny is inextricably bound up with theirs. The “time of Jacob’s trouble” will ultimate in the replacement of their stony heart with a heart of flesh and will produce for all the world, a time of blessing: “for if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15).

Let us stir up the spirit of commitment and gratitude for the Hope of Israel, which has brought us nigh to God and made us partakers of the covenants of promise. Let us renew that zeal which once motivated brethren and sisters to share of their good things (for the need is still great) and proclaim the Gospel of “Elpis Israel” that others—Jew, Gentile, bond, free, male or female—may all be one in Christ Jesus, Abraham’s seed and “heirs according to the promise”. The day is fast approaching when, as another of our popular lecture titles says, “God will bury Russia in Israel”. Let us keep awake and “watch Israel”.