C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
Centrality of Israel
The Christadelphian belief structure centres around the nation of Israel because the re-emergence of Israel as a nation has always been seen as key to the events leading up to the second return of Christ. The return of the Jews to Israel in 1945 and the events that preceded that have often been used by Christadelphians as proof that validates their interpretations of scripture.
In Elpis Israel, chapter 17, the founder, John Thomas wrote,
There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiaship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power. And this their expectation will not be deceived; for, before Gogue invades their country, it is described by the prophet, as “a land of unwalled villages, whose inhabitants are at rest, and dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; and possessed of silver and gold, cattle and goods, dwelling in the midst of the land” (Ezek. 38:11,12,13). Now any person acquainted with the present insecure condition of Palestine under the Ottoman dominion must be satisfied from the testimony, that some other power friendly to Israel must then have become paramount over the land, which is able to guarantee protection to them, and to put the surrounding, tribes in fear. This is all that is needed, namely, security for life, and property and Palestine would be as eligible for Jewish emigration as the United States have proved for the Gentiles.
But to what part of the world shall we look for a power whose interests will make it willing as it is able to plant the ensign of civilization upon the mountains of Israel? The reader will, doubtless, anticipate my reply from what has gone before. I know not whether the men, who at present contrive the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of assuming the sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of promoting its colonization by the Jews; their present intentions, however, are of no importance one way or the other; because they will be compelled, by events soon to happen, to do what, under existing circumstances, heaven and earth combined could not move them to attempt. The present decisions of “statesmen” are destitute of stability. A shooting star in the political, firmament is sufficient to disturb all the forces of their system; and to stultify all the theories of their political astronomy. The finger of God has indicated a course to be pursued by Britain which cannot be evaded, and which her counsellors will not only be willing, but eager, to adopt when the crisis comes upon them.
The amazing nature of the return of the Jews after centuries of absence and in the light of the expectations of many Christians is a fact worthy of deeper consideration. It does not however validate every Christadelphian expectation and it should be tempered with an understanding of speculations which have not occurred.
Christadelphians look for the fulfilment of other events in line with the expected second return. These have historically centred around one chapter of the Bible in particular, Ezekiel 38. The historical understandings are not considered essential beliefs, but have been widely believed and disseminated. The expectation is that Russia as a northern power and as part of a confederacy launches a massive invasion on the now restored Israel. This is for financial advantage of some kind and as a result a confederacy of nations linked to a maritime power (the English speaking nations) opposes them. This leads to a holocaust in the Holy Land which is called “Armageddon.” This event also leads to the turning of the Jewish people to God, a recognition of their historical denial of Christ, his intervention and their acceptance of him. By this point the judgment of the saints has occurred and how this occurs has led to further speculations. In essence huge numbers of the faithful disappear for the judgment sometimes seen as being in the place where the Jews were after the Exodus in the Bible, Sinai.
The alignment of the nations for a Northern Confederacy and a Southern Confederacy and how it leads to the final conflict is the structure around which Christadelphian speculation of the signs of the times occurs.
This historical scenario can be found in Elpis Israel, chapter 16.
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PAGE VISITS FROM 16/09/13
THE TRINITY HURDLE
NOVEL: HOLY BIBLE
You lay a great stress upon facts throughout your letters, and are incessant in your demand that I should attend to them. This is good; but facts have to be rightly put together, and then you must have all the facts. I do not think you put the facts rightly together, and you leave out some, I am sure.
(Robert Roberts, a Christadelphian Pioneer, quoted
by Ruth McHaffie in Brethren Indeed)
The Spirit of liberty, based upon the law of faith, is the Spirit of Christ; and this spirit all the Sons of God are privileged to possess, and having it, to breathe. I claim the right of exercising this privilege, as well as my contemporaries; and I require of them that they should do to me as once they loudly required others to do to them…
(written by John Thomas, the founder of the Christadelphians, when he was against creeds in
The Apostolic Advocate magazine, August 1836)
(John Thomas, from Apostacy Unveiled, p. 137,
quoted in The Christadelphian Magazine, January 1906)
Must a man never progress? If he discovers an error in his premises, must he for ever hold to it for the sake of consistency? May such a calamity never befall me! Rather let me change every day, till I get right at last.
(from a letter written by John Thomas in 1848, quoted by Robert Roberts, in Dr. Thomas: His Life and Work)
Do what is right; be valiant for the Truth; teach it without compromise, and all lovers of the Truth will approve you. For all others you need not care a rush!
(from a letter written by John Thomas to Robert Roberts and published in The Christadelphian magazine, February 1866)