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Jul 1999 - Editorial

This month's article in the series Lovers of God's House draws valuable lessons, but makes sad reading. When the Israelites left Egypt they lacked a cohesive national identity. They were a motley group of families, demoralized by years of slavery. It was God's purpose that the twelve tribes of Israel, with hitherto no body of laws, no pattern of divine service, should be built into a nation for the first time in their history. The terms of the Sinaitic covenant emphasized their national unity:

... ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me from among all peoples... ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Ex. 19:5,6).

Their one nation status was recognized in the representation of the twelve tribes on the breastplate and shoulders of Aaron the high priest.

It was a tragedy that deeply grieved the God of Israel, that a major reason for the rending of the nation into two kingdoms, was failure on the part of rulers. This is aptly described as a betrayal of the trust placed in them. The ten northern tribes were eventually taken into captivity in Assyria, later Judah and Benjamin were taken captive to Babylon.

Last month's article in the series New Testament Churches of God, dealt with the beginning of the work of God in Corinth, which led to the planting of a Church there. The city was characterized by the nature of its society; a seaport with a cosmopolitan population. It was a cross-section of this racial and cultural mix that having responded to the gospel, were baptized and added together to form the Church. While Paul was with them the young Assembly held together, but when he left for Ephesus a party spirit began to manifest itself in the formation of cliques.

Reports reached Paul of the state of the Church which concerned him greatly. Paul resolved to write to the Church and 1 Corinthians is the result. All was not well and there had to be some very plain speaking. Paul's efforts to resolve the problems that had arisen and his concern for the welfare of the Church are the subject of this month's article. Subsequent articles in this series (DV) will describe the outreach which led to churches of God being planted in Ephesus, the Roman province of Galatia and the Greek city Philippi.

Unbelieving sceptics may chide believers that the concept of a home in heaven is escapism, alleging that Christians cannot face life in the real world. This month's article demonstrates that believers are fully justified in basing their future hopes on the Lord's promise, 'I go to prepare a place for you' (John 14:2). As we await the Lord's second advent, we are encouraged to be actively engaged in His service. This does involve facing up to the problems of living in the real world. As the Lord's coming to the air will be followed by believers appearing before His judgement seat, an article exhorting to Faithfulness is appropriate.