ELPIS ISRAEL was written over 100 years ago: it was a pioneer work. As appears from the Biographical Notes which follow the "Contents" page, it was written at the request of those who had heard Dr. Thomas's lectures on the Bible, and particularly on Bible prophecies, while he was on a visit from The United States to get a closer view of the stirring events of 1848 and to lecture on the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is a testimony to Dr. Thomas's extensive knowledge of The Bible that he was able in four months, away from his books and lexicons, to write a work - massive in its understanding of the revealed purpose of God. At the time it was written, frank speech expressed in robust language was indulged in without offence, and in this matter, the book reflects its age. The forthrightness of the writer is seen in the vigour of his words and modern readers must make some allowance for this. The main substance of the book has stood the test of study by four generations of believers in God's Word. In the edition of 1903 some minor blemishes were removed, as explained under the heading of Publisher's Notes.
As the title implies, great emphasis is given to the doctrine of the Kingdom of God, while the doctrine of the Atonement receives what might appear to be only incidental reference. Those who may criticize the balance of the work should bear in mind the conditions of the time when it was written. The doctrine of the Kingdom was neglected or misinterpreted; on the necessity of the Cross there was general agreement even though atonement was distorted into the appeasing of an angry Deity. The disproportionate emphasis in Dr. Thomas's work is the converse of that prevailing at the time, and met a contemporary need. Were Dr. Thomas writing in the present conditions of widespread unbelief, he would doubtless respond to the current needs with no less vigour of mind. In judging this work his immediate object must he kept in view.
The third part of the book deals with prophecy in relation to world affairs. Here understanding was influenced by an expectation of the Lord's early advent, which proved premature, and much that has now to he treated with reserve derived from this outlook. Whilst some things looked for came to pass others did not; but it must be recognized that the world is conforming in general, to the pattern expected, even though on a larger scale than was looked for 100 years ago. The whole world is knit together by modern means of communication; yet it is clear that as a result of the stresses of two world wars, the world is divided into two groups which might in general terms be called the land-mass group and the maritime group of nations. This is what was expected, and the impending clash of the rival forces, equipped as they are with unimagined powers of destruction, will inevitably take place in the near East. Shining brightly amidst the general distress and perplexity is the rise of the State of Israel. This is a landmark. clear and unmistakable, which shows that we are nearing the end of Gentile times. The book is reprinted as in the 1903 edition. The seeker for truth will find much to help, and in view of the times and circumstances of the book's origin, will bear with the imperfections time has revealed.
The Biographical notes (pages xiii-xvi), the extracts from the Author's Prefaces (pages xvii-xxiv), and the Publisher's notes (pages xxv-xxvi) are as printed in the 1924 edition.
The reader should remember, especially when reading the Third Part of the work, that the references to recent events or existing institutions are to what were recent or existing in 1849, when the book was first written. In order not to interfere with the author's argument, these passages are left unaltered, but this note is made here to prevent misunderstanding. Examples are to be found on pages 372, 384, 407, 413,428,435, 442.