North Seattle Bible Students
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
"The Path of the Just is as the Shining Light, Which Shineth More and More Unto the Perfect Day."
The Time is at Hand
"Times of Refreshing Shall Come From the Presence of the Lord; and He Shall Send Jesus Christ,...Whom the Heavens Must Retain until THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS Which God Hath Spoken by the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets Since the World Began." "Ye Brethren, Are Not in Darkness, That That Day Should Overtake You as a Thief." `Acts 3:19-21`; `1 Thess. 5:4`
To the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
IN THE INTEREST OF
HIS CONSECRATED SAINTS,
WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION,
"ALL THAT IN EVERY PLACE CALL UPON THE LORD,"
"THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH,"
THE GROANING CREATION, TRAVAILING AND WAITING FOR THE
MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD,
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED.
"To make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." "Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of the times He might gather together in one all things, under Christ." `Eph. 3:4,5,9;1:8-10`
Written in 1889 by Pastor Russell
"The Time is at Hand"
THE AUTHOR'S FOREWORD
THE FIRST EDITION of this Volume was given to the public in A.D. 1889. Since then, one
edition after another has gone forth in various languages, until now more than one million
and a half copies are in the hands of the people. These figures are astonishing when we
consider how few people today have any faith in the Bible as a Divine Revelation, and how
few of those who do have faith in the Bible have an appreciation of prophecy and of
chronology--especially of Bible chronology and the Bible's history of the world.
The author and the publishers have great cause for rejoicing in the evidence continually coming to hand that this Volume has proven very helpful to the people of God in every land in the study of the Bible--in collating the message of the Lord's Word under various headings and classifications assistful to the student. Especially have we heard of many being blessed in their study of the manner of the Second Advent--in the Scriptural proof set forth in this Volume that our Lord will never again come to this earth as a man, having fulfilled completely His mission as a human being when He by the grace of God tasted death for every man at Calvary. The texts brought to the attention of the reader, proving that now our Lord is the glorified One at the Father's right hand, and is soon to become King of the world, have been assistful to many, as their letters testify.
This Volume makes no claim to infallibility, and no claim of any direct inspiration from God in the interpretation of His Word. On the contrary, it does claim that the Divine Revelation is the Bible. Its endeavor has been to collate the Bible evidences and to offer suggestions in respect to their significance.
Dealing with subjects so difficult that they are rarely touched by others, it is not to be considered strange if some of the suggestions made in this Volume have not been fulfilled with absolute accuracy to the very letter. But the author, the publishers, and the thousands of readers of this Volume are not ashamed of its presentations, and are still handing it forth to all who have an interest in Bible study-- as most interesting and most helpful in an understanding of the Lord's Word.
The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great thousand-year Days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great Seventh Day, the thousand years of Christ's Reign, began in 1873. The events of these 43 years, which this Volume claims as the beginning of the Millennium, we still find fully corroborating Bible prophecies, as herein set forth. During these 43 years, nearly all the inventions of our day have been accomplished. The sewing machine, one of the first, began to reach its perfection 43 years ago. Since then, we have all kinds of farming machinery and tools, and workshop, store, factory and home conveniences, in abundance and cheap--through human invention. These are shortening the hours of labor, and doing away with the "sweat of face," which the Bible declares to be identified with the curse.
It is entirely safe to say that in these 43 years the world has increased its riches one thousandfold. And when we remember that behind the 43 years lies a total of six thousand years of human endeavor, it seems almost a miracle that the world should accomplish one thousand times more in the past 43 years than in the six thousand years preceding. Surely this well attests the claim of this Volume that we have entered the great Seventh Day, and that what we are already experiencing as a race are only the foregleams of the much greater blessings still to come--when the Sun of
Righteousness shall arise with healing in His beams, and scatter all the darkness, ignorance, and superstition of the world!
This Volume sets forth, what its author has been preaching for over forty years, that the "Times of the Gentiles" chronologically ended in the fall of A.D. 1914. The expression, "Times of the Gentiles," in Bible usage signifies the years, or period of time, in which the Gentile nations of the world were to be permitted to have control, following the taking away of the typical kingdom from natural Israel, and filling the hiatus between that event and the establishment of God's Kingdom in the hands of Messiah-- "whose right it is." `Ezekiel 21:27`
We could not, of course, know in 1889, whether the date 1914, so clearly marked in the Bible as the end of the Gentile lease of power or permission to rule the world, would mean that they would be fully out of power at that time, or whether, their lease expiring, their eviction would begin. The latter we perceive to be the Lord's program; and promptly in August, 1914, the Gentile kingdoms referred to in the prophecy began the present great struggle, which, according to the Bible, will culminate in the complete overthrow of all human government, opening the way for the full establishment of the Kingdom of God's dear Son.
We are not able to see behind the veil; we are not able to know the things progressing under the direction of our glorious Lord and the members of His Church already glorified. Our thought is that somehow the Lord is taking a hand in the affairs of the world now as He did not do in times past. We do know that the great Time of Trouble, which has begun, very closely corresponds to the Divine declaration respecting the time and conditions of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom. The Lord Himself informs us that, at the time He shall take to Himself His great
power and reign, the nations will be mad and the Divine wrath will come. A little later on the time will come for the judging of the dead, and the giving of the reward to God's servants, small and great, leading on finally to the destruction of the incorrigible, who would exercise a corrupt influence upon the earth. `Revelation 21:8`
All over the world people knew of the expectations of Bible Students in respect to the year A.D. 1914; and when so stupendous a war as the present one broke loose, when the winds of strife began to blow with such fury and destruction, thousands remembered what they had heard and read respecting the end of the Gentile Times. Thousands today have come to fully appreciate the times in which we are living. The influence is very helpful and inspiring. A realization that we are in the Day of the Lord, and that very soon all of His saints will be gathered to Him by the resurrection change, has a stimulating and encouraging influence upon Bible students, separating them from the world and its fears and ambitions and fixing their eyes upon the Crown of Life, which the Lord has in reservation for them that love Him most.
The author acknowledges that in this book he presents the thought that the Lord's saints might expect to be with Him in glory at the ending of the Gentile Times. This was a natural mistake to fall into, but the Lord overruled it for the blessing of His people. The thought that the Church would all be gathered to glory before October, 1914, certainly did have a very stimulating and sanctifying effect upon thousands, all of whom accordingly can praise the Lord--even for the mistake. Many, indeed, can express themselves as being thankful to the Lord that the culmination of the Church's hopes was not reached at the time we expected; and that we, as the Lord's people, have further
opportunities of perfecting holiness and of being participators with our Master in the further presentation of His Message to His people.
Our mistake was evidently not in respect to the ending of the Times of the Gentiles; we drew a false conclusion, however, not authorized by the Word of the Lord. We saw in the Bible certain parallels between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age. We should have noted that these parallels follow the nominal systems to destruction in both cases, and do not indicate the time of the glorification of the New Creation. This explanation will help the reader as he studies "THE TIME IS AT HAND." We have no doubt that the great blessings which have come to many of us in the past will continue to go through the Volume to thousands of others. So with it go the prayers of the author,
Charles T. Russell
Brooklyn, N.Y. October 1, 1916
TO FIRST STUDY