SINCE the days of the Apostles, Christian people have been looking for the coming of our Lord Jesus in great power and glory; for He said that He would come again and receive His Church unto Himself. He further pointed out that for some time prior to the completion of the Church He would be present, gathering out from Babylon and from the world the truly consecrated, and that during His presence "the Mystery of God" would be finished.
Through St. John the Lord Jesus revealed the fact that the Church would be developed during seven distinct periods, or epochs; and that for each of these epochs Ho would have a special angel, or messenger, to serve the other members of the Body. It follows, then, that the messenger to the last, or Laodicean, epoch would declare the Presence of the Lord and the time of the Harvest of the Gospel Age. The great Master laid special emphasis on the importance of the messenger to the seventh, or Laodicean, period of the Church, saying that such an one would be "a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord would make ruler over all His Household, to give them meat in due season."
Those consecrated Christians who have read and fully appreciated the Truth as contained in the preceding six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES readily sea and agree that Charles Taze Russell was the messenger of the Church of Laodicea. In the mind of every one who believes the Bible the evidence set forth in this volume will establish that fact beyond the question of a doubt.
In the light of Divine Prophecy, now being daily fulfilled and made clear to "the watchers," the following from the pen of Pastor Russell is further proof that he was sent of God to this generation. Long years before the beginning of the trouble now upon the nations he wrote:
"The four exhibitions of the Lord, given to Elijah, represent, we believe, four manifestations in which the Lord is about to reveal Himself to mankind, the first three of which will prepare men for the final one, in which will come the desired blessing to all the families of the earth. These are:
"(1) The mighty winds rending the very rocks Blowing winds seem to be used in Scripture for wars. The wars, whose dark clouds have threatened the civilized world so ominously for the past thirty years, have been miraculously hindered to give opportunity for 'sealing'
the Lord's consecrated people in their foreheads (intellectually) with the Present Truth. We are therefore to expect that when these winds of war shall be let loose, lt will mean a cataclysm of warfare which shall divide kingdoms (mountains) — prefigured by the mighty wind shown to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11), which rent the rocks. But God's Kingdom will not follow the epoch of war; the world will not thus be made ready for the Reign of Immanuel. No; a further lesson will be needed and will be given. It is represented in
"(2) An earthquake. Throughout the Scriptures an earthquake seems always to represent revolution; and lt is not unreasonable to expect that an era of general warfare would so arouse the lower classes of Europe and so discontent them with their lot (and especially with the conditions which would follow such a war) that revolution would be the next thing in order. (Rev. 16:18.) But, severe though those revolutionary experiences will be to the world, they are not sufficient to prepare men to hear the voice of God. It will require
"(3) The fire from heaven — an epoch of Divine judgments and chastisements upon a maddened but unconverted world, wild in anarchy, as other Scriptures show us. The results of their wars, revolutions and anarchy, in the failure of their schemes, will have a humbling effect, and will prepare mankind for God's revelation of Himself in
"(4) The still small voice. Yes; He who spoke to the winds and the waves of the Sea of Galilee will, in due time, 'speak peace to the peoples.' He will speak with authority, commanding the observance of His long neglected Law of Love. 'And whosoever will not hear that Prophet shall be cut off from among His people.' (Acts 3:23.)" — THE WATCH TOWER. July 1, 1898, p 208.
"Looking back to the prophetic testimony respecting the Times of the Gentiles, we perceive that our Lord's words, 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles be filled full,' give the Intimation that the determined times, or years, in which the empire of earth would be in the hands of Gentile governments was a fixed one from the Divine standpoint. And if, as we believe the Scriptures to teach, Gentile domination was provided for up to October, 1914, it would seem but a reasonable interpretation that Divine power would not be exercised to their dethronement until after the time allotted for their reign had ended — October, 1914." — THE WATCH TOWER, July 1, 1904, p. 188.
In 1879 Charles Taze Russell began the publication of THE WATCH TOWER, of which he was the sole editor as long as he remained on earth. THE WATCH TOWER was, and is, the first and only journal declaring the presence of the Lord Jesus. Pastor Russell being the messenger to the Laodicean Church, and occupying the position of the Lord's special servant to give the Household of Faith meat in due season, it was to be expected that he would bring forth from the Lord's great "Storehouse" the needed spiritual food for the Church, in harmony with
God's will. By the Lord's grace he wrote the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, which writings, aside from the Bible, have gladdened more hearts and thrilled Christians with greater hope and joyful expectation than have any other writings extant. These books have been properly designated "Keys to the Divine Plan of the Ages." These "keys" have been placed in the hands of thousands of Christian people throughout the world, and have enabled them to unlock the Lord's Treasure-house, the Bible, and there to see some of the "treasures of wisdom" and knowledge of God! Some have been able to use these "keys" more effectually than have others. "God hath set the members in the Body as it hath pleased Him."
Time and again Pastor Russell said that the Seventh Volume of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES would ba written; and it was expected that he would write it. The Scriptures show that the Seventh Volume must be published. Pastor Russell passed from the earth, and the Seventh Volume remained unpublished. In his last moments he said, "Some one else can write the Seventh Volume." For any one to arrogate to himself the authority to write and publish the Seventh Volume would, we believe, seem presumptuous before the Lord. Whom, then, would the Lord have to write it?
Pastor Russell was a man of unusual modesty. Great men usually are modest. The examination of the contents of this book will disclose the fact that it deals with Revelation and Ezekiel; that the Lord long ago caused to be recorded therein, in symbolic language, a history of the Church, particularly the closing earthly experiences thereof; that therein He set forth that He would uncover the frauds, deceptions and blasphemous teachings and practices of the church nominal — both Catholic and Protestant; that in the last days He would then make bare the unholy alliance between the unrighteous ecclesiastical systems and the corrupt political elements of the earth, which religious systems have prospered and grown fat in the name of Christ; that the Lord pronounces His indignation and wrath against all such Babylonish systems and marks their titter destruction in a Time of Trouble such as the world has never known and will never again know; and that the earthly creature made prominent therein above all others is the messenger of the Laodicean Church — "that wise and faithful servant" of the Lord — CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL. In view of the facts stated, is it at all surprising that the Lord spared him the publication of the Seventh Volume?
But the fact is, he did write it. This book may properly be said to be a posthumous publication of Pastor Russell.
Why? Because to him the Lord gave the "key"; to him was given the privilege of making clear to the Church ln its last years the "Mystery of God"; to him was granted the privilege of bearing from the hands of the Lord to the Household of Faith "meat in due season" for the special development and sustenance of God's dear little ones. This service he has faithfully performed. This book is chiefly a compilation of things which he wrote and which have been brought together in harmonious style by properly applying the symbols which he explained to the Church.
By his last Will and Testament Pastor Russell designated George H. Fisher, of Scranton, Pa., as one whom he would approve as a member of the Editorial Staff of THE WATCH TOWER — the most important journal published on earth. For many years Brother Fisher has been consecrated to the Lord, a careful student of the Bible in the light of the Message brought from the Lord by the messenger to the Laodicean Church; and for some time he has made a careful and prayerful study of the Book of Ezekiel.
When Pastor Russell was with us he gave direction that the BIBLE STUDENTS MANUAL should be prepared by Clayton J. Woodworth, also of Scranton, Pa. This Manual was published by this Society, and has proven a great blessing to the Household of Faith. The preparation of that Manual required a critical examination of everything Pastor Russell had written; and thus Brother Woodworth was enabled to become more familiar, probably, than any one else with the explanation of the Scriptures which had been given by Brother Russell. In this manner the Lord seemed to have qualified him for some special work. With the "key" which Brother Russell, as the Lord's servant, had placed in his hands, Brother Woodworth, by the Lord's grace, has been enabled to bring together everything that Brother Russell wrote on Revelation, and to explain and harmonize the other parts of that book with the Divine Plan; also, to treat similarly, the Song of Solomon.
It seemed pleasing to the Lord that Brothers C. J. Wood-worth and George H. Fisher should prepare the Seventh Volume, under the direction of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. While both residing in the same city, they have worked separate and apart from each other, not even comparing notes. The reader will be able to judge how fully the work of each harmonizes with that of the other and with the Divine Plan, thus giving further evidence of the Lord's direction in this matter.
Pastor Russell long ago said, in substance, that the Seventh Volume would not he for the development of the Church; that the preceding six volumes of STUDIES IN
THE SCRIPTURES contain the necessary spiritual food tor that purpose. Asked why, then, it would be written, he replied, "It will probably be given to the Church in a time of direst need, for her comfort and encouragement."
Who amongst the consecrated this side the veil does not realize that the Church is now in that time of "dire need of comfort and encouragement"? The hour of fiery trial and great testings is upon God's people, and there is need for their comfort and encouragement. The Lord has promised "grace sufficient" and help for every time of need for those who love Him and come confidently unto Him. We believe that as the Lord's dear children throughout the earth read the contents of this book and see how wonderfully He has shielded them from the storms of human passion and from the snares of the great Adversary; and that when they see that the unrighteous, wicked systems of Babylon are now crumbling under the mighty hand of God — which bespeaks the early deliverance of the last members of the Body from this vale of tears into the glorious light and liberty of the saints — that then they will be greatly comforted; that then they will take new courage and "gird up the loins of their mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to come unto them quickly;" that with exceeding joy they will lift up their heads, because the hour of deliverance is at hand! To all the truly consecrated who read and appreciate this book we believe that the words of the Master, "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!" will sound in their ears like clarion notes upon the clear morning air, giving courage and strength to those who are growing weak in faith, and more courage to the stronger ones. We believe that every one who appreciates this volume will have a burning desire to grasp his weapon and go forth to the smiting of the Jordan, giving praise to the Lord for the privilege.
Some will murmur and find fault with this book; some will grow angry, and some will join the persecutors. But, we believe, every saint whose heart is filled with love for God and for His people will rejoice and give praise to the Lord for this further evidence of His blessed favor.
The publisher takes pleasure in presenting this, the Seventh Volume, to the remaining members of the Church, and to all who may read with profit to themselves and to the glory of the Lord Jesus and our Father. As the Lord has sent forth the other six volumes, His blessing has accompanied each. That His blessing may be upon this volume, to the comfort and encouragement of the dear saints in the hour of direst need, is our prayer!INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION