Although we disclaim anything akin to inspiration in connection with these STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, nevertheless we are glad that because we are in the dawning of the New Dispensation, the light of Truth is shining so clearly and the Divine Plan is so manifest that scarcely a word of the Volume would need to be changed if it were written to-day—twenty-six years later.
The Time of the End has emphasized this more and more as the years have gone by, especially since we entered chronologically the great Seventh Day. The work of Harvest has progressed and is still progressing - even though at one time we supposed that the Harvest work would have been fully accomplished with the ending of the Times of the Gentiles. That was merely a supposition, which proved to be without warrant, for the thrusting in of the sickle of Truth and the gathering in of the ripe grain has been progressing since October, 1914, as never before. Indeed, the great World War has awakened humanity in a remarkable degree, and more independent thinking is being done than ever before. All this contributes to the breaking of the shackles of ignorance, superstition, and prejudice, and the freeing of those who desire to know and to do the Lord's will and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
We are glad for further opportunities of service to our great King in the gathering of the Elect to Himself, to the Truth. We are glad to see others coming into the Truth and preparing for the "Wedding." Evidently the "door" is not yet shut,
although we anticipate that before a very long time - perhaps a year or two or three - the full number of the Elect will be com- pleted, and all will have gone beyond the Veil and the door will be shut.
We are free to say that the restoration of Israel has not been accomplished as rapidly as we had anticipated. Nevertheless, the Jews in Palestine seem to be thus far wonderfully sheltered ; and doubtless many of their co-religionists in the war districts, especially in Poland, would be glad if they had gone to Palestine when they had opportunity. It is difficult to say how the con- clusion of the war may affect the interests of Israel. We should be in a waiting, expectant attitude. It looks as though the trying experiences of the Jews would arouse considerable numbers of them eventually to go to their home land. We have never expected, however, that all the Jews would return thither, but rather a representative company of them, just as in the case of the return from Babylonish captivity - only about 52,000 re- turned, notwithstanding the great hosts that went to Babylon in the captivity.
The returning ones represent those fullest of faith in the Lord and His promises, and doubtless will be dealt with as representa- tive of the whole. We remind our readers that when this Volume was written, the Jews themselves had little thought of going to Palestine. Now Zionism has sprung up, and has taken a deep hold upon the hearts of the Israelites. Although it was a secular Zionism at first, it has gradually turned to religious sentiment and hope.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt discussed in this Volume has not lost any of its interest to the author. Its Descending Passage still represents figuratively the downward course of mankind under the reign of sin and death. The First Ascending Passage still represents the Law Dispensation - God's Covenant with Israel made at Sinai and the course of that people under the domination of that Law. The Grand Gallery still represents the lofty heights of the teaching of Christ and His followers during this Gospel Age. The step in the upper end of the Grand Gallery still represents a marked change in the affairs of the world, lifting man to a higher plane. The connection between the top of the Grand Gallery and the spaces above the King's Chamber still represents the spiritual presence of our Lord in the Harvest of this Age, beginning with 1874.
We have never attempted to place the Great Pyramid, some- times called the Bible in Stone, on a parallel or equality with the Word of God as represented by the Old and New Testament Scriptures - the latter stand preeminent always as the authority. We do, however, still believe that the structure of this Pyramid, so different from that of all other pyramids, was designed of the Lord and intended to be a Pyramid and a witness in the midst and on the border of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 19: 19.) It certainly tells a very different story from any other art or relic handed down from its remote times.
Its wonderful corroboration of the Divine Plan of the Ages is astounding to everybody who really grasps it. It should be read with just as fresh interest as in the first edition, because its lessons have not altered or changed. We trust that new readers will get the same rich blessings from this Volume that old readers have received, and that thus we may glorify God together and rejoice in His provision of light and comfort on the way to the full ushering in of the glorious Kingdom of God's dear Son.
Messiah's Kingdom is sometimes styled the Kingdom of God, because, although it is strictly under the management of Messiah, all of its laws, regulations, judgments, etc., are in strict conformity to the Divine arrangement, which is unchangeable. Hence when we pray, "Thy Kingdom come ; Thy will be done on earth even as in Heaven," our thought should be that the grand perfection of the Heavenly Father's Rule and Government is our desire and that we are hoping and waiting for the thousand-year Reign of Christ to conquer the rebellion of earth and to bring humanity back into as full accord with God as are all the angels of Heaven in their perfection.
Messiah's Kingdom has various stages of inauguration. First, in His Parousia the glorified Jesus quickens, or resurrects, the sleeping members of the Body of Christ. This is the first execu- tive act of the Great One whom God has so highly exalted - the Heir of the great Abrahamic promise. His members must be completed before He will officially take His position as the King of the world. Assurance of this fact is given by the inspired Word : "When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3: 4.) Next in order the Master deals with tlie living members of His Body, the Church. As shown in the parables of the pounds and the talents, the Master's judgment concerning worthiness or unworthiness in the
Kingdom must pass upon all of His consecrated ones and the full number of the Elect must be found and be glorified by the resurrection "change" - because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 15: 50.) Then the dominion of the world will be assumed. The glorified One will ask of the Father, and He will give Him the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. "He will rule them with a rod of iron. As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken into shivers." - Psa. 2 ; Rev. 2 : 27.
This revealing of the Son of Man to the world by His assump- tion of power and His permission of the world to pass into the great ordeal of anarchy is evidently nearing. For a little while there will be a great triumph of Churchianity, after the war. Both Catholics and Protestants will share in this triumph and both political and financial princes will encourage it, hoping for the prolongation of their own power. At that time we may expect strong opposition from Churchianity upon the true, faithful followers of Jesus, resulting in serious persecutions - perhaps even unto the death. But the triumph of Babylon will be short. Soon the sentence already pronounced will be executed and she shall fall like a great millstone into the sea - into anarchy - into destruction, never to rise again.
Not long after, according to the Bible picture, we may expect the total collapse of our present civilization. But the darkest moment of man's extremity will be God's opportunity. The Messiah, the Elect of God, will take the control and speak peace to the tumultuous peoples and bring order out of confusion, joy out of tears, praise out of despair. Thus the Kingdom of Messiah will be born in a terrible travail; but the glorious results will more than compensate for the "Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Thus we are told, "The desire of all nations shall come." - Haggai 2 : 7.
May these pages continue to be a blessing to the Lord's people and an honour to His name, is the prayer of the author,
CHARLES T. RUSSELL.
Brooklyn, N.Y., .
October 1, 1916.