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;1Thes.5:4.
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
LONDON, BROOKLYN, MELBOURNE, BARMEN-ELBERFELD
TO THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
IN THE INTEREST OF
HIS CONSECRATED "SAINTS,"
WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION,
- AND OF -
"ALL THAT IN EVERY PLACE CALL UPON THE LORD,"
" THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH,"
- AND OF -
THE GROANING CREATION, TRAVAILING AND WAITING FOR THE
MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD,
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED.
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
BROOKLYN. N.Y., U.S.A.
N.B.-This volume can be supplied in German, Swedish, Dano-Norwegian, French, and Greek languages.
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 to-day 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 endeavour 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 labour, 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 thousand fold. And when we remember that behind the 43 years lies a total of six thousand years of human endeavour, 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 programme ; 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 not 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 to-day have come to fully appreciate the times in which
we are living. The influence is very helpful and inspiring. A realization ihat 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 partici-pators 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.