J N Darby – French Letter No. 148 – God humbles the Brethren

 

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby48

Plymouth – 13th February 1846

To Mr B R

Beloved Brother

It should not be thought that God is shown to be against the brethren. Much the contrary. What is true is that there have been very great tests. But I have never been so convinced that God loves the brethren and that He desires to keep them. What is true is that the enemy had sought to turn all their principles upside down and to test them by a touchstone, in a way which the flesh would not know how to escape; but this has been shown well, in humbling us it is profoundly true, that our principles were of fine gold. God has recognised them in humbling those who professed them all. But division has only happened in two places and, in the second, it has only occurred last week; undoubtedly in my view, however the brothers work, I do not doubt, to make a party elsewhere. But I think that God laid His hand on the work of the opposers, and that they will hardly be able to do any more, because [the matter] is known now. God was over this, in spite of all the tricks which they used. Perhaps our patience will be exercised, and it will be for our good. But God has shown His goodness to us in a way which, for me, I have never seen the like. Never have we had meetings so happy, or in such a spirit of service, however poor we are. I think I can say (while being sure that what was already sown will still be reaped here) that the plague is stayed.

God has already answered, I dare not to say to faithfulness, but at least to the desire to be faithful.

This is what I think of the affairs here. If there had been more spirituality, the thing would have been – or would have been able to be – cured outright. God has acted according to the state of the church and in this, it seems to me, much more solidly in individual consciences. I have left the thing, I believe, according to the mind of God; and I am happy about it.

[See 148A}

I do not know how to say anything, dear brother, about the Jewish resurrection, but, whatever it may be, it is here in John 11; my thought, besides, is basically yours. I think that the action of Christ as the resurrection and the life[1] answers to its position. Being on earth, He quickened Lazarus with life, which left him on the earth. Now He is only present spiritually. When He returns, He will raise those who have believed, even though they may be dead (literally), and those who live and believe on Him will not die (literally). This is the only complete sense of the passage. I do not know why one would not apply this to the resurrection of the faithful. I do not doubt at all that the Jews were mistaken in verse 36 about the tears of Jesus. The Lord had on His heart the feeling of the power of death on these poor creatures.

The passage in 2 Peter 1: 10 has never more arrested me, because the Greek word βέβαιοςbabaios – has not only the sense of making firm, but the conviction a truth of which is affirmed, as for example, in verse 19: “We have the prophetic word made surer”, a perfectly similar case. The word – no more than election (at least if you want, as God has expressed Himself in the word – would be made no firmer, but the term means that it was confirmed, known by the transfiguration. For the consciousness (the intimate or inward feeling) of our election is affirmed to us, if we walk according to God, that is certain. The Holy Spirit, God, has His liberty in our hearts and is maintained there.

As to Hebrews 12: 22, 23, the use of the word “and” (have you noticed it?) tends to make the interpretation of the passage thus: “and to myriads of angels, the universal gathering; and …”. The use of the word myriad is known in the case of angels, as in Revelation 5: 11; on the other hand, the universal gathering is used for the assembly of Israel. The use of this word in other classics is too well known for one to have needed to speak of it. It seems to me that the thought of the myriads of angels suggests to the apostle this beautiful assembly, all solemn and joyous. I have thought for a long time, without seeking to impose my idea on others, that “the assembly of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” forms the church properly speaking, and that “the spirits of just men made perfect” are the saints of the Old Testament in a special way. The absence of the article must not be forgotten in this passage, which gives a characteristic and not objective force to the phrase, so: “to a mount Zion”, in contrast with “a mountain which could not be touched”.

I hope that our dear brother R does not lack anything. Greet all the brethren very affectionately.

Yours very affectionately

 

Really, I am very happy and blessed in my work; we are more than ever, but I am busy all the time. I am obliged sometimes to defer my replies to letters which demand careful study.

 

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013

Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

[1] John 11: 25

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – 1&2 Peter

The Epistles of Peter, while referring to redemption, concentrate especially to the government of God

• In 1 Peter His government is in favour of the saints.
• In 2 Peter we have the judgment of the wicked.

Outline of Bible cover1 Peter

The Epistles of Peter, while referring to redemption, concentrate especially to the government of God

• In 1 Peter His government is in favour of the saints.
• In 2 Peter we have the judgment of the wicked.

The saints are not seen as risen with Christ, but begotten again to a living hope by His resurrection. They pursue their pilgrimage as strangers, towards an incorruptible inheritance, reserved in heaven for them. They are kept by the power of God through faith, waiting for the appearing of Christ for full deliverance, the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.

He marks out the progress of this revelation:
1. the prophets testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories following,
2. the same things reported in the gospel preached by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,
3. patience till the revelation of Jesus Christ brought these things to them.

On this ground they are called on to walk in sobriety, obedience, and holiness, on the double ground, that He who called them is holy, and that they call on the Father, who judges without respect of persons every man’s work. But this is founded on redemption by the blood of Christ, and being born again of the incorruptible seed of the word. They believe in God through Christ, whom He had raised from the dead, and to whom He had given glory, all flesh being as grass, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.
The persons addressed are the scattered believing remnant of Israel in various countries of Asia Minor. Hence he distinguishes them as living stones, owned of God, built on the precious living Stone, a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to disobedient Israel. He then applies Exodus 19:6 and Hosea 2:23, and exhorts them to walk blameless in the midst of the Gentiles who spake against them. This would force them to glorify God in the day of their visitation. He then exhorts them to suffer patiently, seeing that, like Christ, it was the Christian’s place to do good, suffer for it patiently. This leads him to refer again to Christ bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, referring to Isaiah 53.

Then in the remainder of chap. 2 and in chap. 3 there are exhortations on details of conduct. He refers to the government of God securing us in peacefulness: if the saints suffered for righteousness’ sake they were happy, beautifully adding that Christ had suffered once for sins, and that this ought to suffice. They ought to suffer for righteousness, if they suffered at all. He then refers to His being put to death in the flesh. They were to arm themselves with the same mind, for in death sin had been done away with. He then reminds them that with God, the have ability for all things, spiritual or temporal. He encourages them in suffering reproach for Christ’s sake, an advance on suffering for righteousness’ sake. This is the only place where they are called Christians. They are to rejoice in the reproach as partakers of Christ’s sufferings, with the consciousness that the time had come for judgment to begin at the house of God.

We then get exhortations to elders and to the younger, and to humbleness under God’s hand, sobriety and diligence, and resistance to Satan. The apostle finally commends them to the God of all grace.

2 Peter

In this second Epistle, which he writes to the same persons who had received, not the Messiah in glory, but the same precious faith as the apostle had received through God’s righteousness. He shows that in the midst of evil, God’s divine power had given everything necessary to life and godliness, the saints knowing God having been called by glory and virtue. He then urges them to be diligent in everything that would give them an abundant entrance into the kingdom. With out this they would be of impaired vision as Christians. He tells them that he must shortly put off this tabernacle; and writes that they might maintain the testimony after he had gone. He showed them that the mount of transfiguration had confirmed the prophetic testimony of the kingdom they were waiting for, asserting that all scripture tended to one common purpose, the fruit of one Spirit, and not of the will of man.

Peter then warns them about false teachers, who deny the authority of Christ, though many would follow them. He names them as wicked, but shows how God can deliver the righteous, and hold the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished. He states their character, especially in the working of the will of man in immmorality and insubordination; adding to this another characteristic – their scoffing at the doctrine of the Lord’s return. He next refers to the deluge as a judgment already executed, and the day of the Lord, as a judgment by fire to come. All that nature trusted in would disappear. This urges the saints to greater holiness.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Canticles
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

lay-preachingIn addition to his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, John Nelson Darby produced a short outline.  They were based on a series of lectures in Birmingham.   This is being reproduced here.

As time allows I will go through it, making the language clearer and up to date, only where necessary.  This will not be a summary.

Click on the appropriate book for the summary.

To download a DRAFT version of the booklet in PDF format, please click here. – Outline to the Bible

The Old Testament

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

The New Testament

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation