John Nelson Darby’s Prophetic Map

In 1828 or 1829 Darby drew his ‘Prophetic Map’ (see JND Notes & Comments Vol 2 – page 192).

This article looks aback over what Darby wrote in the light of various things that have happened in the world since then.

JohnNelsonDarbyIn 1828 or 1829 J N Darby drew his ‘Prophetic Map’ (see JND Notes & Comments Vol 2 – page 192).  Of course he was well versed in Daniel 11

This article looks back over what Darby wrote in the light of various things that have happened in the world since then.  For example:

  • The break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of many independent states in the Middle East
  • The first and second World Wars
  • The Treaty of Rome and the European Union
  • NATO and allies
  • The United Nations and other treaty organisations
  • The rise and fall of the Russian (Soviet) Empire and its resurgent ambitions
  • Former Warsaw Pact nations aligning themselves with the West, joining NATO and the European Union
  • Colonial independence from Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands etc
  • Post WW2 political and later economic migration
  • Formation of the State of Israel and territorial disputes
  • The growing significance of Islam, and the hostility between the Sunni and Shi’ite divisions
  • Islamic jihad terrorist organisations such as ‘Islamic State’, al Qaeda and  Boko Haram
  • The wealth of the Arabs etc. due to oil
  • Increased material wealth and generally reduced poverty
  • The dominance of the United States
  • Improvements in health care
  • Legalisation and even promotion of unorthodox/immoral lifestyles
  • Modern communications, radio, TV and the internet
  • The green movement
  • The large migration of Eastern people to Europe, America and elsewhere, bringing the influence of religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.


I will treat the various areas of the world, citing Darby’s analysis and opinion and possible deductions in describing his Prophetic Map.  I have also noted a couple of things I do not understand.  Doubtless this could be a topic for discussion.

I might add that this does not involve the church.  However we Christians should be intelligent as to events in the world, and also know what will happen here after the rapture of the church .  Of course we will not be here!


JN Darby's Prophetic MapEurope, the ‘Western World’ and the Antichrist

Europeans are primarily descendants of Japheth,  Gomer (hence Germany also known as Cimmerians – from which Cimbri – Celts), and Magog (Scythians/Russians), and Madai (Medes), and Javan (Greece) , and Tubal (Tiblisi? i.e. the Caucuses), and Meshech Moschi – Armenians), and Tiras (probably Goths/Scandinavians) see Genesis 10:2-3 (and Elicott’s Ethnological Table.  However, with so much migration over the millennia, clear demarcations are impossible.

Darby believed that France, not the USA, would become the dominant Western power.  At the time France was in turmoil:  Napoleon, whose objective had been European integration, had been defeated, and there was continued unrest up to the establishment of the Second Republic in 1848.  France would not have been considered a potential leader of Europe at ay time during JND’s adult life, it being in trouble again in the 1870’s after the Franco-Prussian war.

In drawing up his Prophetic Map, Darby foresaw European unity – at least as nation states working together, and that is what we have.  At the time of writing Britain had just elected to withdraw from the European Union.  Nevertheless, it will remain in the larger political/military grouping of NATO and probably the European Economic Area.  However, it will not be in a position to lead Europe.  Indeed, in Darby’s paper England is described as a minor irritant – this must have been perceptive considering the world dominant position of the British Empire in the 1800’s.

Germany, whilst the largest economy, has never led, still being held back by the WW2 legacy.  Hitler, another prefigurement of the Antichrist had thankfully been defeated.   Darby referred to Austria.  Of course this country’s influence has become minor since the fall of the Hapsburgs, and even more so since Hitler (an Austrian) annexed the country to Germany.  It would remain part of the West European nations.  He was also critical of Poland and to date the role of this populous nation has been limited to its part in the downfall of the Soviet system, and to providing the Pope in office at the time.

Roman Catholicism will be the dominant religion, especially as so-called Protestant churches veer towards Rome.  Elsewhere Darby made it clear that this would be increasingly so despite the strength of atheistic secularism.  The large influx of Muslims, and those of Eastern religions will in time make way for the unified false Babylon religion.  Already, in the UK, Muslims represent about 10% of the religiously active population, with Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists making 5%.  There is even a trend to pre-Christian paganism.

Biblically the sphere of operations is the area covered by the Roman Empire and some extensions in Europe, Asia and Africa.  Outgoings of Europe in the rest of the world – USA, Canada, Australia, Latin America etc., are not part of the sphere or provide leadership, but can be regarded as part of the expanded Roman Empire in Revelation.

Did Darby foresee the modern advances in technology and its impact?  He saw the improvement in communications and was not ignorant of scientific thought.  What is clear from his writings is that he relates a lot to the influence of the East, embraced by the West.

So it is not impossible that France will be the dominant Western force, supporting Darby’s prediction that the Antichrist would come from that country, despite all that has happened in the last 200 years.  Who knows?


Russia and the King of the North

Darby was quite specific as to this area, drawing on Ezekiel and Daniel in particular.

On the European side we have Russia, referred to in prophecy as Rosh and Meshech (Moscow?) and Tubal.  He thought that Russia would come to dominate Turkey-in-Asia, but I believe that if it does, it will control the whole country.  Istanbul is as much Turkey as Ankara.  This is not impossible.  Whilst Turkey has been a member of NATO for decades, and would like to join the European Union, there are areas of tension with NATO and strong resistance to its joining the EU.   Like Russia it does not really have democratic government.  Having lost the Eastern European countries to the EU after the fall of communism, there is little doubt that Russia would like to extend its sphere of influence.  Russia’s influence and control would then extend from the Arctic to the Mediterranean.

The other area that Darby thought that Russia would dominate (though not control) is that of Persia (Iran) and Media the Japhetic children of Medai .  [Darby said that that Persia was a subservient Hamitic people, but their language does not bear this out.  Probably he was referring to what we now know as the Iraqis who speak Arabic, but would have been, like the Canaanites, descended from Ham – Sosthenes].   Darby’s map shows this area extending eastwards as far as the Indus River, and therefore embracing a lot of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and  south to include Syria and Lebanon.  Although those countries are mostly Sunni, Iran would like to control all the Muslim regions in that part of the world.

Significantly Darby hardly mentions Islam – just four passing references to the religion or to Mohammed.   Any review must take account of the increased profile of this religion, its divisions and the violent actions in its name.  He never referred to the two opposing Sunni and Shi’ite divisions of that religion.  The Shi’ite religion, with its observance of shrines and icons is probably more compatible with Orthodox Christendom, so there is a natural fit here.  The Assyrians are referred to a lot – basically the same people.

Finally, in this group are the descendants of Nimrod, the hunter.  These Hamites led to the Huns and the Magyars, now occupying Hungary and much of the Balkans.  Russia would have to wrest these countries from the EU and stop Serbia and the Ukraine from joining.


Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the King of the South

The area ‘between the two rivers’ (i.e. the Euphrates and the Nile) is occupied by descendants of Shem and Ham.  Ishmael (Arabs) and Hamites – from Cush, Phut and Mizraim (Egypt and North Africa) are generally stricter, puritanical Sunni Muslims rivalling the Shi’ites to the north.  Doubtless due to financial relationships with the West, Darby’s words could be fulfilled, ‘Eastern descendants of Ham, just as the western or southern descendants of Ham will be at the steps of Antichrist or the mature apostate body, for they will be judged as Antichrist, Gog and Magog, for coming against the Jews.’ (See original paper).

J. N. Darby. – Notes and Comments Vol. 2. page 192

Available from Kingston Bible Trust (Lancing Sussex), Bibles etc. (Wheaton IL)  and elsewhere


The Prophetic Map: What does all this mean?

All this is very interesting, but has no direct bearing on the church.  But as Darby says, ‘There is not a more important chapter in Scripture as to the providence of God than Genesis 10.  The Noahic and Abrahamic earth under Providence leaves the will of man to act.  All the powers of the world will be brought together as they have acted within the limits of God’s known providence, and formed the subject of Scriptural statement as to kingdoms, i.e., powers in the world previous to the interposition and restoration of the four great kingdoms with the power of Ezekiel [especially ch. 38], acting as described in Joel [chs. 2 and 3]; and of other types. The Gog and Magog of Revelation includes all and runs over the whole extent of the inhabited earth, not the powers of the earth as in the formative system, for then the system is formed and it is re-action, in God’s wisdom and permission, of judgment on those not truly of it, as I am led to believe.’



July 2016


J N Darby – Lettre No. 107

Londres, mars 1871

A M. P.

Bien-aimé frère,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

J’ai été heureux d’avoir de vos nouvelles ainsi que des frères, et tout premièrement de nos chers frères de France. Dieu les a gardés ; il est toujours fidèle.

Vous aurez su comme tout le monde qu’il y a eu un second siège de Paris, les Communistes s’étant emparés de la ville. Des maux plus sérieux que dans le premier siège en sont résultés ; des batailles, des assauts livrés, puis pour empêcher le progrès des troupes, on a mis le feu à la ville en bien des endroits, et incendié des monuments publics. Vous en savez probablement plus que moi, car je ne lis pas les journaux ; cela me distrait, et le monde va son train, que je les lise ou que je ne les lise pas.

Les frères de Paris ont continué leurs réunions et ont été heureux, malgré les difficultés du temps. On a envoyé des fonds d’Angleterre, de Hollande, de Suisse, et on est venu en aide, au fur et à mesure de leurs besoins, aux ouvriers qui s’étaient endettés, ayant manqué de travail.

La Suisse va assez bien. Des frères anglais y sont actifs, et il y a eu un renouvellement de vie.

En Angleterre, en Ecosse, en Irlande et en Allemagne, dans le Canada aussi, l’œuvre du Seigneur fait toujours des progrès, mais le mal aussi, et d’une manière encore plus évidente. Pour ma part, cher frère, Christ est toujours davantage le tout de mon âme. Je vieillis, mon salut est plus près que lorsque j’ai cru. Toutefois, je travaille toujours, mais le travail me fatigue davantage ; ce n’est pas étonnant à 70 ans passés.

J’ai médité Matthieu à Londres, et j’ai excessivement joui de la présentation de Jésus, Jéhovah le Sauveur, homme dans ce monde, manifesté en chair, mais le modèle de notre position, le vainqueur dans notre combat, tout en étant Dieu en grâce, au milieu de nous.

Nous imprimons la seconde édition du Nouveau Testament français, avec les corrections et notes nouvellement ajoutées de la seconde édition anglaise, la troisième édition allemande, avec les mêmes corrections, ainsi que l’Ancien Testament que j’avais traduit la dernière fois que j’étais en Allemagne, ce qui, avec le travail ordinaire de l’œuvre, ne m’a pas laissé oisif. J’ai dû consulter plusieurs nouveaux manuscrits et m’occuper d’autres travaux critiques qui ne nourrissent guère…

Saluez affectueusement tous les frères.

Votre bien affectionné en notre précieux Sauveur.


J N Darby – French Letter No. 107 – Brethren in Paris during Franco-Prussian War

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

London – March 1871

To Mr P
Beloved Brother,

I have been happy to have your news thus about the brethren, and first of all of our dear brethren in France. God has kept them; He is always faithful.

You will have known as everybody that there has been a second siege of Paris, the Communists being in charge of the city. More serious evils than in the first siege have resulted; battles, assaults delivered, then to hinder the progress of the troops, the city has been set on fire and also its surroundings, and public monuments burned. You probably know more than me, for I do not read the newspapers; this distracts me, and the world goes on its way whether I read them or do not read them.

The brethren in Paris have continued their meetings and have been happy in spite of the difficulties of the times. Funds have been sent from England, Holland, Switzerland, and help has come to them, according to and in the measure of their needs, to the workers who were in debt, having lost work.
Switzerland goes on well. The English brethren are active there and there has been a revival of life.
In England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany, also in Canada, the work of the Lord ever makes progress, but evil does too, and in a yet more evident way. For my part, dear brother, Christ is ever more the all of my soul. I grow old, my salvation is nearer than when I believed. However, I still work, but the work tires me more. This is not surprising at past seventy years old.

I have meditated on Matthew in London, and I have exceedingly enjoyed the presentation of Jesus, Jehovah the Saviour, Man in this world, manifest in flesh, but the model of our position, the conqueror in our conflict, all in being God in grace in our midst.

We are printing the second edition of the French New Testament, with the corrections and our newly added notes from the second English edition, the third German edition, with the same corrections, besides the Old Testament that I have translated the last time I was in Germany, which, with the ordinary labour of the work, has not left me idle. I have had to consult several new manuscripts and been occupied with other critical work which does not give any nourishment ……

Salute all the brethren affectionately

Your well beloved in our precious Saviour


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.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 106 – France at War

London – 1st March 1871
To Mr P
Beloved Brother,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

It is really problematic for me to go to America again. It is surely not that the desire is lacking, for I will always like coming very much, above all to see one or two places; but entirely being able for a lot of work. I have passed the term assigned to human life and I am no longer as able to bear the tiredness and effort, as when I scurried on foot over the mountains of La Lozère and Gard . But in the end I am for God, a God of all grace, happy to belong to Him, infinitely happy, and desiring only to do his will up to the end, for it is the only good thing. What are we, unless servants, in this world? Soon the illusions will pass, there is only faith that is true and will abide.

I hold nine meetings a week, where I take part, and I work in my head; I still visit as always, but I do not know if a journey as far as California would be in God’s ways. I have already been asked, but at first sight, such a mission seems demanding, to supply it with the bodily strength which a man past 70 years old can hardly have, claimed as I am by other work. I am also asked for in Italy.

For the moment, the griefs of our dear French brethren appear to be coming to an end . We have done what we can to comfort them. Those in Paris have suffered a shortage of supplies, but not otherwise. Help amounting to about 40,000 francs has been sent to the area of Sedan where the distress was great, and more than 4,000 francs for the urgent needs of those who have been in the war theatre. Holland and Switzerland have taken their part in this liberality. The German brethren have done what they could to greet the prisoner brethren when they have been able to find them. Two of these last work quietly among them and earn their living: for a third, they arrived two hours too late, he had just been sent with 2,000 other prisoners to Holstein. They stood surety for these brothers to the government. Finally, there was a testimony rendered (however weak it may be), that grace and Christianity are above the miseries of this poor world. L F has visited them, and has received good letters from some among them who had been sent to Bavaria. In the Ardèche, where the brethren have little or no suffering, this has nevertheless made them sober, it has been the same with people of the world; and the meetings have been more frequent. In the Drôme, some were drawn away by their companions in the standing or mobile guard. In the country of Montbéliard, they are full of recognition towards God who has kept them. They suffered, their stock was taken, and workers, it seems, lacked work everywhere during the campaign. We send them assistance, either from here, or from Switzerland. I see this evening from the placards that the peace treaty is already signed. Things now move quickly, but the hand of God all the more is seen. I hope that under certain conditions, it will have been good for the brethren, because the massacre and ruin were frightful. Then supplies have been missed in the north of France, because what they had sown was frozen. They sow now. A tremendous amount of wheat and supplies are sent from England, but it is a nothing for a so big country. The South of France has not suffered; or in the west either, save from the inclemency of the season, and from the shortage of grain for the sowing season. But peace prevailing, things will get better in a short time. God ever good is above it all. I feared for the German brethren, that these events would go to their heads, but it appears that they were very sober and that they have turned more to the Lord.

On the other hand, I feared for the French brethren, that these things would embitter them and that they would think more of France than of the Lord. I hope however that they will turn to their good. We have prayed constantly for them. You know well what happens even at the confederation of the nations of the west? In my spirit, these events point to the return of the Lord rather than to the earth. I saw all that outright, as one might say; now that things begin to develop, events detach from one another, only it seems to me that it will require time. But who can say? It does not touch our waiting at all. There are no events between us and heaven. May our hearts be there! …

All in all, I do not think that this blight of war has done a lot of harm spiritually to the brethren. In la Drôme, there was not enough life already. I leave the question of carrying weapons on both sides; it flustered many brothers, and I understand it. What a terror! to say nothing about the principle, to see brethren killing each other. Besides, I do not think that a single brother has been killed on one side or the other. The son of a German brother has been; one hoped that he was sober. One has written too of France: X if I am not deceived has encouraged the brethren to bear arms. B must be, or has been judged for refusing to be there. God makes all things work together for good to those that love Him. What a compassionate God is our God!
Peace be to you, dear brother. Greet all brethren affectionately. Here, the brethren do well, and work extends persistently, but outwardly everything is breaking down. In Germany, the work also extends.

Yours ever affectionately

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.

J N Darby. Lettre No.106

CVI – 106
Londres, 1er mars 1871
A M. P.
Bien-aimé frère,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby
Il est bien problématique que je revienne encore en Amérique. Ce n’est sûrement pas que le désir me manque, car j’aimerais beaucoup m’y rendre, surtout en vue d’un ou de deux endroits ; mais, tout en étant encore capable de beaucoup de travail, j’ai dépassé le terme assigné à la vie humaine et ne suis plus aussi capable de supporter la fatigue et les peines, comme lorsque je trottais à pied sur les montagnes de la Lozère et du Gard. Mais enfin je suis à Dieu, à un Dieu de toute grâce, heureux de lui appartenir, infiniment heureux, et ne désirant que faire sa volonté jusqu’au bout, car c’est la seule chose bonne. Que sommes-nous, sinon ses serviteurs, dans ce monde ? Bientôt les illusions passeront, il n’y a que la foi qui soit vraie et qui demeure.
Je tiens neuf réunions par semaine, ou j’y prend part, et je travaille de la tête ; je visite encore comme toujours, mais je ne sais si un voyage jusqu’en Californie serait dans les voies de Dieu. On me l’a déjà demandé, mais de prime abord, une telle mission semble exiger, pour la remplir des forces corporelles dont un homme de 70 ans passés ne peut guère disposer, réclamé comme je le suis par d’autres travaux. On me demande aussi en Italie.
Pour le moment, les peines de nos chers frères français paraissent toucher à leur fin. Nous avons fait ce que nous pouvions pour les soulager. Ceux de Paris ont souffert de la disette de vivres, mais pas autrement. Des secours se montant à 40’000 francs environ ont été envoyés du côté de Sedan où la détresse était grande, et de plus 4’000 fr. pour les besoins urgents de ceux qui ont été sur le théâtre de la guerre. La Hollande et la Suisse ont pris part de leur côté à cette libéralité. Les frères allemands ont fait ce qu’ils ont pu pour accueillir les frères prisonniers, quand ils ont pu les trouver. Deux de ces derniers travaillent paisiblement au milieu d’eux et gagnent leur vie : pour un troisième, ils sont arrivés deux heures trop tard, il venait d’être envoyé avec 2’000 autres prisonniers dans le Holstein. Ils se sont portés caution pour ces frères, auprès du gouvernement. Enfin, il y a eu un témoignage rendu (quelque faible qu’il ait pu être), que la grâce et le christianisme sont en dehors, et au-dessus des misères de ce pauvre monde. L. F. les a visités, et a reçu de bonnes lettres de quelques-uns d’entre eux qui avaient été envoyé en Bavière. Dans l’Ardèche, où les frères ont peu ou point souffert, cela les a néanmoins rendus sérieux, il en a été de même des gens du monde ; aussi les réunions ont-elles été plus fréquentées. Dans la Drôme, quelques-uns ont été entraînés par leurs compagnons de la garde sédentaire ou mobile. Dans la contrée de Montbéliard, ils sont pleins de reconnaissance envers Dieu qui les a gardés. Ils ont souffert, leur bétail a été pris, et les ouvriers ont, paraît-il, manqué d’ouvrage partout à la campagne. Nous leur envoyons des secours, soit d’ici, soit de Suisse. Je vois ce soir par les affiches que le traité de paix est déjà signé. Les choses vont vite à présent, mais on y voit d’autant plus la main de Dieu. J’espère que sous certains rapports, cela aura fait du bien aux frères, car le carnage et la ruine ont été affreux. Puis les vivres manquaient au nord de la France ; car ce qu’on avait semé a été gelé. On sème maintenant. On envoie énormément de blé et de vivres de l’Angleterre, mais c’est un rien pour un si grand pays. Le Midi n’a guère souffert, l’Ouest non plus, sauf de l’inclémence de la saison, et du manque de grain pour les semailles. Mais la paix survenant, les choses se remettront en peu de temps. Dieu toujours bon est au-dessus de tout. Je craignais pour les frères allemands, que ces événements ne leur montassent la tête, mais il paraît qu’ils étaient trop sérieux et qu’ils les ont plutôt tournés vers le Seigneur.
Je craignais d’autre part pour nos frères français, que ces choses ne les aigrissent et qu’ils pensassent plus à la France qu’au Seigneur. J’espère toutefois qu’elles tourneront à leur bien. Nous avons constamment prié pour eux. Savez-vous bien que ce qui arrive même à la confédération des nations de l’Occident ? Dans mon esprit, ces événements renvoient plutôt la venue du Seigneur quant à la terre. Je voyais tout cela en bloc, pour ainsi dire ; maintenant que les choses commencent à se développer, les événements se détachent l’un de l’autre, seulement il me semble que cela demandera du temps. Mais qui peut le dire ? Cela ne touche nullement notre attente. Il n’y a pas d’événements entre nous et le ciel. Que nos cœurs y soient ! …
En somme, je ne crois pas que ce fléau de la guerre ait fait spirituellement beaucoup de mal aux frères. Dans la Drôme, il y avait déjà peu de vie. Je laisse la question de porter les armes des deux côtés ; cela a troublé bien des frères, et je le comprends. Quelle horreur ! pour ne rien dire du principe, de voir des frères s’entre-tuer. Au reste, je ne crois pas qu’un seul frère ait été tué d’un côté ou de l’autre. Le fils d’un frère allemand l’a été ; on espérait qu’il était sérieux. On m’a écrit de France : X., si je ne me trompe, a encouragé les frères à porter les armes. B. doit être, ou a été jugé pour s’y être refusé. Dieu fait contribuer toutes choses au bien de ceux qui l’aiment. Quel Dieu miséricordieux que notre Dieu !
Paix vous soit, cher frère. Saluez affectueusement tous les frères. Ici, les frères vont bien, et l’œuvre s’étend continuellement, mais au dehors tout dégringole. En Allemagne, l’œuvre s’étend aussi.
Votre toujours affectionné.