Darby and the Wesleyans’ Free Will

From a letter written in 1861 published in the collected Writings volume 10. Doctrinal 3.  Page 185.

The Wesleyan Doctrine

J N Darby (1800-82)

J N Darby maintained that the Wesleyan doctrine of free will was a consequence of a failure to appreciate the fact that man is entirely lost. He went as far as saying that those who believed in free will could not have a full conviction of sin. Such an idea is a perversion of Christianity

Free will belongs to the natural man. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Rom 8:7-8).

Man’s heart is so corrupted and his will so obstinate that nothing can induce him to submit to God, to receive the Lord and  abandon sin.  A godly Wesleyian feels that he must please God in his own power: he does not recognise the total fall of man, something incompatible with pure grace.

So, the question is: is the old man changed, instructed, and sanctified? or do we receive a new nature in order to be saved?

Redemption

The truth is that God has shown that man is wicked, without remedy, and the cross of Christ condemns man — sin in the flesh.  Through redemption accomplished by Christ, we have a new life, eternal life, come down from heavenin His Person.  Redemption, the accomplished work of Another, loses its force when one entertains ideas of improving the old man.  Arminianism[1], or rather Pelagianism, pretends that man can choose a practical deliverance from a moral state, rather than redemption.

Philosophically and morally speaking, freewill is a false and absurd theory.  Free will is a state of sin. Acting in free will follows sin.  What cruelty it would be to propose a duty to man who has already turned to evil!


[1]The following are the main points of Arminianism according to Wikipedia:

  1. Salvation (and condemnation on the day of judgment) was conditioned by the graciously enabled faith (or unbelief) of man.
  2. Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men, “yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the believer …” and thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ;
  3. “That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will”, and unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;
  4. The (Christian) Grace “of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of any good”, yet man may resist the Holy Spirit; and
  5. Believers are able to resist sin through Grace, and Christ will keep them from falling; but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or “becoming devoid of grace … must be more particularly determined from the Scriptures.”

Pelagianism is a heterodox Christian theological position that holds that the original sin did not taint human nature and that humans have the free will to achieve human perfection without divine grace. Pelagius (c.  355 – c.  420 AD), a British ascetic and philosopher, taught that God could not command believers to do the impossible, and therefore it must be possible to satisfy all divine commandments. He also taught that it was unjust to punish one person for the sins of another; therefore, infants are born blameless. Pelagius accepted no excuse for sinful behaviour and taught that all Christians, regardless of their station in life, should live unimpeachable, sinless lives

Who can I Break Bread with?

Principles of Gathering

J N Darby (1800-82)

Entitled ‘Principles of Gathering,  this is the substance of a letter by JND as to the question of who should read and her should not.  It is published in Collected Writings Volume 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 349. 

The Reception of Saints to Partake in the Table of our Lord

JN Darby raised the question is as to the reception of saints to partake in the table of our Lord with us: whether any can be admitted who are not formally and regularly amongst us[1].

Clearly, a person who is not sound in faith or ungodly in practice should be excluded. However, should a godly and sound person, not associated with a system with an ordained ministry be shut out?  Should he be excluded simply because his conscience has not been enlightened as to such wrong practices?  Simply put, sects meet on their principles, Baptist, Congregational etc.  If a believer belongs formally to such, you do not admit such.

No Membership of ‘Brethren’

There is no membership of ‘Brethren’. Membership of an assembly is unknown in Scripture.  Every case must be treated on its own merits – on the principle of being members of Christ’s body – the unity of all members.  If you say, ‘You do not belong to us, you cannot come’, the whole principle of meeting is gone.  Such a path is not of God.

Darby said that he had heard persons talking about communion services as being the table of devils. They may be sectarian, but they are not heathen alters.  This is monstrous nonsense and shows the bad state of the person who says such things.

A local assembly should always receive a person who is a true believer, and who has dissociated himself from that which is not of God. There cannot be too much care as to holiness and truth: the Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth; but ignorance of ecclesiastical truth is not a ground of non-reception or excommunication when the conscience and walk are undefiled. 

However, if one insisted on his right to break bread with two divergent companies, he would not come in simplicity in the unity of the body. It is evil: he has no right to impose any condition on the church of God.  Such a person cannot have a pure heart.

Satan is busy, seeking to lead us one side or the other — to destroy the largeness of the unity of the body, or to make it loose in practice and doctrine.  Reception of all true saints is what gives its force to the exclusion of those walking loosely.  If a local assembly excludes those walking godlily, power is lost, for those who are godly are shut out too.


[1] I always have a little difficulty on anything that refers to ‘us’. What do we mean by ‘us’?   Applying ‘us’ to a particular group of Christians is blatantly sectarian.

What is the Church, and in what sense is it now in ruin?

or, the Church cannot be Reconstructed

Based on a reading with J N Derby, London September 1847

Scriptures read: 1 Timothy 3:15, 16; 2 Timothy 2:19-22

J N Darby (1800-82)

Many dear brethren have understandably been troubled at the expression “the ruin of the church”. They jealously hold that the church cannot fail, and in one sense this is correct.  However, we must distinguish between God’s purposes and the present situation where a man is placed in responsibility. As regards the purpose of God the church cannot be ruined, a testimony for God on earth it is in ruin.

We may ask, ‘Is there a church now on earth or not?’

Well, we may say ‘Is there an army or not?’ Suppose an army is not destroyed but scattered to the four winds, there is still an army, but also there is not an army: it has lost its corporate character.

We might think that we cannot do anything about the ruin: we should just ignore it, satisfied that we are saved by grace.  We are content to live in the ruin.  That demonstrates a lack of faith in God’s promises.  I should feel it to be a very sad effect if the expression “ruin of the church” were to dishearten a soul about the operation of the Spirit in bringing blessing to the church.

God’s purpose is unfailing, so the Church cannot fail as it exists in God’s purpose.  It follows that there are the resources in God to meet the circumstances of every Christian.  Knowing this we can look beyond our failure and the simple application of faith to the working of God’s power and blessing to glorify Christ.  Having the Spirit of Christ I cannot rest in the thought that a Christian is secure in Christ, with a present relationship with Him: I must and endeavour to instruct and exhort him and lead him on.

Thankfully, the Lord is awakening in the souls of many saints everywhere the question – “What is the church of God, and what is its relationship with Christ?”  At the same time they are being awakened as to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Satan opposes this using past testimony to hinder the present.  We get tired; our minds get distracted but the Lord always has the upper hand.

There are many saints, sound in the faith, who are not prepared to accept what the church of God is as set forth in the word of God. If it is meant that all the saints ever saved will in the end be in company in glory, in redemption and life through Him, and they call that the Assembly of God, I have no objection. The second Adam will have all around Him in glory, as the first Adam had all around him in sin.  In our place we have both privileges and responsibilities.  The Church of the living God is brought into the testimony by the Spirit of God and has a special relationship to God.

The church of the living God is the body of saints formed on earth in unity with Christ in heaven as the Head, by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven to form them into unity with Christ at the right hand of God.  Some say that this includes all saints since Adam. But the Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my church’ (Matt 16:18). If there is to be a testimony the church must be visible, so now it is formed of those who are alive at the present time.

We read in Ephesians that God has set Christ above all principality and power in the heavenly places, consequent on his death and humiliation. The church is in association with him in heaven.  Christ is the righteous One in glory. God has set up a people in union with Christ as their head by the power of the Holy Spirit, formed of Jew and Gentile.  We now have to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

When I look at the Church in glory, I look at it as a body securely and infallibly perfect in God.  When man fails, God brings in an alternative. Adam failed; God brought in Christ. Israel failed; God brought in the assembly.  The Jewish priesthood failed and we see the same thing in the public church. But God fulfils his thoughts in a kingly priesthood.  In the Church I see the bride of Christ engaging an affectionate relationship.

So what do we mean by the ruin of the church?  Who will shew me the manifestation of the unity of the body of Christ? I cannot find it; but I can find saints that will be saved, manifest tokens of His faithfulness, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst’ (Matt 18:20) – what blessing!  Israel failed before and after the captivity. Nevertheless, His attitude towards His people never changed.  He said, ‘Fear ye not’ (Isa 44:8).

Now bringing it down to our day we find divisions and disagreements among Christians. Does this mean that Christ loves the church less, or is less powerful?  That sorrows us, but we are not to be discouraged.  A truly humble man is not discouraged because he knows his nothingness.

Some years after my conversion I looked around to find where the church was, but I could not find it. I could find plenty of saints better than myself, but not the church set up with power on the earth.  Then I say the church as thus set up is ruined: I could not find a better word for it. The church was founded on the earth in the spirit of the new covenant, and if it fails, there is no judgment as there was with Israel as a nation. No judgment has been executed on the Church of God: we must not confound ruin with cutting off.

Obedience is the only thing in which a Christian should be rigid, it would keep us from latitudinarianism; and there should be nearness to Christ which would keep us from sectarianism.  Sectarianism is getting an interest in a little circle round ourselves

At home and abroad I find this question, What is the church of God? One says, The church is visible. What is its testimony?  Is it to Christ its heavenly Head, separate from sinners?  Another says, It is invisible. It is only invisible because in sin. The false church is visible; the true one invisible.

When in the early 1800s, a few exercised Christians separated from mainline churches, they did not take any official standing.”   Blessing followed and numbers increased. Then trouble came in, and so that their little group became their circle, not the church of the living God. People say, we have been too narrow, we must mix up a little. I cannot be that. ‘If I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor’ (Gal 2:18). I desire the Church’s entire separation to Christ to whom she belongs – espoused as a chaste virgin. My feet in the narrow way – my heart as large as Christ’s.

The Church of God is responsible in walk and affection towards God, the conscience acknowledging the ruin. ‘I remember thee, the love of thine espousals’ (Jer 2:2).  Note that this is not love for Israel but the love of the state of the people. We have one sole object before our souls, Christ’s coming. If I have the spirit of the bride I shall desire the Bridegroom.  ‘The Spirit and the bride say, Come’ (Rev 22:17).

The question arises as to how much one should  labour and pray for the restoration of the public church.  Ministry is not reconstruction.  I should feel disappointment at the thought of reconstruction: if I have the Spirit of Christ I should be sensible of the loss of suitability in the bride to Him, and wish to become fitted for Him.  The bride is looking for the Bridegroom and will seek to be purified for Him through “the washing of water by the word” (Eph 5:26), as she ought to ne.  We are for Him alone.

Reconstruction is not the object of pursuit. E man might have a desire to be in God’s service.  Howeever, if he has not entirely God’s object, he will succeed, but it will be something else, like the real thing, but quite another thing. Paul had to admit that he did not succeed when he said, ‘All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s’ (Phil 2:21).  When a man has God’s object, and is thoroughly working for God, he must be a man of sorrows. Paul never got the faith of his fellow labourers nor the church up to his own.

Now I must guard against any thought that I undervalue order. Subjection to the Spirit of God is shown in subjection to what the Spirit of God gives.  I am not pursuing that as an object; I am looking for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Still, I do not doubt but that all my service to the saints down here will come in as ministry.

Darby on the Absolute

Summary of an apologetic article by JND entitled ‘The Absolute’ JND Collected Writings Vol 32 (Miscellaneous 1) page 18.

J N Darby (1800-82)

Having spent most of last year on my book, I felt I ought to do a few more articles summarising JND’s works.  I looked to the Lord for direction and chanced upon the title, ‘The Absolute’.  Knowing that Darby was criticised for using that term, critics even accusing him of having to do with the occult, it was well to see the comment availed.  I will leave it to the reader to judge, but my conclusion is that Darby jealously protects what is of God personally from that which relates to man.

Absolute and Relative

Only God is absolute.  Therefore, man cannot have absolute knowledge about anything.  All human knowledge is relative.

The closest concept is the “I[i]“, which is outside of time and space, and therefore precludes any relation.  But even this is not absolute. 

The ‘I’ is not the same as ‘I am’ which is clearly a relative expression which we can understand.  Any human conception or idea cannot be infinite and must be relative.  When ‘I’ relates to time, infiniteness is not implied.  I can say ‘I am’ that relates to time – but the word ‘being’ relates to what is infinite and therefore can only belong to God[ii].

If God in infinity has a relationship with man in relativity it is because of His own will.  The human mind cannot know God, because relative cannot know absolute. But if imagination works, it corrupts the intuition mythologically.


Man’s Futile Rationalism

It is impossible to arrive at the knowledge of what is absolute through science.  Science is clearly incompetent as every discovery throws up further questions

The French philosopher and theologian  Scherer[iii] reduced man to the lowest estimate of the judgment of God and good.  He said, ‘Truth is no longer truth in itself’-  a ridiculous sentence.  At an absolute level beauty truth and righteousness cannot be made relative.  God is the Absolute.

With man these things are

relative and can only be so.  The philosopher attempts to define these things in human  terms.  One reasons from final causes, another from intuition as to what relates to God.  A third vacillates between the two.  The result is nothing. It is the ‘unknown God’  (Acts 17:23).  When Paul was in Athens he contended with a vast system of philosophy.  In wretched pantheism there is a germ of truth, for God is above all and through all.  I want the absolute but cannot have it, because I am in a relative condition; yet.  Anything further is self occupied with self.


[iv] In Darby’s time it was thought that the smallest possible particle was the atom. Since then we have found that atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, and beyond that, quarks.

The Truth – Thr Absolute become Relative

The truth gives us a true object as from the beginning, though present fulness, to the end,  we have the assurance of knowing as we are known, knowledge being now in part (See 1 Cor 13:12).  In Christ we have the absolute become relative, giving us the absolute goodness in coming into relation, perfect love and perfect light, but we have it more fully.  We have the truth as to everything from the supreme God to sin, the world, the devil and death. That is what our hearts can delight in.  In Christ, we see absolute moral perfection of man, because He could give Himself.  Could God’s ways be more perfect or wise?

God has revealed Himself in Christ in grace to us, and we discover a supreme relationship and an absolute claim which frees us from all others and leads us to give up self in all things. How admirable and divine the whole scheme is!  Man out of self by the absolute-become-relative and perfection in the relative toward God and toward man, while the absolute is maintained to our souls in every sense by the sacrifice of Christ and man’s perfect abnegation of self in the same to glorify God.  The result is man dwelling in God (and God in him) and that in glory, enjoyed now.  he that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself

Human Philosophy

Philosophical wisdom objects to this display of God’s absolute character at Christ’s expense.  It does not understand it when the Lord says, ‘Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again’ (John 10:17).  It never gets out of self.

Metaphysical scepticism can only arrive at what is true within a limited sphere. The finite cannot know the infinite – because it is not the knowledge of God.[v] Truth beyond physical fact, must be a revelation from God[vi]

Darby’s next couple of paragraphs comprise intellectual logical arguments which are beyond my level of comprehension. I have therefore not attempted to summarise them[vii].

However, in this section Darby introduces human will as affecting our perception of the truth.


One intelligible conclusion

Simple Christianity totally rejects heathenism and philosophy as being evil.  However, some of the early so-called fathers, such as Clements and Origens, accepted human lusts and cravings as part of the truth. met them when not simply lusts. Christ alone is the truth; His word is, because He is as He said, ‘altogether that which I also say to you’ (John 8:25).

Modern Theological Thinking

Darby now refers to the German theologian and philosopher Schleiermacher (1768-1834) as if his teaching was well known – and from the note below[i] it probably was, and the source of the worst infidelity now is that he has taken the Holy Ghost’s work in us – very likely in himself – for intuition.  Doubtless, he was influenced by Kant and others.  Philosophers would deny revelation – not founded on logic and human reasoning.

True believers see things differently


[viii] Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German Reformed theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity. He also became influential in the evolution of higher criticism (looking at texts from a worldly historical setting), and his work forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics (the interpretation of biblical texts). Because of his profound effect on subsequent Christian thought, he is often called the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology” and is considered an early leader in liberal Christianity.

Source Wikipedia

Reading the rest of the article one would question whether he had a true conversion,

[i] It is interesting that Darby uses the expression ‘I’.  I would have expected to have used the Greek Ego/ Εγώ, especially as the Greek is in English everyday parlance.

[ii] I do not fully understand this!

[iii] In Darby’s time it was thought that the smallest possible particle was the atom. Since then we have found that atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, and beyond that, quarks.

[iv] Presumably Edmond Henri Adolphe Schérer (April 8, 1815 – March 16, 1889)  a French theologian, critic and politician.  He was a rationalist.

[v] Hence Pilate asked, ‘What is truth?’ (John 18:38)

[vi] This is difficult to follow, and I am not too sure if I have got what JND said right.  The only way I can is to relate things to scripture – which of course must be true.   This paper is meeting the infidel, and drawing on scripture. However I am thinking of what Paul said the in scripture, ‘God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; (Gal 1:15-16), the truth being in Him.  And also ‘the truth is in Jesus’ (Eph 4:21).

[vii] If a reader could help it would be appreciated.

[viii] Presumably Edmond Henri Adolphe Schérer (April 8, 1815 – March 16, 1889)  a French theologian, critic and politician.  He was a rationalist.

J N Darby – Death – King of Terrors for the Unbeliever –

Man is condemned: he cannot deliver himself. But Christ has come in. The Prince of Life has come into death. What is death now for the believer?

IMPORTANT – The Bible says, ‘It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’[i]  If you landed on this page because you are afraid of death, and do not have peace with God Click here first.

 

Death – The King of Terrors for the Unbeliever

John Nelson Darby

For the unbeliever, nothing can be more terrible than death.  It is the ‘King of Terrors’ (See Job 18:14).  It is the end of life of the natural man, the first Adam.  Everything in which man has had – his home, his thoughts, his whole being, is closed and perished forever.  ‘His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day, his thoughts perish’ (Psalm 146:4). It is the end to all his plans. This busy world forgets him: he is extinct.  Death is written on him, for he is a sinner: he cannot deliver himself.

But that is not all.  Man indeed, as man alive in this world.  Sin has come in; with sin Satan’s power, more sin and death.  The wages of sin are a terror to the conscience. Man has been unable to resist the master, Satan, who has exercised his dreadful rights.

God cannot help[ii].   Death is His judgment on sin.  Sin does not pass unnoticed, and the terror and plague of the conscience is witness to His judgment, the officer of justice to the criminal, and the proof of his guilt in the presence of coming judgment.  How terrible!

Christ’s Death for the Believer

Man is condemned: he cannot deliver himself.  But Christ has come in.  The Prince of Life has come into death.  What is death now for the believer?

So we see two aspects of death –

  1. Satan’s power:
  2. God’s judgment:

In being made sin for us, Christ has undergone death, passing through both Satan’s power and God’s judgment. Death with its causes has been met in its every way by Christ.  It is no longer a source of terror to my soul.  In every sense, it has lost its power.

Death is Ours

But death has much more than passed away. Paul says that death is ours, as all things are (See 1 Cor 3:22).  Death and judgment have become my salvation; sin and the wages of sin have passed away.  In a word, Christ, the sinless One, having come in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, has dealt with my whole condition, the first Adam under obligation to the law (see Rom 8:3).  I live before God now in the One who is risen.  What is the effect of this?

  1. Condemnation and judgment being over, my soul is accepted. The foods of water that engulfed the oppressive Egyptians was a wall of deliverance to the children of Israel (see Ex 14:22).
  2. In the power of Christ’s resurrection, I am quickened. He becomes my life. In the new man, I can dispense with the old, Christ having passed through death, I can consider myself dead.  ‘Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 6:11).  We are free of ordinances.
  3. The old man dies; the new man can never die. It is Christ.  In dying, it quits what is mortal and leaves death behind.  ‘We … are absent from the body and present with the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:8 Darby).  Our old man never revives, but our mortal bodies will be changed, like unto His glorious body conformed to the image of God’s Son.  (See Phil 3:21 and Rom 8:29).   Having a new life, we are disencumbered from the old man which hinders and hems in our way.

Conclusion

Death is the ceasing of the old man in which we were guilty before God.  It is the ceasing of sin, hindrance and trouble. We have done with the old man righteously, because Christ has died for us, and now we live in the power of the new.

  • As to death: ‘To depart and to be with Christ is far better. (Phil 1:23)
  • As to judgment: Christ has borne it.
  • As to the power of sin: it is the death of the very nature it lives in.
  • As to actual mortality: it is deliverance from the old to be with Christ in the new man who enjoys Him.

Who knowing the proper gain of it, would not die?

Meanwhile, we live here to serve Christ.  To us to live is Christ. (See Phil 1:21).

 

A simplified summary by Sosthenes of J N Darby’s – ‘What is Death’ ‘ Collected Writings volume 17 – Doctrinal 1, page 302.

[i] Hebrews 9:27

[ii] Or should I say, ‘does not help’? – Sosthenes

Introduction to the Timeline

‘After These Things’ Chapter 1.1 Introduction to the Timeline

From our book ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more…’ Compiled by Daniel Roberts. For more about this book click on the picture or CLICK HERE

The present is now; the future starts at the Rapture.

All we can say is that the church is not yet complete – the last soul to be saved has not yet been saved.  Other than this, no further events need to happen before the Rapture.  A brother who helped us much in our area often said, ‘The prophetic clock has stopped’.  He also said that we are not told about the future to satisfy our curiosity, but only things that have a present moral bearing.  Please, dear reader, bear this in mind when reading this book.

Corinthians says ‘Now’:  ‘For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians  6:2) quoting from Isaiah 49:8

Hebrews says ‘Today’:  ‘To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts’ (Hebrews 3:15) quoting from Psalm 95:7

With that in mind, we begin our timeline from the Rapture. 

The period from the Rapture to the Appearing

 

We anticipate two great events

  1. Christ’s coming ‘to the air’ to take the living believers on Him to be with Him, and to raise the bodies of those who have ‘fallen asleep’. This is known as ‘The Rapture’.  It could happen today.

 

  1. To come with His saints to reign over the earth for 1000 years. This is known as ‘The Appearing’.  It follows the Great Tribulation and precedes the Millennium.

Chapter 2.3 contrasts the two.

 

 

 

 

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‘After These Things’ Foreword

Introducing After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more.

‘After These Things’ Foreword

Introducing After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more.

1.0 Foreword. 1

Introduction to ‘After These Things’ 1

A brief summary of what is to come: 2

This book is in six sections: 2

From our book ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more…’ Compiled by Daniel Roberts. For more about this book click on the picture or CLICK HERE

Thank you for purchasing ‘After These Things’.  Doubtless you and I share a common salvation through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a common certain hope of hearing His voice, and being with Him when He comes with His Church to reign.

So that we can enjoy sharing something very precious, please drop me an email today. I will answer you personally, and occasionally send ‘A Day of Small Things’ emails.

daniel@adayofsmallthings.com

Introduction to ‘After These Things’

The following words come right at the end of the Bible:

‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely… . He which testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus’ (Revelation 22:17-20).

Jesus continues to say, ‘I come quickly’ . This book is for His lovers who respond to Him with the words, ‘Come Lord Jesus’ – hearts which are looking for Him to come NOW.

In the mid 1800’s John Nelson Darby reawakened thousands of Christians as to the Rapture, described clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.   This gave them a burning desire to hear His call, and to be amongst ‘we the living’ when our Lord Jesus calls His saints on earth to meet Him in the air.  Along with these, there will be millions of sleeping saints whose bodies will be raised and changed.[1]  What a joy it will be to be with Him, forming His Bride, the Church, married to Him in heaven.

A brief summary of what is to come:

It will be an awful time of Satanic deception on earth.  The world will be dominated by the Beast, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. There will be pestilence and wars – the ‘great tribulation’

There will be a faithful ‘Jewish Remnant’, persons from the twelve tribes of Israel, enduring tribulation while standing for, Christ their Messiah, during the period from the ‘Rapture’ to the ‘Appearing’.  After the Antichrist breaks his covenant with the Jews, they will suffer extreme persecution.

World powers will engage in battle, but Christ will return.  All alive and will be judged; Satan will be bound, introducing the 1000-year  benevolent reign of Christ. After the Millennium Satan will be briefly released, gathering the world’s armies to the final war.  The Devil, who was really defeated at the Cross, will be consigned eternally to the lake of fire along with his agents and those not in the ‘Book of Life’.  For the saints, there’s a new heaven and new earth wherein dwells righteousness – the tabernacle of God with men.

That is the future and the theme of this book in a nutshell.

It is not a book on John Nelson Darby’s eschatology.  Darby did not want to create theologians[2] – he wanted us to love Jesus more.

This book is in six sections:

Section 1:  A Prophetic Timeline – from the Rapture to the New Heaven and New Earth

Section 2:  A summary of Darby’s prophetic thought, the dispensations, and the differences as to what applies to the Church, to Israel and the ‘Nations’, the distinction between the Rapture and the Appearing, the Resurrection of the Living and the Resurrection of the Dead,  what proceeds in heaven and what on earth, the judgement seat of Christ and the Great White Throne and the thousand-year Millennium and the eternal state.

Section 3: John Nelson Darby – the man and his ministry

Section 4: Summaries of eleven lectures on the ‘Present Hope of the Church of God’.  J N Darby, Geneva 1840

Section 5 – Summaries of other papers on prophecy by J N Darby, including his Prophetic Map.

Section 6   –        Glossary of prophetic terms, bibliography, and other references.

These summaries have been produced  from the notes of lectures or addresses as we would call them now.  JND would typically end these with an appeal to the conscience or heart.  These are often reproduced verbatim.  After all, Darby wanted us stimulated spiritually, not intellectually.  Indeed, ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’ (Revelation 19:10) – it is to enhance His glory, not to satisfy our curiosity.

Most of these summaries were initially posted on my website www.adayofsmallthings.com. If you have comments on this book, or on my site,  email me at daniel@adayofsmallthings.com, or use the comments form on my websit

Scriptures Quotations

Scripture quotations are from the 1611 King James Version of the Bible.  Despite its age and often archaic language, it remains the only universally accepted version.  Sometimes, for accuracy, I have used Darby’s translation, (1890 edition), shown as Darby after the reference.  Very occasionally I use the English Standard Version (ESV), a modern language version. Most of my personal comments are footnotes.

This work, dear reader, is committed to God. May I be given diligence, understanding and in humility, serve His Son, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

Your brother in Christ

Daniel Roberts

November 2020

 

[1] Including Paul, all the Thessalonians, and many before and since.

[2] Darby wrote ‘We must here notice a striking part. The moment one searches the word, it comes out that theology and theologians are worth nothing at all … It is impossible to read the word and to follow, even one moment, the established theological system. Poor theologians!’ (Collected Writings Vol 3  Doctrinal 1 p243).

 

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The New Heaven and New Earth

This is culled directly from the Synopsis on the first part of Rev 21. 

Revelation 21:1-5 gives us the v.9 – ch. 22:4 is the millennial city.

‘After These Things’ Chapter 5.6 The New Heaven and New Earth

From our book ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more…’ Compiled by Daniel Roberts. For more about this book click on the picture or CLICK HERE

This is culled directly from the Synopsis on the first part of Rev 21.

Synopsis vol 5 page 420

 

Revelation 21:1-5 gives us the v.9 – ch. 22:4 is the millennial city.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’.

 

There was a new heaven and a new earth; but no more sea — no separation, nor part of the world not brought into an ordered earth before God. Here we do not find any mediatorial kingdom. The Lamb is not in the scene. God is all in all. No sorrow or crying more, no earthly people of God distinct from the inhabitants of the earth. These are God’s people, and God is with them Himself, but withal His tabernacle is with them. This is the holy city, New Jerusalem.

 

The assembly has her own character, is the habitation of God in a special way, when the unchanging state comes, and all is made new. God is the end, as the beginning. Him that is athirst now God will refresh with the fountain of the water of life — the overcomer shall inherit all things. The world for the Christian is now a great Rephidim[1].

 

This is the twofold portion of the final blessedness: he shall have God for his God and be His son. Those who feared this path — did not overcome the world and Satan but had walked in iniquity — would have their part in the lake of fire.  This closes the history of God’s ways.

 

 

 

[1] Rephadim was the place of the battle against between the children of Israel and Amalek, shortly after going over the Red Sea.  ‘The LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation’ (Exodus 17:16).

 

 

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Section 5 – Other Papers on Prophecy by J N Darby

‘After These Things’ Section 5 – Other Papers on Prophecy by J N Darby

From our book ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more…’ Compiled by Daniel Roberts. For more about this book click on the picture or CLICK HERE

J N Darby wrote many other papers and gave various  lectures on prophetic subjects.  Much of this work is covered in the four ‘Prophetic’ volumes of Collected Writings.  Those which have been summarised in this book are highlighted.

You will see that I have selected only a very few.  However, it is my opinion that most of the essential truths relating to the period from the Rapture onwards have been covered.  If I summarised much more this book would be excessively long and there would be much repetition and duplication.

A list of published books by J N Darby, along with the table of contents of the four ‘Prophetic’ volumes is presented in the Bibliography Chapter 6.

This section, therefore, covers the following:

5.1 The Power, Hopes, Calling, Present Position, and Occupation of the Church

–           Source Material Vol. 12 (Evangelical 1)

5.2 After the Rapture, the Jewish Remnant – Particularly from Isaiah

–           Source Material Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4)

5.3 After the Rapture, the Jewish Remnant – Particularly from the Psalms

–           Source Material Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4)

5.4 After the Rapture, the Jewish Remnant – Particularly from the New Testament

–           Source Material Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4)

5.5 The Lord’s Second Coming and the Church’s Witness

–           Source Material Notes & Comments Vol. 2

5.6 The New Heaven and New Earth

–           Source Synopsis of the Bible Vol. 5

5.7 J N Darby’s Prophetic Map

–           Source Material Notes & Comments Vol. 2

5.8 The Truth of the Rapture is Clear from Scripture

–           Source Material Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4)

 

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5.8 The Truth of the Rapture is Clear from Scripture

Christ’s second coming Is the proper hope of the church.It is clearly presented in the New Testament.  

‘After These Things’ Chapter 5.8 – The Truth of the Rapture is Clear from Scripture

From our book ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy – and more…’ Compiled by Daniel Roberts. For more about this book click on the picture or CLICK HERE

 

 

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A Lecture by J N Darby on the Second Coming of Christ – The Rapture in Scripture

In Section 4 of the book, we have summaries of J N Darby’s lectures in 1840 on  ‘The Present Hopes of the Church’. One lecture was on the Second Coming of Christ.  Later Darby gave a series of lectures on the same subject in Toronto – this is a summary of the first lecture’.  The Original is ‘Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ, delivered in 1863 at Toronto, Canada. (Collected Writings Vol 11 (Prophetic 4) page 206).  He outlines how Christ’s second coming is presented in the New Testament.

Christ’s second coming Is the proper hope of the church. The Holy Spirit constantly brings this before us in the New Testament.  It is not some vague speculation; it is a foundational truth which maintains our hearts as we wait patiently for our Saviour’s return.  We are to be raised, our bodies changed, and we will be with Him.   As we had been quickened and justified, there will be no resurrection of judgment for us.   We do not have long to wait now.

Sadly, many Christians overlook the Rapture and think only in terms of the resurrection in the last day, a resurrection for judgement.  They confuse what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 with what is in the previous chapter. The first scripture says, ‘The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them’ and ‘the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’.  This is not what we are looking for.  Our expectation is, ‘For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).  Those who await the final judgment, hoping that all will be well, are mistaken.

If I was comforting someone who had just lost a dear one, who had put their trust in the blood, and was therefore forgiven, cleansed and justified, and told them that their loved one would return with Jesus, they might think that think I was mad.   But that is exactly the comfort that Paul gave to the Thessalonians.

The world rejects His coming, and the worldly church dismisses and devalues it.  But it dominated the lives of the early disciples.  It should dominate ours.

Scriptures on the Lords coming:

Bible – Darby Version

Notes[1]
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Matt 25:1-6 There is the essence of the church’s calling. The virgins had lost the expectation of Christ and sank into the comfort, pleasures and the hierarchical structure of the world.  The Bridegroom tarried and they had given up watching.  They had to be aroused; Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him” (v.6).  Those with the Holy Spirit were able to go in.

Lecture in Toronto CW Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4) p 210

Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 

Luke 12: 35-36

Waiting for the coming of Christ characterises the Christian.  Men speak of death, but death is not ‘my lord.’

CW Vol. 32 (Miscellaneous 1 ) p 245

And as in the days of Noah and of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, planted and builded, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17:25-27 This passage does not warn people as to sin, but as to the unholy notion that the world will go on indefinitely. As soon as Noah entered into the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all.  As soon as the church is taken up, Satan will fill men’s hearts with lies.  Judgment follows.

Note: This does not apply to the Great White Throne. When Christ sits on that, the heavens and the earth flee away; there is total destruction of everything.

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains. . . 

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.  Luke 21:20-21,25-28

V. 20-21 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.

The rest is much later – the time of the Gentiles will have been fulfilled.  The last beast’s – the Antichrist’s wickedness will be exposed.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  John 14:1-3 Such is the promise: the comfort Christ gave to His disciples when He was leaving them.  He comes to receive them to Himself.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:1011. This too is not the end of time. The angels comfort-ed them, indicating that Jesus would come again.  Scripture points to His return.
It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hebrews 9:2728.

That is the allotted portion of the seed of the first Adam.  The Christian awaits His coming, with no reference to sin.
We shall not all die; 1 Corinthians 15:51
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

 Romans 11:25-27

When the church is complete, and its last member will have been brought in, Israel will be saved as a nation. Christ will appear for their deliverance.
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 All the promises of the prophets will be fulfilled at that coming.
He now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world (i.e., this habitable earth) in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.

Acts 17:30-31

Though God winked at the times of ignorance, there was now a clear testimony which could not be ignored.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

1 Corinthians 15:23

The distinctive resurrection of the saints will be at His coming.
Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven, from when also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Philippians 3:19-21

No comment
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3: 1-4

No comment
1 & 2 Thessalonians The theme of both letters – see Synopsis
That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 6:14

The apostle exhorts Timothy to go on diligently and faithfully looking for the appearing. When the word of God speaks of joy to the saints, it is referring to the Rapture; when God speaks of responsibility to the world or the saints, it always refers to His appearing.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:8

Love! – Do you love, can you love, that which will put a stop to everything pleasant in the world?
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Hebrews 2:5, 6 The world to come is the habitable earth here.  Christ is now at God’s right hand till God puts all things under His feet.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:24 Man was tried, up to the death of Christ, by the law, the prophets, and finally, by the mission of God’s Son, but in vain.  Man finds out that he is lost, and that redemption is by the cross.  When sin was complete Christ appeared to put away sin by His sacrifice. Now that that work is complete, those who through grace believe, await the same Saviour to come again for their final deliverance.
Be ye also patient: stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh

James 5:8

We are to be patient in our daily life as yet knowing what will change the whole state of the world.
Jesus Christ: whom, having not seen, ye love; on whom [though] not now looking, but believing, ye exult with joy unspeakable and filled with [the] glory, receiving the end of your faith, [the] salvation of [your] souls. Concerning which salvation prophets, who have prophesied of the grace towards you, sought out and searched out; searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which [was] in them pointed out, testifying before of the sufferings which [belonged] to Christ, and the glories after these. To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves but to you they ministered those things, which have now been announced to you by those who have declared to you the glad tidings by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, which angels desire to look into.

1 Peter 1:7-13

In 1 Peter we have a remarkable testimony to the order of God’s ways.

1. The prophets

2. The gospel

3. The appearing of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, we love.

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming 

1 John 2:28

Our consciences are clear
It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is: and everyone that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3

His appearing rejoices the heart and affects the walk of the saints.  Our blessed and assured hope is to be like Christ Himself. The present effect of this special hope is that the saint purifies himself even as He is pure, and seeks to be like Him now.
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints

Jude v.14

The epistle looked at the decline of the professing church – the false brethren coming in unawares.  It would be the object of the judgment of the Lord when He would appear.

 

God’s moral glory was seen

[1] Notes from (JND Collected Writings Vol. 11 (Prophetic 4) p206-216 – Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ, unless otherwise stated.