The Truth of the Rapture is Clear from Scripture

A Lecture by J N Darby on the Second Coming of Christ

A summary by Sosthenes

J N DarbyBack in 2014 I produced a summary of JN Darby’s series of 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 the way in which 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 keeping our hearts full of the love of God as we wait patiently for our Saviour to return.  We are to be raised, our bodies changed, and we will be with Him.   Having been quickened and justified, there will be no resurrection of judgment for us.   We do not have long to wait, and it is a wait worth being patient for.

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 Thess 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 Thess 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. 

So, in 1 Thes 5:23 it says, ‘I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  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.

Let us look at scriptures on the Lords coming:

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 down 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.
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.’
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 this to the Great White Throne. When Christs sits on that, the heavens and the earth flee away; there is a 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 refer 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 the angels comforted 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 Cor 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 and Outline
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 to 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 that is 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, or finally 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. The time of the saints’ receiving the promise is the appearing of Christ

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 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 at the first coming: it surpassed everything before it.  But only at His second coming will the actual result be realised.  Jesus will come to receive the church to Himself, a witness of sovereign grace, and then to appear setting the world in blessing subject to Him in the power of His kingdom. 

Now we enjoy the full revelation of Him from whom all that blessing flows, and enjoy it here in a nature suited to it and flowing from it; but we wait for the results for ourselves and for this burdened world.  We love His appearing.  How is it with you?  Are you linked with the world He subverts when He comes, or with Him who brings the fulness of blessing, though with judgment on what hindered it? Were He to come now, would it be your awaited joy and delight, or does it alarm and try your hearts? The Lord give you to answer before His face!



November 2018

Who can Preach the Gospel?


John Nelson Darby

They that were Scattered Abroad went Everywhere, Preaching the Word  Acts 8:4.

Paul prayed ‘that the word of the Lord may have free course’(2 Thess 3:1).  All true Christians should pray for that too.  But alas, preaching is beset by human perverseness, especially in establishments of any sect or denomination where only appointed or ordained individuals are permitted to preach.  Scripture does not support ordination or authorisation – whichever word is used.  In a world under condemnation, there are sinners ready to perish.  Ordination and the distinction between laity and clergy (which includes so-called lay preachers) was not known in the early church – nor is it scriptural.

No human qualification should be needed in order to declare to them God’s remedy in love: that Jesus died for sinners.  Man has set up restrictions: the gospel which was ‘to be preached to every creature under heaven’(Col 1:23) has been bound and shackled.  Multitudes have been shut out from the springs of life for want of hearing a clear invitation which should have been upon the lips of all who have drunk of the living waters.  The Spirit of God has been grieved.

The questions are –

  1. Do those in appointed office have the Spirit of God?
  2. Can any member of the church of God with love for souls preach if the Lord gives them the ability and opportunity?
  3. Is any human sanction needful for their doing so?
  4. Are those who are not ordained, or otherwise appointed, disqualified from preaching?

As to Christians speaking in the church, the only restriction is, ‘Let your women keep silence in the churches’ (1 Cor 13:34).  Women have other blessed services.  Many godly women have spiritual gifts, and we read elsewhere the directions for their exercise (in the home, with their heads covered – see 1 Cor 11:5).  They were not to use them in the church, because that would be out of order.

The apostle says, ‘every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation’(v. 26).   So, if God has given some men the ability to speak, they were to speak in an orderly way in the power of the Holy Spirit:  not all at once or every day, but as God led them.  Because of the presence of the indwelling Spirit is in the church, it is built up, and God is worshipped  ‘in spirit and in truth’(John 4:24).

It is most mischievous to say that times have changed.  The Spirit of God does not break His own order by systematic rules.   Christ initially gave in his church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, . . . speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love’ (Eph 4:11-16) .  Some quote to justify ordination, ‘the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2).  But the thing committed here was the doctrine: it does not appear that they were ordained for the purpose.

Human prescription regulates everything in matters of religion, as in politics, commerce, education and most other aspects of life.  The result of this is that much has been lost in the public profession: the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge, for example.    If that is true, then the effectiveness of the word is further weakened by asserting that the Spirit of God is has left the Church.  This then raises the question: ‘What are we, and where are we – are we the church of God without the Spirit?’   If the Spirit is not there, all union between Christ and His members will have been cut off, and the promise, ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (Matt 28:20) made of no effect.  It would no longer be the church.

But present-day disciples of Jesus know that He is with them in spite of public failure; and that He said, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matt 18:20).  His Spirit is with them for instruction and blessing.

The question becomes more critical when we consider speaking outside of the church.  We read, ‘They that were scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the word’ (Acts 8:4). – that was all except the apostles. ’The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord’ (Acts 11:21).  The idea of ordination had never occurred to them.  Paul preached without any other mission than the Lord’s glory and His word.  He preached everywhere including synagogues and encouraged others to do the same.  He said simply, ‘I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak’(2 Cor 4:13) .  Apollos too preached very effectively, and it is said that, when Paul would have sent him from Ephesus to Corinth, he would not go.  He was not ordained, and earlier knew only the baptism of John.  Aquila and Priscilla had‘expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly’ (Acts 18:26). [Note that we have here a woman performing a very vital and authoritative service in the right way.  She was as competent as any].

In the previous dispensation, much of the order was according to birth.  Nevertheless, there was a clear distinction according to position – priests, Levites, princes, Nethinim etc.  However, even in Jewish worship, far greater liberty was permitted than in the restricted systems of the present day. ‘Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on’ (Acts 13:15).   When Eldad and Medad prophesied by the Spirit in the camp, without coming to the door of the tabernacle, Moses said, ‘Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!’ (Num 11:29).

There is therefore ample evidence from Scripture to an impartial mind.  Appropriately gifted Christian men have the liberty and right to speak, in or out of the church, without needing any human authority.   This is the dispensation of the outpouring of the Spirit qualifying for speaking of Jesus all who can do so.  The assumption of priesthood by any person is wrong (save as all believers are priests).  Priesthood and kingship belong to Christ alone.

At Pentecost, 120 were assembled together and spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance (See Acts 2:4).  And Peter, standing up, explains to the Jews that they were not drunk, but it was what was spoken of by Joel, ‘I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy’ (Joel 2:29).  The Spirit was poured on people without distinction – men and women, young and old, rich and poor, even slaves.   Subsequent history has been to create classes according to social, academic, racial, financial and ecclesiastical status.  This has been a cause of the loss of power in Christendom.  And the consequence – unrestrained irregularities in the church.

There are, of course, other services such as pastoral care.   A good shepherd will go after the scattered sheep in order to present God’s glad tidings to them, and to help them further in their souls.  One significant advantage of God’s order is that all men and women are able to fulfil their part according to the gifts that God has given them.  Those who should be teachers, shepherds or evangelists should not be hindered due to the lack of official academic and theological qualifications. This ought to be obvious: God appoints the field of their operations, in order do the Lord’s work.   Persons should not be prevented by the spirit of Diotrephes in the system.   God’s manifold grace and the gifts that He has given to the church blend together in true harmony and love in the body of Christ.

Nothing demonstrates the preference of man’s authority to the Lord’s more than the way in which the free and unrestrained proclamation of the gospel of God’s grace is discredited.  Those who should be preaching are obliged to modify their message and restrict their work, for fear they should be in breach of the authority which has placed them in their appointed position.  For example, an area of the country is destitute of the gospel, despite a lot of religious activity.  One in whose heart God has put the desire and whose mouth He has opened to speak of His love, goes and preaches there, and many souls previously in darkness are blessed.  The district is already full of men and women holding office in the various churches, but who are not shepherds and do not preach a sound gospel – replacing it with the fleshly excitement and emotional happiness of popular charismatics, or teaching doctrines which deny the deity of Christ, or telling souls that God’s love is such that they can attain salvation by their own works – or are just as the word to Sardis – dead.  What is the labourer to do in these circumstances? – Is leave souls at the mercy of these unsound church leaders, or is he to abandon them altogether?  There is no godly righteousness in either.  Faithfulness to Christ demands that he should preach to those who in need.  However, he is restricted in his activities by the systems (of whatever denomination) which have also sanctioned those appointees who harm poor souls.  The church hierarchy, even if formed of devout Christians, must recognise their officially sanctioned ministers and pastors and reject faithful men of God, working in the power and guidance of the Spirit of God, but who do not hold the appropriate office and qualifications[*].

So why does one take an ecclesiastical office – vicar in the Church of England, pastor or minister in the Baptists or Methodists etc.?  Because it is the only way to serve within the confines of the system.  One who habitually waits on the Lord is obligated to work in an organisation which is not regulated by the Lord’s headship.  The Master’s service can be undertaken in complete, unhindered dependence on the Spirit of God.  If service does not fulfil the Lord’s own time, place, and purpose, servants are what Paul calls busybodies (see2 Thess 3:11), whatever may be the apparent (defective) results of their labours.

One further observation: we ‘should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude v.3).  Look at the multitude of conflicting interests in the church – ‘wars and fightings’(James 4:1) amongst brethren.  So much spiritual and natural energy is spent on defending one human system against another.  Ask calmly: ‘For what are we contending?’  If the contention is for our own views or interests, or to support the system to which we owe allegiance, God cannot support us.  It is not for the things of Christ; it is not of His Spirit.

All this shows that these traditional opinions are worthless and deeply injurious to the glory of God unless based upon His word.  Let it be observed that the liberty of the believer is not the spirit of insubordination, but of entire subjection to the Spirit: not the spirit of enthusiasm, but of a sound mind – of a mind at one with God, which alone gives righteous judgment.  And let the people of God wait on Him for His guidance.  It is a time in which God is separating reality from mere outward form.  May God work abundantly fill His labourers with His spirit!  ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest’(Matt 9:37-38).


Based on J N Darby: ‘Christian Liberty of Preaching and Teaching the Lord Jesus Christ’ – JND’s Collected Writings Vol 1 Ecclesiastical 1 page 68



[*]In modern times, there may be more lay preachers due to limitations of resources.  Packaged lectures, even with PowerPoint presentations, may be used to spread a word.  Such sermons, cannot be energised by st Spirit of God, meeting the needs of those who attend these preachings. [Sosthenes]

Why this Dispensation will be Terminated prior to the Biblical Millennium

Is this dispensation the last, or is it not?
What are the circumstances by which any other is to be introduced?

The testimony of Scripture must be the basis of our thoughts concerning prophecy. Otherwise, we will have wrong thoughts about God’s dealings, leading to a misunderstanding of our relationship with Him, and affecting our conduct in this dark world.  If we stray from scripture, any service that we might undertake will be defective: our light will be darkness, and we may lead others astray.

In his paper, ‘Evidence from Scripture of the Passing Away of the Present Dispensation’(Collected Writings Volume 2, Prophetic 1, page 89), J N Darby looks at two questions regarding this dispensation.

  1. Is this dispensation the last, or is it not?
  2. What are the circumstances by which any other is to be introduced?

It is a long paper, but this short abstract gives his principal conclusions.


Is this dispensation the last, or is it not?

Paul writes, ‘Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance’(Eph 1:10).

The passage talks about a gathering: it cannot be referring to Christ’s assembly in the present or any dispensation; for the assembly never comprises all things in heaven and on earth – the saints are not ‘all things’.  The saints of the church of God comprise only a small, but worthy and admired, part of the glory and purposes of God.  In our dispensation, Satan is the prince and god of this world: in no way are all things in heaven and on earth gathered together in Christ.  The passage is clear.

Also, ‘Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow’  (1 Peter 1:9-11).

Here we have three things:

  1. The prophets prophesy about the grace to be brought to us,
  2. The Holy Spirit confirms the same things.
  3. The Christian church is waiting until the end for the glory.

Hence there must be a dispensation to come, in which the things prophesied of by the prophets will come to pass:  our dispensation is not it.

In the present time, we groan in our bodies awaiting redemption (see Rom 8:23).  What we have now is an earnest, something given as a sign or promise of what is to come.

Furthermore, we are told of the everlasting (universal) glad tidings (see Rev 14:16) which precedes the  ‘the earth . . . full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Hab 2:14).  In this dispensation preaching is not universal: the gospel Is preached in places throughout the world.  In spite of this, publicly evil gets worse, not better as some would like to think.

As to the Jews, ‘all Israel shall be saved’  (Rom 11:26), that is as a body.  But now Jews may be saved individually by faith in Christ’s finished work – not as a body.  The word is, ‘Even so, then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace’(Rom 11:5).  The dispensations, therefore, are essentially different in their character; the one the rescuing of the remnant, the other, the saving of the body.


What are the circumstances by which any other is to be introduced?

The next dispensation commences with judgment, especially on the Jews.  ‘They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn’(Zech 12:10, John 19:37, Rev 1:7).  The consequence is that the Jews will again be recognised as God’s people, and ‘The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Hab 2:14).  We need to note that this will not be by means of the preaching of the gospel.

There is no prophecy or promise in Scripture that the gradual diffusion of the gospel will lead to the world being converted (the ‘kingdom’), an amillennialist line of thought which is prevalent in Christian circles.

May God in mercy and grace guide us to the right and full use of His word, receiving it with a simplicity of faith and obedience in our consciences.


A Guide to the Walk of an Enlightened Christian


Ephesians 4and 5 give us a guide to the walk of an enlightened Christian. Here are some excerpts.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ch. 4:1-6)

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.   Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with hishands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ch. 4:17-32)

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  . . . Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  (Ch5:1-2, 14).


Putting off and Putting on – Our Life, what we are

We have learned the truth as it is in Jesus.  We have put off the old and put on the new – ‘created after God in righteousness and true holiness’ (ch 4:24).  Darby notes – not yet love.

God has been perfectly revealed through the work of Christ.  Evil has been dealt with and Christ is glorified: He is sitting at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens (see Heb 1:3) : He is the righteous One who hates evil and delights in what is pure and good:  He is holy. If we are to be ‘after God’it must be in righteousness and true holiness.

God is known now not merely as a Creator, but One whose whole nature is revealed in the work of redemption. Through redemption we have new creation: we are quickened out of our state of death in sin, and are raised as Christ out of His grave.  By new creation we have become partakers of the divine nature.


The Presence of the Holy Spirit

God Himself dwells in us by His Spirit.  His love is shed abroad in our hearts, sealing us for the time when we shall fully enjoy Him.  We are not to grieve such a holy and blessed Guest. The Holy Spirit guides, orders, reveals the things of Christ to our minds, communicates what is blessed to us, filling us with what is divine.  So nothing inconsistent with His presence, where all is peaceful with holy love flowing in our hearts.  This governs our walk and speech.


God is Love

God has two essential names: Love (1 John 4:16) and Light (1 John 1:5).  These characterise the Christian’s walk, Christ being the model.  The measure of the Christian is not what he or she ought to be, but what God is morally, in holiness and love.  God is sovereign:  He can love without a motive.  We need a motive and an object which we find in the Lord Jesus and His work.


Imitators of God

We are to be imitators of God, as His beloved children.  As we are born of Him, partaking in the divine nature, we walk in love.  We are to be tender-hearted and forgive, showing grace to one another.  God has forgiven and shown grace to us (See Col 3:13).

There are two evidences of divine love in man:

  1. It says, ‘And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour’ (Eph 5:2). This means that sorrowing over the evil in myself and in the world, I offer up myself, as Jesus did, perfect in love.  Our path is to follow Him in this.  As in 1 John 3:16, ‘Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren’.
  2. Christ offered Himself to God – with a motive – He did so for us, despite our worthlessness. The object and motive were perfect. Hence, we are called to add brotherly love to love (see 2 Peter 1:7), which, we are told, is the bond of perfectness. We are therefore told to present our bodies living sacrifices (see Rom 12:1) – weak and sinful they may be, but self must be given up to God.


God is Light

God is light – essentially pure in nature.  Christ was the light of the world: now He is our life.  We are to be shining lightsamid a crooked and perverse generation (see Phil 2:15). We were in darkness, but nowwe are shining, and we are exhorted to walk as children of light.  ‘For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’(2 Cor 4:6) – The fruits of light contrast with the darkness of the world.  ‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,(2 Cor 3:18).  We are irreproachable.   But in spite of all that, the apostle has to say, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light’(Eph 5:14).



Such, then, is the true measure of Christian walk – what God is in His nature as love and light, has its true, perfect, and blessed expression on the earth, in man, in Christ. Thus we are to be followers of God as dear children, the fruit of the light and the purity of the divine nature being seen in us.


Based on J N Darby: ‘The True Path of a Christian’ – JND’s Collected Writings Vol 34 Miscellaneous 3 page 99






Eternal Punishment – Where JND Points to it in Scripture

It is clear that in the 1800’s J N Darby and other godly men and women had to contend with those who taught that eternal punishment in hell was inconsistent with a loving God.

Darby produced a paper ‘Brief Scriptural Evidence on the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, for plain people’.  Collected Writings Vol 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 1.

This is summarised in our posting ‘Hell is Real and Eternal’

In it, Darby listed a number of scriptures to arrest believers and make them consider that is certainly the truth. Hell, the Lake of Fire, is eternal. He wrote that ‘God meant to produce on the mind of the reader the conviction that eternal misery is the portion of the wicked, and I do not believe that He meant to produce the conviction of a lie, nor frighten them with what was not true. Now I shall quote many plain passages, adding my unhesitating conviction that the attempts to undermine this doctrine of scripture (and I have been compelled to examine a good many) have entirely failed, and that the arguments used are either dishonest, some of them flagrantly so, or contradictory and fallacious, and that all of them subvert other fundamental truths.

Here are those passages:


Scripture: Text Notes
Matthew 3:10, 12 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. . . he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


Mark this and chapter 10:33, because it is impossible to believe that Christ could say these things of those who were redeemed and saved as much as others, though to be punished awhile.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Matthew 10:28, 33 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. . . .But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. See above
Matthew 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemny against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Matthew 13:40, 49-50 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. . . So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. In those two verses, 40 and 49, it will be said “world” means age or dispensation; be it so, I believe it does; but that does not affect the judgment pronounced as to that which is to follow
Matthew 18:8-9 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Here everlasting fire or hell-fire is in contrast with life; if they go into one, they do not go into the other; nor is any particular word used which. might, as they allege, make it apply to a peculiar period of happiness. Life and hell-fire are contrasted.
Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.



Now here in Greek “everlasting” and “eternal” are precisely the same word; and what one means for life, the other means for punishment.
Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils
Mark 8:36-37 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 


Mark 9:43 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 
Luke 12:4, 5, 9, 10 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. . . But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores, and it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
John 3:3, 15 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.


Here, they will tell you, “damnation” means judgment. So it does; but it is in contrast with having life. And in judgment “no flesh living shall be justified.” The judgment is at the end of all.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
John 8:24  said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Acts 1:25         That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Romans 2:5-16 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) in  the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:


God is minded to shew His wrath and make His power known. Though love, He is God, and His majesty must be maintained against rebellion and sin.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.


Now in this, as in Mark 16:16, perishing and being damned is contrasted with being saved, so that any plain person must conclude that they are not saved. Some are saved, and others perish because they reject the cross.
Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Hebrews 11:27. By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
2 Peter 2:13, 17, 20-21 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. . .

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. . .For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.


1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Jude 7, 11-13 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of. . .

 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Revelation 14:9-11 If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 20:9-15 And they [Satan and his army] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever .

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Revelation 21:5-8 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.



April 2018

We are Temple of the Holy Spirit

Wonderful and Profound Things presented in a Familiar yet Reverent Way

As we read the sayings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in the gospels and the epistles, we cannot but be impressed with the familiar way in which wonderful things are presented.  As we are near to God, we should be able to present things in a familiar way by reason of our own experience. Of course, we speak of these things very reverently, especially as we recognise our own imperfection.  We can, at the same time, show reverence whilst being familiar with such blessed things.  We say, ‘The Father loves the Son’. What could be simpler or profound?  Apart from it being in scripture (John 3:35, John 5:20), we know it because we ‘have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things’ (1 John 2:20).


God has given us the Holy Spirit

God has revealed Himself in love and light, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But God has given us the Holy Spirit, to indwell us, so that we become partakers of the divine nature.  The Spirit assures us that we have been accepted in the Beloved (see Eph 1:6).  The more we know the Holy Spirit, the more we know that He is God.


In Ephesians we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, and are able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height and know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge (see Eph 3:16-19).


Eternal Life

By the Spirit we enjoy eternal life.  But to fully enjoy eternal life, our thoughts and actions must be more controlled by the Spirit.   Christ expressed this perfectly.  He is‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’ (Rom 1:4) The power of the life is in resurrection, and Christ is our life. He created a path for believers to walk like Him in wisdom and patience.  We must remain in the path to do right.  If I leave the path I cannot do right, however much I try.  But I can return to the path.

The life of Jesus should be manifested in us.  Our life should express something totally new: divine life in the midst of a world that is away from God.  Only in the new man can this be done ‘the new man which after God is created in righteousness and in true holiness’ (Eph 4:24).   It is not the old man reformed: the old man could never have divine motives, even if it seeks to walk correctly.  It may be decent and respectable, but it never can be right.  It is the nature that has departed from God, and it cannot be right before Him.


Spiritual Knowledge

But we have spiritual knowledge. We have ‘put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him’(Col 3:10). Now we know that our bodies are not our own

  • they have been redeemed
  • They are temple of the Holy Spirit
  • They are members of the body of Christ

What a feeling God must have about me – to make a poor creature like me His temple – the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, seal of His love and of the redemption.  But for this we are absolutely cleansed.  The Holy Spirit could not dwell in a defiled tabernacle.   The Holy Spirit’s presence is the expression of God’s perfect love; for ‘the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us’ (Rom 5:5).


The Result:

–  We are not to sin.  How can you go and sin with a body that is the temple of the Holy Ghost? We do fail, and that humbles us.  If we feel our wretchedly low ways and shortcomings, so much the better.

– We have a desire to glorify God, knowing that we are not our own – my body (formerly a slave of sin) no longer belongs to my corrupt will.  We have been bought with a price: we belong to God.  As we walk in His Spirit, our motive is Christ, and have a power the world knows nothing of.

– We have joy of heart and thankfulness of spirit.



April 2018


Based on J N Darby: ‘Indwelling of the Holy Ghost – 1 Corinthians 6’ – JND’s Collected Writings Vol. 21 Evangelical 2 page 215.








Easy Darby

Easy Darby Synopsis, the 34 Volume Collected Writings, Notes & Comments, Notes and Jottings and his Letters simplified – J N Darby Simplified, Easy J N Darby

 JN Darby made easy?  Easy JND?

John Nelson Darby

Are you like me until recently (I have more time now I am retired).  You value the teaching of John Nelson Darby, but would like ‘Easy J N Darby’

The imminent coming of our Lord at the Rapture (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), prior to the tribulation and His millennial appearing with His saints (‘pre-trib’ as they say).

The heavenly character of the Church or Assembly – ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6)

The recognition of the ruin of the church publicly, with national and sectarian divisions, clergy, human organisation, and much faulty teaching, and the call for a true Christian to ‘depart from iniquity . . . but follow righteousness, faith, charity [love], peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart‘ (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

You have seen (not necessarily read) his Synopsis, the 34 Volume Collected Writings, Notes & Comments, Notes and Jottings and his Letters.  Indeed you find it heavy going.  Darby wrote so much, so fast that he admitted he did not try to make it readable – unlike C H Mackintosh for example,


Easy Darby

So to help you – and it has been a help to me too – I’ve taken a lot of Darby’s writings and produced ‘Easy Darby or Darby Simplified’ – a more concise, and I trust, easier-to-read versions of some of them. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have sought to be faithful to the original, omitting nothing salient, and conveying what that dear servant wanted.

So please:

  1. Delve into this site more by clicking here.
  2. Let us keep in touch with us by leaving your email address with us here


J N Darby Simplified – The Body of Christ (the Assembly here) and the House of God (Christian Profession)

A clear view of the way the church is presented:

The body according to the purpose and work of God, its members quickened with Christ, raised up and sitting in heavenly places in Him.
The body manifested on the earth by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (not water), outwardly expressed by union in partaking of the Lord’s supper.
The spiritual house in the thought and purpose of God, built on the foundation of apostles and prophets of the New Testament, growing up a holy temple to the Lord.


The Body of Christ (the Assembly here) and the House of God (Christian Profession)

Based on a Paper by J N Darby – ‘The House of God; the Body of Christ; and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

JND Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p15 –74


J N Darby

Throughout Christendom, in both Roman Catholic and Protestant circles, there is confusion as to the difference between the house of God and the body of Christ.  The error that is rampant throughout Christendom, is that these two things are regarded as essentially the same, and that membership of a church gives a person all the privileges and blessings of Christianity.

We have to distinguish between:


  • The Body of Christ This comprises living members on earth, born of God, quickened of the Spirit, with all their sins forgiven. They have been perfected by one offering and are heirs of the inheritance of glory.
  • The House of God, a more general concept, encompassing the whole Christian environment or profession. Many are brought into it by birth.


If the house and the body were the same thing, all persons attending a church, adults or infants, believers and unbelievers, would be regarded as saved and members of the body of Christ.   There would be no value in the death of Christ or the gift of the Holy Spirit.


The Assembly or Body of Christ

In the New Testament we have the word ἐκκλησία/ekklésia/Strong 1577  This is translated as ‘church’ in the King James Bible, and in most other modern English translations.  In our minds when people use the word ‘church’ they would think of a physical building, or a particular denomination.  Calling a physical church building a ‘house of God’ adds to the confusion.

It is for this reason that J N Darby preferred to use the word ‘assembly’- (see Matt 16:18 Darby Version).  This is a more literal rendering of the Greek word (ἐκ-κλησία/ek-klésia = out-called = a-sembled).  Where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He is in their midst – that is the true church.   Darby noted that the rendering was better in other languages, the word in German, Gemeinde, the word normally used for ‘community’.  The French église, and Welsh eglwys come directly from the Greek.

He also noted the words used in the Old Testament.

  • Qe-hal or kahal (Strong 6951)– congregation or assemblage – Strong uses convocation (See 2 Chron 30:25)
  • Mo-w-ed or moed (Strong 4150) – the appointed place of meeting where they met God (See Ex 33:7)
  • Ha-ed-ah or hedah (Strong 5712) – congregation or assembly – a company formed together by appointment (See Ex 12:3)

Israel was the assembly of God, but having rejected the Messiah, it is set aside, we might say, by the death of Christ.  Israel failed in its witness of the unity of the Godhead, by the adoption of idolatry.  So when the Lord Jesus came, Israel as a nation failed to recognise God’s visitation, and rejected Him.

From the time of the prophets onwards, God has always had a remnant of Israel who were devoted to Him.  Prophecy looked forward to a remnant which would be preserved and brought back in the last days.

In Psalm 22 we have the Lord’s death as seen by the remnant (the seed that would serve Him v. 30).  The Lord was to be been forsaken, and then heard of God – answereed from the horns of the buffaloes (or unicorns) (v. 21). The response is ‘I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation [kahal] will I praise thee (v. 22).  This corresponds to Lord declaring to Mary Magdalen, ‘Go to my brethren and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and [to] my God and your God’. (John 20:17).  What delight God has is in the value of His sacrifice when sin is put away.

In Matthew 16:19, Peter is given the keys the keys of the kingdom of heaven: he is not given the keys for the church (assembly).  The church has no keys.   Neither Matthew nor Peter give us teaching as to the assembly.  We have the house – Peter, in his epistle says, ‘Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2:5).

For teaching as to the assembly we have to come to Paul: ‘The Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God (Col 2:19).  Whereas Peter sees things here, Paul sees the centre in heaven, where the Head is now.

When the Holy Spirit came, we have many Jews converted – 3000 in one day.  Soon after in Acts, we have the introduction of the Samaritans, and then the Gentiles.   Christians were persecuted, culminating in their rejection of Stephen’s testimony to Christ in heaven, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God’ (Acts 7:56). Paul is converted having witnessed Stephen’s martyrdom and testimony, and in what the Lord said to him from heaven, ‘I am Jesus whom thou persecutest’ (Acts 9:5).   Thus Paul received the light of the living body united to the Head in heaven, and us seated in the heavenly places in Christ (see Ephesians 1:20).  Paul also showed that the body comprised living members, all fitted together perfectly – no dead members, and not a mutilated body.  That is the body of Christ here.


The Church in a Scene of Responsibility Here

Israel had failed in responsibility: now we see the Church in responsibility now.  It is important to see that the house has been is established, because in the house there can be failure even to apostasy.   On the other hand, the assembly cannot fail, because Christ is ‘head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all’ (Ephesians 1:22-23).  As Head over all things to the assembly Christ, the glorious Man, is Prophet, Priest and King.  Whereas man had failed, you have Christ such perfection that He will be ‘glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe’ (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

In Ephesians 1:1 to 2:10, we have the assembly according to the purpose and counsel of God, There is no dependence on man.  Paul’s prayer was ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:17-20).

From Ephesians 2:11 we have the actual condition down here.  It is being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ being the cornerstone, and what is being built is  the dwelling place of God through the Spirit. In Ephesiuans Paul refers much to the mystery, and it can be seen in the church livingly here.  Augustine spoke of an invisible church, and this is still referred to, but this is not invisible.  There is the outward manifestation of the church its unity, recognition of the work of the Spirit of God on earth.  We see it in the gifts (apostles, prophets, teachers) which have been given in the whole (not the local) assembly.  They are placed in the assembly, on earth, among ‘them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints  (1 Corinthians 1:2).

The Assembly as God’s Habitation

The second aspect of the assembly in Ephesus is a dispensational one.   Christ builds an assembly secured from Satan’s power.  We have the assembly according to the councils of God God workmanship in an ordered condition – not as what it has become was in the hands of man.  We have in Ephesians ch 1-2, facts rather than opinions – Jews and Gentiles made nigh by the blood of Christ, the middle wall of partition broken down, and all reconciled into one body by the cross, and formed together growing to a holy temple in the Lord.  This is a work going on in grace on earth – God’s habitation by the Spirit.   It does not say that God animates and unites believers, but He has a place where He dwells. Unity will result.

In chapter 4 we are told walk in love, worthy of the calling, and to use diligence to keep the unity.   We are given the unity from God’s point of view ‘There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all’  (Ch 4:4-6).   This is not the view according to man’s responsibility that we get in 1 Corinthians 3:12.  There you get what is being built on the good foundation  – good things – gold, silver, precious stones, and worthless things – wood, hay, stubble.  All man’s bad building will be lost.  In 2 Timothy 2, we get the great house – with vessels to honour and dishonour also those professing Christians with the form of godliness but denying its power. The true believer to is to purge himself (or turn away), from these and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (see 2 Tim 2:21-22 and 3:5).

After the rapture the apostate church will remain, led by the man of sin.



In summary, these scriptures referred to give us a clear view of the way the church is presented:

  1. The body according to the purpose and work of God, its members quickened with Christ, raised up and sitting in heavenly places in Him.
  2. The body manifested on the earth by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (not water), outwardly expressed by union in partaking of the Lord’s supper.
  3. The spiritual house in the thought and purpose of God, built on the foundation of apostles and prophets of the New Testament, growing up a holy temple to the Lord.
  4. The building of this house in fact by the labours of man. Paul might have been the wise master-builder; but there were others not building with good materials.
  5. The great house with vessels to dishonour to purify themselves and turn away.
  6. Finally, after the rapture, the actual apostasy ending in judgment.


What Church Leaders have Taught

In the subsequent thirty pages of the paper, J N Darby looks at the writings of the various church fathers starting just after the apostolic period (Barnabas, Clement etc) up till the eighteenth century – Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.  If you wish to read this in detail, it is in the original article, starting at page 39.


Here is a Summary of happenings in the Great House:

In short, almost nobody saw the assembly in its heavenly character according to the purpose of God.  This was because most walked by sight.  Water baptism became the method of entry, this being held by most.  And the house of God was taken to be he physical building.  Many considered being a member of the church as being the same as salvation.  They acquiesced in evil, quoting the parable of the wheat and the tares – God would have it all right in the end.  Priests became mediators.  That was supposed to be Christianity!



January 2018

JN Darby Simplified – Am I Gathering to the Lord as a Member of the Body of Christ, or as a Member of a Sect?

In a brief article entitled ‘What is a Sect’ – Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p. 362, John Nelson Darby distinguishes those who gather to the Lord’s Name in the light of the One Body, and those who are members of a sect, or church, or ecclesiastical corporation. The latter is based on held opinions.


J N Darby

J N Darby – Sect or One Body

In a brief article entitled ‘What is a Sect’ – Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p. 362, John Nelson Darby distinguishes those who gather to the Lord’s Name in the light of the One Body, from those who are members of a sect, or church, or ecclesiastical corporation.  The latter is based on held opinions.

J N Darby – Sect or One Body

The Greek word for ‘sect’ is αἵρεσις/hairesis/Strong 139.  Strong says that the word signifies a strong, distinctive opinion and was used in the New Testament to differentiate parties (sects) in Judaism.  The term stresses the personal aspect of choice – Sadducees and Pharisees were such by choice  (See Acts 23:8).  In Acts 24:14, Christianity was described by some as a Jewish sect.  Of course, Paul did not own this.

Darby defines the word as signifying adherence to a doctrine or system of philosophy or religion.  It is used as describe Christians departing from the truth – ‘There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies’ (2 Peter 2:1). ‘There must also be sects among you, that the approved may become manifest among you’ (1 Cor 11:19 DBY).  The Catholics assumed what they held to be ‘universal’, and censured all other believers by branding them as ‘sects’.


The Unity of the Body

The unity of the Church of Christ is seen in the Lord’s prayer in John 17 – ‘that they all may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me’ (v 21).  When the Holy Spirit came (see Acts 21 Cor. 12:13),  Christians became one in thought, word, and deed.  And in this there was testimony to the unity.  Satan spoilt that.  In the scriptures the Holy Spirit compares the church on the earth to the human body, Christ being the Head (see Col 1:18).  So if ‘one member suffer, all the members suffer with it’. (1 Cor 12:13).  We members of Christ’s body.

Divisive Sects

When Christians unite outside this of unity, around a particular opinion, their unity is not founded on the principle of the unity of the body.    They form an ecclesiastical corporation, and recognise each other as members of that corporation.  This constitutes a sect.  The communion service becomes an expression of the union of a church’s members.  When a corporation of Christians assumes a right to admit members to it, it forms a unity opposed to the unity of the body of Christ.  Being a member of a such a church is not according to scripture.

Of course, many pious Christians find themselves ignorantly in sectarian positions: they have never truly apprehended the unity of the body.  They believe they are in that position through the will of God.  But, in fact they are in a sect, a denial of the unity of the body of Christ (see 1 Cor 10:17).


Calling on the Lord’s Name

Darby said that his desire was to recognise all Christians as members of the body of Christ, and from an enlarged heart, ‘receive them, from an enlarged heart, even to the Supper, supposing that they are walking in holiness and truth, calling upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart’ (see 2 Tim 2:19-22).  He would join with other brethren to take the Lord’s supper as members of nothing else but of the body of Christ, not as members of a church or sect.  Unfortunately though, he could not gather with all the children of God, because not all were walking according to the principle of this unity of the body of Christ.  They were sectarian.

Although the practical difficulties may appear great by reason of the state of the Church of God, the principle is very simple.  However, Christ is sufficient for all.  If we are content to be little in the eyes of men, things will not be so difficult.  We can cite Matt 18:20 – ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’.  This is a precious encouragement in these sad times of dispersion.  We are told ‘Youthful lusts flee, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart’ ( 2 Tim 2:22 DBY).  This directs us in the path of the Lord’s will, despite the confusion around us.


Based on J N Darby’s paper ‘What is a Sect’Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p. 362.

Summary by Sosthanes

May 2017




If God be for us, who can be against us? Rom 8:31-39

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

+Romans 8:31-39

J N DarbyIn the end of Romans 8, Paul sums up the exercises of our hearts, and the work of grace.  We are brought to realise that, in spite of the conditions in the world, and in ourselves, he shows how God is for us.  Indeed God had seen all these tests before we even existed.

Earlier in the chapter, we are told that ‘the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (v. 7).  But God has given His own blessed Son.   We are to enjoy full liberty with God, knowing Him as the Giver.  The prodigal thought the status of a humble hired servant would be more in keeping with his failure, but the father had other things in mind.  The more we have a conviction of sin, the greater we appreciate God’s giving.  Conversely the more we know God, the more we see the evil in sin, and the more we glory in Him, and what our Lord has done.

The accuser is Satan.  ‘It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us’ (v. 34).  We are told that nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. Why the love of Christ, not the love of God?  It is the love of God in Christ.  He was down here suffering in the difficulties, and now He is at the right hand of God.

So, about the difficulties:

  • Principalities and powers? Christ was tempted by these, and overcame them for me: they are not going to stop me.
  • Life? He went through that too. He had plenty of sorrow in it; and I grow through all the sorrow that I might have. The trials of life cannot separate me from Christ – “to me to live is Christ’ (Phil 1:21).
  • Death? This cannot separate me either. Indeed, it will bring me to Him: ‘to die is gain’ (Phil 1:21).
  • Persecutions? I triumph in them, because Christ is with me in them.

When the children of Israel were in Egypt, they witnessed the judgment. Then God brought them out via the Red Sea – redemption.  He looked after them in the wilderness, giving them the manna (but they had to collect it diligently).  The real conflict began when they reached the land.  Then the Lord presented Himself to Joshua as captain of the Lord’s host (Jos 5:15). He was with them.

 God has brought us to Himself.  We are called to fellowship with God, and fellowship means common happiness, common thoughts and common feelings.  The Father’s delight is in His Son; and we have fellowship with Him in that. Christ’s delight is in the Father; and we have fellowship with Him in that. So our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Christ Jesus (see 1 John 1:3). ‘If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:6-7).

The psalmist asked God to search him (see Ps 139:23)  – not to condemn or impute, but to cleanse. Christ has gone through all the difficulties, and now He is suiting me for the place where He is. May we know perfect redemption, and be consciously in fellowship with the Father and the Son, so that everything contrary to His holiness may be judged and put away.

Based on the notes of a lecture by John Nelson Darby entitled, ‘God for us’   It is published in Collected Writings Volume 12 (Evangelical 1) page 165.



February 2017