The Lord’s Coming – Is that REALLY our Expectation?

How much does the hope of the Lord’s return (the rapture) feature in our Christian meetings – an expectation – a hope.  Is it the hope of troubles being ended, of divisions being over, of our poor old bodies being changed  – or the hope of seeing our Saviour whom we love, and being with Him?  Is it also the joy of knowing that at that time, Jesus will have His bride (us!) united to Him in glory.   Is the degree of the expectation of Christ’s imminent return, the thermometer measuring our company’s spiritual warmth?

A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting for fellowship and ministry in the pleasant town of Malvern in Worcestershire England.    The brother serving gave an address on the Lord’s coming. He started with a story:

An elderly sister had spoken to him recently, and said how she woke up during the night with troubles on her mind, especially those amongst the Christian group she was with.  But there were others – the world, her family, herself – particularly her health.  Then she said “Wouldn’t it be great if I woke up thinking, ‘This is the day the Lord is going to come!’  Wouldn’t that make a great difference to the day – and to me?”

The brother serving read from:

  • Luke 12:45That bondman should say in his heart, My lord delays to come’
  • 1 Peter 5:1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am their fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, who also am partaker of the glory about to be revealed’
  • 1 Thess 4:17We, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall be always with the Lord’

This raises questions:

–           Am I really looking forward for Him to come?

–           Is there anything I ought to put right before He comes?

–           Is what I plan to do today according to the Lord’s will?

He quoted J N Darby: ‘The expectation of the return of Christ is the exact measure (the thermometer, so to speak) of the life of the church’ (Collected Writings vol 2 – Prophetic 1 p 292 – Lecture 3 of 11 on ; The Hopes of the Church of God) – See also A Day of Small Things summary – The Second Coming of Christ [*]

This made me think of our Christian gatherings.  How much does the hope of the Lord’s return (the rapture) feature in our meetings – an expectation – a hope.  Is it the hope of troubles being ended, of divisions being over, of our poor old bodies being changed  – or the hope of seeing our Saviour whom we love, and being with Him?  Is it also the joy of knowing that at that time, Jesus will have His bride (us!) united to Him in glory.   Is the degree of the expectation of Christ’s imminent return, the thermometer measuring our company’s spiritual warmth?

Darby wrote his poem ‘Hope’ in 1881, shortly before he was taken.  Unlike many of his poems, it was written in the plural – the company rather than the individual.

And shall we see Thy face,
And hear Thy heavenly voice,
Well known to us in present grace!
Well may our hearts rejoice.
 
We wait to see Thee, Lord!
Yet now within our hearts
Thou dwell’st in love, that doth afford
The joy that love imparts.
 
Yet still we wait for Thee,
To see Thee as Thou art,
Be with Thee, like Thee, Lord, and free
To love with all our heart.
 

Hope by J N Darby (1800-82)

Little Flock 1962/1973 editions – Hymn no 270

Many of the churches in our area have websites.  I have been looking at these, sometimes with blogs, or reproduced sermons, and often with a ‘Statement of Faith’ (either their own or that of the Evangelical Alliance, or in some cases the Nicene Creed[†].

There were traditional churches – Church of England, Baptist, Methodist

There were evangelical churches – Missions, FIEC affiliates, former Open Brethren

Many were charismatic and Pentecostal Churches with names such as: Kings Church , The Word House, King’s Treasure, New Life, Elim Pentecostal, the Incorruptible Word Ministries, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, The Redeemed Evangelical Church of Christ, Jesus Revival Ministries, Beulah Christian Fellowship, House of Favour, Peace & Love Assembly

What saddened me was that not a single one of these seemed to have any appreciation of the present living hope of the church – His imminent coming and the joy of being with Him.  Their outlook appeared totally earth-bound – helping less fortunate people, enjoying exhilarating services, music with choirs and bands, youth outreach (now using social media) etc.  I do not doubt that there are many real lovers of the Lord Jesus in those gatherings, with the full knowledge of their eternal salvation, and who have received and have the knowledge of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  They have light of the Lord’s coming to take up His glorious kingdom on earth, but it is based on a ministry that is wholly earthly.

Even those citing the Lord’s return might be hazy doctrinally.  The ‘Statements of Faith’ below†, seem not to distinguish between the rapture and the appearing and the millennium and eternity.  I guess if these things are viewed as generations in the future, they do not appear important.   Or are the church leaders wanting to avoid contention?

This does not just apply to the churches.  There are many books on prophecy which accurately portray the future, based on the Bible.  But they concentrate on events and judgments.  The joy of our Saviour’s return is often lacking.

Of course, I may be mistaken, in some ways I would like to think that I was, and if there were more who had the light, joy and hope of the rapture, I would be immensely happy.   I have not been to any services in these churches.  I have not read every book on prophecy.

We can thank God there are some places which are different.  I am aware of a couple of places who do not, nor would not, have websites, and where there is a true expectation of the Lord’s return – the meeting where we were till recently, and a nearby Gospel Hall where we know several who go there.  Maybe there are other small companies of believers meeting separately, enjoying the Lord’s support and awaiting His return.  But all this is very few in a conurbation of a quarter-million people.

May the Lord’s return be ever brighter in our hearts – and may the hope of it, and our desire to be with Him, affect our lives individually, and may it enliven our gatherings too.

May God bless you in 2018.

Sosthanes

 

[*] In ‘A Day of Small Things’, I have several articles on the rapture (mainly in summaries of J N Darby’ works – especially ‘The Present Hope of the Church’.  These cover the dispensational teaching, and the reality of the rapture, which could happen at any time, since no prophecies have to be fulfilled first.  More importantly, they also help us see the real hope – the real joy – our Lord and Saviour’s return, and our being with Him.

Some of these are:

 

 

 

[†] The new UK Evangelical Alliance’ New Statement of Faith states, ‘The personal and visible return of Jesus Christ to fulfil the purposes of God, who will raise all people to judgement, bring eternal life to the redeemed and eternal condemnation to the lost, and establish a new heaven and new earth’.  The older Worldwide Statement reads, ‘The expectation of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory’.   Also the ancient Nicine Creed (referenced by the Methodists) states, ‘I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come’.

The Notion that Christ was made Sin at His birth

He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin’

This has no ground in scripture.  ‘He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin’ (2 Cor 5:21).  It is terrible to confuse the most wonderful, act of love of that blessed One – the sufferings and death of Christ, His bearing God’s wrath, His His soul Made an offering for sin, with any thought of His proving Himself sinless during His life on earth.  Good men, such as the editor of the Christian Examiner (maybe the Unitarian James Walker – 1794-1874) often carried rationalist views.

 

This is a addition itemof a paper  by John Nelson Darby.

The Pauline Doctrine of the Righteousness of Faith

It is published in Collected Writings Volume 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 349. 

Sosthenes

January 2017

Priests

The establishment of a human priesthood, as a class distinct from all other Christians, is a denial of the truth of Christianity. According to the New Testament, all Christians are priests: they offer prayer and praise to God

 

Summary of a paper written by John Nelson Darby entitiled, ‘Who is a Priest and What is a Priest?’   It is published in Collected Writings Volume 10 (Doctrinal 3) page 209.

 

The establishment of a human priesthood, as a class distinct from all other Christians, is a denial of the truth of Christianity.  According to the New Testament, all Christians are priests: they offer prayer and praise to God..

In the New Testament we have:

  1. Jewish priests
  2. The pagan priest of Jupiter
  3. Melchisedec (contemporary with Abraham)
  4. Christ Himself as the Great High Priest

There are absolutely no references to certain Christians having the distinction of being priests.  Rather all Christians are priests. A distinct class of priests among Christians on earth is totally foreign to the New Testament.  All Christians belong to a holy and royal priesthood – anything else is false and unscriptural.

See the following scriptures:

  1. 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)
  2. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9)
  3. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father (Rev 1:5-6)
  4. By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving praise to his name (Heb 13:15) [The word ‘priest’ is not used here, but only priests offer sacrifices].

Christ is the Great High Priest; all Christians are priests.  In the old system priests offered gifts and sacrifices for sins on behalf of the people who were not allowed to approach the altar and do so.  This was, of course, before Christ’s own sacrifice on the cross.  Christianity is founded on the perfect sacrifice of Christ, the value and efficacy of which are eternal.  Hebrews emphasises that, as Christ’s work was once and for all, there cannot remain any further sacrifice for sins (see Heb 10:26).

In the Jewish tabernacle there were two veils.  Common people could enter neither.  Priests could enter the first to offer incense, but the veil into the Holy of Holies, the high priest entered alone once a year, with the blood of propitiation to put upon the mercy seat.  Thus God was hidden within the veil.  The ordinary worshipper could not approach God directly to offer his gifts or sacrifices. The priest received the them, and he offered them.  God dwelt in thick darkness.

Christianity is the complete opposite of all this.  The veil was rent from the top to the bottom (see Mark 15:38); God has revealed Himself.   Instead of our not being able to approach God, God has approached us. This even applied to the chief of sinners (Paul).  Now,

  • The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared. (Titus 2:11)
  • The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth (1 John 2:8).
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. (2 Cor 5:19)
  • The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
  • In him [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).
  • God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life (1 John 5:12).

By this we deduce that, when a Christian assumes the exclusive authority to conduct a communion service or mass, he is hanging on to the old Jewish order.  He is, in effect, saying, that the ordinary person cannot approach personally, but must get an ordained church officer to approach for him.  This is a denial of the whole efficacy of Christianity, and the place in which all Christians are set.

But the light of God has shone forth, and it is for me to walk in the light as he [God] is in the light (1 John 1:7).  I approach through the blood of Christ, the light showing me that I am perfectly clean.   If I require another go into Gods presence on my behalf, I must not be regarding myself as clean.  But I am clean, because of Christ’s work.   I am therefore a priest, and am to offer praise, thanks and worship to God myself.  And I can do it at any time.

 

Summary by Sosthenes

January 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)  –  The Rapture

The next event for us is the rapture. It could be at any time – today even – and applies only to the church. Because of that, there is no reference to it in the Old Testament. In scripture, the in Greek word ἁρπαγησόμεθα/harpagēsometha/Strong 726 in 1Thess 4:17. Is translated ‘caught up’. The word ‘rapture’ is a noun with the same meaning.

We should ask why is the rapture so little understood, or even accepted amongst many sincere Christians? This scripture in 1 Thess 14:13-18 is very clear:

A few weeks ago I was talking to some of my younger Christian friends regarding the various things which had happened and were yet to happen.  They had little problem with the history – creation, the fall, the flood, the Exodus, Moses receiving the law,  David, the captivity, the birth of Christ, His death and resurrection, Pentecost etc., but they had real problems with what is to come.  I thought therefore in this and a few coming letters to look at these future events so that we might be sure where we are in relation to them.

 

The Rapture

new-jerusalem-2sThe next event for us is the rapture.  It could be at any time – today even – and applies only to the church.  Because of that, there is no reference to it in the Old Testament.  In scripture, the in Greek word ἁρπαγησόμεθα/harpagēsometha/Strong 726 in 1Thess 4:17. Is translated  ‘caught up’.  The word ‘rapture’ is a noun with the same meaning.

We should ask why is the rapture so little understood, or even accepted amongst many sincere Christians?  This scripture in 1 Thess 14:13-18 is very clear: ‘But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them [Darby – are in no way to anticipate those] which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words’.  Look at a few phrases ‘the dead in Christ shall rise first’ – that encompasses all those who have been ransomed by His blood from creation onwards.  Whether we who are alive now will be taken before the rapture, none of us knows.  Paul referred to ‘we, the living’, as if he thought it would be within his lifetime.  Of course we know it was not, but he was looking forward to the Lord’s coming – we should be too.[1]

Paul also says, ‘we shall ever be with the Lord’ (v.17), and ‘them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him’.  Now when Jesus comes (the public second coming, often referred to in scripture as ‘the appearing’) the dead in Christ will be with Him – and so will be those lovers of the Lord who were alive at the rapture.  Also, ‘When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory’ (Col 3:4).  Clearly, we could not come with Him, if we were still on the earth.

The church is heavenly entity: she belongs to Christ in heaven, and her hope and glory is Christ Himself.  She looks forward to and His return to take up His rights.   Therefore the church has nothing to do with the course of events of the earth.  This makes its rapture and return with Christ so simple and clear, as we see from Col 3:4, ‘When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.’ [2]

1 Cor 15:51-52 is another scripture which describes the rapture: ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ’  From this we can deduce that there will be a rallying trumpet, the whole event will be very quick, and our bodies will be changed.  The latter is also referred to in  Rom 8:23waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body’.

When the Lord was discoursing with his disciples immediately prior to the crucifixion, He tells them that a place was being prepared for the saints to be with Him, where He is.  ‘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 14:2-3).

Therefore:

  • The rapture will be sudden
  • No one knows when the rapture will be
  • The rapture will be private
  • At the rapture there will be a voice (or trumpet sound) which only Christians will hear
  • At the rapture the Lord will not come quite to the earth – just to the air
  • The rapture will affect people, whether raptured or left here: the world carries on
  • At the rapture bodies will be changed

The question often arises as to what the effect of the saints being taken will be.  Suddenly millions of people will just vanish!  Hal Lindsey, who awakened many Christians to the rapture in the 1970’s in a popular book ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’, said that there would be confusion.  I doubt it.   Christians who are ‘not of the world’ will not be missed.  Writing about future events in his second epistle to the Thessalonians Paul said, ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie’ (2 Thess 2:11).  The Antichrist will conjure up a satisfactory credible explanation which will be accepted universally.

 

The Rapture and the Appearing

We must not confuse the second coming with the rapture.  At the rapture the Lord comes to the atmosphere immediately above the earth.  At the appearing He comes to the earth. Here are some differences between the rapture and the appearing:

 

RAPTURE APPEARING
No one knows when it will be It will be 7 years after the rapture
It will be private It will be very public
The Lord comes to the air The Lord comes to the earth
He comes FOR His saints He comes WITH His saints
It is followed by the great tribulation[3] It is followed by the millennium
He is the Bridegroom He is the King
He is the Morning Star He is the Sun of Righteousness
It is for the Church It is not for the Church
There is little in prophecy There is much in prophecy
The world will carry on Christ will reign
The man of sin will be revealed Satan will be bound
There will be the judgment seat of Christ[3] The world will be judged
People will be translated Nobody will be translated
People will believe a lie The truth will be acknowledged

 

Two Resurrections

Something else many Christians do not realise is the fact there will be two resurrections.  The Old Testament did not distinguish between the two.  John made the distinction very clear.  When the Lord was here, He said ‘all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 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’ (John 5:28-29).   Also in Revelation, ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power’ (Rev 20:6).  The second death is to the Great White Throne – the resurrection of the dead for judgment[3].

The first resurrection (the resurrection of the just) is primarily at the rapture.  J N Darby says that it will be the consummation of our happiness[4].  Having given life to our souls, He will give life to our glorified bodies.

Satan is the author of this confusion.  He does not want Christians to burn with anticipation of the Lord’s immediate coming.  He certainly does not want us saying ‘Come Lord Jesus’ (Rev 22:20).

Dear Christian friends, may we keep near Him, and be assured as to the immediacy of His return.

 

 

Sosthenes

December 2016

 

[1] See ‘ADOSS – The Lord is Coming Very Soon’

[2] Note that this is distinct from the individuals who, though not of this world have to do with things here.

[3] This will be addressed in a later note, God willing.

[4] Lecture 4 on ‘The Hopes of the Church of God’, summarised by ADOSS asThe First Resurrection – or The Resurrection of the Just’

 

See other references in ADOSS:

 

Confusion as to the Church – – The House and the Body

People confuse what Christ builds with what man builds, physically and metaphorically. Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He would build the Church and that the gates of hell (Satan’s deadly power) would not prevail against it. Resurrection was the proof of that. Peter’s confession, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (v. 16), was the rock on which Christ would build his church. Peter was the first stone in importance, but he was not the builder.

 

Based J. N. Darby: The Church – the House and the Body – Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p 91

 

JohnNelsonDarbyThe word ‘church’ means different things to different people:

  1. The Established Church (in Britain the Church of England)
  2. Those who are enrolled members by baptism etc.
  3. The buildings
  4. What is being built spiritually
  5. The clergy
  6. The congregation
  7. Christendom in general
  8. The body of Christ here
  9. What the Lord will present to Himself without spot or blemish

 

Baptism and the Church

No 2, above (enrolled members), is at the base of Romanism and much of Protestantism.  A person becomes a Christian by being baptised into the church, whether as an adult or a young child.  It is taught that one is saved because one is a member of the church, not that one is a member of the church because one is saved.   Immediately after Pentecost, of course, everybody in the church were true believers.  But soon the likes of Simon Magus got in, and introduced formality and other Jewish sacraments.  They may have been baptised and enjoyed the privileges of the church.  But they did not have eternal life, and were not members of the body of Christ.  As described in the epistle of Jude, they were ‘ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Jude v 4).

To say we are members of Christ by baptism is a falsification of the truth of God.   Alas, many of the early Church fathers, such Justin Martyr, Origen, Clement and later Augustine, espoused this heresy.  They may have been clear as to the Person and divinity of Christ, but they regarded the outward body as the Church, and its privileges was attributed to all who were baptised.  This has continued.  The (Anglican) Book of Common Prayer says ‘baptism wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven’.

Much of this confusion comes about by taking what the Lord said literally when in fact He was talking figuratively.  He could say, ‘I am the true vine’ (John 15:1), ‘I am the door’ (John 10:7), etc.  He is not a vine nor a door.  The outward act is confused with true life from God.  Life and membership of Christ are by the Holy Spirit.  We are born of the Spirit, and by one Spirit baptised into one body (see 1 Cor 12:13).

Man fell and was driven away from God.  If there is to be a remedy, there must be new birth.   We are born of God and receive the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.   As we become conscious of the sinfulness of the flesh, and say ‘O wretched man that I am!’ (Rom 7:24),   we need a change of place, position or standing – reconciled to God.  Baptism is that change of place.

We are baptised to His death, buried with Him unto death.  Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, therefore we are alive, risen and quickened together with Him.  Death has totally taken us out of our old place; we have died out of it, as Christ died out of the world  we are alive with Him –   walking in newness of life (see Romans 8).

The Lord’s Supper

There were many sacraments in Judaism.  Some have been carried over into the public church, whereas only two are scriptural.  We have looked at baptism.  The other scriptural sacrament, the supper, demonstrates the unity of the body.  The Lord’s supper is received in common – the assembly or Church participate.  Hence we have (Eph. 4:4-5), ‘one Spirit, one body, one hope of your calling’ (belonging to the Spirit and spiritual persons, and), ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (the outward profession of faith and the recognition of Christ as Lord).  Again there is a misinterpretation here: partaking of the Lord’s supper involves eating Christ’s flesh and drinking Christ’s blood.  The true meaning of that is lost.  (I hope to address this in a later article – see Address to his Roman Catholic brethren by a minister of the Gospel. and Second Address to his Roman Catholic brethren).

 

What is being Built

See Nos 3 & 4, above.   People confuse what Christ builds with what man builds, physically and metaphorically.   Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He would build the Church and that the gates of hell (Satan’s deadly power) would not prevail against it.  Resurrection was the proof of that.  Peter’s confession, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’  (v. 16), was the rock on which Christ would build his church.  Peter was the first stone in importance, but he was not the builder.  In his epistle Peter addresses other stones coming to Jesus, ‘To whom coming, a living stone disallowed indeed of men but chosen of God and precious, ye also as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2:4).  They come by faith and are built up.  There are no human rules or ordinances; there is no literal building, only faith.  Man’s building has no part in this.  And nothing prevails against it.

Paul amplifies this, developing the doctrine of the Church as the body of Christ.   But Paul does not build either.   He says, ‘Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord’ (Eph 2:21-22).  Only in Corinthians, where it is a matter of responsibility, does he write about our building.   ‘Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon’ (1 Cor 3:10).  Wood, hay and stubble are not compatible with gold, silver and precious stones.  Man’s work will be burned up; Christ’s work never will.

Puseyism, the high church movement, does not distinguish between the perfect building which Christ builds, where living stones grow to a holy temple in the Lord, and what man has built and continues to build.  The professing church may have a good foundation, but its superstructure is questionable.  It has been built of wood and stubble, which will be burned up in the day of judgment.  Those who corrupt the temple of God dishonour Him by assuming that what they build has His seal of approval – in effect that God sanctions evil – what wickedness!   That is why Paul writes, ‘If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are’ (1 Cor 3:17).

Paul tells us in 2 Tim 2 what our path should be.  But that is another subject[*].   May we distinguish between those admitted by baptism and the body, and between the Church which Christ builds, and the sham that man builds.   All man has put his hand to has failed.  But God has put His hand in first, by the Man who never fails.

 

 

[*] See:

Simplified Darby – Separation from Evil and Christian Unity – Separation from Evil, God’s Principle of Unity

Knowing where we are, and what God wants us to do, in the Confused State of Christendom – The Faith once delivered to the Saints

Questions God Asks

the Lord said to Saul of Tarsus, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ (Acts 9:4). Saul was full of hatred – not just in slaying the Lord, but all who followed Him, even to strange cities. But he, the chief of sinners, was shown grace. Grace to the chief of sinners, to hostile – Holy Ghost resisting – Christ persecuting – Israel. Grace to the poorest feeble saint, a member of His body, His flesh and of His bones – the Church.

 

JohnNelsonDarbyThe LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?’ (Gen 3:9)

  • Adam was separated from God by his own conscience – and naked.

 

The LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?’ (Gen 4:9)

  • Cain did not love God.  He hated his brother and was a murderer.
  • Can is typical of the Jews’ rejection of Christ.

 

It is the Lord who is speaking – the glorified Son of God.  He died for the sins of others – seen typically in Abel’s sacrifice.  The One who asks the questions is the One who accomplished righteousness.

So the Lord said to Saul of Tarsus, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ (Acts 9:4).  Saul was full of hatred – not just in slaying the Lord, but all who followed Him, even to strange cities.  But he, the chief of sinners, was shown grace.  Grace to the chief of sinners, to hostile – Holy Ghost resisting – Christ persecuting – Israel.  Grace to the poorest feeble saint, a member of His body, His flesh and of His bones – the Church.

 

Based on a passage in on J. N. Darby: ‘God’s Questions to Man’ – Notes and Comments Vol. 1, p 181

Sosthenes

 

September 2016

John Nelson Darby’s Prophetic Map

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prophetic-map

Russia and the King of the North

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

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

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

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

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

 

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the King of the South

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

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

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

 

The Prophetic Map: What does all this mean?

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

 

Sosthenes

July 2016

 

Luke 15

Luke 15

 

eastmanprodigalIt is wonderful to see how God reveals Himself in certain passages of scripture.  Nobody could manifest God in thoughts, words and actions like the Lord Jesus Himself.  We see that in the parables.

The brightness of God’s glory is too much for man.  Consequently, He graciously hides His brightness in the Person of the Son of man.  Man rejected Christ, constantly finding fault and carping at things with which he could not agree. This however moved God to show that He really was God, clothing Himself in flesh in the person of Christ and showing His heart to man here.  Whilst here He used parables.

In many of them we have the Lord seeking persons in need.  We sometimes tell people to seek Christ.  Doing that is right in one sense, for it is quite true that ‘He that seeketh findeth’(Luke 11:10), but the Lord never said to people, ‘Come unto me’, until He had first come to them.

So in Luke 15 God tells all the truth. God will be God.  In this parable God welcomes the poor prodigal son, making God merry and glad.  God would have His own joy in spite of the men’s objections.  People object to God’s acting in love, prefering to look on God as a judge, believing in pride that their own righteousness will satisfy God.  But God operates in grace, making nothing of man’s righteousness: ‘There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom 3:23).

 

The Woman caught in Adultery

People like to compare one person’s righteousness with another’s.  The scribes and Pharisees criticised the Lord for eating with publicans and sinners.  In this they slighted God’s righteousness and magnified their own.  In John 8 we find the woman caught in the act of adultery, being brought by the scribes and Pharisees.  By the law she would have been justly condemned to be stoned: she was undeniably guilty.  Their motive was that He might be obliged to deny either mercy or righteousness. They thought to place Him in an inextricable difficulty (we might say today, a catch-22 situation).  If He should let her off, He would break the law of Moses; but should He say, ‘let her be stoned,’ it would not have been grace.  How does the Lord act?  He says, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’ (John 8:7).  Their consciences begin to work, they realised that they were all were sinners.  From the eldest to the youngest, all went out: only Jesus was sinless.  It was not time for Him to execute the law, for He had not come not to judge, so He concludes, ‘Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more’ (v. 11).  That was grace, and nothing but grace.

 

Luke 15

We have three parables in the chapter.  Each teaches us something of God’s love:­ ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10).

  • The first parable is that of the shepherd who sought the sheep that was lost.
  • The second, that of the woman who sought the piece of money that was lost.
  • The third, the father’s reception of the son who was lost.

 

The Shepherd with 100 Sheep

The Lord Jesus justifies God in being good to sinners.  He appeals to man’s heart. ‘What man of you, having an hundred sheep?’ etc. (v. 4). The sheep is lost and the shepherd goes and finds it; he puts it on his shoulder and brings it home rejoicing.  That is like the Great Shepherd of the sheep who would say. “Have I not a right to seek lost sinners?  Is it not a right thing for God to mix with publicans and sinners?”  This may not suit a moralist, but it suits God.

 

The Woman and the Coin

In the second parable we have the woman’s painstaking, eagerness to find the lost coin.  The woman lights a candle, sweeps the house, not stopping till the piece was found.  And then we have the joy when her possession is recovered. ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost’ (v. 9). That is the way of the Lord in love.

The woman is typical of the Holy Spirit.  We see grace operating without anything moving in the heart of the sinner: we also see God’s own joy.  Man’s pharisaic objection to grace only served to emphasise the energy and activity of God’s love. The piece of money and the sheep could do nothing. The shepherd and the woman alike did all; it was their joy.  Worth nothing, in a certain sense, to God’s love the sinner is immensely valuable.

 

The Prodigal Son

The third parable shows the feelings of the wanderer and the way he was received back.  Both the father’s and the prodigal’s hearts are laid open.  What was important was not the prodigal’s estimate of the love of the father, but the real manifestation of the father’s heart.

Picture the situation:  a man is brought to the utmost degradation – voluntarily eating husks with the swine (and we must remember what swine are to the Jew).  Looking at the case in more detail, the rebellious younger son was far happier when leaving home than he was when returning – he was doing his own will. The young man was as great a sinner when walked out of his father’s house, as he was when feeding the swine in the far country.  He had chosen to act independently of God – that is sin.  He reaped the fruits of his actions, and in one sense, the very consequences of his sin were mercies, because they showed him what his sin was.  It is like us: whether we are living in vice or not, we have all turned our back on God.

When he first left the house, he showed where his alienated heart was.  He had turned his back on his father and his father’s house, and his face was towards the far country, typically the world.  He went there to do his own will.  Parents understand that. Our child sins against us and we feel it. But the child does not feel it the same way, if at all.  So when we sin against God we do not feel it. We are all like children: “we have turned every one to his own way’ (Isa 53:6)

Having reached the far country, the prodigal went on gaily in his own will for as long as he could, wasting his money in riotous living (See v. 13).  Any person from a Christian home, who lives beyond his means looks rich and happy for a time. But if he thinks he is happy, he is so only because he has gotten away from God. His will is unrestrained. But then, after all, he is in the devil’s country, and enslaved to him. Liberty of will is just slavery to the devil.

Hearts are not easy in the world; leave a man for a few hours to himself, and he will soon be in want (young people nowadays would say they were ‘bored’).  The prodigal had begun to be in want, but his will was not touched yet. There ‘And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks which the swine did eat: and no one gave unto him’ (v. 14-16).  There is no giving in the ‘far country’, not even of husks.

Satan sells, and dearly – our souls are the price. You must buy everything. The world’s principle is ‘nothing for nothing’; every gratification has its price.  If you sell yourself to the devil, you will get husks: he will never give you anything. If you want to find a giver, you must go to God.

The prodigal awoke and thought, ‘I perish with hunger’; and then he thought of his father’s house – the very place he had been so anxious to get away from at first.  ‘He said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.’ (v. 17-19).

He did not know how he would be received, yet he knew there was happiness and love in the father’s house, even extending to the bondmen and hired servants.  He also knew that there was plenty of food there, and where he was, he was perishing with hunger.  His abject need brought him to value the house.  He knew it was a good place, but did not yet know the extent of that goodness – God’s goodness.

He went back to the father’s house without a true knowledge of the heart of the father, who had seen him already while he was a long way off.  He had prepared his speech: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants’ (v. 18-19).  He measured the father’s love in by the sense of the evil he had done and he thought to get into the place of a servant. Many hearts are in this state, even dictating to the Father what sort of position that would be fit – this is legalism.  God can only receive us in grace.  Had the father received him at a lower level, he would have been miserable.  Having a son in the position of a servant would remind him of the sin that had been committed.  The father cannot have sons in his house as servants.  He rushed to meet him and did not even give him time to say, ‘Make me as one of thy hired servants’. He confessed his sin, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son’.  When his father is on his neck kissing him, even though all the rags of the far country were still on him, how could he ask to be a hired servant?

The father did not stop to ask him anything.  He knew his son had acted very wrongly, but it would have been no use to say, “You have disgraced me and dishonoured my name”. It was not a question of fitness or worthiness on the part of the son – love does not reason that way – the father was acting from himself and for himself.  He fell on his neck, because he loved to be there. It is God’s love, not the sinner’s worth, that accounts for the extravagant liberality of his reception.

The servants are called to introduce him into the house fittingly. ‘But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry’ (v. 22-24).  God shows His love towards us as wretched sinners, and then clothes us with Christ. He brings us into the house where the servants are, with nothing less than the full honour of sonship.  We read about the robe, the ring, the shoes, the fatted calf, and the feast of joy that welcomes the returning prodigal. The father’s mind was that a son of his was worth it all, and that it was worthy of him to give it.

Some might think it humility to desire the servant’s place in the house.  But that is only ignorance of the Father.  In read in Eph 2:7, ‘That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus’.  It would not have been worthy of the Father to leave us as servants.  We would have had a constant memorial of our sin, shame, dishonour and degradation, whereas, ‘The worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins’ (Heb 10:2).  Our condition must be worthy of God for us to enjoy now.

This requires faith: faith judges as God judges.  We see sin in the light of God’s holiness.  But as our sins and iniquities are not remembered any more, we learn grace and what our Father’s heart really is.  Faith is the only thing that gives me certainty: reasoning does not. Reasoning may be all quite well for the things of this world; but if God speaks about anything, we believe it by faith.  Faith sets to its seal that God is true (See John 3:33).

If I do not believe what God assures me of, I wrong Him. It is a sin not to believe that I am a son – in God’s presence without a spot of sin – through the blood of the Lamb.  If it were only my own righteousness, it would be torn like rags, but it is the blood of the Lamb has cleansed every single sin.

The question is, ‘What is God’s estimate of the efficacy of the blood of Jesus?’  If my soul knows the value to God of the blood of the Lamb, I know the extent of His love.  It would be an evil thing to doubt that, just as it would have been for the prodigal to say, “I have the rags of the far country on” while his father was kissing him.  Like the prodigal, I must be silenced by such grace.

 

The Elder Brother

It might be said that divine grace sanctions sin.  That is the spirit of the elder brother.  Grace pleaded with him: ‘He was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him (v. 28).  We see the the father’s patient love towards this wretched man who refused to share in the joy. The servants were happy; they say, ‘Thy brother is come, and thy father has killed for him the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound’ (v. 27).

His heart turned sour to the love and grace that God showed to a fellow sinner. He would not go in. The father reasoned with him – ‘It was meet that we should make merry and be glad; for this [not my son, but] thy brother was dead and is alive again; and was lost and is found’ (v. 32) In vain, he could not enter into the joyful spirit that pereated the house, from the father down to the lowest maid. He remained outside, and had none of the happiness or joy.  Despite his outward faithfulness and obedience, he refused his father’s grace: this is man.

 

Conclusion

Let us each ask ourselves, ‘How can I know God’s heart?”  We do not get to know it by looking into our own heart. The God we have to do with is the God who has given His Son for sinners, and if we do not know this, we do not know Him at all. ‘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?’ (Rom 8:32).   Let us not say to God, “Make me as one of thy hired servants”. Let us not put our own value on God’s goodness.  Let us not turn back to legalism, and think that it is humility. The only real humility is to forget self in the presence of God.  It may be a humbling process; but it is not in thinking evil of self that we are truly humble, it is in forgetting ourselves completely in the manifestation of the love of God and our Father, who is love to us, and blesses us.

May we poor sinners, know through Jesus, God revealed in love!

Sosthenes

November 2015

Based on a paper by John Nelson Darby.  For original see  Parables of Luke 15 

Some JND Snippets – From Golden Nugget Number 17

The great truth and essence of Christianity is that it takes the heart out of this world, and fixes it on Christ. It makes us live by Christ, on Christ, and to Christ.

Golden nuggetBut then the life of Jesus is to be manifested in me, and there I get my proper responsibility as a Christian.  Since Christ appears in the presence of God for us, we are to appear in the presence of the world for Christ.  If He dwells in you, then let us see Him in you.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p4)

 

When guilty, you are justified; when you have offended, you are forgiven; and when you are defiled, you are washed. If I look at guilt, I want justification; at offence, forgiveness; at defilement, cleansing.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p7)

 

God never told people they were lost, until Christ had died to save them.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p11)

 

Are you part of My bride – My body – and you won’t take the cross here with Me? What is crown up there is cross down here.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p20)

 

Whoever has the Spirit of Christ is a member of the body, and that we own; though if one be walking inconsistently, and in some actual thing that calls for it, he must be put out. For fellowship, therefore, he must be not only a member of the body, but also a member of the body walking uprightly.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p38)

 

“If a man serve me, let him follow me”; that recalls a line I read many years ago, “It is harder to live a Christian than to die a martyr.”

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p45)

 

The great truth and essence of Christianity is that it takes the heart out of this world, and fixes it on Christ. It makes us live by Christ, on Christ, and to Christ.

(J.N.D Notes and Jottings p67)

 

Golden Nuggets are published by

Saville Street Distribution
Venture, Princes Esplanade,
Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex CO14 8QD

J N Darby – French Letter No. 155 – Follow-up on 154

JohnNelsonDarby155

January 1848

To Mr B R

Dear brother

I am sending you your paper that I have actually taken with me. I was afraid to send such a big notebook by post. I add some lines.

The Keri[1] says: “read”. The Massorites did not dare to change the text even when there would have been an obvious mistake, but they wrote in the margin: “read thus”. It would therefore be the lessons or variations which are almost always better than the text. De Wette[2] has given the Keri in his “Annotations”. De Wette’s translation does not satisfy me. The “consumption determined” is an expression employed in Isaiah 10: 23; 28: 22 to signify the afflictions of Israel, it seems to me, in those days which precede the reign of the Messiah, whether they be found in Israel or on Jerusalem. The use of these words in Daniel 9: 27 is very remarkable. This has led me to other remarks. The last word in [chapter] 9: 27 is, save in this passage, always translated by “the desolated”. There are good dictionaries that only give this sense.   Once elsewhere, the most a remarkable form of a verbal infinitive is used in an active sense. “Desolated” is not the same word as “desolator” in the same verse. For in [chapter] 11: 31, it is the abomination of the desolator. [In chapter] 12: 11, it is the last word from [chapter] 9: 27, that is to say perhaps the desolated. You will find that the examination of chapters 10 and 28 of Isaiah on these two points of the indignation and the consumption determined shed a great light on Daniel. The Assyrian is seen there very clearly and the overflowing flood on account of their covenant with evil.

I hope that the Lord will restore our dear brother C to a soft and loving state. I hope that a sincere and cordial love will be shown towards him. The faults of which you speak are not like others that perhaps annoy our neighbours less, but are none the less bad in the sight of our God.

Peace be with you

Your affectionate brother

[1] see note to previous letter

[2] Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette (12 Jan 1780 – 16 Jun 1849) was a German theologian and biblical scholar.