JN Darby on the Passover – The Historical Keeping of the Passover

The Passover by Subject

– The Historical Keeping of the Passover

 

The Passover is the first in our series of JND on Selected Subjects

Notes from Darby’s Writings

Reference

The Passover, the memorial of redemption of the people of God, as an assembly redeemed by Him, was obligatory during the journey through the wilderness.   But according the record, it was celebrated only once.  Those born in the wilderness were not circumcised till they came to Gilgal across the Jordan, so not in a condition to keep it.  None born there were circumcised.   God makes a provision, in grace and forbearance, for those who were not able to keep it. JND Synopsis Numbers 9

However faithful Josiah had been, this had not changed the heart of the people – ‘The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? …, yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 3: 6, 10). Josiah’s faith was in action, and blessing depended on the conduct of the king.  Despite this, the undercurrent was always tending to the ruin and rejection of the people.

For this special Passover, everything is set in order according to the ordinances of Moses and David, in a remarkable manner. It appears that even the ark had been removed from its place (2 Chronicles 35:3); but now, the ark being restored to its rest, the Levites occupy themselves diligently with their service, and even make ready for the priests, that they might keep the feast. They were all in their places according to the blessing of Israel in the rest they enjoyed under Solomon. Those who taught all Israel no longer bore the ark, but they ministered to God and to His people. The singers were there also, according to their order, so that there had not been such a Passover since the days of Samuel. It was like the last glimmering of the lamp which God had lighted among His people in the house of David. It was soon extinguished in the darkness of the nation which did not know God, and those who had been His people came under the judgment expressed by the word Lo-ammi (Not-my-people).   God was yet to show His infinite grace.

 

JND Synopsis 2 Chronicles 35

 

The Passover has an unquestionably historical character.  It was ‘a night much to be observed,’ (Ex 12:42) when, protected by the blood from judgment, they ate their unleavened bread in haste, preparing to depart out of Egypt.  There is no evidence that they kept it after Sinai (Numbers 9) till they were in Canaan. Those born in the wilderness were not fitted to do so, being uncircumcised until across Jordan; when, under Joshua they were, they did so  in Gilgal .  Hezekiah kept it, and Josiah kept it, as it had not been kept for long years.  What neglect!

 

JND Collected Writings Volume 29 (Doctrinal 8) p106 on ‘Have we a Revelation from God?’

 

JN Darby on the Passover – The Original Passover –  God’s Commandments

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  So at last God executes His judgment, taking the firstborn as representatives of all the people. We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1.     God appears as Judge

2.     God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.

The Passover by Subject – The Original Passover –  God’s Commandments

The Passover is the first in our series of JND on Selected Subjects

Notes from Darby’s Writings

Reference

Despite the plagues, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  So at last God executes His judgment, taking the firstborn as representatives of all the people. We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1.     God appears as Judge

2.     God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.

God says, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over’ (v. 13).  It is not said, ‘When you see it’, but ‘When I see it”.  The soul of an awakened person rests, not on its own righteousness, or even his value of the blood, but on God’s valuation it.  Peace is founded on God’s valuation.  Our faith is in that.

JND Synopsis – Exodus 12

 

There is further a difference between the passover and the great day of atonement. Here the blood met the eye of God passing through the land in judgment. On the great day of atonement it purified His habitation from our defilements, and, we can say, opened up the way to God’s throne and presence; gave us boldness to enter into the holiest by a new and living way. In the passover was added, as it had the character of first deliverance and forgiveness, the bitter herbs of judgment of sin in ourselves, and feeding on the slain Lamb, with loins girded and shoes on our feet, to leave the place of sin and judgment from which as the consequence of sin we had been fully sheltered. JND Synopsis – Exodus 13

 

We can take the sabbath, the Passover, and the feast of unleavened bread as making a whole. Of the two latter, the unleavened bread was the feast, properly speaking; the Passover was the sacrifice on which the feast was grounded. As the apostle says, ‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with leaven,’ (1 Cor 5:7).  What was indeed necessary for the sabbath, for the rest of God, was the sacrifice of Christ, and purity; and though all these feasts lead on to the rest of God, yet these two, the Passover and unleavened bread, are the basis of all, and of the rest itself for us. Christ’s sacrifice and the absence of all principle of sin, form the basis of the part we have in the rest of God. God is glorified in respect of sin; sin is put away for us, out of His sight, and out of our hearts. The perfect absence of leaven marked Christ’s path and nature down here, and is accomplished in us, so far as we realise Christ as our life, and recognise ourselves, though the flesh be still in us, as dead and risen with Him. To be without leaven was the perfection of the Person of Christ living upon earth, and becomes in principle of the walk upon earth of him who is partaker of His life. JND Synopsis Leviticus 23
The Passover recalled deliverance, deliverance from bondage in Egypt  – for us this means  deliverance from sin and Satan.  It was eaten with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction.  That would signify repentance – ‘truth in the inward parts’ (Psalm 51:6).  They were happy, having escaped bondage, through the power of God alone.  They would have had the sense that it was a deliverance from the evil under which they had been, by their own fault and to their own ruin.  If unrepentant (leaven in the house) the soul was cut off.

God gathered the people around His dwelling-place, and linked them with His name and with Himself.  They worshipped Jehovah

JND Synopsis Deuteronomy 16
The Passover relates to Christ’s dying for us.  In the Passover there was one simple truth, God was passing through as a judge, and passed over. JND Collected Writings Volume 33 (Miscellaneous 2) p404  Note on the Application of the Types of the Red Sea and Jordan

 

The character of the Passover sacrifice — for it is called ze-vakh (sacrifice) — is pretty plain. There was nothing burnt to the Lord; the holy character of the lamb was preserved by anything remaining over to be burnt, no bone to be broken, nor any part carried out of the house; but there was no sweet savour to the Lord, it had not that character of sacrifice — no altar or place of approach, neither hik-riv (brought near) nor hik-tir (burnt in sweet savour). It was not in character nor effect, coming to God; it was keeping God, as a righteous Judge, out, so that they escaped.

— 8, 10. The fact that the Passover was to be eaten at night, and nothing left till the morning or burned seems think, to show that it was entirely apart from the whole course and scene in which nature and sense are conversant.  It was an abstract matter between God and the soul, in the full undistracted claim and holiness of the divine nature.  It had nothing to do with their miserable circumstances.  It looked forward to where sin and the holy judgment of God met, when all was darkness for three hours with Christ on the cross.   Then all was to be burnt — there was no mixing it with any thing common; Israel was sanctified by it, like the priests, so that they ate it, but it could not be mixed with other food.

Notes & Comments vol. 1 p 210

EXODUS CHAPTER 12

 

Feasts of the Lord, mo-ed (a set time), feast of unleavened bread, Khag (a holy feast).

Note the Sabbath, Passover and unleavened bread were not dependent on their coming into the land.

The Passover is the basis of all, founded on which we have the feast of unleavened bread, the general result also in the sinless character of our association with God.  verse 4, therefore begins afresh as the grand basis of all, unleavened bread being connected with it. The rest are special and actual dealings of God, and states and terms of relationship with Him; hence verse 9 starts with a new “the Lord spake”, and that begins the ways of the Lord in the resurrection of Christ, first fruits from the dead presented to Him. Sabbath — Passover — and Unleaven are the general great truth of our being assembled to God, verses 1 – 8.

 

Notes & Comments vol. 2 p 62
Jehovah says, “I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Jehovah. And the blood shall be unto you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12,-13). This was not the deliverance of Israel, like the passage of the Red Sea, but it was the ground of it; and of the two, the Passover was really the more solemn morally, though the Red Sea displayed God’s saving power more gloriously on behalf of His people and against their foes. But on the paschal night it was a question how God could pass over the guilty, even if His people; and the blood of the lamb sprinkled on Israel’s doorposts declared that God, though expressly judging, could not touch those screened thereby His truth and justice were stayed and satisfied before that blood. The destroyer was kept from entering.Not an Israelite perished within the blood-sprinkled lintels. It was a question of arresting God’s judgment here, of destroying Satan’s power in the type of the Red Sea; but the blood of Christ laid the foundation for the victory displayed in His resurrection.

 

 

JND Collected Writings Volume 21 (Evangelical 2) p9

THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

Passover 1 – The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Old Testament – in the Wilderness, under Josiah and Hezekiah

We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1. God appears as Judge

2. God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.

God says, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over’ (v. 13). It is not said, ‘When you see it’, but ‘When I see it”.

Notes

  1. Scripture quotations here are from the Darby Translation
  2. The notes are a combination of those from the 1890 and 1961 editions of the Darby Bible. Where notes refer to another scripture, the notes from that scripture are used. In many notes in the 1890 edition there is a list of which manuscripts (MSS) use which terms.  These MSS have not been listed.
  3. The Synopsis has been slightly edited to simplify the English.

 

 

Exodus 12

And Jehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month shall be unto you the beginninga of months: it shall be the first month of the yearb to you. 3Speak unto all the assemblya of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take themselves each a lamb c, for a father’s house, a lamb for a house. 4And if the household be too small for a lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; each according to the measure of his eating shall ye count for the lamb. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish d , a yearling male; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats. 6And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregatione of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings. 7And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two door-posts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs f  shall they eat it. 9Ye shall eat none of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roast with fire; its head with its legs and with its in-wards. 10And ye shall let none of it remain until the morning; and what remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11And thus shall ye eat it: your loins shall be girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is Jehovah’s passover g . 12And I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Jehovah. 13And the blood shall be for you as a sign on the houses in which ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be among you for destruction, when I smite h  the land of Egypt. 14And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall celebrate it as a feast to Jehovah; throughout your generations as an ordinance for ever shall ye celebrate it. 15Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread: on the very first day ye shall put away i Or leaven out of your houses; for whoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day–that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16And on the first day ye shall have a holy convocation j Or, and on the seventh day a holy convocation: no manner of work shall be done on them, save what is eaten by every person k –that only shall be done by you. 17And ye shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; and ye shall keep this day in your generations as an ordinance for ever. 18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month in the evening. 19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eateth what is leavened–that soul shall be cut off from the assembly of Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or born in the land. 20Ye shall eat nothing leavened: in all your dwellings shall ye eat unleavened bread.

21And Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Seize l Or and take yourselves lambs m Or for your families, and kill the passover. 22And take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and smear the lintel and the two door-posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23And Jehovah will pass through to smite h the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two door-posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you. 24And ye shall observe this as an ordinance for thee and for thy sons for ever. 25And it shall come to pass, when ye are come into the land that Jehovah will give you, as he has promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to you, What mean ye by this service? 27that ye shall say, It is a sacrifice of passover to Jehovah, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote h the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshipped. 28And the children of Israel went away, and did as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron; so did they.

29And it came to pass that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. 30And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his bondmen, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house in which there was not one dead. 31And he called Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, Rise up, go away from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. 32Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and go; and bless me also. 33And the Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We are all dead men! 34And the people took their dough before it was leavened; their kneading-troughs bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35And the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked of the Egyptians utensils of silver, and utensils of gold, and clothing. 36And Jehovah had given the people favour in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they gave to them; and they spoiled the Egyptians.

 

43And Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: No stranger shall eat of it; 44but every man’s bondman that is bought for money–let him be circumcised: then shall he eat it. 45A settler and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth any of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 47All the assembly of Israel shall hold it. 48And when a sojourner sojourneth with thee, and would hold the passover to Jehovah, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and hold it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49One law shall be for him that is home-born and for the sojourner that sojourneth among you. 50And all the children of Israel did as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron; so did they. 51And it came to pass on that same day, that Jehovah brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their hosts.

 

Notes

aLit ‘head’

bThe beginning of the year which began with the first new moon after the Spring Equinox.

a ‘Assembly’ (קָהָל/qahal/Strong H6951) – the congregation is looked at as a moral whole, a corporate person before God – see Lev 4:13; 8:3

c Or ‘kid’ here and in all this passage. שֶׂה/she/Strong H7716 – one of a flock, a sheep (or goat)

d Or ‘perfect’

e’Congregation of the assemby’ (עֵדָה / edah/Strong H5712 )  is the actual subsisting congregagtion composed of all its members. C.f. v.3

f Lit ‘bitterness’

g Signifies the action of passing over (see v 13).

The character of the Passover sacrifice — for it is called ze-vakh (sacrifice) — is pretty plain. There was nothing burnt to the Lord; the holy character of the lamb was preserved by anything remaining over to be burnt, no bone to be broken, nor any part carried out of the house; but there was no sweet savour to the Lord, it had not that character of sacrifice — no altar or place of approach, neither hik-riv (brought near) nor hik-tir (burnt in sweet savour). It was not in character nor effect, coming to God; it was keeping God, as a righteous Judge, out, so that they escaped — keeping Him righteously out (we can say by glorifying gloriously His righteousness), but still as a needed means meeting the case, and excluding the Judge as having now no ground for entering. Deliverance by God (that is, the Red Sea), drawing near to God, a sweet savour to Him, or coming to Him in any way of worship or communion, are not found here. (From Notes & Comments vol. 1 p 210)

h Or ‘plague’ – also v 23.

i Lit ‘put a stop to’

j A calling together – Also Num 10:2

k Lit ‘every soul’

l Or ‘draw out’

m Lit ‘small cattle’ (c.f. v.3) – צֹאן/ tson/Strong H6629 – small cattle, sheep and goats, flock

 

Synopsis

 

Despite the plagues Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  So at last God executes His judgment, taking the firstborn as representatives of all the people. We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1.     God appears as Judge

2.     God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.

 

God says, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over’ (v. 13).  It is not said, ‘When you see it’, but ‘When I see it”.  The soul of an awakened person rests, not on its own righteousness, or even his value of the blood, but on God’s valuation it.  Peace is founded on God’s valuation.  Our faith is in that.

 

Leviticus 23

4These also are the holy days of the Lord, which you must celebrate in their seasons. 5The first month, the fourteenth day of the month at evening, is the phase of the Lord: 6And the fifteenth day of the same month is the solemnity of the unleavened bread of the Lord. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread. 7The first day shall be most solemn unto you, and holy: you shall do no servile work therein: 8But you shall offer sacrifice in fire to the Lord seven days. And the seventh day shall be more solemn, and more holy: and you shall do no servile work therein.

.

 

Notes

 

Synopsis

 

 

We can take the sabbath, the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread as making a whole. Of the two latter, the unleavened bread was the feast, properly speaking; the passover was the sacrifice on which the feast was grounded. As the apostle says, ‘Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with leaven,’ (1 Cor 5:7).  What was indeed necessary for the sabbath, for the rest of God, was the sacrifice of Christ, and purity; and though all these feasts lead on to the rest of God, yet these two, the passover and unleavened bread, are the basis of all, and of the rest itself for us. Christ’s sacrifice and the absence of all principle of sin, form the basis of the part we have in the rest of God. God is glorified in respect of sin; sin is put away for us, out of His sight, and out of our hearts. The perfect absence of leaven marked Christ’s path and nature down here, and is accomplished in us, so far as we realise Christ as our life, and recognise ourselves, though the flesh be still in us, as dead and risen with Him. To be without leaven was the perfection of the Person of Christ living upon earth, and becomes in principle of the walk upon earth of him who is partaker of His life.

 

Numbers 9

 

1And Jehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after their departure from the land of Egypt, saying, 2Let the children of Israel also hold the passover at its set time; 3on the fourteenth day in this month between the two evenings, ye shall hold it at its set time; according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ordinances thereof shall ye hold it. 4And Moses spoke to the children of Israel, that they should hold the passover. 5And they held the passover in the first month on the fourteenth day of the month, between the two evenings, in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that Jehovah had commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. 6And there were men, who were unclean through the dead body of a man, and could not hold the passover on that day; and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 7And those men said to him, We are unclean by reason of the dead body of a man: why are we kept back, that we may not present the offering a of Jehovah at its set time among the children of Israel? 8And Moses said to them, Stay, and I will hear what Jehovah commands concerning you. 9And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 10Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your generations be unclean by reason of a dead body or be on a journey afar off, yet he shall hold the passover to Jehovah. 11In the second month, on the fourteenth day, between the two evenings, shall they hold it; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs shall they eat it. 12They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone thereof: according to every ordinance of the passover shall they hold it. 13But a man that is clean, and is not on a journey, and forbeareth to hold the passover, that soul shall be cut off from among his peoples; because he presented not the offering of Jehovah at its set time: that man shall bear his sin. 14And if a stranger b shall sojourn among you, and would hold the passover to Jehovah, according to the rite of the passover, and according to the ordinance thereof, so shall he do. Ye shall have one rite, both for the stranger and for him that is born in the land.

Notes

 

a Corban’ – a thing presented – as Lev 1:2 – derived from the verb translated ‘present’

b Or ‘soujourner’ as Ex 12:48, Lev 20:2

 

Synopsis

 

The Passover, the memorial of redemption of the people of God, as an assembly redeemed by Him, was obligatory during the journey through the wilderness.   But according the record, it was celebrated only once.  Those born in the wilderness were not circumcised till they came to Gilgal across the Jordan, so not in a condition to keep it.  None born there were circumcised.   God makes a provision, in grace and forbearance, for those who were not able to keep it.

 

Deuteronomy 16

 

1Keep the month of Abib, and celebrate the passover to Jehovah thy God for in the month of Abib Jehovah thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2And thou shalt sacrifice the passover to Jehovah thy God of the flock and of the herd, in the place which Jehovah will choose to cause his name to dwell there. 3Thou shalt eat no leavened bread along with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread with it, bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste, –that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt, all the days of thy life. 4And there shall be no leaven seen with thee in all thy borders seven days; neither shall any of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst at even on the first day, be left over night until the morning. — 5Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover in one of thy gates, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee; 6but at the place that Jehovah thy God will choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the time that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7And thou shalt cook and eat it at the place which Jehovah thy God will choose; and in the morning shalt thou turn and go unto thy tents. 8Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day is a solemn assembly to Jehovah thy God thou shalt do no work.

Notes

 

 

Synopsis

 

The Passover recalled deliverance, deliverance from bondage in Egypt  – for us this means  deliverance from sin and Satan.  It was eaten with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction.  That would signify repentance – ‘truth in the inward parts’ (Psalm 51:6).  They were happy, having escaped bondage, through the power of God alone.  They would have had the sense that it was a deliverance from the evil under which they had been, by their own fault and to their own ruin.  If unrepentant (leaven in the house) the soul was cut off.

 

God gathered the people around His dwelling-place, and linked them with His name and with Himself.  They worshipped Jehovah.

 

2 Kings 23

21And the king [Josiah] commanded all the people saying, Hold the passover to Jehovah your God as it is written in this book of the covenant. 22For there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; 23but in the eighteenth year of king Josiah was this passover holden to Jehovah in Jerusalem. 24Moreover the necromancers and the soothsayers, and the teraphim and the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, Josiah took away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkijah the priest had found in the house of Jehovah.

 

Notes

 

 

Synopsis

 

None

2 Chronicles 30

1And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, to hold the passover to Jehovah the God of Israel. 2And the king took counsel, and his princes, and the whole congregation in Jerusalem, to hold the passover in the second month. 3For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not hallowed themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people been gathered together to Jerusalem.

 

Notes

 

 

Synopsis

 

None

2 Chronicles 35

 

1And Josiah held a passover to Jehovah in Jerusalem; and they slaughtered the passover on the fourteenth of the first month. 2And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Jehovah. 3And he said to the Levites, that taught all Israel, and who were holy to Jehovah, Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built; ye have not to carry it upon your shoulders. Serve now Jehovah your God and his people Israel; 4and prepare yourselves by your fathers’ houses, in your divisions, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son; 5and stand in the sanctuary for the classes of the fathers’ houses, for your brethren, the children of the people, and according to a the divisions of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; 6and slaughter the passover, and hallow yourselves, and prepare it for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of Jehovah through Moses. 7And Josiah gave for the children of the people a heave-offering of the flocks, lambs and goats, all for the passover-offerings, for all that were present–to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king’s substance. 8And his princes gave a voluntary heave-offering for the people, for the priests, and for the Levites: Hilkijah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God gave to the priests for the passover-offerings two thousand six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen; 9and Conaniah, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave as heave-offering to the Levites for the passover-offerings five thousand small cattle and five hundred oxen. 10And the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king’s commandment. 11And they slaughtered the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hand, and the Levites flayed them. 12And they set apart the burnt-offerings to give them to the classes of the fathers’ houses of the children of the people, to present them to Jehovah, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance; and the consecrated things they boiled in pots and in cauldrons and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the children of the people. 14And afterwards they made ready for themselves and for the priests; because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were engaged in offering up the burnt-offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the doorkeepers were at every gate; they had not to depart from their service, for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16And all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to hold the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings on the altar of Jehovah according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17And the children of Israel that were present held the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18And there was no passover like to that holden in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel hold such a passover as Josiah held, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover holden.

 

 

Notes

 

a Or ‘and for’

Synopsis

 

However faithful Josiah had been, this had not changed the heart of the people – ‘The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? …, yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 3: 6, 10). Josiah’s faith was in action, and blessing depended on the conduct of the king.  Despite this, the undercurrent was always tending to the ruin and rejection of the people.

 

For this special passover, everything is set in order according to the ordinances of Moses and David, in a remarkable manner. It appears that even the ark had been removed from its place (2 Chronicles 35:3); but now, the ark being restored to its rest, the Levites occupy themselves diligently with their service, and even make ready for the priests, that they might keep the feast. They were all in their places according to the blessing of Israel in the rest they enjoyed under Solomon. Those who taught all Israel no longer bore the ark, but they ministered to God and to His people. The singers were there also, according to their order, so that there had not been such a passover since the days of Samuel. It was like the last glimmering of the lamp which God had lighted among His people in the house of David. It was soon extinguished in the darkness of the nation which did not know God, and those who had been His people came under the judgment expressed by the word Lo-ammi (Not-my-people).   God was yet to show His infinite grace.

 

Sosthenes

February 2018

Eternal Punishment

Christians have differed as to the subject of everlasting punishment.

Simple Bible-believing Christians accept that the consequence of rejecting the gospel is eternal punishment in hell. Unfortunately, many modern teachers proclaim lies:

Eternal does not mean ‘without end’
Everybody, including unbelievers, will be saved – Universalism
The wicked will be consumed and annihilated – Annihilationism.
Souls will return in another body – Re-incarnation

 

J N DarbyChristians have differed as to the subject of everlasting punishment.

Simple Bible-believing Christians accept that the consequence of rejecting the gospel is eternal punishment in hell.  Unfortunately, many modern teachers proclaim lies:

  • Eternal does not mean ‘without end’
  • Everybody, including unbelievers, will be saved – Universalism
  • The wicked will be consumed and annihilated –  Annihilationism.
  • Souls will return in another body – Re-incarnation

The simple believer has no doubt that persons who reject the glad tidings will suffer in hell eternally.   The English Bible leave him/her in no doubt that the punishment of the wicked is eternal.  ‘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 ever … 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 whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev 21:10,12,15).

However, the theological intelligentsia has created alternative arguments:

  • The Greek word αἰώνιος/aiónios/Strong 166 does not really mean ‘eternal’. For example, some confine both life and punishment to the next age, i.e. the millennium.  But that cannot be eternal.

 

  • All will be saved: God is too loving to allow such a thing as eternal misery in the lake of fire. (Universalism)

 

  • The wicked will not be saved. Their souls will no longer be immortal, for that the fire of hell will in time consume (or annihilate) them.  (Annihiliationism).

 

  • I add re-incarnation – that the soul is reborn into another being

 

These arguments are mutually exclusive.

 

The Greek Word αἰώνιος

Darby was a Greek scholar and he was perfectly satisfied that the word meant ‘without end’  God warns the reader that eternal misery is the portion of the wicked.  If that were not the case, would God frighten people with something that was not true?  Strong defines αἰώνιος as ‘age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting’.

Rev 5:14 says, ‘And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.’  The worshippers worship for ever and ever.  On the other hand, ‘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’ (Rev 14:11).  For ever and ever is just that – eternal.

 

 

All will be Saved – Universalism

These persons call themselves Christian universalists.  The idea that all will be saved is monstrous and unscriptural lie.   Scripture makes it clear that some are saved and others are damned.  If this were not the case what would be the point of Christ’s atonement, because those who rejected Christ’s work would be saved anyway?  It would follow that even the devil would have to be saved – without Christ.  When scripture says ‘should not perish’ – they argue that none would perish; when scripture says ‘whose end is destruction’ – they have no answer since they believe that all will come into happiness, but the wicked would have to wait a little longer.  They argue that the condemned are such for a time only – like the Catholics believe in purgatory.

 

Hell will in time consume (or annihilate) the Souls of the Wicked – Annihilationism

This view, Darby said, was much in vogue in Britain during his lifetime.  I believe it still is.  Annihilationists say that death means simply ceasing to exist, as it does for the animals.  If life is to be found only in Christ – ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’ (1 John 5:12), then those who do not believe have no life.  They claim that after a certain quantity of punishment, the wicked will be turned out of existence, annihilated or consumed by the fire of hell, and exist no more.  However, if when they died they ceased to exist, how were they to be made alive (without the work of Christ) in order to exist?  Are they to be revived just to be punished?

Both of the above subvert God’s claims and the work of Christ.

 

Reincarnation

As far as I can see, there is no reference to reincarnation in Darby’s writings.  I am adding it though since, sadly many Christians have, in more recent times, borrowed this notion from Buddhism and Hinduism.  It becomes a way of avoiding having a direct experience with God and accepting the work of Christ.  ‘Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation’ (Heb 9:26-28).

The Truth

Christ endured the wrath of a majestic and holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.  Eternal punishment is the terrible consequence of the enmity of man’s heart against God; eternal blessedness is the result of God’s free and blessed grace. Simple-minded Christians believe this, as they believe scripture.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ (1 John 5:10-11)

 

An Appeal by J N Darby

Poor sinner, you are to meet God.  Are you competent to judge how much punishment He should assign to you for your quantity of sin.  He is to judge you in love.  Love is what He is. But He is God, and does what pleases Him.  His love for His Son; His love for those who have accepted the work of His Son, obliges Him to punish you eternally if you refuse His love.  Mark this:  if the Spirit of God has touched your conscience, you know that you deserve to be shut out of the presence of God for ever.  You are conscious that you have deserved eternal wrath and punishment. You are a sinner: — What, in your own conscience, does sin deserve?  And further, if it is a question what sin deserves, it is a question of what Christ bore, what His atonement was; for He bore our sins and was made sin for us.  (Lightly edited by Sosthenes).

 

This is a summary of a paper by John Nelson Darby ‘A Brief Scriptural Evidence on the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment, for Plain People’. It is published in Collected Writings Volume 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 1. 

Sosthenes

August 2017

 

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

 

 

 

Latitudinarianism

keep your feet in the narrow way, and your heart as large as you can. It is of no use trying to make fellowship if it is not real; you can’t shake oil and water together: they will soon separate again

 

I must apologise for the lack of activity on ADOSS during the past few weeks.  Many readers will know the reason for this.  I now have a backlog of articles and subjects, and a desire to catch up if the Lord allows me to.

Latitudinarianism is a word which has popped up recently among the Christians with whom I break bread. When I saw the word, I had to look it up in the dictionary.  Wikipedia[1] describes Latitudinarian as ‘a pejorative (contemptible) term applied to a group of 16th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance’.  That is what they claimed.  However, Richard Hooker, one of the main 16th century latitudinarians taught[2]

  • Our conduct ought to be governed by scripture
  • Scripture shows how leadership should operate in the church
  • English Church is corrupted by Roman Catholic orders, rites etc.
  • A law which does not allow lay elders is corrupt
  • There should be no such position as a bishop

None of us should have any problems here.  There may be some things that this man held that we might not agree with now, but it seems as if the accusation was used by the church leadership to challenge anybody who did not accede implicitly to their authority.

 

I decided to look it up in J N Darby’s writings.  It is referred to extensively in one part of Darby’s long letter to James Kelley (1839), who criticised Darby’s schismatic action in leaving the Established Church.  Kelley accused Darby[3] of latitudinarianism because of his refusal to embrace an organised church into which one could be baptised, and the lack of outward unity in accepting persons from Anglican, Baptist and even Quaker backgrounds.

Mr Darby contested that from whatever background persons had come from, they should not be excluded if they accepted the gospel fully, and were desirous of leaving organised sectarian religion.  He quoted the scripture ‘Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Phil 3:15-16).

Darby then criticised the Established Church itself of latitudinarianism in its association with the world in relation to the then modern thinking.  He cited supporting atheism and infidelity in schools as well as the careless admission of many unconverted persons to communion.  We could add many other things to the list now.  At the same time, there were narrow sectarianism of rules and forms, persecuting persons who do not conform – accusing them of, yes, latitudinarianism.

What was needed was balance.  Elsewhere, I found a reading in Edinburgh, J N Darby on The Camp and the Body of Christ (Notes and Jottings p 37).

A person who was seeking fellowship should have the Spirit of Christ and be walking according to it.  There is liberty to meet outside of the recognised denominations (the worldly camp[4]).  For true Christian fellowship we need to lay hold of the fact that we have a heavenly calling, and cannot have part with clerical systems.

When we meet people we go as far as we can with them, but we cannot have part in their system.  If we meet a clergyman we converse with him as a Christian, not as a clergyman. In short, keep your feet in the narrow way, and your heart as large as you can.  It is of no use trying to make fellowship if it is not real; you can’t shake oil and water together: they will soon separate again.

I recommend your reading the whole note of the reading – it is not long.

Greetings in our Lord

Sosthenes

 

 

 

[1] See Wikipedia article on ‘Latitudinarian’

[2] Hooker – Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie 1594

[3] The claims of the Church of England considered; being the close of a correspondence between the Rev. James Kelly, of Stillogan, Ireland, and J. N. Darby.  Collected Writings Vol 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) pp 176-242

[4] Technically the camp refers to Israel.  We can apply it to professing earthly Christendom.

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.

 

Sosthenes

February 2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Thessalonians – Fresh in their Faith

We love His appearing, but we love Himself better. Therefore we wait for Him to take us to Himself. If our hearts have known what Himself is, we cannot confound His taking us to Himself, with His appearing. We are ‘members of his body’ (Eph 5:30). ‘Your life is hid with Christ’ (Col 3:3). He is to take us up to the Father’s house, the fullness of His own blessedness – with Christ; the blessed outshining of His Father’s love connects itself with the church’s position. All through there is an identity of blessedness with Christ in life, hope, object, all. If this hope is let into the heart, there must be a break with the world. I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven if I am expecting wrath; and I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven

 

 1 Thessalonians 1

When Paul wr0te to the Thessalonians who had ‘turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven’(1 Thes 1:9-10),  he amplified each statement:

  • A work of faith (v. 3)
  • A labour of love (v. 3)
  • Patience of hope (v. 3)
  • A word in power and the Holy Ghost (v. 5)
  • Received the word with affliction (v. 6)
  • Joy in the Holy Ghost (v. 6)
  • Serving the living God (v. 9)

The Thessalonians were newly converted.  They had not received much teaching, but their lives had been totally changed. No doubt they had not been satisfied with those idols from which they had turned, but now they had a hope and were happy.  They knew that wrath was to come on the earth, but they were assured that the Lord had delivered them from it.  They were really free.

 

What it means to us:

There are three ways in which scripture shows how our souls are affected by Christ’s return:

  1. As a fulfilment of our hope. Our bodies will be raised and we will be changed to be like Him.  Christ will have the church with Himself and His government will later be set up.
  2. As having the Holy Spirit. Gifts have been given now, but the result of God’s work will be seen in display.
  3. As enjoying the embrace of His love – not His outward government, but His intimate presence. See John 14:3I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also’. 

We are caught up into the Father’s house, and bear the image of the Heavenly One.   We come into the Father’s delight – loved as His Son is loved .  We enjoy His presence: ‘ever be with the Lord’ (1 Thes 4:17).

When He comes forth, the church, armies in heaven come with Him (see Rev 19:14).  They must have been raised first in order to be with Him.  It will be a display in power, and everything will be set in order.

Darby said: We love His appearing, but we love Himself better. Therefore we wait for Him to take us to Himself. If our hearts have known what Himself is, we cannot confound His taking us to Himself, with His appearing. We are ‘members of his body’ (Eph 5:30).   ‘Your life is hid with Christ’ (Col 3:3).  He is to take us up to the Father’s house, the fullness of His own blessedness – with Christ; the blessed outshining of His Father’s love connects itself with the church’s position. All through there is an identity of blessedness with Christ in life, hope, object, all. If this hope is let into the heart, there must be a break with the world. I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven if I am expecting wrath; and I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven if I am linked up with the world. If this world is the scene where my heart is building itself up, if I have an object in this world, Christ will spoil it all.

If He came tonight, would this be what we wanted?

 

This is a summary of paper written by John Nelson Darby.  It is entitled The Freshness of Faith 1 Thessalonians 1 published in Collected Writings Volume 21 (Evangelic 2) page 358.

Sosthenes

February 2017

 

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

The Error as to Christ’s Righteousness

Many reformers, puritans and theologians seem to believe that Christ makes up for our defects, in effect saying that Christ kept the law for us. But the WORD OF GOD is clear, and tells me that if we are justified by law we are fallen from grace (see Gal 5:4). If Christ kept the law for us, and righteousness imputed to us because of that, we are justified by law. Of course the Lord kept the law, but where in scripture do we find that He kept it for us? According to the WORD OF GOD this doctrine is FALSE, it is legal fiction.

J N DarbyIn 1862 J N Darby wrote to the Christian Examiner about an article in the British and Foreign Evangelical Review.  Teaching which was very prevalent in the established churches was that the Lord had fulfilled the law on our behalf.  Looking at various current sermons and writings on the internet, it would appear that this error is still held by many.

The Truth is needed to keep souls in progress and subjection to God. Scripture, the WORD OF GOD, must have its authority.  The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, forms the unity of Christ’s body on earth and dwells in the believer.  The Lord is about to take the saints to Himself, and then appear with them, his Church, to judge the world and reign for 1000 years.  These teachings will protect us from some of the unscriptural and erroneous doctrine that abounds in Christendom – in Romanism, Protestantism and even amongst evangelicals.

 

What is Righteousness, and what was the Law?

Righteousness is living as we ought and fulfilling our relationships rightly towards others and towards God.  When it says, ‘The righteous Lord loveth righteousness’ (Psalm 11:7) or, ‘Grace might reign through righteousness’ (Rom 5:21) the word is used abstractedly;  when it says, ‘the righteousness of God’ or ‘the righteousness of faith’ (Rom 10:3,6), the expression is more specific.  We ought to love God with all our heart; we ought to love our neighbour as ourselves.  That is the law in its clearest terms.  It would also have been our righteousness had we kept it. But as sinners, we did not, nor could not keep the law.  And since we have a conscience, the sense of good and evil we know we are guilty, unrighteous and lawless.

 

Did the Lord keep the Law for us?

My righteousness under the law is absolutely zero.  In God’s sight, my efforts are evil and nothing else.   Therefore Christ died for me.  I am born again, and I receive Him as eternal life.  Does Christ make up for defects in my righteousness?  What defects?  Is my righteousness patched up by Christ’s acts, when I have acted after the flesh?  Is that what is meant by Christ being made unto us righteousness?  Of course not.

Many reformers, puritans and theologians seem to believe this, in effect saying that Christ kept the law for us.  But the WORD OF GOD is clear, and tells me that if we are justified by law we are fallen from grace (see Gal 5:4).  If Christ kept the law for us, and righteousness imputed to us because of that, we are justified by law.  Of course the Lord kept the law, but where in scripture do we find that He kept it for us?  According to the WORD OF GOD this doctrine is FALSE, it is legal fiction.

We are accounted, imputed or reckoned (the same word in Greek λογισθῆναι/ logisthēnai/Strong 3049) righteous (See Rom 4:11).  Christ has born the sin of each of us, and put it away.  This is no fiction: sin has been dealt with.

 

Applying the Law to a Child of Adam

Those going on with this error pretend that the defects of the old man are somehow made good, so that man, a child of Adam, might appear righteousness before God. He ought to walk in accordance with the law and according to this doctrine, when we fail Christ makes our defects good.  That is not Christianity.

This false doctrine leads to an absurdity.  It confuses practical sanctification, with righteousness before God.  It makes Christ establish our standing as alive before God in the old man.

The truth is that the life which we receive is Christ.  This does not make my flesh good.  As a child of Adam, there is no good in me.  Christ died to put away my sin, so I reckon myself dead, my flesh condemned.  I find myself in Christ, Christ being in me.  I have put on the new man, and that is what I am before God.  In that Christ died, He died unto sin once; in that He lives, He lives unto God (See Rom 6:10). I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.   I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me’ (Gal 2:19-20).  I am dead to law by the body of Christ (See Rom 7:4).

 

What Sort of Law or Righteousness?

These people measure the righteousness of God and divine justice by the law. But they contradict themselves.  On one side righteousness is said to be of the law, but at the same time righteousness is a gift’ (See Rom 5:17).

It is nonsense to say that we are living by a personal law.  Indeed they even talk about a person redeeming him/herself.   Grace, not law, is towards a sinner.  Law does not forgive, it condemns.  Satan’s deception is to set aside Christ’s death. He died that we might live, our sin being atoned for by Him.

They might cite James.  But James merely said ‘faith without works is dead’ (James 2:20).  That cannot be as a result of Christs’s law-keeping.

 

Legal Righteousness

Some would give the impression of a God who is incensed (or vengeful or full of wrath) at our disobeying the law, but at the same time, a God who acts in grace rather than judgment.  This is the doctrine of legal righteousness.  This might appear plausible, but it destroys the thought of a righteous God who reconciles us to Himself and justifies us.  God is just in justifying.  his is the essence of the gospel.

 

We know who bore the wrath for us.  Let us never forget the cross, the cup that Jesus had to drink, His sweat in Gethsemane, His being made sin, and crying ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34).  He was perfectly obedient.

 

Conclusion

But how can we have righteousness?  We need a new righteousness, by faith, fit for the throne of God.  If we are to be accepted, the righteousness must meet all that God is His own infinite excellency.

Christ revealed God’s nature, and glorified Him when He was made sin for us. Hence we are made the righteousness of God in Him.  Christ finished the work His Father gave Him to do.  Now the ground of our acceptance and righteousness, is complete.  Christ becomes our life.

The law does not, nor cannot do this.

This is a summary of 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