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:

 

J N Darby – French Letter No. 143 – The Sheep and the Goats

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Very dear brother

I am happy that the end of my labour on Matthew should be more pleasurable than the beginning, and I bless God for it. It will thus be evidently useful. I believe that, in the present state of the church, it is necessary to act according to the reasoning in Hebrews 5 and 6. However, it is a blessing that this is suited to the simple.

As to Matthew 25: 31-46, I do not understand how you apply this to the Jews, and that for the very simple reason that He speaks of Gentiles. Perhaps you will tell me that κα άφοριεί ατος άπ’ άλλήλων – kai aphoriei autous ap allelon, “And He will separate them[1] does not agree with πάντα τά έθνη – panta ta ethne “All the nations”; but I agree, as to the sense, there is nothing else with which it agrees. Look therefore at the passage: “But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, and all the nations shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. This is not here an allusion to a prophetic testimony, but to an act of the job of a shepherd. Earlier, he uses the expression: “he will set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left”, but he abandons it at once in saying: “Then shall the King say to those on his right hand …”. The sheep are no longer named; He is speaking of people without using an image. Finally, I do not see here any other subject than the Gentiles (as the nations); they will be gathered and He will separate them; there is no other antecedent. You are right when you say that, according to my division, the “brethren” of verse 40 are not “the blessed of my Father” of v 34. I do not doubt that, if a sheep had done good to another sheep, this would have been recognised by Jesus, but in fact the sheep or those who are at his right are the righteous and the blessed of the Father. This is the division –

King

arrow

Sheep                       Goats

The “brethren” of whom He speaks do not find their place in this parable. The Lord leaves it to the spiritual intelligence of these servants to discern who they are. As to myself, I do not doubt that they are the Jews, messengers of the kingdom, according to the whole education of the Lord in these passages, but I am very willing to accept new light.

You would be wrong to insist on Ezekiel 34: 17, 22, because the Hebrew word translated ‘sheep’ indicates rather the race of goats than those of sheep (see for example Deut 14: 4). I do not understand either why you say that, in verses 4, 6 and 8 ‘the goats they have led astray’ are the bad shepherds. I also believe that you will find that in this passage, v 22, the rams and the goats are not put in contrast one with the other, but the weak animals in contrast with those they have defiled, called rams and goats. God will make the difference between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats (v 17).

The energy which goes forward to seek the truth is very precious. May it be tempered with the prudence which thinks of the result; this is a grace given to you. Charity thinks of souls and not only of ideas, although it remains true that God’s ideas are the only means of blessing for souls; but it must be “food in season[2]” …

As to the sympathy of Christ, it is a very important subject. It is evident to me that when Paul speaks of filling up what was lacking of the sufferings of Christ[3], he speaks of the sufferings which remain to be fulfilled, after those that Christ has accomplished on the earth. Paul is charged in turn with suffering. If he spoke of a Christ who still suffered, I do not see that he could say what was lacking of the sufferings of Christ” These words seem to me to be in contrast with what Christ has already suffered; Paul took his place to continue. Do not think that I thereby deny the sufferings of Christ as Head of the body, for I do believe it, and it is for me the sweetest possible thought. I believe only that it is important that the idea should be thought through to become a subject of edification and not of controversy. It is for me too precious and too near to the affections for this. There are subjects which have to be touched delicately. I do not therefore deny the sufferings of Christ in sympathy: I believe in them fully, only I doubt that one can apply Colossians 1: 24 to what Christ may suffer in heaven. (To sympathise is not, as you seem to believe, to suffer in the same way as you do. I could be called, as you say, to cut your arms; certainly, I would weep more than you, but my arms are not cut. I would sympathise, but I would not suffer in myself the thing done; I would suffer to see another suffer. I do not say at all that one would suffer less, but one suffers differently.)

As to your article, it has interested me much, and I believe that it could yield blessing for souls. The editing would need to be reviewed; there are passages which do not read well. I would like very much that it should be published, but it seems to me that you will do well to weigh and to develop the expression of your thoughts. It is a question for us of manoeuvring in the presence of the enemy and of not lending a flank to his attacks.

I repeat that I do not believe that this passage: “that which remains to be suffered of the afflictions of the Christ” can speak of a Christ suffering with Paul, although other passages prove (and I believe) his sufferings in sympathy with Him. I only express the principles here; for the details, I would have to re-read your article.

Your affectionate brother

[1] JND uses various Greek words in this letter (and the following letter) which are marked with spaces in the French version from which this translation is taken. Evidently, however, in some cases, the following words in inverted commas or the scriptural references supply the French translation of the Greek (translated here into English); in which case, the sense is complete, and the Greek word has been supplied accordingly from a Concordance. Otherwise, the space for the unknown Greek word is marked [….Ω….].

[2] Psalm 104: 27 or Matt 24: 45

[3] See Col 1: 24 – ‘ce qui manque aux souffrances de Christ’, ie ‘what was lacking of the sufferings of Christ’, is as translated by some, but not by JND (or Martin/Osterheld or KJV) in either French – ‘ce qui reste encore à souffrir des afflictions du Christ’ (‘that which still remains to suffer of the afflictions of the Christ’); or English (‘that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ’). But the French Roman Catholic version is exactly the wording of the former, whilst the NIV uses the same as the literal English translation of JND’s letter. Strong also uses ‘lacking’.

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

The Present Hope of the Church

J N Darby (1800-82), a leading interpreter of biblical prophecy, laid the basis of dispensational and premillennial and pre-trib teaching in his lectures on the Present Hope of the Church.

To download a DRAFT version of this series in .pdf, Apple or Kindle format please click here.

JN Darby’s Lecture 1 on The Hope of the Church of God

The Present Hope of the Church – Summary by Sosthenes

new-jerusalem-2s

J N Darby gave a series of eleven significant lectures in Geneva in 1840 on the Hope of the Church (L’attente actuelle de l’église). These established his reputation as a leading interpreter of biblical prophecy, and the basis of dispensational and premillennial and pre-trib teaching. His doctrine is still being propagated (in various forms) at such places as Dallas Theological Seminary and by authors and preachers such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye.

JND said as to them “In going through the more general features of prophecy, we shall examine these three great subjects: the church; the nations; and the Jew”.  God made Himself known as Jehovah to the Jews.  The prophets showed God’s character as Jehovah.  Jesus is presented as the Messiah, the centre of God’s promises and blessings to the Jewish nation.  To the Church, God presents Himself as ‘Father’ and Jesus as the ‘Son of God’.  We are His brethren – children of God and members of His family.  He, the Firstborn, is the expression of all the glory of the Father.

In the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things in Christ, that name under which He has been celebrated by Melchisedec (a type of the royal Priest), God will be known as “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” (Gen 14:19)

“…We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”      2 Peter 1.

Summary of Lectures

  1. The Present Hope of the Church
  2. The Church and its Glory
  3. The Second Coming of Christ
  4. The First Resurrection – or The Resurrection of the Just
  5. The Judgment of Evil
  6. Ecclesiastical Apostasy and Civil Apostasy
  7. The Judgment of the Nations
  8. God’s Promises to Israel
  9. What God in His Goodness will yet do for Israel – and what it Means for Us
  10. The Remnant of Israel
  11. The Importance of Prophecy

The Christian’s Assurance as to Prophecy

Every Christian should not only be sure of his salvation in Christ, but also know its results.  He should not only know he is in the Father’s house with all its privileges but be happy there too.  In prophecy, God treats us as His friends, and reveals the things He is occupied with.  As our hearts are associated with Him, they realise His love and confidence and are coloured by the expectation of what is to come.  With this holy knowledge we are strangers and pilgrims here.

We need to distinguish between that which applies to the Jews, relating to the earth, and that which applies to the Church.  Being free of human objects, cares and distractions we can be dependent on the One who knows the end from the beginning.

Whilst prophecy proves the divine source of the Bible, that is not its main purpose.  Prophecy belongs to the Church now and the Jewish remnant in a future day, as a light or torch before things take place.  God tells us the truth; Satan does not.  Do we doubt God?  Surely we do not need witnesses to persuade us that God is telling the truth.

Satan has deceived many by introducing the thought that partially fulfilled prophecies, were in fact complete.   Most, if not all prophecy is to be fulfilled after the end of this dispensation.  Then it will be too late to be convinced as to the truth.  Those left behind will experience terrible judgment.  But as I read God’s word, I am restful.  I am enlightened as I cleave to Him instead of my own understanding.  As things unfold I see the purposes of the Most High, opening up His character – His faithfulness, justice, long-suffering.  But He will certainly judge proud iniquity and execute vengeance on these who corrupt the earth, in order for His government to be established in peace and blessing.

The judgment of God will come upon the nations; the church is informed of this; and, thanks to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, understands it, believes it, and escapes the things which are coming.

 

The Sceptic as to Prophecy

The sceptic views prophecy as merely speculative, vague and uninfluential, the imaginations and vainglory of proud hearts.  The sceptic’s own thoughts are the most speculative.  How Satan deceives!  But prophecy reveals God’s thoughts as to things to come. And the Christian rejoices that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab 2:14).  And God will show how.

Communion with God as to Prophecy

Through communion, which is eternal, God comforts and sanctifies us to prevent our hopes being vague.  Thank God “we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:16-21)

 

 

J N Darby – Home – Oh bright and blessed scenes, where sin shall never come;

My God whom I have known,
Well known in Jesus’ love,
Rests in the blessing of His own
Before Himself above.

OH! bright and blessed scenes,
Where sin shall never come;
Whose sight my longing spirit weans
From earth, where yet I roam.

And can I call my home
My Father’s house on high?
The rest of God, my rest to come,
My place of liberty?

Yes! In that light unstained
My stainless soul shall live;
My heart’s deep longings more than gained,
When God His rest shall give.

His presence there, my soul
Its rest, its joy untold,
Shall find, when endless ages roll
And time shall ne’er grow old.

My God the centre is;
His presence fills that land;
And countless myriads, own’d as His,
Round Him adoring stand.

My God whom I have known,
Well known in Jesus’ love,
Rests in the blessing of His own
Before Himself above.

Glory supreme is there,
Glory that shines through all;
More precious still that love to share
As those that love did call.

Like Jesus in that place
Of light and love supreme;
Once Man of sorrows, full of grace;
Heaven’s blest and endless theme.

Like Him! O grace supreme!
Like Him before Thy face!
Like Him – to know that glory beam
Unhindered, face to face!

O love, supreme and bright,
Good to the feeblest heart,
That gives me now, as heavenly light,
What soon shall be my part!

Be not to me, my God,
As one that turned aside
To tarry for a night, and trod
His onward path. Abide

With me as light divine,
That brings into my breast
Those gladdening scenes e’en now as mine,
Soon my eternal rest.

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)

Wriiten 1867
Parts of the above are in Hymns for the  Little Flock 1962 and 1973 – Nos 64 and 72
S.M. (6.6.8.6)

 

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – The Revelation

he Book of Revelation presents the return of the Holy Spirit’s witness to God’s relationship with the earth. At first we have the church, as an earthly witness, but then the saints of the heavenly calling are seen only in heaven. It sets the stage for the return of God’s First-Begotten to the world. Then we have a prophetic view of God’s judgments, the book introducing the King of kings and Lord of lords Himself to execute judgment and to set up the kingdom which shall never be removed. He is accompanied by the heavenly saints.

lay-preaching

The Book of Revelation presents the return of the Holy Spirit’s witness to God’s relationship with the earth. At first we have the church, as an earthly witness, but then the saints of the heavenly calling are seen only in heaven. It sets the stage for the return of God’s First-Begotten to the world. Then we have a prophetic view of God’s judgments, the book introducing the King of kings and Lord of lords Himself to execute judgment and to set up the kingdom which shall never be removed. He is accompanied by the heavenly saints.

At the beginning and end, we have the thoughts and feelings of the saints:

  • The first refers to the cross, and its bearing on the saints, looking back at their own part in that which laid the foundation of Christ’s title. This brought judgment on the world.
  • At the end we have the saints’ own portion with Christ Himself. They look forward to His glory. Meanwhile they are conscious of it and its present fruit.

Ch. 1 presents God as supreme and eternal. We have the Holy Spirit in His attributes of divine administration, and Christ in His glory as connected with the earth. He is coming. He calls John’s attention to His glory on earth, not in service but in judgment. He walks in the midst of the candlesticks, the place of light in the world, judging the state of the churches. We find a divine person, the Son of man having subordinate representative authority in His hand: the stars and the angels of the churches. These are the things that were seen.

Next we have ‘the things that are’. We get:

  • Ephesus – departure from first love.
  • Smyrna – persecution
  • Pergamos – the world its dwelling-place
  • Thyatira and Sardis – false teachers seducing the saints; their corruption settled there, and the saints thus to wait for Christ’s coming, who is given to them in His own heavenly unseen associations, and the visible kingdom too.
  • Philadelphia – a little power
  • Laodicea – spued out of His mouth

In the four first churches it is a question of personal fidelity od that church to Christ. Christ is walking amidst the candlesticks. In the last three, the stars are not said to be in His hand; they all refer with warnings or promises to the coming of the Lord.

The vision then switches to heaven. The world’s judgment flows from there, and the saints are viewed as enthroned and crowned there. God’s throne of judgment is set up in heaven, and the ministers of His government proclaim His glory, while the saints worship.

Ch. 4-5: The Lamb appears; His glory is celebrated. Heaven owns His title to open the book of God’s ways, and the angels stand around the inner circle of those connected with the throne (24 elders, 4 living creatures). The elders give their reasons for worship. The Lamb now opens the book.

Ch. 6: The providential history of God’s dealings in the Western Roman earth is presented. We see the martyrs who cry for judgment. There is a universal subversion of the subsisting powers, so that men are alarmed as if the day of the Lord were come.

Ch. 7: The remnant of Israel is marked out for preservation; the multitude of the Gentiles to be spared are owned.

Ch. 8: The first four trumpets are the specific judgments on earthly prosperity and the power of the Western Roman Empire.

Ch. 9-11: The next two judgments are on the men of the East. Then we get a parenthesis: the great Western beast. A testimony is given, which comes to a close before the end of the period of the second woe. At last we have the seventh trumpet, which closes the whole scene.

Ch. 12: A new vision of special dealings is now opened, more connected with the religious condition of men. The Jewish people are seen, as heaven sees them, in the counsels and purposes of God. So a Son is to be born, Christ, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The whole church is united to Him. But this is taken to heaven and God’s throne, out of the way of the dragon. The woman – the Jewish people in the latter day in distress – flees from three and a half years’ persecution into the wilderness. There is war in heaven. Satan is cast down, having great rage, knowing that his time is short. His career in heaven is ended. He can no longer accuse the saints on the earth, but he persecutes the Jews. They flee, so he turns to persecute the witnesses amongst them.

Ch. 13: Next, we see the earthly agents: the beast, with seven heads and ten horns, who receives his power from Satan for 1260 days. He blasphemes what is heavenly, and persecutes the saints. Then a second beast, in the prophetic and royal character of a messiah, exercises his power, making the world worship him. He does miracles, and gives breath to the image which he has caused to be made.

Ch. 14: We now have the remnant who suffer like Christ. We also have the testimony, judgments and warnings of God. Finally, we have the judgment of the earth, and the destruction of the wicked by the Son of man.

Ch. 15: Another great sign follows, not necessarily at the same time or immediately after it. It reaches down to the the throne of the beast. The saints, who pass through the time of tribulation, are viewed as at rest. The sea of glass is mingled with fire.

Ch. 16: The vials are poured out. They are on the earth, and particularly strike the beast’s kingdom, and those who dwell in it. Then all the kings of the earth gather themselves together. The smiting does not correct them, but galls their pride. Finally, the last judgment of God is executed even on Babylon, the beast remaining to be defeated by the Lamb.

Ch. 17-18: We have a description of what the woman is: how she rides the horned beast, corrupting all nations. The Lamb overcomes both of them. Babylon is Rome.

Ch. 19: After Babylon is judged, the marriage of the Lamb takes place. He comes forth out of His heavenly seclusion, as King of kings and Lord of lords, to be revealed in the earth. As he comes out as the word of God in judgment, the saints, witnessed in righteousness in the fruit of their works, accompany Him. The beast and the false prophet (the second beast), are taken and cast to their final doom, their royal character having disappeared. The rest are slain. This is the judgment of power and war.

Note that the rapture of the church belongs to the church revelation, so it could not come into the Book of Revelation. However, we see the saints in heaven.

Ch. 20: Then Satan is bound, and shut up in the abyss for a thousand years. Sessional judgment follows. All the heavenly saints are on thrones, for this is royal judgment, and judgment is given to them – this is the first resurrection. After that we have the second resurrection, in which the dead are to be judged and condemned.

Ch. 21:1-8: Heaven and earth flee away; death and hades give up all. God is all in all in a new heavens and new earth.

Ch. 21:9-22:5: The Spirit returns to give a description of the heavenly Jerusalem during the millennium (as He had of Babylon and its relationship to the earth).

Ch. 22:6-21: After warnings to those who are in the time of the book, Christ comes forward Himself as the One who had given the revelation. This draws out in the bride, with whom is the Spirit, to express the desire of His coming. Expressed is her position – towards Christ, towards those who hear the word, and towards sinner. John seals the book with his own desires those of the church, ‘Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The re-introduction of God’s government into this world in Christ, in this book, and the discovery of the heavenly position of the church, is full of interest and doctrine. Meanwhile judgment of the world and its course, is confided to the church which closes the book both historically and doctrinally, the church herself being above the world.

This closes the canon of scripture.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  October 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

J N Darby – The Call – What powerful, mighty Voice, so near, Calls me from Earth apart

Blest Lord, Thou speak’st! ‘Twas erst Thy voice
That led my heart to Thee;
That drew me to that better choice
Where grace has set me free.

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

WHAT powerful, mighty Voice, so near,
Calls me from earth apart –
Reaches, with tones so still, so clear,
From th’unseen world, my heart?

‘Tis solemn, yet it draws with power
And sweetness yet unknown;
It speaks the language of an hour
When earth’s for ever gone.

It soothes, yet solemnizes all;
What yet of nature is
Lies silent, through the heavenly call;
No earthly voice like this!

‘Tis His. Yes, yes; no other sound
Could move my heart like this;
The voice of Him that earlier bound
Through grace that heart to His –

In other accents now, ’tis true,
Than once my spirit woke,
To life and peace, through which it grew
Under His gracious yoke.

Blest Lord, Thou speak’st! ‘Twas erst Thy voice
That led my heart to Thee;
That drew me to that better choice
Where grace has set me free.

Then would’st Thou that I should rejoice,
And walk by faith below;
Enough, that I had heard Thy voice,
And learnt Thy love’s deep woe –

Thy glory, Lord. This living waste
Thenceforth no rest could give;
My path was on with earnest haste,
Lord, in Thy rest to live.

Yes, then ’twas faith – Thy word; but now
Thyself my soul draw’st nigh,
My soul with nearer thoughts to bow
Of brighter worlds on high.

And oh! how all that eye can see
To others now belongs!
The eternal home’s so nigh to me –
My soul’s eternal songs.

For Thou art near; Thou call’st me now
In love I long have known,
While waiting on Thy will below,
Till Thou my hopes should’st crown.

And Thou would’st have me soon with Thee;
Thou, Lord, my portion art;
Thou hast revealed Thyself to me –
Thy nature to my heart.

My happiness, O Lord, with Thee
Is long laid up in store,
For that bless’d day when Thee I’d see,
And conflict all be o’er.

Yes, love divine – in Thee I know;
The Father’s glories soon
Shall burst upon my ravished view –
Thyself my eternal crown!

Thou mak’st me brighter hopes to prove,
Because Thou nearer art;
With secrets of eternal love
Thou fill’st my longing heart.

How shall I leave Thee, Lord? This joy
Is from Thyself; it is
My brightest hope without alloy,
My pure, eternal bliss.

With Thee, O Lord, I all things have –
Unclouded joy divine
In Thee, who first these “all things” gave
For ever to be mine.

Yet I will wait, in labour still
In Thy blest service here;
What Thou hast given me to fulfil –
Thy will – to me is dear.

“It is my meat to do the will of Him I serve; and I am glad to know it, because it is His – glad He has deigned to communicate it to me – glad to have it perfect as He gives it.” J.N.D.

 

I well can wait! Thou waitest yet
The word of that dread hour,
Which shall Thy foes for ever set
As footstool of Thy power.

Yet, Lord, were once Thy will fulfilled,
How better far with Thee,
With Thee, my joy, my strength, my shield,
In cloudless light to be.

O endless joy! how shall my heart
Thy riches all unfold,
Or tell the grace that gave me part
In bliss no tongue hath told?

 

The following verse is on JND’s gravestone in Bournemouth Cemetery – ed.

Lord, let me wait for Thee alone;
My life be only this –
To serve Thee here on earth, unknown;
Then share Thy heavenly bliss.

Lord, be it soon! Thou know’st our heart,
In this sad world, no rest
Can find nor wish but where Thou art –
That rest itself possessed!

Soon shall we see Thee as Thou art,
O hope for ever blessed!
Thou’lt call us, in our heavenly part –
The Father’s house – to rest.

O rest ineffable, divine,
The rest of God above,
Where Thou for ever shalt be mine;
My joy, eternal love!

His counsels, all, fulfilled in Thee;
His work of love complete;
And heavenly hosts shall rest, to see
Earth blest beneath Thy feet!

 

This poem forms the base of two hymns in the Little Flock Hymn Book

J N Darby – Little Flock No 47 – Blest Lord, Thou spakest! ’twas Thy voice

J N Darby – Little Flock No 411 – Lord! let us wait for Thee alone

‘Tis not far off-the Hour, When Christ will claim His own

 S.M.
1 ‘Tis not far off-the hour
When Christ will claim His own;
We soon shall hear that voice of power;
The Lord Himself shall come!
2 The days are passing by,
The years flow on apace;
Lord Jesus, Thy return draws nigh,
We long to see Thy face.
3 Eternal in the heav’ns
Is our prepared abode –
Radiant and pure in light divine,
The building of our God.
4 Then rest, divinely sweet,
Our pilgrim feet shall know;
And through that blest eternity
What tides of praise shall flow!
5 In patience, Lord, we wait
For Thee to take us home;
Fulfil to us Thy gracious word.
Amen, Lord Jesus, Come!

Hannah Burlingham (1842-1901) – Little Flock No 165

J N Darby – O bright and blessed scenes

O bright and blessed scenes!
Where sin can never come,
Whose sight our longing spirit weans
From earth where yet we roam.

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

 O bright and blessed scenes

by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)
S.M.D.

1. O bright and blessed scenes!
Where sin can never come,
Whose sight our longing spirit weans
From earth where yet we roam.

2 And can we call our home
Our Father’s house on high,
The rest of God our rest to come,
Our place of liberty?

3 Yes! in that light unstained,
Our stainless souls shall live,
Our heart’s deep longings more than gained,
When God His rest shall give.

4 His presence there, my soul
Its rest, its joy untold
Shall find, when endless ages roll,
And time shall ne’er grow old.

5 Our God the centre is,
His presence fills that land,
And countless myriads owned as His,
Round Him adoring stand.

6 Our God whom we have known,
Well known in Jesus’ love,
Rests in the blessing of His own,
Before Himself above.

7 Glory supreme is there,
Glory that shines through all,
More precious still that love to share
As those that love did call.

8 Like Jesus in that place
Of light and love supreme!
Once Man of Sorrows full of grace,
Heaven’s blest and endless theme!

9 Like Him! O grace supreme!
Like Him before Thy face,
Like Him to know that glory beam
Unhindered face to face!

10 Oh, love supreme and bright,
Good to the feeblest heart,
That gives us now, as heavenly light,
What soon shall be our part!

May be sung to Terra Beata
by F. L. Shepherd (1852-1930)
(S.M.D.)

The Lord is Coming Very Soon

The Rapture of the Church

new-jerusalem-2sI’ve just seen a video put up by Gregory Miller –  I Don’t Believe That You Don’t Believe In The Pre-Trib Rapture – 

Most Christians are really not waiting for the Lord’s coming – but are not planning for the tribulation either.  Through God’s mercy we will be saved out of that – See the letter to the Church at Smyrna (modern day Izmir)

But His coming is the Hope of the Church – so every Christian should be waiting for it.  Jesus says “I come quickly”  (Revelation 22:20)

I love this hymn, written by a Godly Russian, Daniel Otsing.

O Lord, with our ears and hearts open,
To the sound of Thy trump we would be.
The summons that calls us to heaven,
For ever to be Lord with Thee.
Thy word and Thy Spirit blest Lover,
As earnest is given to Thy bride,
Thou art near to faith’s vision, O Saviour,
But soon she will be by Thy side

O come! Thou, Lord Jesus, we’re watching;
And take now Thy spouse home to Thee.
Thine absence awakens deep yearning,
The bride her loved Bridegroom to see.
Thy heart, O Lord Jesus is throbbing,
With love, deep, eternal, we know;
Our hearts in response, with love’s “burning”,
Await Thee, with lamps all aglow.

The Spirit and bride are united
In saying, “Come, Lord”, yea, come soon.
Throughout the long night she has waited
To see Thee, her faithful Bridegroom.
Gross darkness, the earth doth now cover,
And night like a pall shrouds the land.
Thy flock is still here, Shepherd, Lover,
The sheep Thou hast kept by Thy hand.

Midst darkness faith clearly sees beaming
The light of Thy coming afar,
We watch for the dawn of the morning,
Blest herald: “The bright morning star”.
The word of Thy patience we’re keeping,
Its radiancy beams on our path,
Like a beacon us, heavenward attracting,
To meet Thee: The hope of our heart.

How sweet is Thy word, “I come quickly”.
“Amen!” answer Spirit and bride;
Responsive to love, faithful, holy,
That never has once turned aside.
Thy promise is sure; blest Protector,
“Not one shall be lost”, is Thy word;
Of the “men given” Thee by Thy Father,
We praise Thee; we bless Thee O Lord.

Petrograd (St Peterburg), 1917,

Selected verses in Little Flock Hymn Book Hymn 131

 

 

The Importance of Prophecy

Prophecy has two ends:

Detaching us from the world.
Making us intelligent of the character of God, and of His ways towards us.

Satan opposes the truth, and that must include prophecy

The marriage of the Lamb

JN Darby’s Lecture 11 on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, … and she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; … and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan. …And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Revelation 12.

Summing Up, and Conclusion.  – A Summary by Sosthens

 

Prophecy has two ends:

  • Detaching us from the world.
  • Making us intelligent of the character of God, and of His ways towards us.

 

Satan opposes the truth, and that must include prophecy.  He says, ‘Follow morality, not doctrine otherwise you might be freed from my power’.  Or ‘Neglect prophecy, because you will learn about the judgment of this world, of which I am the prince’.  Prophecy throws a great light upon the dispensations of God; so that we understand the freedom of our souls.  Dispensational error confounds the law and the gospel, and past economies or dispensations with the present one.

If we find ourselves in the presence of the law, we cannot find peace.  Yet many are troubled when considering the difference between the position of the saints of old, and the saints of the current dispensation.  The study of prophecy clears things up, and enlightens the faithful as to their walk and manner of life.   For, whilst it always maintains free salvation by the death of Jesus, prophecy enables us to understand the difference between the standing of the saints of our dispensation and those of a former time.

It is the hope that acts upon our hearts and affections.  If we think that we ought not to study prophecy, our thoughts become limited to the present.   Prophecy gives us God’s intentions are for the future and reveals the things that are come; like a scriptural mirror.  If we refuse to study what God has revealed as to the future, we are left with just our own ideas.

Some will say that the scripture, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”, (1 Corinthians 2:2) means that we should not follow prophecy.  We are not to limit ourselves to only the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified. We must also know Jesus Christ glorified, Jesus Christ at the right hand of God; we must know Him as High Priest; as Advocate with the Father. We ought to know Jesus Christ as much as possible.  “Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.(Hebrews 6:1) – i.e. completion.

I attach more importance to the principal features of prophecy especially the distinctions between the various dispensations.  However, the more we enter into their minute details, the more perfection appears.

How God has revealed Himself in Prophecy.

Revelation 12 gives us the great object of prophecy, the combat which takes place between Christ, the last Adam, and Satan.  The conflict is either for the earthly object (the Jews), or for the heavenly object (the church).

It was necessary that the history of the first Adam should be developed. This has been done in order that Christians (the church), might be in a position to occupy themselves with the things of God, having the happy certainty as to their own position before Him.  They can then be made aware of the eternal counsels of God, the certainty of salvation, the knowledge of the grace of God, and the life-giving Spirit. Our course is the period separating the first coming of the Lord from the second.  In this time the church is gathered by the action of the Holy Spirit to have part in the glory of Christ at His return.  Then the church is taken from out of all nations, and united to Him.

How did Christ find the first Adam?  He found man in state of ruin – entirely lost.  The whole state of man, before and after the deluge, under the law, under the prophets, only served as a clear attestation that man was lost.  He had failed altogether, under every possible circumstance, until, God having sent His Son, the servants said, “This is the heir; let us kill him(Luke 20:14).   Sin was then at its height but the grace of God over-abounded.

Prophecy in the Old Testament

When Israel had transgressed in every possible way and circumstance, under Ahaz who was descended from David, prophecy commences in all its details, having these two features:

  • The manifestation of the glory of Christ, showing that the people had failed under the law.
  • The manifestation of the coming glory of Christ, to be the support of the faith of those who desired to keep the law.

 

The word of God, predicting that the Messiah was to come and suffer should have touched their conscience.  It ought to touch us.

Prophecy and the Church

Prophecy relates to the earth; its object is not heaven.  In not understanding this, the church has been misled. Believers think that they can have these earthly blessings, whereas we are called to enjoy heavenly blessings.   The church is a kind of heavenly economy, formed during the period of the rejection of God’s earthly people.   The Lord, having been rejected by the Jewish people, has become wholly a heavenly Person. This is Paul’s doctrine.  It is no longer the Messiah of the Jews, but Christ exalted and glorified.  For the want of taking hold of this exhilarating truth, the church has become so weak

We see the church glorified, in spite of the fact that the Lord Jesus has not abandoned any of His rights upon the earth.  He was the Heir: He was to shed His blood, which was to ransom the inheritance.  So it was necessary that Christ should buy the church.   We see that Boaz, a type of Christ, bought the inheritance by taking Ruth (the remnant of Israel) as wife. See Ruth 4:5.

The Church however, has no title to the inheritance.  Until we are in the glory we can have nothing, possess nothing, except only “the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [or guarantee] of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Until that time Satan is the prince of this world, by usurpation.

Calling and Government

In Noah’s time there was government of the earth.  Abraham was the object of God’s calling to be in  a relationship with God on the principle of promise.

In the Jews, the calling of God and the government upon the earth, were united.  But Israel failed, and God takes the government and gives it to the Gentiles.  Nevertheless, Israel continues to be God’s chosen people: for the “gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. (Romans 11:29)  The calling of God for the earth is never transferred to the nations; it remains with the Jews.  If I want an earthly religion, I ought to be a Jew.

Once the government is transferred to the Gentiles, they become the oppressors of the people of God: first, the Babylonians; secondly, the Medes and Persians; thirdly, the Greeks; then, the Romans. The fourth monarchy consummated its crime at the same instant that the Jews consummated theirs, namely in being accessories to the killing of the Son of God, the King of Israel.  Gentile power is in a fallen state, just as God’s called people, the Jews, are.  Judgment is written upon both government and calling, as they are in man’s hand.

What Happens to the Church?

First, the church is saved.  In the patience of God the children of God  are gathered together.  Then what takes place? Immediately the church goes to meet the Lord, and the marriage of the Lamb takes place.

The government of the fourth monarchy will be still in existence, but under the influence and direction of the Antichrist.  The Jews will unite themselves to him, in a state of rebellion, to make war with the Lamb.    Satan, unto this hour, has still not been driven out of heaven.  God then dispossess Satan, and drives him from power.  This is what Jesus will do when the church has been united to Him

The Battle in Heaven

As soon as Christ has received the church, battle in heaven will follow.  Satan will be expelled from heaven, not yet bound, but cast down to earth.  He will excite the whole earth, and will raise up the apostate part of it, that which has revolted against the power of Christ coming from heaven.  Satan will unite the Jews with this apostate prince against heaven, along with both secular and mischievously spiritual heads of both the Gentiles and the Jews.  The Wicked One, having joined himself to the Jews, and placed himself the centre of government of the earth in Jerusalem, will be destroyed by the coming of the Lord of lords and King of kings.   Although the Lord will have come to the earth, and the power of Satan in the Antichrist destroyed, the earth will not yet have been brought under His sceptre.  For the world, not yet acknowledging the rights of Christ, will desire to possess His heritage. Therefore the Saviour must clear the land in order that its inhabitants may enjoy the blessings of His reign without interruption.

The Lord will purify His land from the Nile to the Euphrates.  The people come into security in the land.  However another enemy, namely Gog, comes up, but only for destruction.

The Lord’s Return

We now discover a much more calm and intimate relationship between the Lord Jesus and the Jews. This is what takes place when “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”  (Zechariah 14:3)   It i the same Jesus: not as the Christ from heaven, but as the Messiah of the Jews.

Afterwards there will be the world to come, prepared and introduced by these judgments.   The glory manifested in Jerusalem will be announced to the other nations.  These will submit themselves to Christ; they will confess the Jews to be the God’s blessed people. Blessing will extend from Jerusalem to wherever there are men to enjoy its effects.  The throne of God, established at Jerusalem, will become the source of happiness to the whole earth.

Satan will be bound until “he is loosed for a short season” (Revelation 20:3).  There will be blessing without interruption because the government in heaven will be the security of the goodness of God.  The glorified church will fill the heavenly places with its own joy.  Behold the heavenly Jerusalem, witness in glory of the grace which has placed her so high!  In the midst of her flows the “river of water of life, … and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, … and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations(Revelation 22:1-2) .  ”The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish.”(Isaiah 60:12).  Christ will fill all the functions of High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Conclusion

May God perfect in us, and in all His children, in separation from the world.  His coming ought to be our expectation.  May we know more of these its heavenly blessings, and be aware of the terrible judgments which await man bound to this lower world; for judgment will come upon all these earthly things.  May God also perfect the desires of our hearts, and the witness of the Holy Spirit!.