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I have not issued anything from A Day of Small Things since May 2020. A few short articles have been added to the website, thanks to our brother Edwin Mutton’s ‘Golden Nuggets’ but there has not been any new summary of J N Darby’s papers or ministry. A few reasons:
1. My neuropathic pain has been very trying. It has limited the number of hours I can work at a time. Thank God for the Great High Priest who sympathises with our infirmities.
2. We have been clearing out and selling the house of a local sister who has had to go into a care home.
3. In some ways, I am not sure of what to add. Most articles I read cover the same ground as summaries already published. Nonetheless, I am always open to suggestions.
But the main reason is that I have been writing a book: ‘After These Things – Summaries of John Nelson Darby’s Papers on Prophecy for Christians waiting to see the Lord of Glory when he Raptures his Church’. When finished it will be about 300 pages long, much of it being revisions of articles I had summarised over the past six years, supplemented with chapters on subjects which Christians often confuse, and which Darby strove tirelessly to clarify. Doctrine is unashamedly premillennial, based on scripture and showing clearly what pertains to the heavenly Church and earthly Israel.
Most of the book has now been written and reviewed. Five brothers, in particular Jim Hibbert of Calgary, have provided invaluable input and helpful comments. A challenging task has been a ‘Timeline’ covering events in heaven or on the earth between the Rapture and the Appearing drawing on scriptures in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Revelation, 1&2 Thessalonians, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and others.
If you reply to this email, I will send you pre-publication PDF copies of the Timeline, the Table of Contents and a summary of one of Darby’s 1840 Geneva addresses. There is still time to make minor additions or changes, so if you ask questions such as ‘Have you covered/explained . . .?’ or ‘Have you distinguished between X and Y?’ I will certainly take these into account.
It has been quite a mammoth undertaking and I feel the more cast on God for help in this holy subject. I have learned a lot while doing it, but become increasingly conscious of there being so much more to learn. Even Paul said, ‘We see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face’ 1 Cor 13:12 Darby). That is why I feel so dependent on the Lord, the Holy Spirit, reliable publications (rejecting what is unsound) and many dear brethren from several countries and denominations.
I hope, if the Lord will, to have it published by November. It will be available on-line at cost in hard copy and Kindle and ebook electronic formats.
2020 has been such an unusual year. Whether you are gathering physically – with restrictions, or on-line – I trust you are feeling blessed and encouraged. As a ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 now appears inevitable, people – some believers even – are fearful. May we all seize the opportunity to point persons to the One on whom we can cast all our cares. We need not fear.
This made me think – God has revealed Himself in Christ. We know this by the Holy Spirit. Our own thoughts get in the way, and the results are a disaster to us and those closest to us.
Last Saturday my wife and I visited some gardens in the south of England. These displayed exquisite Autumn colours at this time of year and we took some beautiful photos. What a Creator!
While there we bumped into a brother and sister whom we had not seen for some time. We asked after the brother’s elderly parents. They live in almost squalor, despite not having any finaancial problems. Simply speaking, our brother’s father just refuses any help. My friend made an observation. Not only does he refuse help, he does not seem to be at peace with God, despite being in Christian fellowship all his life. He insists on working things out himself.
It is sad that a Christian, in his mid 80’s, should insist on his own way. No help from his family; no help from God. His wife suffers in silence, having decided years ago just to let things take their course. And what misery!
On a practical level the couple could have all the help they needed, whether they remained in their own house or moved to somewhere more suitable and closer to their family. But more than that, our brother’s insistence in working things out himself has impeded God’s revealing His love by the Holy Spirit.
This made me think – God has revealed Himself in Christ. We know this by the Holy Spirit. Our own thoughts get in the way, and the results are a disaster to us and those closest to us.
‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isa 55:7-9).
Just a few words. I do not reply to what you have said about the fourth class of the first resurrection. The thing interests me a lot, because it is found in so many passages and even, almost, in so many truths, that one ought to examine it in a rather close way to be able to form any judgment. As soon as I shall have been able to do so, I shall say something to you about it. It also links to some thoughts which I have on Revelation 14, but I so feel my ignorance on these points that it would be madness to say too much about it; it is true that this makes it all the more interesting to look into. I only believe that it is evil to rush to establish a system thereupon, because of the smallness of our minds, by virtue of the One for whom the system, or rather the revelation has gone out. We know in part; we accept (by faith) isolated truths. The linking of these truths comes from the activity of our mind. I do not say that the Holy Spirit does not help us – why would we doubt it? – but it is no longer a revelation properly speaking, and the sum is always incomplete, so that if we limit ourselves however it may be to this, other truths are excluded, lose their power, and the soul and fellowship with the brethren (who have perhaps understood other truths) suffer from it. As to the translation, I work remotely from most of my resources – books in fact, so that I present my notes as being able to serve for common usefulness, and, in this work, it is evidently a matter of recognising that. I acknowledge in this translation (the one which exists), a conscientious task, but careful examination which I have made has convinced me that it is sometimes a little less literal than I had [previously] thought. This is what I have done lately in a task which I undertook on the English New Testament: in the beginning, I had not thought of critical improvements of the received text. As I am travelling (for I worked on it only at moments of leisure), I have my Tischendorf as travel book. Now I have stopped for a short time: I have an edition with the text by Scholz in the margin, the received text, that of Griesbach, Scholz and Tischendorf. If there is agreement between them, and the witnesses show in the true text in an unequivocal manner, I accept it. If there is a variance of some importance, depending on a good number of witnesses, I put in the margin, ‘several’, or ‘some’ read this or that thing. I do not touch the question when this becomes a critical affair, because it is a question of a translation and not of a critical edition. If all those who have examined the text are agreed, it is a folly to give a bad reading. In the case where there is a large number of authorities for a thing, I can tell historically that this fact exists, but I do not enter critical domain as such. I use it, but I do not initiate it; it is not my work there.
Tomorrow, I shall send, I think, notes on Matthew; the others will follow shortly, with God’s help. The comments on epistles will be very important otherwise. I have followed the way of the translations in my notes.
As to the passage in Revelation 5: 9, 10, the text is indeed confused, such that one must not insist much doctrinally on that which is variant in this passage. Scholz reads: (ἡμῶν – hemon) we in v 9. Griesbach also; the only old manuscript of the Revelation rejects it. At verse 10, Scholz and Griesbach read τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν βασιλείαν (tō theō ēmōn basileian) (“thou hast made them kings, etc”) with the great majority of witnesses. Scholz and Griesbach retain βασιλείαν (“kings”). A Copt, Vulg are the authorities for βασιλεία – basileia (“kingdom”). There are almost as many witnesses, more even, for “they will reign”, than for “they reign”, but the only old manuscript cited favours the last reading …
There remains a question about the four living creatures, which you have not yet raised. Are they the symbols of a certain character of power, which we find manifested in the service of certain beings which are not necessarily always the same? Is it a seraph? It is only found in Isaiah 6, save the brazen serpent. I doubt a bit your teaching on the priesthood. It has to be shown first that there was one which was not of the character of that of Melchisedec. “They shall reign over the earth” does not signify the seat of sovereignty but its object.
I have been interrupted and I stop. Peace be with you, dear brother. May God deign to keep the brethren in simplicity and humility, and may their hearts be united. May He make them prosper under the breath of His Spirit. Greet our dear friends very affectionately on my behalf. May the presence of God in Spirit be in the midst of you all; there is our joy. The only thing which gives me sorrow in Herzog’s pamphlet is that it is a brother; apart from that, it is only not to be taken account of.
Yours very affectionately
 The 2nd edition of the Bible translated at Lausanne. Motivated by the conviction that the Scriptures communicate the very mind of God, a group of Piétistes Protestants set to work in Lausanne on a tranaslation under the direction of Louis Gaussen, and then Louis Burnier. The New Testament appeared initially in 1839, then the Psalms in 1854 and the remainder of the Old Testment between 1861 and 1872. This Bible of Lausanne did not have a wide readership itself, but provided a foundation for a later Bible, the Louis Ségond Bible, which became a classic version. This Lausanne Bible was not a revision, but a scholarly concordant Bible, not really fit for wide use.
 In the revised Preface to second edition of the New Testament (1871), JND says – ‘In my first edition my translation was formed on the concurrent voice of Griesbach, Lachmann, Scholz, and Tischendorf: the first of soberer judgment and critical acumen and discernment; the next with a narrower system of taking only the very earliest MSS, so that sometimes he might have only one or two; the third excessively carelessly printed, but taking the mass of Constantinopolitan MSS as a rule’
 These Greek insertions have been inferred and need to be checked – see note to Letter No 143
 Editor’s note:- ‘a pamphlet hostile of the writer of the letter’. Professor J J Herzog of Lausanne wrote – ‘The Plymouth Brethren or Darby and his followers in the canton of Vaud, its relationship to the dissident’s municipalities and to the national church’, published in the Protestant Church Newspaper in 1844
Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
I have read your chart, on the words έπιφάλεια – epiphaleia, φαυερόω – phaueroa, άποκάλυψις – apokalupsis, with some attention. I have gone over your second chart on the gospels, and I seize a moment to say a word to you. But first, I will communicate to you my critical remarks on the words; I have made these after having examined all the passages anew.
… έπιφάλεια – epiphaleia (cf 1 Tim 6: 14; 2 Tim 1: 10; 2 Thess 2: 8) means appearing to me, not revelation, as if one went out of a place where one had been hidden beforehand. Without doubt, appearing is necessarily opposed to the idea of being hidden, but it is the fact of being seen or visible, of appearing, as the sun shines. He has appeared; He will appear anew. That is to say that there will be a state of things in which He will not be hidden, or as non-existent (save for faith), but where He will be apparent. It is not the act of coming out as [….Ω….]. But the state of shining so that He is visible. Without doubt, the thing will be true, as soon as His [….Ω….] and His [….Ω….] but it remains true afterwards.
… φαυερόω – phaueroo is in contrast with what He has been beforehand, to be hidden although existing, and of a known existence. This term only applies to us when our life has been presented as hidden with Christ in God (Col 3: 4).
… άποκάλυψις – apokalupsi (cf Rom 8: 19; 1 Cor 1: 7; 1 Pet 1: 7) is said more often of someone who has the right to appear in glory and who appears thus, to the confusion, indeed, of those who have not wanted to recognise the glory. And this term is applied either to judgment or to glory; it is something glorious which shines out.
… φαυερόω – phaueroo signifies putting on the record and is applied to sin (Eph 5: 13; 1 Cor 4: 5; Luke 8: 17; Mark 4: 22, etc.).
… αρουσία – arousia signifies presence in contrast with absence, and also the fact of becoming present after having been absent. (1 Cor 16: 17; 2 Cor 7: 6 present this latter sense, and Phil 2: 12; 2 Cor 10: 10 the former). This word evidently gives us the idea of His presence in the midst of the scene in which are our affections, our fears, our hopes, our joys, our sorrows, and where His presence or His absence can act on these things. So that the presence of Christ in the creation answers to the hopes and affections of the person who speaks of it. In a general way, it is His coming into the scene from which He is currently absent. If my soul is occupied with heavenly thoughts, it will meet Him in heaven; if on earthly things, it hails His coming into this world, so that this word applies to one and the other to His coming to receive the church in the air, and to His coming on the earth to accomplish the designs and the judgment of God there.
These remarks may bring some modification to the expression of someone with your ideas, but they are in general in accord with your chart and perhaps resolve some difficulties which remain on the word [….Ω….].
As to the marriage of the Lamb, it seems to me that it would be better not to put anything else, but to leave aside what concerns the Jews and the parables. I am totally in agreement with what you say on the marriage itself, but your interpretation of the parable of the virgins presents difficulties which, for me, are insurmountable. It would be necessary first that a remnant of the Jews should be with the Lord, as His friends, before the marriage. There is no bride here, because, in this case, Jerusalem on the earth will be the bride. I do not believe that it is a question of the marriage of the Lamb in Luke 12: 36; it is only a similitude of what the disciples would have to be as to their moral state.
As to Daniel 11, my present conviction is that from v 21 to 35 is history. The named person in these verses is not the last king, for historically it is not the case, but the last here (save at v 40) because it is him who has been the type of the Antichrist. At verses 36-39, it is the Antichrist himself. I have said, thinking of Daniel, that certain brethren considered verses 21-35 as speaking of the Antichrist, but that my conviction was what I have just said to you.
Having made these remarks in all liberty, so that you can use them as you wish, I can tell you that in general your chart has given me great pleasure and, if you put aside the explanation of the parables, I believe it would be profitable to the brethren. I do not impose all my thoughts on the parables but, in such a summary, this will lend more to controversy than to edification because the chart is presented to be consulted as a whole, and not as a treatise where the question would be debated. If you like to publish your thoughts under the form of a treatise, I do not see anything wrong at all, only I urge you to reconsider it first.
Greet all the brethren affectionately. May the peace of our God, His grace and mercy, be in abundance with you and all His dear children. In haste.
Your affectionate brother
Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
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.
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