The Blessings of Covid



April 2021

Dear Brother/Sister

The Blessings of Covid

Jeremiah said, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved’ (Jer 8:20).  I guess we are feeling a bit like that with Covid.  In the UK we are emerging cautiously and slowly from the second wave, vaccinations are going well (My wife and I, thank God have had our two jabs).  But Continental Europe is already in a third wave, and we are being told to expect the same before the end of the summer.  Continental trips visiting our fellow Christians and for many families too seem very uncertain this year as well as last.   We cannot have it all in our own way.  God said, ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isa 55:9). Or as the adage goes, ‘Man proposes; God disposes’.  Here are a few observations:

  • Zoom meetings – some have problems, but I have found them fantastic.  We find we are able to meet up with fellow believers all over the world supported by the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s presence.  It’s not the same as meeting in a hall but it’s different.  We cannot limit God. 
  • We have a quieter life with less rushing about.  Many are working from home. 
  • Not being physically with our brethren and our natural families makes the expectation of seeing them greater. Paul was happy writing letters but wanted to see the saints face to face.
  • There is time to get on with a project. In my case it has been my book ‘After These Things’ (see below).
  • Not the least there is more time for prayer.

The Gospel Spread Abroad

As we have seen already there is evidence that more persons have been listening to the gospel online and they ever did in halls.  Let us pray that this has led to much true repentance, joy and liberty of the knowledge of forgiveness. 

One encouraging line has been a testimony by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Up till recently, there has been little recognition of t0he Lord but in his speeches. But his Easter message was clear as to the work of Christ on the cross and the resurrection. Doubtless, his severe attack of covid caused him to take stock of things. It is also understood that one of the consultants attending to him it was a sincere believer it was able to talk about the Lord.

‘After These Things’

I am aware of sales of 52 paperback copies of ‘After These Things’ There must be at least as many electronic copies, but for some reason I have no record of sales in the ePub digital book format – though till recently there has been an error in the link.  Here are the correct links (About the bookPaperbackKindleePub (Apple Books).  It would be nice to know if you have purchased or downloaded a copy. But that is only for my own satisfaction. The more important thing is that the prospect of the coming of our Lord Jesus to rapture his saints should brighten in each one of our hearts. 

Your prayers please

At the end of last year, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  Mercifully it was at an early stage, despite being of an aggressive type. I have completed a series of BCG immunotherapy inductions, and have another cystoscopy scheduled for 28th April.  I trust that he will find a satisfactory outcome  and would value your prayers.

 Trusting you are being encouraged

 Daniel Roberts (a.k.a. Sosthenes) 

Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.

6 thoughts on “The Blessings of Covid”

  1. Brother (maybe Sister) writes
    Praise be unto our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m glad to hear from you…
    I sadly recieve the news of your illness and pray that God will get you through this triumphantly in Jesus Great Name, Amen. 

    I’m a saved, Spirit filled Christian from Tanzania. I read the book by Darby, The Faith Once Delivered To The Saints and God used to change my life, confirming the desperation I was already feeling in my soul. I believe God Himself, by His Spirit is training the holy remnant and gathering the Church to prepare it for the end. 
    (John 6:43-46 The Message) Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.

    I would love to hear more about you and the way you responded to God’s call by conducting  services without belonging to any of the known denomination.

  2. My reply:
    Thank you for your interesting account of what you learned from Darby’s book The Faith Once Delivered To The Saints. It is my intention to write another book based on that. In fact I I did a booklet a few years ago I never published it on my website here is a link. https://adayofsmallthings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Faith-Once-Delivered-complete.pdf

    I am not that familiar with modern Bible translations but I like the way it is but as you say, ‘Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come.’ The sad thing is that so many of the Christian groups that followed Darby’s teaching have been marked by consistent bickering. I suppose it’s only natural that in the flesh I want my voice and my opinion to be heard. I gather that Darby once said, “it is the hardest thing to be right: the very fact that you know you are right can blind you from any other consideration.”

    Oh to be free of sectarianIsm! People from parties and parties promote certain ones and if official leaders emerge. Whether these are given official titles such as elder, pastor or bishop, or whether as it is the brethren’s case they are unofficial the same situation exists. Eldership is right but I don’t think it is a day of appointing elders. I’m not deny being an elder myself. That means I have to take my share of responsibility

  3. Brother PJ In Canada writes

    It was a nice surprise to hear from you this morning. I have been delighted with your blog, and it is a great help to me in understanding Dispensationalism.

    Before the lockdown (over a year here in Vancouver, British Columbia), I had for many years been helping at a Chinese-language Lutheran church which aimed at evangelizing new arrivals from China. I was often surprised at how widespread the influence of Watchman Née is among the Chinese, and, as I am sure you know, he was very influenced by the writings of John Nelson Darby through the missionary Margaret E. Barber. I knew next to nothing about Darby’s teachings, so the lockdown seemed to be a good time to do some studying so that I could understand his influence on many of my Chinese friends.

    I initially became rather confused by all the varied writings on Darby that an internet search produces – some downright scurrilous and slanderous – and by the different claims for hyper- , ultra-, and classical dispensationalism, and was discouraged enough to drop my studies. Fortunately, I recently came across your impressive blog, and removed all the others from my laptop. I now have a copy of Chafer’s book on Dispensationalism, and also of Scofield’s notes, but I plan to read Darby’s own teachings on your blog, as I think this is probably the best direction I can take.

    Thank you for your clear presentation of Darby’s writings, and for your friendly e-mail.

  4. My reply:

    You are right that Watchman Née was very involved with the Taylor Brethren in the 1930s, and he traveled around Britain and visited them. I have a biography of him, which is where I found these details. However, there was a disagreement about open/ closed communion, and by the time he returned to China, he was no longer part of their group. 

    It was then that Watchman Née started up the ‘Local Church’ movement, or ‘Little Flock’ , which spread rapidly around the country, and which I have been so interested to find has such an influence on Chinese Christians today. Even though Née was no longer an official member of the Brethren, he had been enormously influenced by his reading of Darby, so that the millions of Christians in China (mostly underground, at the moment), in Taiwan and in places like Vancouver, are heirs to Darby’s teachings. 

    I am often amazed at how Victorians like Darby wrote volumes and volumes in their lifetimes, they must have spent a large part of every day writing, including letters and, often, diaries. I have no hope of actually reading through all of Darby’s writings, they are so voluminous, so that is why I greatly appreciate your blog. 

  5. Brother Phil in New Zealand writes:

    I wonder if you have access to the 1890 first edition of Darby’s complete bible with footnotes. I have PDFs of the 1871 and 1884 New Testaments and also an electronic edition of the 1890 Bible but it doesn’t have any footnotes. If you look at 2 Tim 2:21 you will see a cryptic footnote about a Greek preposition. In 1871 and 1884 the preposition was identified but I suspect because very few EB (if any) now have any knowledge at all of Greek the footnote has been simplified by removing the Greek words, and making it quite cryptic in the process. I am keen to see whether that was the case in in 1890. I have my father’s 1951 edition (and 1990 and 2000) but I cant go back further than that.

    You might be interested also that the words “in separating himself from them” in that verse that the footnote relates to which are now in square brackets were not bracketed in 1871 and 1884 but were in italics in 1890 and I would love to know the reasoning behind that. I think they belong in square brackets (or italics as I don’t think they are really part of the Greek text), although the 2000 edition published by the Bible and Gospel Trust has removed the brackets.

    (PS I am really interested in such minutiae of Bible translation)

  6. My reply:
    I wonder if you have access to the 1890 first edition of Darby’s complete bible with footnotes. I have PDFs of the 1871 and 1884 New Testaments and also an electronic edition of the 1890 Bible but it doesn’t have any footnotes. If you look at 2 Tim 2:21 you will see a cryptic footnote about a Greek preposition. In 1871 and 1884 the preposition was identified but I suspect because very few EB (if any) now have any knowledge at all of Greek the footnote has been simplified by removing the Greek words, and making it quite cryptic in the process. I am keen to see whether that was the case in in 1890. I have my father’s 1951 edition (and 1990 and 2000) but I cant go back further than that.

    You might be interested also that the words “in separating himself from them” in that verse that the footnote relates to which are now in square brackets were not bracketed in 1871 and 1884 but were in italics in 1890 and I would love to know the reasoning behind that. I think they belong in square brackets (or italics as I don’t think they are really part of the Greek text), although the 2000 edition published by the Bible and Gospel Trust has removed the brackets.

    (PS I am really interested in such minutiae of Bible translation)

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