Skip to comments.John Nelson Darby: "Evidence from Scripture of the passing away of the present dispensation"
Posted on 09/01/2009 7:59:49 AM PDT by fishtank
Evidence from Scripture of the passing away of the present dispensation.
by J. N. Darby.
The testimony of Scripture is the only secure resting-place for man amid the darkness of this world. This, through the teaching of the Spirit, is the believer's light and security; from this his judgment flows; and, consequently, from this the rule and foundation of his conduct springs. Wrong thoughts as to God's dealings, and our own place before Him, must lead to wrong judgment as to the conduct claimed from us; and thus all our service will be folly, and, perhaps, our hopes presumption; our light will be darkness, and then what will become of those "who are led"?
Immediately connected with this inquiry (and thus involving the most practical results) is the question as to the dispensation in which we stand, and what are to be our hopes in it? Many most interesting inquiries are connected with this subject, as to the development of the purposes of God; but it is not my present purpose to enter into them. I intend to confine myself to the scriptural evidence on the two following most important questions, which, in the highest degree, affect the present interests and operations of the church of Christ.
(1) IS THIS DISPENSATION THE LAST, OR NOT?
(2) WHAT ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES BY WHICH ANY OTHER IS TO BE INTRODUCED?
The answer to these questions appears to me to involve the whole ground of the judgment of a believer's mind, as to his present position in the world; and, consequently, as to his duty and his hopes. Without examining the detail of circumstances, I shall endeavour to seize on some of the broad facts and principles.
(1) Is this dispensation the last, or is it not?
First - Let us consider the evidence of Scripture as to the Christian body.
The 9th verse of the 1st of Ephesians affords a leading declaration of Scripture on this subject: "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance" (v. 10). Now this is in no way applicable to the present dispensation. He is to gather together in one all things which are in heaven, and which are on earth. This the present dispensation does not assume to do: it is a dispensation in which Satan is the prince and god of this world - in which he sows tares among the wheat, and is in high places. In this, God visits the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. This is indeed a dispensation of another gathering (as we shall see presently), in which angels minister and devils oppose - anything but a gathering into one things in heaven and things on earth; for we must be absent from the body to be present with the Lord, and absent from the Lord to be at home in the body; and we "groan" waiting. Indeed, there is ample demonstration in the above passage, that the present dispensation does not and was not meant to do this. .....
There is much more of the article at the link.
I had to download the article and even print it out, since I took a few days to go through the entire monograph.
John Nelson Darby (18 November 1800 29 April 1882) was an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. He is considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism. He produced a translation of the Bible based on the Hebrew and Greek texts called The Holy Scriptures: A New Translation from the Original Languages by J. N. Darby.
Executive summary: Get right or get left.
Clearly not the last dispensation - or there would not be a future Kingdom on Earth with Christ physically reining on the seat of David...
I’ve read a lot of Darby. Good man.
If we place our trust in Christ, what does it matter what dispensation we are in? All things will happen in God’s good time, regardless of what we think we know or what we try to do to affect the timing.
Darby is the guy who came up with the whole “rapture” thing, by the way...
That would be God . . .
1 Thess 4:16 . . .
Thanks for the ping!
“If we place our trust in Christ, what does it matter what dispensation we are in?”
Here is a good reason: If an unbeliever picks up the Bible and starts to wonder what his Christian friend thinks of the MANY prophecy passages, it does little good for the Christian to tell the unbeliever a preterist interpretation.
Because the preterist interpretation is so common-sensically wrong, and the average reading person sees it from a mile away.
The unbeliever is then left to wonder if anything from the Bible is true at all as a result.
Actually, the word “rapture” is derived from the Latin Vulgate from Jerome’s translation.
As a former Catholic, I know these things....
Enoch and Elijah got ‘raptured’ (taken up) as well.
Because the preterist interpretation is so common-sensically wrong, and the average reading person sees it from a mile away.
The unbeliever is then left to wonder if anything
INDEED TO THE MAX.
Darby was sure s sober-faced bloke! Wow.
The preterist view was proven wrong when Israel was re-established.
End of story.
(Actually, it’s just beginning!!!)
Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!
I was attempting to bring the best of the founding writings into view.
A cute graphic does not impress me one bit.
Israel was never "re-established" in modern times. Modern Israel is not Biblical Israel, so nothing could be re-established.
For biblical evidence, see this post.
Just who WASN'T in this time period?
That’s the Second Coming, which will occur at the end of time.
The Rapture is sort of a “Coming 2.5”.
You’ll notice the Scripture says nothing about the Lord going back up to Heaven, waiting seven years, then returning in Coming 3.0.
Our Lord will come again. When He does, that’s it. The story is over. No seven-year tribulation, no waiting around for Him to return a third time. As C.S. Lewis put it, “When the Author walks on stage, the play is over.”
That would mean Christ’s 1,000 year reign would have to occur . . .
uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .
So which ‘trumpet’ is it that the Lord Himself will come down from heaven? Sure is not the 6th one, Paul and John and even Christ says it is the 7th and or last.
There are three locations in the Thess verse you posted:
Earth, the air and heaven.
In the rapture, Jesus never reaches the earth.
That is why a plain, literal, normative reading of the Bible is crucial.
There is really no need for magic-Augustinian-allegoric-reading-glasses or for semi-Reformed-with-one-foot-in-Romanism-Post-It-note interpretations.
That was what John Nelson Darby was attempting to bring to the forefront.
The foundation of Darby’s thought is really in his first paragraph where he explains Ephesians 1:9:
“The 9th verse of the 1st of Ephesians affords a leading declaration of Scripture on this subject: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” (v. 10).
Now this is in no way applicable to the present dispensation. He is to gather together in one all things which are in heaven, and which are on earth. This the present dispensation does not assume to do: it is a dispensation in which Satan is the prince and god of this world - in which he sows tares among the wheat, and is in high places. In this, God visits the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.
This is indeed a dispensation of another gathering (as we shall see presently), in which angels minister and devils oppose - anything but a gathering into one things in heaven and things on earth; for we must be absent from the body to be present with the Lord, and absent from the Lord to be at home in the body; and we “groan” waiting. Indeed, there is ample demonstration in the above passage, that the present dispensation does not and was not meant to do this.
The passage declares that God has made known this to us, as that which should happen in the fulness of times, of which we have the earnest under the present dispensation until the redemption. This is not merely “going to heaven,” because, as we see in the passage itself, God is to gather together in one all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. That which we have under the present dispensation is an earnest merely of that which we are to have; which is not a going to heaven, but a dispensation in which all things are gathered together in heaven and on earth.
In a word, the passage declares a gathering, which cannot mean the church in the present dispensation, or in any dispensation; for the church, as applied to believers, in no dispensation comprehends all things in heaven and on earth; and that which comprehends and gathers all into one (all things in heaven and on earth) is manifestly not the church; for the church, even here, is gathered out of the earth, and does not gather all things on the earth into itself, and as a dispensation of the assembled saints in heaven, it has none of the things of the earth in it at all.
Indeed, except from the force of habitual prejudice, it is just as fairly inferred from this passage that all the things in heaven will be gathered in the earth, as that all on the earth will be gathered in heaven. If we do not acknowledge a common gathering of all things both in heaven and on earth under the authority of Christ (as is also written elsewhere), it is manifest we must force this passage into some previously assumed sense, and then it may mean anything we like. Chapter 3 of John’s gospel might throw light on this, if the reader is disposed to enquire.
But as it is manifest that the church is no such gathering actually, so it is equally manifest that to say that the assembly of the saints in heaven is a gathering of all things in heaven and on earth into one, is a plain perversion to suit previous ideas; for the saints are not all things, if the position taken were otherwise tenable: and it is thinking that they are so (in self-complacency) which is one grand source of error, for thus His glory is marred and shortened, by whom and for whom all things are created.
I affirm (though it be the manifestation of God’s wisdom) that the church of God’s saints is only a part - a small part - of the glory and purposes of God, as fulfilled: a part worthy, indeed, of all admiration, as it is; but one which, if we take the comeliness that God has put upon us, and make our boast as if it were all God’s glory, He will shew us it is as nothing in His sight calling the things that are not as though they were.”
Now to finish my class prep and administrivia.
Pope John Nelson Darby, speaking infallibly as head of the Church, decreed that our Lord will come again... well, halfway down, anyway... then leave again... then return AGAIN. Thus the doctrine of the First, Second, and Third Comings. And, as we all know, Pope John Nelson Darby cannot teach error.
All hail Pope John Nelson Darby!
PS — If I wanted to follow a 19th Century “prophet”, I’d pick Joseph Smith. You get extra wives and stuff.
If I wanted a silly answer, I’d go watch Barney on TV.
Partial preterists (i.e. those who think the great trib happened in the first century) wouldn't confuse an unbeliever, as there was a tribulation of the church (as opposed THE tribulation) during the first century. So in that sense, it isn't common-sensically wrong to be a partial preterist.
Darby sets froth three main points:
“”They charge us with looking into prophecy: undoubtedly we do, and use it as God intended it, as a charge and warning against our present sin and state; while they prophesy for themselves that which is credit for themselves - though never has the professing church at large been so far from godliness as now; if not, why all this labour, effort, formation of societies for home or continental purposes?
This is the simple difference: we acknowledge it as a result of God’s power; they say, without God’s word (and we must add, against it), ‘It will be done by our instrumentality.’ Believers say, with God’s word, It will not be done thus. We quarrel not with their efforts, but join in them according to our ability of God, as far as our poor hearts permit us; but we do quarrel with their assumption as to the coming result of their own labours, as if they were prophets, of that of which God has prophesied otherwise.
They prophesy; we consult the word, and apply it to judge ourselves, and find the church guilty. Our assertion, accordingly, is this:
Firstly, that there is no prophecy in Scripture, or promise (which as to means, observe, of future accomplishment, is prophecy) that the gradual diffusion of the gospel shall convert the world. If there be, let them produce it: if not, I affirm that they are assuming something future, without any warrant for it but their own thoughts.
100 Secondly, that the prophecies always connect the filling of the world with the knowledge of the glory - with judgments.
Thirdly, we add, to those who are labouring without reference to this glory, yet are looking to the gathering of God’s elect - faithfully perhaps - that there is a vast purpose of God, and one which is the result of all God’s purposes, not embraced in their views, and that, as teachers of God’s mind and will, their system must be wholly and utterly defective; for the earth is to be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. They recognise, and justly, that that cannot be, as it has never been, and, as we have seen, that it was not intended to be, by the gospel. There must, therefore, if they admit the truth of God’s word, be some great plan and act of God’s power, on which His mind is especially set (for His glory on the earth, as in heaven, must be His end as well as our desire, because we are His saints, and have the mind of Christ), of which they embrace nothing, teach nothing.””
back to my grading.