Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This months article is titled, "Special Historical Report on Islam." It was written by Dr. Ernest Martin in 1993 but has not appeared on the ASK Website. Those who have read it will no doubt recognize its current relevance. The occasion of the article was the 1993 Oslo peace accords agreed upon by the Palestinian National Authority and the government of Israel. United States government officials helped the parties negotiate the agreement. The agreement has not been successful. Violence, hatred and death followed the signing of the agreement up to the present day.
The religion of Islam and its adherents play an important part in todayís world. Fully one-fifth of humankind observes the Muslim faith. Figuring on 6 billion people in the world, nearly 1.2 billion people claim the Muslim faith as their belief.
In his book Essentials of New Testament Doctrine, Dr. Martin divided the process of salvation into phases which are progressive in revelation and understanding for the participants. Some of these phases overlap in time. 1 For example, believers who adhere to the Old Covenant can live side-by-side with believers in the New Covenant phase, who can also live together with those who understand the Mystery of God and the freedom that comes with that understanding. God honors believers in each phase. After all, he gives the faith and the understanding to each of us. There is no moral superiority to any phase. All are children of God, as are all people. In addition as one grows in grace and knowledge, and comprehends 2 the increasing grace, blessing and reward that God grants in each phase.
Phase Two, as Dr. Martin briefly presents it, incorporates the Abrahamic laws and commandments which are relatively simple to perform.
"These were introduced to the world in a grand scale at the time of Muhammad. He gave the pagan Arabs (and all the other nations who accepted Islam) the basic religion of Abraham to guide them. This was a step in the right direction into a more mature understanding of spiritual development. All the Muslim sects today fit into the category of this Second Phase of progressive revelation from God."
- pp. 546Ė547
What is the significance of that Phase? The purpose for Abraham was so that he would separate himself and his family "both socially and religiously from the rest of the people in the world." God did the same thing on an even more drastic scale when he added additional laws and commandments that were increasingly difficult to perform to Godís standards. This was made clear by Jesusí impossible standard that He set in the Sermon of the Mount. He showed that it was impossible to fulfill either the letter or the spirit of the law, except in His own person. He fulfilled the law in our place.
Dr. Martin would not advocate adherence to the tenets or beliefs of Islam any more than he would recommend proselytizing to Judaism. However, people are free to do as they wish, if they wish to return to rudimentary basics of teachings of the milk of the Word again and again and again, rather than the mature teachings of Christ.
It is important to note other articles that Dr. Martin has written on subjects related to Islam and the Middle East such as "The Prophesied State of Palestine," "Israel Should Cease its Military Conquests Post Haste!," "The Land of Israel in Prophecy," and particularly "Where Islam Fits in Prophecy Today." These articles provide background and context to this Prophetic Report and are available on the ASK Website. The last chapter in The People That History Forgot also deals with Islam.
Godís Makes Known His Will
Some people think that God does not communicate with us. On the contrary, God makes His thoughts known to us by various means. The list of how He does this is extensive. One example that many people forget about is the rainbow. God specifically stated the the rainbow was his speaking to mankind throughout the ages that He would never again bring a flood to destroy all flesh.
"And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you [Noah], and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, ĎThis is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."
Some may not think that God is speaking to us in the rainbow, but He certainly is doing so. God makes it clear that the rainbow is His pledge between Himself on one side and Noah, his seed and "every living creature that is with you" on the other. The rainbow is the token of Godís pledge and covenant to us and everyone. If you doubt that this is a form of communication, then you need to study the usage of the term "covenant." It always means a two-way contract and communication. This does not mean that deadly floods would not occur, but that a flood would not wipe out all humans and creatures on earth as it did in the days of Noah.
I want give a cursory review of relevant phrases "make known" and "made known" as they appear, without at this time noting any of the verbal nuances in the Greek or Hebrew. Isaiah wrote that in the future,
"The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth [Godís truth]."
It is our responsibility to communicate to our children the truth of God. Sometimes that is done through explicit statements, sometimes by example. Most often it is not done or is done by proxy, allowing others to teach our children. Most people I know are guilty of neglect that responsibility (including myself) to some extent. On the other hand Godís creation speaks volumes about His actions throughout the history of His creation.
"All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom."
God made known more of His ways through His acts to Israel,
"He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel."
God shows where salvation can be obtained, at any period of history and displays His righteousness clearly, and openly to Israel His salvation is seen.
"The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."
God through the provision of wisdom gives us information about words of truth, words that are accurate and proper.
"Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou might answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?"
Daniel relates how God makes known the secrets of individuals and nations by changing times and seasons, changing kings and rulers, by giving wisdom to those who can understand, by revealing hidden facts and actions, even the dark deeds that men do. He shows that God makes them all known by the light of His revelation to mankind. Godís revelation to Daniel in a specific matter gave King Nebuchednezzar the answer to his dream.
"And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter."
Of course, God makes known the future.
"Forasmuch as thou saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
Everything that Jesus learned, he made known to His disciples (although they did not realize the full meaning of many of His statements until after the resurrection, after they received the Holy Spirit).
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Peter, quoting King David, notes that God has shown through His revelation the ways of living.
"Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance."
Paul notes that to some people God specifically prepares for mercy, to be brought forth in glory
"And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,"
By the Mystery God has made obvious and announced to the nations (the gentiles) that which was previously hidden, the final statement of Godís revelation.
"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."
Godís revelation of the Mystery abounds (overflows) to us all wisdom and care of action, even to showing the express will of God that pleases Him greatly.
"Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself."
The Mystery was made known by revelation to Paul specifically and to others information that was previously unknown.
"How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
It was Paulís responsibility to transmit that knowledge of the Mystery that God revealed to him.
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
What God wanted known, the apostle Paul preached and taught faithfully and with joy,
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
Finally, the act of making something known is mutual. God wants us to make known our requests to Him directly, without hesitation. As I have written before, if you donít ask, you donít get. Even though God knows our needs, he still wants us to ask Him directly, earnestly ("with supplication"). And we are to do so with thanksgiving for the past, present and the future.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Godís provision of making known His thoughts through several different means and methods clearly shows that He communicates to us regularly because of His love to us. The full meaning of Jesus being called "the Word of God" indicates an earnest desire for God to communicate to us through His Son. Every action of Jesus is to communicate Godís will to us, Godís children. We just do not realize that yet.
By the time you receive this we anticipate that the entire book, The People that History Forgot, will appear on the ASK Website. We will put up one chapter each week and in some cases we will break up some of the larger chapters into two or more portions.
We also anticipate in the future putting on the ASK Website an out-of-copyright book about the book of Genesis. This book, written in the 1930s, shows that the documents comprising the book of Genesis clearly show clear indications of being reliable ancient documents. Moses took authentic and true documents probably from ancient stone tablets, compiled and edited them together to produce our book of Genesis. It is a fascinating story that shows evidence internal to the texts themselves, the self-validating nature of the documents. This analytical process of this book on Genesis is similar to Dr. Martinís analysis on the development of the New Testament canon by Peter, Paul and John as presented in Restoring the Original Bible. I trust you will find this book as charming and true as I did when I first read it. I know that you will have the same reaction I had when I read this book, "It was there all along, and itís so obvious!"
Also in the future we will be putting up two new videos on the ASK Website, one at a time. These were produced by Dr. Martin as the first of a series of lectures on video as part of an academic course. These were the only two produced and the project never went forward. While the quality of the video is not the best, Dr. Martinís presentation is excellent and the information is exceptional.
The world was stunned by the visual images of combat and the quick victory by Coalition forces led by the United States over Iraq, an event that changed the power structure of the Middle East. I cannot help but make the analogy with the downfall of the Soviet Union in the sense that it happened so suddenly and with such a complete change of outlook for the world, and a change of situation for those directly affected.
Time and events happen so quickly these days approaching the end times, although the set-up for the change can take decades, or even generations. The set-up for the Kingdom of God has been planned from the beginning of creation and slowly, subtly and now more swiftly, events are taking place on the world stage that will stun and amaze us all. Iraq and the lands around it, and especially the countries around Israel, will see events occurring that will shake the political foundations of the world. And I am not even talking about events of supernatural intervention or God actively intervening in world affairs. I am talking about events that "set the stage" for the next act in human events leading to the denouement, the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth.
By the way, am I the only one who has noted that time itself seems to be "speeding up"? I wonder if it is just my imagination because so many events are crowding for our attention, that reporting is so pervasive in todayís world, or is it something else?
As always, we want to express our appreciation for sustaining ASK in the past and in the present. We depend on God, your prayers and your contributions to sustain us as we produce the good material that explains the Word of God to those He has called now. Your gracious help now allows others in the future to have access to the timeless material that Dr. Martin has written and spoken in the past with energy and gusto over a period of some 40+ years. As most all of you know, God did His work to assist Ernest Martin to make clear what God has proclaimed to Jews, Gentiles and to make known the Mystery of God. We thank you all so much, continually.
David W. Sielaff
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