Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Good history and good news reporting answer basic questions about every event under their consideration. These basic questions that historians and reporters seek to answer are, the who, what, when, where, why, and how about every event. It is the historian’s job to communicate answers to such questions to his or her audience. While the available information cannot always answer every one of those questions, historians strive to answer them as best they can.
In a sense biblical prophecy is a “history” of future events. Prophecy communicates to all future generations of God’s children who are in one of three groups: (1) those generations who live before the prophecy is fulfilled, (2) those generations who live at the time the prophecy is fulfilled, and (3) those generations who live after the prophecy is fulfilled. Each of these groups will provide their own manner of witness to the fulfillment of God’s prophecies to man.
Three of the six basic questions listed above should be asked of every prophecy because they are the most important questions for us to know. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ the Messiah are ultimately the chief actors in every prophecy. They supply the ultimate answer to the question “who?” Of course, there are other participants that also answer the question “who,” but those individuals that participate in fulfilling the prophecy do so according to God’s will.
This month’s article deals with basic aspects of prophecy. It is titled “Essentials of Prophetic Understanding.” It is a transcribed audiotape lecture that Dr. Martin recorded in 1987. Dr. Martin notes the three most important questions that must be answered for every unfulfilled future prophecy in the Bible. They are “what,” clearly identifying the event itself; “when,” meaning the time or time period the event occurs; and “where,” meaning the place, the location, or the geography where the event occurs. 1 In this article Dr. Martin details and analyzes the Olivet Prophecy in terms of the events, the chronology, and the geography of what Jesus taught His apostles two days before His crucifixion.
That prophecy was the core, the skeleton, the organizational structure upon which all other biblical prophecies relating to the period before Christ’s Second Coming attach themselves. Another way of expressing this important point is this: all prophecies about the Second Coming affix to Christ’s Olivet Prophecy. The other prophecies of the Bible “flesh out” the skeleton of the Olivet Prophecy (similar to Ezekiel 37:1–14). Many prophecies also interrelate with each other, such as when Old Testament prophecies are referred to, expanded upon, or quoted in the New Testament. Dr. Martin’s article provides an excellent explanation of the interrelated nature of prophecy still future to us today.
It is left to us to study, learn, and understand how each and every prophecy interacts and relates to every other prophecy in the Bible. In a typically Western way I view the prophecies of the Bible as a giant matrix of information that can be pieced together fluidly to give an increasingly accurate understanding of future events, times, and locations as fulfillment of the prophecies approach.
It is becoming clear that we have been and are being blessed (yes, blessed) with additional time to recognize relationships between and among the various prophecies in the Bible, and to comprehend them more precisely as to event, time, and place. God has allowed this so that the prophecies can be communicated accurately when God deems it appropriate for the world to receive them. Others have their part to play in this process, although I cannot think of many who understood the prophecies or accepted them as truly prophetic as Dr. Martin did. God willing, ASK will have its part in communicating those prophetic truths.
The efforts we make to produce understandable information about God’s Word is sustained by people around the world by their prayers for ASK, their talking and writing to others (word of mouth) about ASK, and by their financial contributions to ASK. We wish we did not require funds from contributors in order to continue operation, but it is a fact that we do need their support — and we need your support also.
We very often receive letters from people saying that the ASK information is very important to them. Others say they don’t know what they would do without such information in a regular basis. Still others tell us they eagerly wait for the Newsletter and Article to come out every month. We thank God and thank each of you for such comments, and for your prayers.
On occasion we have communications from people who say they will not contribute, or they limit their support to ASK, because in the past they gave to another organization and their “trust” was violated. Others tell us they do not contribute because they have other worthy causes to which they contribute. Surprisingly, they say this after they praise the work ASK continues to do. ASK is not responsible for others’ actions in the past, or what others do now. Nor is ASK responsible for what you do. We are responsible before God for what we do, and so too, you are responsible to God for what you do in life. However, we need your continued and regular financial support.
Has ASK been valuable to you? Is ASK valuable to you now? Is Dr. Martin’s research made available to all? The answer is “yes” to each of these questions. We pray and trust God that it will continue to be so.
People new to ASK are stunned and overwhelmed with the vast scope of the biblical material on the ASK website. The ASK site is extremely rich and deep in content, but most importantly it presents the Gospel of God and the Holy Scriptures without apology. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that ASK (and Dr. Martin before he founded ASK) has been constant in teaching the Bible with respect, energy, openness, and honesty, yet willing to “change on a dime” when biblical and historical evidence requires a change in understanding and teaching?
I write so strongly today because God in His wisdom has seen fit to diminish the number of people who contribute regularly each month. This is due to the normal cycle of life and death as God determines for each one of us. We appreciate and need your support. To those who are new to ASK, we ask you to support the work that we do, keeping in mind that others before you have given so that you can benefit. The rich material you are reading, hearing, and viewing yields results evident for everyone to see. We need new people to “fill the gap” left by those people who have fallen asleep (as John 11:11–13, 1 Corinthians 11:30, Paul says) awaiting their resurrections. God bless you all. We hope that you, like the Corinthians, will:
“… glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them [the brethren in Jerusalem], and unto all men.”
2 Corinthians 9:13
ASK is a deductible non-profit religious organization. Regarding year-end matters, please notify us if you require a receipt for your 2006 contributions. You must request a receipt in order to receive one. We do not automatically send receipts.
David W. Sielaff
1 The question of “who” is ultimately answered by "God." The “why” question of a prophetic event is also ultimately answered in divine terms (it is God’s will), in spiritual terms (a spirit or angel did the act, always with God’s permission), or in human terms (it happened because of A, B, and C). All of these happen with God arranging circumstances to cause the fulfillment of the prophecy. Ultimately God is the reason “why” a prophetic event happens. The “how” question to prophetic events usually has a technical answer. Sometimes it has the same answer as the “why” question. DWS
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