Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Did you ever notice how some young children resist moving ahead in life? It is inevitable that all move on and grow up; it is a biological imperative. We were created to grow and mature. However, some people refuse to reach out to new things and resist that growth. Some children like to be hand-fed for as long as possible. Others eagerly want to feed themselves as soon as possible. Still others want to be able to use utensils like older children and adults. So it is with the Bible. Some want to be hand-fed the Word of God, some want to feed themselves, and some desire to use utensils (tools) to feed themselves more efficiently. I hope you are like the children who use utensils as soon as possible in life. God wants us all to grow up so we can learn and appreciate His Word, His creation, and His plan in the eons (Hebrews 1:2) to the fullest extent possible in our present pre-resurrection life.
This month’s article for June 2007 is “The New Apostle John.” The Gospel of John presents a mature Gospel to the ekklesia. This is not to say that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were somehow inferior. In no way. It is just that John wrote his Gospel with the most mature knowledge that God had given, reinforced with 60+ years experience as an apostle. It was time for the childhood of God’s ekklesia to end.
The apostle Paul makes it clear from his point of view:
“When I was a child,
I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child,
I thought [reasoned] as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13:11
The Gospel of John gives a message of maturity for real life, everyday life. Life is hard. Freedom is tough. Freedom is frightening. The new apostle John gives the same message on how to live as Paul does:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would. But if you be led of the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
God is working for our maturing now in our life, while we still lack the full power of a resurrected body, mind, and spirit. He is educating us to learn the lessons He wants us to learn. He is accomplishing what He is setting out to do through you at this present time, even though you may think nothing significant is occurring in your life. You possess the Spirit of God, which is an earnest:
“Now he which stablishes [confirms] us with you in Christ, and has anointed us [all of us], is God; Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
2 Corinthians 1:21–22
Note the four things God has given us that are ongoing within us at this present moment by His gift of the Holy Spirit. He has: (1) established us, (2) anointed us, which means He set us apart as sacred, (3) sealed us, with a lock, so to speak, and (4) given us “the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” That “earnest” is a down payment of God’s own Spirit that identifies and empowers us. God does His work in us through His Spirit. Where does that Spirit reside within us? It is “in our hearts.” I know. Sometimes it does not seem to be so, but if God says it is, then it is so. You have been changed whether you realize it or not.
“For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident [having courage], knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:4–6
Our present body and indeed our present life is temporary (James 4:14). That is what a tabernacle is, a temporary structure. We groan and are burdened by the affairs of everyday life, even when things are going well for us. Each of you feels it. I feel it. Paul encourages us to trust God, have courage, and to be confident that although at present we are “at home in the body” eventually we shall be home with Him.
Whether you realize it or not, there is change going on within you. We should add to our character as the apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3–8 (see below), but think for a minute. Peter is also describing the process that God is working within us now, perfecting us, even though it appears that we are serving Him to no good purpose. Literally, God has us in training.
Remember Jesus’ admonition to us in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30! We are in training day in and day out learning how to deal with and respond to the little things of life. Little things do matter.
“According as his divine power has given unto us all things [which are mostly little things] that pertain unto life and godliness [devoutness or piety], through the knowledge of him that [who] has called us to glory and virtue:
2 Peter 1:3
God’s intention for us is that we experience life and godliness, and eventually achieve (through our resurrection) what He has called us for: “glory and virtue.” God has given us great promises:
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
2 Peter 1:4
Peter then presents the process by which you (God acting through you) are growing, learning, and maturing no matter how low or unimportant you may FEEL your life may be:
“And beside this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith [see 2 Peter 1:1] virtue; and
[add] to virtue knowledge; And
[add] to knowledge temperance; and
[add] to temperance patience; and
[add] to patience godliness; And
[add] to godliness brotherly kindness; and
[add] to brotherly kindness charity [love].
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren [idle] nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:5–8
This is important to understand: Peter is not only describing what you should be doing, how you should be growing, he is describing the process that you have been going through, and that you ARE going through at this very moment, as you handle the challenges of your seemingly unimportant everyday life. Examine yourself since you first became a Christian, you would see that you have progressed in most every area of your life according to this sequence that Peter lists, in a cycle that goes from faith through to charity (love) and back to faith. And remember, in verse 5 Peter says we are to be diligent in adding these things; the verb “add” is in the imperative mood.
Remember that Paul says that God is working within you (Ephesians 3:20) to perfect you (Philippians 2:13), as Christ said in John’s Gospel, speaking about the Father’s and Christ’s purpose:
“I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.”
Some day — not now, but some day — the world shall know that you have been perfected, and that God and Christ loved you, and by extension they also in the world will be so loved. At present we are working toward that goal, as Paul did:
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [grasp] that for which also I am apprehended [grasped] of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [grasped]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was not writing to spiritual superstars. He was writing to ordinary people leading ordinary lives in ordinary but in very hard and difficult ancient times. He encouraged them to take advantage of the gift they have been given, and to live and work and strive to be the most loving person you can be, even when you do not want to be lovable or love anyone.
As Dr. Martin presents in this month’s article, the Gospel of John shows that custom and law have little importance compared to love. Christ as the Son of God was the Second Moses with full authority to change any law or custom He wished. As the Gospel of John shows He did so many times. Love remains and fulfills all law: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).
The following articles have been updated for better understanding and new insights:
I continue to give presentations on “The Byte Show” (www.thebyteshow.com). GeorgeAnn Hughes and I recently finished programs covering Appendices 2 through 7 or Dr. Martin’s 101 Bible Secrets, which completes that series of shows. It will be useful to listen to several of those Appendices while you follow along in the book (online complete at http://www.askelm.com/secrets/index.asp), particularly the important “Appendix 2, The Error of the Long Haired Jesus” and “Appendix 3, The Holy Spirit – Person or Power.” For some reason these two articles seem to “stick in the craw” of some people, and I enjoy promoting those truths as strongly as Dr. Martin did. Their importance should not be underestimated or diminished.
Also GeorgeAnn Hughes and I are in the process of redoing the presentations on the Sons of God from my article “Idolatry and the Sons of God” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d070201.htm. In the future I also hope to give a presentation on my article which also deals with the Sons of God and their punishment by God: “Idolatry and God’s Punishment” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d070301.htm.
I am scheduled to present a paper to the Near East Archaeological Society in November 2007 in San Diego. Professor George Wesley Buchanan and I requested a joint or a tandem presentation. On November 15, his talk will be “The True Location of the Temple of Zion” which will present his own research that parallels, reinforces, and acknowledges Dr. Martin’s Temple research that the Temples were all constructed above and west of the Gihon Springs. My following presentation will be “The Location of David’s Tomb.” Following my presentation will be Leen Ritmeyer, an outspoken critic of Dr. Martin’s and Prof. Buchanan’s historical evidence, who will give an overview of his 40 years of Temple research. It will be an interesting day.
As I indicated in a previous Commentary I will be speaking at the One God Conference. I shall present on Saturday, June 9, 2007. The title of my presentation will be “Elohim and the Son of God.” I will show a more expanded understanding of “Elohim” than most have heard, and explain how a full understanding of Elohim relates to and enlarges our understanding of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the first amongst other sons of God. I will also deal with the issue of the Word’s existence before His birth from Mary. The conference is inexpensive, the cost to attend is a donation of $15.00. This covers expenses for refreshments, printing of conference papers, and one lunch. You must make your own arrangements for lodging and other meals. If you can attend, for either of the days, I would be pleased to meet with you, of course.
The host facility for the Conference is the Living Hope Community Church, 458 Old Niskayuna Rd., Latham, NY, which is a northern suburb of Albany, NY. Living Hope is just east of the Albany International Airport, and http://kingdomready.org/onegod.php is their webpage for the Conference. Phone Living Hope at 518-785-8888 for further details or questions. Following the Conference on Sunday afternoon, June 10, 2007, Living Hope Community Church has graciously given me the opportunity to give a Temple/Tomb presentation. This will graphically show the evidence for Dr. Martin’s Temple evidence and the current state of research into the location of the Tomb of King David of Israel. This free event will begin at 1:00 p.m. and will last about two hours with questions. If you are able to attend, you will be most welcome.
In August 2007 I have been invited to participate in the LOGOS Lectures in Bellingham, Washington, just south of the Canadian border, near Vancouver, British Columbia. The Bible software publisher LOGOS has inaugurated an on-going series of lectures for 2007. My topic again shall be on the Temple and Tomb information. I shall give you further date and time details as this event approaches.
God has given us a gift of Dr. Martin’s legacy from 1979, which still contains excellent teaching for us all. Several of you supported Dr. Martin back at that time and even before, and have continued to help get his research out to the world. I have been a student of Dr. Martin’s since the middle 1970s, soon after he began writing and publishing “independently” without restriction. I thank God now that He allows very few of you to continue make this valuable educational opportunity available for so many around the world.
There are over one billion internet users around the world and that number is growing rapidly. We need your continued help with finances, with encouragements, and with your prayers. We all sow the seeds; God brings the increase and accomplishes what He wills. Pray that God brings more people to the sophisticated yet easy-to-navigate ASK website. Many people new to the website return again and again. Thank you for making this possible for others, and for yourself. There is still much more to produce, and for us all to learn.
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, …”
David W. Sielaff
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