Why Churches Fall Apart
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., May 1996
Transcribed and edited by David Sielaff, December 2008
Read the accompanying Newsletter for December 2008
We live in a world in which divisions among people are characteristic within our societies. This is not only in our Western world, in which the Christian faith is predominant, but also in all areas of the world, no matter what religious and political beliefs are in evidence. It seems that to be a member of the human race is to be baptized into a world of division.
Yes, whole sections of society claim to belong to one religious group or another, but even within these so-called monolithic communities there are divisions and separations. In a single Christian denomination, you will have some people voting Republican and others voting Democrat (here in the United States). Or in Britain they will be voting Tory (Conservative) or they will be voting Labor.
As an example, surveys have shown that in America well over half of those calling themselves Roman Catholics who are of childbearing age regularly practice birth control, although the Pope states that a cardinal belief of that church is against such practice. Still, many Catholics stay in the church which provides them with the necessities of religion, or so they think. That is, they depend upon that church to bless them from the womb, to marry them to the groom, and to preside over them at the tomb. By the way, that statement applies to many types of denominations. People today are looking upon the churches as a means to serve them in the basics of religion, but other than that, they go their own way in their daily lives mostly undisturbed by what their church teaches.
However, when it comes down to people like you and I who take the biblical revelation very seriously, who look upon religion as having a cardinal place in our lives, and for which religion dominates our lives (and I think the Holy Scripture and its teachings should dominate our lives), we ought to be concerned about what God wants us to believe, to understand, to put into practice in our lives. So for all of us who desire to serve God in the best way possible, we take these matters seriously. We do not look upon the basics of religion as most people in the world would do, as the minimal and essential factors of life, and that is all we have to do. We go beyond that.
Nevertheless, many people in the United States, around the Western World, and in Christendom take the matter of their Christianity very seriously. A survey conducted in 1980 by Oxford University found that throughout the world there are well over 20,000 different religious denominations of the Christian faith alone. The vast majority of those individual denominations claimed to be the “true church of the Living God.” Many are quite similar to one another in beliefs, practices, and so forth, but in other things they are different. Like I said, it seems that to be human means that we are baptized into a society of division.
We want to conform in a united way. We want to believe the same things, but it seems that we humans are prone to division from the very beginning. I guess when you go back to Adam and Eve, even in the discussions that they must have had, I suppose there was some disbelief on one side and on the other. It seems characteristic of us human beings that that is the case.
When we carry that over into religious denominations, it involves whether or not people can be united and stay together even in church congregations, that is, in ekklesias. As you may know, the word “church” actually should be translated or understood in the Bible as an assembly, as a congregation of people, as a group of people. The word “ekklesia” means a group of people who normally adhere to one set of principles or beliefs of some kind. It can apply in the Bible to organizations other than the Christian community.
Normally it does mean the Christian community. We should be united. The apostle Paul said that we ought to be united. As he said in the epistle to the Ephesians, we should not be any longer “children tossed to and fro,” but united under one head, and governed by that head. In reality, spiritual reality, the ekklesia is united. The head, of course, is Jesus Christ. He is the vine that connects every single one of us. Leaders are provided by God for the ekklesia:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
We have to apply that analogy in a proper way. If the vine goes through other vines that are not Jesus Christ, you will find that the sap that is in the vines (which represents the Holy Spirit, the connection between Christ and ourselves) will be diluted by the thoughts of others. This will happen unless that vine is unified all the way to Christ with no one else coming in between.
In fact, the apostle Paul said in one of the latest of his letters that “there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5). There is no other mediator and we should all understand that clearly. Once we comprehend that we need to be attached to that single vine (that silver thread Solomon talked about in Ecclesiastes 12:6) that gives not only our physical but our spiritual life, if that thread or vine is Jesus Christ, we all will have a united belief in things that really count as far as Christianity is concerned.
You and I take our faith seriously. Others in the world take their faith seriously as well. However, in most denominations the members take their faith seriously in a way that the basics of religion are provided for them by their church, and they pay little or no attention to the rest of the doctrines in their daily living. That is normally how most people in the world live their spiritual lives.
People in that capacity normally have very little difficulty in staying in their faith because they have no vital reason for leaving the organization to which they belong. But people who take doctrine very seriously may disagree with some other person on biblical passages regarding essential doctrines, and they would have a tendency to break from one another and assemble with others who believe as they do.
There are other people who look upon church leaders who have charismatic and appealing public personalities with a great deal of esteem, thinking that they may be ordained of God, that other people are not, but he or she is. That gives a tremendous amount of temporary unity and cohesion to people who believe in the individual. But let that individual die, or let the individual be disqualified either by some moral, ethical, or whatever circumstance, and you will find the people have a tendency to break up.
There are all types of things that cause people to break up. Doctrine is one of them. By the way, I myself want to associate with people, and I think you do too, that believe in the mature doctrines of Christianity — not those which were taught in infancy (which are the essential doctrines of Christianity), but those which are taught for adult thinking and practicing Christians. I think that you want to do that, just as I do.
There is nothing wrong in dividing from people; I will be honest with you. Now division is wrong, but if you cannot tolerate individuals who will not practice the basic principles of Scripture as you see them, then there is nothing wrong for you not wanting to have an association with them on a spiritual level. That is perfectly proper.
A prime example of this is the apostle Paul. Do you know that when he began to teach right at first, he was not a Christian? We find in the Book of Acts, he was persecuting the Christians in Jerusalem and outside of the city, outside of Israel, in fact. He was on the road to Damascus with letters by the high priest in his hand, giving him authority to apprehend Jewish Christians, Jews who were believing in the resurrected Christ. He was to bring them back to Jerusalem for trial. The apostle Paul even said that he cast his vote on occasion against such people, and some of them had met their deaths as a result of his actions (Acts 22:3–5, 26:9–11). That was before he was the apostle Paul, before he was a Christian.
On the road to Damascus, he met up with Christ, and he saw Christ. From that time forward he changed his attitude, he changed his mind. He was now a Christian. From then on Paul differed from basic Jewish teachings. Doctrine caused Paul to change his attitude. There was nothing wrong with that. He went away for some three years, and learned the teachings from Christ Himself (Galatians 1:12), studying the Holy Scripture (the Hebrew Old Testament) to be able to put all of the basic teachings of Christianity into his mind, so that he could understand it. He began to grow in grace and in knowledge as the apostle Peter phrased it (2 Peter 3:18).
In fact, he outstripped most of the other apostles by the knowledge that he had, by what he gained, and by the teaching that God gave to him by revelation. Then he began to teach in the various journeys that he took. From Antioch of Syria, he went into Cyprus at first, then into Asia Minor on one journey. Sometime later, he made another journey, going into Asia Minor but also going into Europe and various places. Then he made another journey into the same region, and then on to Rome, and then over as far as Spain. While he was in Spain, he received a message that was a great deal different than he experienced before. This was in around 62 to 63 AD, and no doubt he was in Spain when he received the message called “the mystery.”
The mystery was fundamentally different from what he had been teaching before. Now when I say fundamentally different, I mean it was Christianity all right, but it was mature Christianity. It was a Christianity that you read about in the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, and in the subsidiary epistles that he wrote to Timothy and to Titus. You will find that there was a great improvement from the teaching that he had given before. 1
When I say improvement, he actually showed in the Book of Ephesians that we do not need the Temple any more in Jerusalem. The middle wall of partition that caused Gentiles and Jews to be separate from one another was now broken down, and even a new man, a new person, had developed. Jews were now a part of this new person and even Gentiles of the various types were now a part of this new person. This new person made up the Temple of God, and became the ekklesia of God, like the wife of Christ. This was vastly different from what had been before.
In fact, when Paul began to present this new teaching (which he said was a totally new revelation in the Ephesians chapter 3, never having been given before), this new revelation with the advanced and mature doctrines that it contained, people who formerly supported the apostle Paul, began to turn away from him. He wrote to Timothy, “all they which are in Asia” (2 Timothy 1:15) turned away from him. He meant all the people in the ekklesias in the province of Asia whose capital was Ephesus, that whole region in the Western part of what we call Asia Minor today (the nation of Turkey). It was an area highly populated by Christians, that the apostle Paul himself had raised up. But you know what happened? Most of them — he says, “all” — and I do not take this that he was exaggerating there; he said “all they which are in Asia have left me.”
Then as far as Rome is concerned, he said Demas, his faithful friend — who has accompanied me, and helped me time and time again (I am paraphrasing here) — Demas has left me, only Luke is with me (2 Timothy 4:10–11). All of this came to occur over doctrine. It came just before the New Testament was canonized.
I want to tell you something. When the apostles began to teach, they taught as individuals. They began to teach a message in an A, B, C fashion at first. Then they finally got to the middle part of the alphabet, the Ms, the Ns, the Os, and the Ps. You know what I mean. Then they finally got down to the Ss, and the Ts. But the X, Y, Zs came with the apostle Paul after the revelation of the mystery.
That is putting it in a modern parlance so you can understand what was going on. Do you want the fullness of the teaching of God, the teaching that He gave to the apostle Paul, and to others, which we call, and Paul called “the mystery,” the great secret that God had left for the later part of the 1st century AD before it was ever revealed to mankind? Of course you do.
When it was revealed, some people looked at the two doctrines, between that which the apostle Paul had given before and what he was now teaching, and you know what? Those who focused their minds on doctrine, and not on a man, they left the apostle Paul. Can you imagine that? They left the apostle Paul over doctrine, primarily. Those who saw in the apostle Paul that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ at that time (before the New Testament was compiled, and I want you to understand this), when they realized who he was, and that he (and others too) received this message from no less than Christ Himself, they stuck with the apostle Paul because they knew who he was. You see the point?
We later read that Peter finally made a trip to Paul. They discussed the whole matter, and Peter saw that the mystery was the proper teaching. Later on, the apostle John saw that the mystery was the proper teaching. Do you know what they decided to do to make sure that there would no longer be personalities for people to pay attention to, like they did before the revelation of the mystery, the revelation shall we say of adult and mature Christianity?
What they decided to do was to canonize 27 books to make up the New Testament, attach them to the 22 books already accepted by the Jews that we call the Old Testament, combine them together into one volume of 49 books — the exact Bible that you have in your King James Version today, but with the books numbered differently. I think most of you understand that. 2 The canonization of the Bible was one of the most important things to occur in the establishment of the Christian ekklesia that you can imagine. I will explain to you right now where unity can come in the Christian faith.
Unity nowadays does not come by looking at a human personality, no matter if the human personality be one of the apostles (all of whom are dead), or anyone living today. If you find that a person is being adhered to in such a fashion, you will be very disappointed by what happens in the end, as far as that person is concerned, because that person will die. Usually after that, their teachings are watered down, and before you know it, whole new denominations have come up. Before you even blink an eye, so to speak, the originator of the denomination is forgotten, and others come on the scene, if you go by a person, and a personality. The same thing happens sometimes with doctrines as well.
I will show you what is the number one unifying agency or thing that will keep all Christians together, and that is a love and a support of the Holy Scriptures. That is what you need to keep you united — the Holy Scriptures — which have been canonized and put together into a book.
For example, if you will look at the Holy Scripture, and stay attentive to it, you will find that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which is so predominant in Christian beliefs today, is not a biblical belief at all. You can find from the Scripture that mortality of the soul is the principle doctrine, until the resurrection from the dead, and then is when you put on immortality. I am just giving you one example out of many.
Doctrine is still important. Let me tell you, doctrine is very important. History is important. Geography is important. All of these things are important, and the most important of all is Jesus Christ who is our Savior, and He is the one that we worship and we are connected to. He is our elder Brother. But the revelation about Him, which makes us to be unified in one belief, is the written revelation, which we have in front of us called the Holy Scripture.
That Holy Scripture is that which left the hands of Ezra the priest, as far as the Old Testament is concerned, in the 5th century and 4th century BC. Then it was added to by the apostles Paul, Peter, and John. John particularly put the final touches on the New Testament, 27 books added to the 22 of the Old, put together into one volume, handed to us today, which we have and is called the Holy Scripture. The Holy Scripture is the central key for the stabilization of the unity of the faith. It is not in a man any longer. It is not even in a doctrine any longer. It is in the whole corporate body called the Holy Scriptures.
By that I mean that the Holy Scripture has individual doctrines. It also has collective doctrines. It also shows the teachings of Jesus Christ and who He is. All of those things are very important. The Scripture shows us the means by which we should not only worship God and Christ Jesus, but the methods by which we should worship them, where we are going, why we are here, where we are in the eyes of God. All of these things are explained in the Holy Scripture. To us the Holy Scripture is the most important.
I came to see this a long time ago. What we at ASK are trying to promote more than anything else are not individual doctrines, believe it or not. Oh, we want the true doctrines. We want every doctrine that the Scripture teaches which is right and correct. We want to give it out to the world, and we do not want to flinch one moment in doing so. But the number one thing that we feel — and I know that I have the Word of God backing me up on this — the number one thing we want to promote is the Holy Scripture itself.
The first thing you have to do in promoting the Holy Scripture is that you must know what it is. That is one of the first things that I saw in my career of looking at the Holy Scripture. I had to find out what the Holy Scripture was. You have to find out what the Holy Scripture was and is. We all need to know these things. So, when I wrote my dissertation for my doctorate, I wrote it on this matter of the Holy Scripture. I called it “The Design and the Development of the Holy Scriptures.”
That is the key to everything else, because once you know what the Holy Scriptures are, and cohere around the Holy Scriptures, then you have a unifying basis by which you can not only stay together and not fall apart, but you can grow together. You have a foundation on which you can build a beautiful building that will last, and it is a spiritual building.
What I feel we ought to have at the forefront of our existence as Christians is the promotion of the Holy Scripture back to its pristine order and arrangement, the way it was given by the apostles, with a proper translation. Once you have that, you have the basis for establishing doctrine. You have the basis for establishing morality. You have the basis for establishing political things, which give us the societies that we have today. That is why the Holy Scripture is so important.
That is where all of us must start. If our desires, and our hopes, and our prayers for unity are all there, they must be solidly based around the desire to promote the Holy Scripture as a collective body of spiritual information that gives forth a unifying, cohesive type of teaching, centered on Jesus Christ. Now that is what we all need, and that is what we want. We must start with the Bible. There is where the unifying begins. God could restore it easily. In fact, he has already given us the means. The dissertation that I wrote over 30 years ago developed it into my book. I gathered the facts, synthesized them, and put them into Restoring the Original Bible, so that you can understand that the Bible needs to be put back into this regular order.
Once that happens, there will be a transformation in this world. Instead of the divisions that we have in society, in the religious fields, you will start seeing a cohesion, a coming back together. It will be a coming back together based upon proper principles, not based upon a single doctrine, not based upon a single individual, at least not a human on this earth. The individual Jesus Christ is different, but you see, He is in the Bible.
He is compared to the Word of God because He is the Word of God. He is the Logos. But we find the Logos in our midst right here, as far as written teaching is concerned by this Holy Scripture. Put your efforts behind the Holy Scripture and disseminate it. First of all to get it right, and then to disseminate it to the world, you will have something that will be very rewarding, something that you are going to be pleased with and proud of in a proper way.
What we need to realize at this end of the age is that God told the world that He shall restore the gospel to the world. That is one reason why we are called now with this special knowledge that God has given to us. Once we understand that the Bible is the true Word of God, then we are able to look in it and we can see geographical problems that are now solved, relative to Christ Jesus, chronological problems that are now solved relative to Jesus, and the New Testament and the Old Testament. We find that all types of things that we had wanted to have knowledge about, can now begin to be understood. Even ancient history can be understood by looking at the Scripture. It is the key to everything. I will show you some very interesting things which will help to show that the Scripture is the unifying force to keep us all together.
We, as Christians, should center our activities solidly upon the promotion of the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Scriptures, themselves, are a unifying factor. If we look upon this body of 49 books as the corporate Word of God, that they show forth the living Word of God, the Logos who is Christ Jesus, and all the ramifications of the teaching that He gives to us, then we can sink our teeth into something that is stable and has a unifying effect.
The Holy Scripture, since it has been canonized and once we get it back into its original order, and people begin to see just how it was originally arranged, and ordered, they will begin to understand what the Scripture is all about in a much better way. Once that is put into action, and people begin to see what the Holy Scripture is all about, this Scripture is something that has an endurance value to it. Do you remember what the apostle Peter said? The apostle Peter has this to say concerning the Holy Scripture:
“The word of God, [is that] which lives and abides for ever. For all flesh is as grass [that is mankind, you and I, all of us are like grass], and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: But the word of the Lord endures forever [aion, for the age], And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
1 Peter 1:23–25
That is what the apostle Peter said. The Scripture is something that endures. You can look at all of the beautiful things in the world created by man today, and there are quite a number: beautiful cities, beautiful parks, beautiful roads, beautiful technology that you have to admire, all types of things. We find that those things, the glory of man, each is like a fading flower, because they are all going the way of all flesh.
Look at every man that has ever lived. You might live to be a hundred years of age, but once you get around 90, you really start getting older. Before long, you have gone the way of all men. You have died. But the Word of God, it endures for the age.
Flesh is not the only thing that perishes. Even religious things on this Earth perish and go the way of all men. Religious institutions and religious buildings that have been created by man, and in some cases even those ordained by God Himself, have gone the way of destruction.
You know the tabernacle of Moses that was raised up in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). That was in the central part of Palestine, in the land of Canaan, in the area of the tribe of Ephraim. It stayed there for about 200 years. Then what happened? The Philistines, a tribe of people living on the coast, came up and took the Ark of the Covenant, the central part of that tabernacle.
You would not have thought God would have let them do that, but He did. The ark went with the Philistines and stayed for a few months. The tabernacle later went from place to place, so much so that when David came along he decided that he was going to build a Temple for God, something that was stable in Jerusalem.
So David captured Jerusalem, known as Jebus, from the Canaanites who were there. Once he captured the city one of the first things he wanted to do was to build a Temple to God. He consulted with Nathan the prophet, and Nathan said that was a fine idea. Later God told David through Nathan that he can make the preparations, but he cannot build the Temple. There were several reasons why David was not allowed to build the Temple. The main one was that he had much blood on his hands through his wars. His son, Solomon, was to build the great Temple of God.
Solomon took a great deal of time, effort, energy, and money to build the grand Temple that was there in Jerusalem in seven years, that became the admiration of the world. When the Queen of Sheba came up to look at all that Solomon had, including the great Temple, and his palace, she said not the half has been told to me (1 Kings 10:6–7; 2 Chronicles 9:5–6). It is so beautiful and wonderful. This woman was coming from the area of the pyramids, from ancient Egypt, which itself was an area of grandeur.
So, we find that Solomon built his great Temple. Solomon died, however, and the kingdom of Israel split into two. The Temple in Jerusalem remained within the territory of Judah. Within five years time the Egyptians came up and took much of the gold away from the very Temple of God, not five years after Solomon had died. From that time forward the destruction started on the Temple.
It took about 400 years, but in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, when the Jews were saying, “Oh, the Babylonians will not destroy the Temple. This is God’s Temple,” Jeremiah had to call attention to Shiloh. He said, “Look at Shiloh up there, and see it’s presently in desolation. This Temple here will be in desolation as well” (Jeremiah 7:1–15, 26:1–8). 3 In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, his army came down and set fire to that Temple and carried the Jews captive into Babylon. That Temple remained no more in Jerusalem.
Now the interesting thing is, that was God’s Temple! I suppose if you had wanted a symbol and a project for unifying Israel and the rest of the world to worship the True God, that would have been the Temple in Jerusalem. That is in fact what the Temple was supposed to have done.
We read at the dedicatory prayer that Solomon gave that all people who were Israelites could direct their attention and their prayers to this Temple and that God would honor their prayers. Not only that, he said if people throughout the entirety of the world would direct their prayers to this Temple being dedicated on that day their prayers also would be answered (1 Kings 8:22–53). 4 That is what that Temple was to do. It was to unify people. It was to keep them together under one umbrella of a proper religious belief and practice, especially for the Israelites. What happened to that Temple? In the end, it was destroyed. It did not keep the people unified.
They brought up another Temple after the Babylonian captivity. We find it rebuilt in the last part of the 6th century and early part of the 5th century BC. Zerubbabel, and Joshua the high priest, led a number of people back from Babylon and they rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem. It was not on the same scale as that of Solomon, but it was still the Temple of God. Later, Ezra and Nehemiah came down and beautified it, put walls around the city of Jerusalem, and we read all of this in the Scripture.
Later still in the time of King Herod just before the time of Christ our Lord, he refurbished that Temple, rebuilt it, made it much larger, even grander. It became one of the seven wonders of the world, so to speak, so that anyone who had not seen the Temple, had not seen a beautiful place, was a proverb of the Jews. If you had seen the Temple, you had seen the most beautiful thing on Earth. No doubt, that was how it was.
When Josephus described that Temple, with the gold and the white stone associated with it, he said if you would stand up on the Mount Scopus, on the northern part of the Mount of Olives, and look at that Temple at the meridian of the day when the sun was shining down on it, he said it looked like a snow-capped mountain with fire coming out of the center of it like a volcano. So beautiful, and so wonderful, and so awe inspiring. 5
In 70 AD that Temple went up in smoke, too, leveled to the ground. The Jews tried to rebuild it three times since:
(1) In the time of Bar Kokhba, 132 to 135 AD, they were frustrated in their attempt. 6
(2) In the time of Constantine in 324 AD, they tried to rebuild it again, and could not do it.
(3) In the time of Julian, called “the apostate,” a Roman emperor in 359 AD, they tried to rebuild it the third time and were frustrated from doing it.
It has not been rebuilt to this day. If you build another one down there (and you may find one going up), but if it is built of stone, and you get gold in it, I can assure you that it would not last very long. 7
You find these buildings, even those that are ordained of Almighty God, if they are made of physical stone — and this goes for institutions of men as well — they are just like grass. The glory comes up for awhile, and it fades.
The apostle Peter said that there was one thing that stayed firm all the time. It was the Word of God. That is why I am bringing your attention to this Holy Scripture here. You want to have something to do in the end-time here, something which has permanence? Do you want something to be a part of, that God will allow you to partner in the development of something that will last far beyond any human structure on this Earth, no matter if God Himself ordains it? Then have something to do with the Word of God.
That was the very first thing I saw as a young man coming to an understanding of Christianity. I had to find out what the Word of God was. I found out that it was the Holy Scripture and that the Scripture does not change. It is true; you must get it back into a pristine translation. You must get it back into its proper order. But we know what that proper order is now. You are having a part of it by supporting our activities in ASK, we are helping as partners of God, to bring back the most enduring thing that people can sink their teeth into, that they can have as a foundation for their religious beliefs, their social beliefs, their morality, and everything of that nature.
This Scripture shows forth whom? It shows forth Jesus Christ and God the Father. It shows the mature teachings that He has given to the entire world, and people have to learn to respect this Word. They will respect it. In Isaiah chapter 29 it says that at the end of the age He will bring about a marvelous work and a wonder. People will able to read from this book, the scholar as well as the laity, and they will all begin to understand it. Scales will come off their eyes, plugs will come out of their ears, and they will be able to spiritually understand these things.
“Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from YHWH, and their works are in the dark, …
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in YHWH, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. … But when he sees his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to [know] understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”
Isaiah 29:14–15, 18–19, 23–24
For those in the world to be able to see these things from the Holy Scripture (the only permanent thing that there is on this Earth), the only way for them to see it is to have it in their hands. That is why you and I are here to restore, as best we can as members of the family of God, the book that gives the legislation, that gives the teaching, that gives the doctrine of what God is all about, and who we are, and where we are going. That happens to be the Holy Scriptures.
When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD God’s house went up in flames, but not a single word of the Holy Scripture was vitiated. Not at all. When the Jews, bless their hearts, tried to rebuild the Temple in the time of Bar Kokhba and they were frustrated, that did not have anything to do with the Holy Scripture. It was still there in full force, without anybody disturbing it. The Romans could come, the emperors, and they could destroy one copy, they could destroy a hundred copies, but they did not get all of them did they? The Scriptures still stayed firm. When they tried to build the Temple in the time of Constantine and could not build back God’s own house, but God’s own words stayed firm, just as active. It was active during that time and afterwards as ever. When they tried to rebuild the Temple in Julian the Apostate’s time, it was the same.
Think about our modern day. Once this Bible is brought back into its proper state, you can have all the religious leaders on this Earth, even some that are doing good and trying to promote the teachings of the Bible, yet they go the way of all flesh, do they not? But the Holy Scripture still stays strong.
We need to have a part in putting it back into the proper order and arrangement so that people of this world will realize that it is the Word of God. That is prophesied, actually, to take place. The apostle Paul says we ought to pay attention to this Holy Scripture. It is the means by which we, all of us, can stay together in one united body. We can disagree on the bricks, maybe, that make it up, but the walls around that Book called the Holy Scripture are firm. They are set and they are enduring. They will last for the age, and beyond. Even this Earth will disappear before the Word of God disappears. Do you see the point?
This is why we should pay attention in our lives, and attach ourselves to the most enduring thing that you can think of, that you can hold in your hands. It is the Holy Scripture.
These are the answers to the basic questions of life. That is what you need to defend. That is what you need to latch onto. That is what you need to build up as best you possibly can. You need to put your money into it. You need to put your efforts into it. You need to put your time into it. You need to put your prayers into it. You need to be behind all the people trying to promote the Holy Scripture as a body of books, a collection of books, which can unify not only us, but also the entire world.
That is what is going to happen. God will bring this Bible back into its pristine glory. You are having a part in that. Why should you not have a part? You are a member of the family of God, are you not? You are a son of God, are you not? You are a daughter of God, are you not? You are a mature daughter, or a mature son, and you ought to be about your Fathers business (like the young Jesus in Luke 2:49). We even ought to sacrifice. When I say “sacrifice” I do not mean sacrifice the way some people say, because God is the one who has all the gold and silver in the world, we know that. But we ought to put our hearts behind getting this book back into the hands of people throughout the world.
It is a big job. It is why we established ASK in the first place, to have some kind of a vehicle by which all of us can pool our resources, as well as our prayers, and our efforts, and everything of that nature, so that we can see the Word of God re-established on this Earth. God can do that without our help. In fact, He has already made it. The Bible has been torn apart by man. They have rearranged the books. They tried to tear it that way. They have taken the words, which are plain and simple in the Hebrew and Greek and put theological nuances on them so that no one can understand what they mean. All this must be straightened out, and that is what we are here for.
We should not have to be told to do this job, because, after all, we are the children of God, and there is the book in front of you which is the guidebook for all humanity. God says He shall start lifting the scales off people’s eyes soon. The way He does that, is to show step-by-step that this biblical revelation is truthful. Why, there are scientific things in this Bible, that if the scientists of this world would only look at from God’s point of view, many of the problems affecting scientific investigation at this present time would be on the road to being solved.
The Book of Job, one of the oldest books there is in the entire Bible, older than Moses time. Moses wrote Genesis from older material, that is true, but as far as the book is concerned Job was written before the time of Moses. There are scientific terms in the Book of Job that people do not even understand to this very day. Once we learn to understand those terms, they will show physical principles that will help even in the understanding of cosmology, even understanding how things fit together and are put together, even the very fabric of the elements that make up this world, this universe. The principles by which they cohere and function together are found within the Holy Scripture. People will be able to see this coming up pretty soon.
We must get that Scripture back into the right order. We must get the proper translations. It is not a simple or a one-time job. It will be that we get the thing out, and then we start to improve and continue to improve the result. This is exactly how God will do it. Until we get this Bible back the way that God had it in the first place so that it is understood in the proper way, then when it is understood, the people in the world, and you and all of us, will be able to see the one unifying instrument that God has given to keep all of us together, not apart.
Churches fall apart because they put their hearts on the wrong things. They put their hearts on the teachings of a man, the authority of a woman, the authority of a group of people. They put their heart on a doctrine, or on how they feel that this day must be kept, and not that day. Their whole interest is in whether or not it is a blue thread or a green thread that we must have in our phylacteries, or things of that nature.
We need to realize that the Bible has all of that in there, that is true, but it is the book itself that we need to be defending. We need to be getting the book itself out, the book brought back into its pristine glory, into the original arrangement that God gave to us. It is so easy to find out what that is. It is not difficult, but mankind has not wanted the Bible to be put back into its original way. Satan the Devil has not wanted it.
We have all of the tools necessary to get this Bible back into the original draft that left the hand of the apostles. That is what we need to be doing, and it will be the first major unifying thing for the unity of all people on the Earth — God’s children — to come together, and be together, and not be going into the far winds of this doctrine, that doctrine, and being tossed over like the waves of the sea.
The apostle Paul said that this Bible would lead us to one person and one person only. There is only one person that we need to be directed to: Jesus Christ. This whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, has been put together to lead you to the only person you should look to. You should not look to Ernest Martin as a person. You should not look to yourself as a person. There is one personality you should look toward. He is the only one that God the Father has given to mankind. That personality is Christ Jesus.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Now there is Christ Jesus, but in the next epistle going to the same personality (Timothy), here is what the apostle Paul said in chapter 3:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God [that means the person of God] may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Timothy 3:16–17
You see the emphasis by the apostle Paul? This is the last epistle he ever wrote to mankind. He was just about ready to pay the supreme sacrifice for his teaching. He was about ready to get his head chopped off. He was given that honor by being a Roman citizen, and he was spared crucifixion. That was supposed to be amelioration as far as death is concerned. The apostle Paul paid the supreme price for the teachings that he held.
Just before he died he wanted all people to understand what the central teaching was that would keep us unified, the only thing that will keep us unified. It is not a Temple in Jerusalem, because they come and go. It is not an institution in Rome. They come and go. It is not an institution in Brooklyn that comes and goes. It is not an institution in Pasadena; it is not an institution in San Francisco or in Portland, Oregon. They come and go. But the Word of God endures forever. If all of us can redirect our attention to the one source from where stability comes, this Holy Scripture, all of us will be benefited.
The apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine.” Doctrine is important, but the Scripture is more important, because it contains the doctrine that you are going to have to go by.
All Scripture is good “for reproof.” Reproof is fine, too. But the reproof is described here in the Holy Scripture, and the Holy Scripture contains the reproof. So, the Holy Scripture is more important than the reproof. Correction, instruction, all of these things are necessary, and we should be about our Father’s business in putting them into action. The main thing is, we have to know where the standard legislation lies so that we can adopt these things. That is the Holy Scripture. That is why God has called you and me at this time, to restore first the Holy Scripture.
Once you understand the Holy Scripture, you can get the geography straightened out. Then you can get the chronology straightened out, to understand it properly, that the Holy Scripture gives to us. Then you can understand the doctrines that God wants us to know. Then you can understand the instruction that He wants us to know. The basis is this “temple” here, which is a spiritual “temple,” not made up of walls of stone, of gold, and silver, and things like that, but something far more precious: the words of the living God in one book.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The word of truth is important, and he said you have to partition it correctly. That was one of the last warnings he gave. But you know, the Word of God is there for unity’s sake. It is there for stability’s sake. It is there to bring us all together.
The reasons that churches fall apart is usually over the bricks that you find in the wall, and not the wall itself. In actual fact, some of us may have different beliefs as far as the bricks are concerned, but we need to put our efforts into developing the one central standard for unity that God has given to mankind. That is the Holy Scripture.
You and I have a part at this end time of being the very children of God, to put back in order the Holy Scripture into its pristine order, into its original. We have that responsibility. We have that privilege. I hope that all of us will be behind this effort. That is why we at ASK need your support as best we possibly can so that we can get this message to the world of how important is the Holy Scripture. It will bring the world together. It will bring the world to God.
Ernest L Martin, May 1996
Edited by David Sielaff, December 2008
1 Read or reread about the events surrounding the giving of this profound teaching in Dr. Martin’s “The History of the Revelation of the Mystery” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d040101.htm. See also his article “The Mystery and the New Covenant” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d920501.pdf. DWS
2 If you do not understand it, you need Dr. Martin’s book Restoring the Original Bible.This book is available online complete at http://www.askelm.com/restoring/index.asp, and for purchase as a bound book at http://www.askelm.com/books/book002.htm. It will explain this whole matter of how the Bible came into existence, both the Old Testament and the New. DWS
3 Specifically, Jeremiah 7:12–14:
“But go you now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, says YHWH, and I spoke unto you, rising up early and speaking, but you heard not; and I called you, but you answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein you trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.” DWS
4 This was understood in the prophecy of Isaiah yet future to us. See Isaiah 56:7:
“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
Jesus referred to this Isaiah passage when He cleansed the Temple in Mark 11:17:
“And he taught, saying unto them, ‘Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but you have made it a den of thieves.’”
5 Josephus, Wars of the Jews 5:222-223:
“Now the outward face of the temple in its front lacked nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes: for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendour, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not golden, they were exceedingly white.” DWS
6 Bar Kokhba was leader of a Jewish rebellion from 132–135 AD, 63 years after the Temple and city of Jerusalem were destroyed in 70 AD. See The Jewish Encyclopedia at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?letter=B&artid=237. DWS
7 The Temple will be rebuilt, but it will last only a short time. It will be desolated before Christ’s return. DWS
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