Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This month’s article for July 2007 is “The Apostle John, the Lamb, and the Spirit.” In this presentation Dr. Ernest Martin explores more themes that are most strongly expressed or are found exclusively in John’s Gospel. This article is transcribed from a 1979 audiotape presentation.
The Gospel of John is unique in history. It deals with subjects the other three Gospels do not discuss. Written by a man who some 50 years before he wrote the Gospel was a fisherman in the Sea of Galilee, was a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35), became one of the first six disciples of Christ (John 1:37–51), and then was one of the inner circle of twelve apostles. Given that background, it is surprising that John’s Gospel is an extremely sophisticated literary work covering many repeating themes and issues, building to the climax of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and later interactions with His disciples. Clearly, what John wrote in his Gospel was but a sample of what Christ did while He was on earth:
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that you [the reader] might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.”
“This is the disciple which testifies of these things, and wrote these things: and we [“we” a group of witnesses] know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
The Gospel of John presents Christian faith through the life of Christ, who is the center of all creation. Everything Christ does — every gesture, every word, every act — reveals the world’s antagonism to Him, while at the same time showing God’s love to the world, and that includes God’s love to you and to me.
While all four Gospels are written for common people of all societies, cultures, and times, John’s Gospel was written after the Mystery of God was revealed, and therefore those who understand the Mystery can relate best to the Gospel of John. It gives us excellent information on how we should live our everyday lives in light of God’s latest and final revelation of the Mystery of God that He gave to Paul, Peter, and John after 63 C.E. John himself gives commentary on Christ’s actions throughout his Gospel. That commentary is from the perspective of one who has accepted and understands the Mystery. 1 John emphasizes the eyewitnesses and their testimony to the narrative events. 2 Jesus referred to Himself when He said:
“For he whom God has sent [commissions, apesteilen (from apostellō)] speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.”
Jesus Christ had the Spirit of God “without measure,” as modern translations put it. Some commentators characterize the first three Synoptic Gospels as comparatively being “of the flesh” while John’s Gospel is “of the Spirit.” This is a fair characterization. Just as Christ knew He was dependent upon God the Father, so too each of us needs to be instructed by Him, just as the Psalmist strongly desired:
“Show me your ways, O YHWH; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day.”
Jesus promised His disciples — and by extension each of us — that He would send us the Spirit of the Father to fulfill what Psalm 25 above stated:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me: And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
Their experiences with Christ, their witness to His actions and words “from the beginning” made the apostles unique, just as your mundane everyday experiences and hopes not having witnessed Christ in the flesh, make you unique: “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
“… when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: … and he will show you things to come. He [the Spirit of truth] shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
You who believe in Jesus Christ today have that same Spirit from God the Father that the apostles had, and that Christ had without measure. You have it at this moment as witnesses to what God is doing through you.
It is my earnest desire and goal to have you, and as many people as God leads, read Scripture with the fullest possible understanding of God’s intended message — of every word, every verse, every passage, every chapter, and every book in the Bible. The works of Dr. Ernest L. Martin are, in my view, the best and most efficient way to do this at this present time, as far as I can see. A slowly increasing number of people are beginning to realize that fact (and yes, the word “fact” is appropriate).
There is a wealth of knowledge in Dr. Martin’s older works. My task is to review and edit those works to reflect his latest understandings of various topics. Some think we should simply circulate Dr. Martin’s older works and distribute them widely, but to do so would violate his own example (and his specific instructions) to update his work. To not do so would create chaos by mixing old and new research that would confuse and not edify the Body of Christ. Such thinking is contrary to how God wants things done (1 Corinthians 14:40).
To put it simply, your contributions allow us to reach more and more people. It is not our purpose to create a vast enterprise, but to create resources for the Body of Christ, the ekklesia of God scattered around the world. These resources will be used by God the Father and Christ at a time of their choosing. Truth will no longer be re-discovered again and again before we enter the Last Days. It is my sincere belief that truth discovered will remain available from now on. Your helping us helps others. You are helping us to continue, promote, and mature Dr. Martin’s discoveries out to the world.
To those of you who are able to help us with donations, prayers, and encouragements, we sincerely thank you. Tensions are building more and more on the world scene like a pressure cooker. We are entering a period of increasing stress in both personal and international affairs. Help us remain here for you and for others, now and in the future. We thank you and praise you for your assistance to us, and ask that God bless you for your kind words to us and for your keeping ASK in your prayers to God our Father.
David W. Sielaff
1 See Dr. Martin’s presentation “The Seven Miracles of John” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d020901.htm which are presented by John to show Christ’s divinity and glory manifested through His actions, which John comments that he “we beheld his glory” (John 1:14). DWS
2 This is made clear particularly in John 1:7–8, 19, 3:11, 26, 33, 5:31, 12:17, 21:24, and other instances. DWS
© 1976-2014 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions