Just Who Are You?
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D, 1999/2001
Edited by David Sielaff, April 1, 2002
Read the accompanying Newsletter for April 2002
There is no more significant question for you to ask, and receive a proper answer to, than that of the title of this chapter. If there is one thing in this world you should find out with all the vigor you can muster, it is the matter of "Just Who Are You?" Once you find out, you will then know far more of what human life is all about and why God selected you to be on earth in the first place. And believe me, you have a wonderful purpose for being here. You are most important to God.
We at A.S.K. (the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge) have a motto and slogan. It is one that characterizes the reason for presenting our work in biblical, historical and scientific research to all people who are interested in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. We are in existence to provide a service of education and research to all people. Our slogan is:
"You are destined to change the world for good."
Now there are some people who may take the word "You" in the plural, and others may accept it in the singular, as referring to the reader alone. You may take your pick, but we at A.S.K. prefer the singular meaning because that makes the matter personal to you and to you alone. But, if every reader views the slogan in the singular, it obviously includes all collectively in overall application, and of course we want all people to be included. There is also one other factor in the slogan. At the end we say that you will change the world "for good" That can be taken in different ways. It can mean you will change the world "permanently" (which is quite proper when one considers what the Holy Scriptures say you will accomplish with God’s help), or it can mean for "betterment" (which the Bible also says you will do). The truth is, however, no matter how you view the meaning of the slogan of A.S.K., the chief subject of our interest is you!
In the New Testament doctrine of "the Mystery," revealed to the apostle Paul and other apostles in A.D.63, the teachings of God and Christ open such a glorious and triumphant future for all of us (including you), that one can only exclaim wonderful praises to God for what He has planned for us. The apostle Paul said,
"As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
• 1 Corinthians 2:9–10
You have a great future ahead of you, and the joys and rewards can begin even now—even in this earthly life that we presently experience (Mark 10:28–30). Christ Jesus himself said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). All you have to do is to claim that abundant life from Christ Jesus, and He will give it to you. After all, He has promised it.
In order to take advantage of the abundant life that is now possible, you must in all circumstances know who you are. And the Holy Scriptures tell you in the plainest words just what and who you are and what your destiny is according to the plan of God. To rehearse what the Bible says about this matter, read once again the earlier chapters of this Book. In those chapters I give you the Scriptures which define in the clearest terms your divine destiny that the Father and Christ have planned for you. And listen, what the Father and Christ set out to do, they will fulfill. They will not fail. They cannot fail.
If you survey the earlier chapters of this book carefully (and analyze what the Bible states about the divine plan of God to rescue mankind to Himself), you will discover that there are seven phases of spiritual development through which God purposes to save mankind. They are steps of progression in knowledge and understanding. We find the doctrine of Progressive Revelation being demonstrated every step of the way. In recognizing these stages of progression in the unfolding of God’s knowledge and true doctrines to mankind, every person should be able to ask in an intelligent manner the question:
"Just who am I in Regard to Each Phase?"
We will see that once a person reaches (and experiences) Phase Seven (the final human stage of understanding), it will then be possible to know if any particular person is in Phase One of God’s divine plan for mankind’s redemption, or whether a person is in Phase Two, etc., etc. Indeed, in the simplest of ways, the mature Christian will be able to analyze the Holy Scriptures and recognize whether any individual is in either Phase One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six or even Phase Seven. The simple fact is, full spiritual truth is enjoyed only when people experience Phase Seven of God’s plan.
All people who lived from the time of the creation of Adam and Eve until the 99th year of Abraham’s life (a period of about 2000 years) lived in what we can call Phase One. Prior to the Abraham’s 99th year (the year that Abraham was given the covenant of circumcision by God and when Abraham became the "Father of the Faithful"), people on earth were given only the most primitive of spiritual laws by which they could worship God. Other than what became known as the Noachian Laws (regarding eating blood, murdering humans, etc.), God allowed mankind of all races to worship Him in the way that best suited them. The only requirements for obedience were the simple ones given to Adam and Eve. The only covenant was that covenant of the rainbow (Genesis 9:8–17) and also was the marriage covenant of promise to the "Barren Woman" of Isaiah 54 to 55:5 (see especially verse 54:10). She would one day bear many children. She would no more be like a widow and that God would allow her to have a Tabernacle (or Temple) in which all races on earth could worship. We find in later prophecy that this "Barren Woman" would become fruitful in what we call the Millennium when the entire world will come to a knowledge of God and His doctrines.
As for today, all people who do not claim to have Abraham as their "Father" fall into this first and primary category. They include the Hindus, the Buddhists, Shintoists, all those practicing primitive animistic religions and other pagan religions. That means that a full half of the human family still fits into this Phase One of spiritual development, even today. God allows all of them to experience "good and evil [bad]" within this first stage environment. They are all gaining familiarity with "good and evil [bad]." This is one of the main reasons God placed mankind on earth with such a short life span. The pre-Flood patriarchs had longer lives, but were not exposed to as much "evil." God limits our experience to an average of seventy years. In this first phase of spiritual development, all humans receive practice in the consequences of "good and evil."
In the second phase of history, God called Abram at age 75 and sent him to Canaan, then Egypt and then back to Canaan. When the patriarch became 99, God gave him the covenant of circumcision and changed his name to Abraham ("the Father of Many Nations"). God gave Abraham specific laws and commandments to perform that separated him and his family both socially and religiously from the rest of the people in the world. In today’s world, we have about a fifth of mankind who follow in the basic religious teachings of Abraham. 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 Muslims sects today fit into the category of this Second Phase of progressive revelation from God.
In the time of Moses God selected the people descended from Jacob (Abraham’s grandson, whose name was changed to Israel) to be His covenant nation with a priesthood, a Temple and a set of laws and commandments. This selection separated the people even further from those who kept the religious principles displayed in Phase One and in Phase Two. Phase Three lasted to the time of David and Solomon. But before the kingdom phase was made known in the time of David and Solomon, Moses gave Israel the type of religion coded in the Book of the Law (the Torah), or the first five books of the Holy Scriptures. Within the historical periods, there have been two major groups of peoples who adhered to this type of religious and social belief after the time of Joshua and the Judges. One group was the Jewish sect of the Sadducees who believed the inspired Scriptures to be only the first five books of the Bible. The second group, the Samaritans, believed the same thing, in addition to other non-biblical doctrines.
The Samaritans in the first century represented as many people in population numbers as did the Jews themselves (at least 3 million people). As time went on, in the period of Justinian (sixth century A.D.), the majority of the Samaritans gave up their former religious beliefs and accepted Roman Catholicism. They settled mainly in Italy (becoming in time the Italians of today) and in Southern France and Northern Spain. Today, the remaining remnant within Phase Three are the few Samaritans still holding on to their traditional religious ways and living in two small areas of the State of Israel. 2
This fourth stage is that which has the Law of Moses as its basis, but it also has laws governing a kingdom and those of a king. As this later kingdom phase came into existence, the prophetic teaching was given that a future king would come on the scene who would be the Messiah, rule over all Israel and subsequently the whole earth. The people that this Phase Four define are the various sections of the Jewish people. Many of them are still expecting a Messianic King to come in the near future to rescue Israel and the Jews into the glorious Kingdom of God that the Old Testament states with dogmatism will occur at the end of this present age. These people do not accept Christ Jesus as the Messiah. They are still looking for the Messiah to come. The Jewish people fit this phase of spiritual development precisely.
There are some people (mainly Jewish converts to a belief in the Messiahship of Christ Jesus) who claim that Jesus is that special prophet was destined to come on the scene after the time of Moses and to take the place of Moses and his religion. They represent those who are Jews in social and religious outlook but still accept Jesus as their Messiah. They are called Messianic Jews.
After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, a whole new type of religious belief system came into existence. It was one based on grace and faith. It was not a system that depended on the Law and the Ten Commandments as the standard. The people who made up this Phase Six also included many Gentile peoples (as well as Jews) who were told that they did not have to be circumcised or eat the same types of food that the Jews were accustomed to. In today’s world they represent the Roman and Greek Catholics, most Protestant groups and hordes of other splinter groups of Christians who claim to acknowledge and follow what is called New Covenant teaching. These people represent today about a third of all humans on earth.
There is a very small remnant group of educated and mature Christians who have accepted as the basis of their social and religious beliefs what I have called in this book: "The Manifesto of God’s Declaration of Human Rights and Privileges." These are those of us who accept (and live by) the principles put forth by the apostle Paul and others in the teaching called "the Mystery." This advanced type of teaching represents the pinnacle of spiritual development. It provides humans with a philosophy of life.
Those who find themselves within this final category comprehend that they are destined to become members of the very Family of God in heaven. They understand that they are reckoned by God the Father as sitting on His right hand side in heaven because they are accounted as being "in Christ" at this very moment. This is the position that all humans on earth—eventually—will assume when the plan of God for redemption of the human race is finally completed in the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10). It means that those who understand what "the Mystery" entails, as revealed in the "Manifesto of God’s Declaration of Human Rights and Privileges," are those who truly know who they are.
As the title of this chapter: "Just Who Are You?" asks the question, the teaching of "the Mystery" (given mainly in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians) explains in detail what the answer is. It is the most glorious teaching that could be given to any human, and thankfully (though most humans do not realize it yet) the promise applies to every single human being who has ever lived, who is living now or ever will live. We are, in short, destined to become members of the very Family of God (that single and unique Family) that both created the heavens and the earth, but also rules and sustains them. The human race has a great future.
Of all people on earth today, no matter who they are or in what part of the world they live, they can be placed in one of the above seven phases of spiritual development as revealed in the teachings and principles of the Holy Scriptures. In the Millennium (at the very beginning), the people left on earth after the Great Tribulation and the Wrath of God and Christ are over (Revelation 6:12–16), will start to experience the period prophesied in the Holy Scriptures known as the Kingdom of God on earth (the Millennium). There will still be many people on earth in India, China and other areas that will be in Phase One. In the regions where the Muslim world primarily exists, there will still be those in Phase Two. Only a few will remain in Phase Three and most of the Jews (who formerly embraced Phase Four) will have advanced to Phase Five (according to the prophecies of Zechariah 12:10 through 13:6). The majority in the remainder of the world who have a Christian persuasion will be in Phase Six. But all of those who were in Phase Seven at the Second Advent of Christ will have been taken to heaven to rule in the heavenly Kingdom of God mentioned by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:18.
What will happen with those humans (as few as there will be at the beginning of the Millennium) who find themselves within Phases One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six? We are told by Christ that the first apostles of Jesus, King David, the prophets and the other resurrected saints will be allowed to exist on earth in their glorified state and teach the remaining people in a step-by-step manner until all the world comes to an understanding of the full teaching of God and become participants of Phase Seven (see Isaiah chapter 12).
What will happen after the Millennium and during the time of the Great White Throne Judgment period as found in Revelation 20 to 22 (which I discussed earlier)? The final outcome will be "the dispensation of the fullness of times" (Ephesians 1:10). This scene is described in First Corinthians 15:24–28. At that time, God then becomes "all things" and in "all things." In a word, all will become God! At that time, all human beings (then redeemed by Christ to the Father) will be able to join with the apostle Paul in his grand litany of grace and glory by saying,
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
• Romans 8:38–39
God the Father gave all of us (and that includes you in a very personal sense) into the secure and stable hands of Christ Jesus, and Christ made a statement concerning you. He said,
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out ... and that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
• John 6:37, 39
The apostle Paul said under divine inspiration that God is faithful and He "will confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8–9).
But, one might ask, confirm you to what? In the earlier chapters of this book, I showed the scriptural teachings that you are destined to become a literal Son or Daughter of the Living God. In a word, you are to become deified when you are resurrected from the dead at Christ’s Second Advent. But more than that, even now (while you are in this fleshly frame) you are already reckoned by God to be a part of His divine Family (1 John 3:1–2).
As far as God the Father is concerned, when He looks over His right shoulder and sees Christ Jesus sitting on that glorious throne next to Him, God the Father also sees you sitting in the same place "in Christ" (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1–3). Because of this personal closeness you now have with the Father, the apostle Paul said that there was now only one mediator between you and the Father of the universe, and that person is Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Yes, you are sitting on the same throne as Christ in heaven (in a legal sense) because you are now reckoned to be "in Christ" and that is where Christ is, reigning over the universe with the Father.
In the period before the revelation of "the Mystery" given to the apostles in A.D.63, there were a variety of angels who were mediators between mankind and God. As an example, remember that the Law of Moses was given by one mighty mediator called "the Angel of the Lord" and a host of angels (Galatians 3:19–20). Paul mentioned these angels who formerly mediated between women and God when women prayed (1 Corinthians 11:10). But with the revelation of "the Mystery," we are now told by the apostles that Christ has now taken away all the authority of those angelic powers between God and us (Ephesians 4:6–16). We are now reckoned by God the Father (male or female, it makes no difference) as equally sitting on the same throne as Christ Jesus at the very right hand of the Father Himself (Ephesians 2:6). You have direct access to God the Father through Christ; you and I need no more angelic mediators standing between us. That is a glorious position we now have and Paul revealed it through "the Mystery" given in A.D.63. That is why we can know what the true "Trinity" of the Holy Scriptures happens to be: God the Father, God the Firstborn Son (Christ Jesus) and God the Us (meaning You, Me and the rest of redeemed humanity).
We humans are now acknowledged by God the Father as members of His divine Family. Our eventual destiny is to put on a new spiritual body at our resurrections from the dead, then help God and Christ rule and sustain the universe, and even for us to create new things in the universe. This is why you (in a very personal way) were selected before the foundation of the world system by a divine lottery to become a member of the ruling Family that governs and controls the entirety of the universe (2 Timothy 1:9). That is your destiny and you should be living today as though it is a fact, which is a present reality because we are "in Christ."
If you truly want to be assured of who you are, then re-read all the chapters of this book and look up the scriptural references. Then go to a mirror and look at yourself. Ask yourself "Just Who Am I?" With the biblical information in this book, you can legally claim from the truths of the Holy Scriptures your divine status at this very time. You are at this present moment an actual Son or Daughter of the Living God. This is because you are now "in Christ." And, you are no second-born or third-born (or billionth-born) Son or Daughter of God. God does not have any second-born children in His Family. He has only firstborn Sons and Daughters. See Hebrews 12:23 where we are all called "firstborn ones" (the original is in the plural). This firstborn reckoning is because we are all accounted to be "in Christ" (even all the "Sons of God"). This position of being a Firstborn Son or Daughter is your present status in a legal sense. And you should never allow anyone on earth to try and take your divine position and inheritance away from you because the Father has given it to you. It is yours to keep for the rest of eternity (1 Timothy 2:4–6).
The King James Version uses the English word "conversation" in Philippians 3:20 to describe your present inheritance, the actual Greek that the apostle Paul used means "citizenship." That’s right. You are no longer in God’s eyes a citizen of any country on earth. You are now in God’s view a citizen of heaven.
"For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
• Philippians 3:20–21
In the opinion of God, you no longer have to obey religious rules and regulations on this earth pertaining to human beings that supposedly control and dominate their human relationship to God in heaven. Indeed, you are reckoned to already be with God in heaven, at His very right side "in Christ." You now, in the eyes of God, are to be governed by heavenly rules of conduct, not by the earthly rules and regulations that govern the rest of mankind.
So, what kind of conduct should you be practicing while you are still in the flesh on this earth? Knowing who you are, you should be acting like a Son (a Prince) of God or a Daughter (a Princess) of God. You are even now a part of the royal Family of God and you should act like members of that Family. No one in this Royal Family practices rituals or keeps holy days, and neither do you need to practice such things as other humans have had to in the past. You should now conduct yourself as you see God the Father and Christ Jesus conducting themselves. And what conduct do they display? The Bible shows that they are motivated purely and consistently by the virtues that the apostle Paul called the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is manifested in nine virtuous principles. They are:
"Love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
• Galatians 5:22–23
There are also nine gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit and Paul lists those in 1 Corinthians 12:4–12. Indeed, in the official arrangement of the epistles of Paul in the original manuscripts of the New Testament, the seven congregations to whom Paul wrote were given nine epistles to instruct them:
1 & 2 Corinthians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
There are also 27 books of the New Testament (three times nine). And though our slogan of ASK is not to be compared in importance to the Holy Scriptures, even it has nine words that sum up your destiny. It is: "You are destined to change the world for good." The words of this motto of A.S.K. are true to Scripture. In reality, the type of conduct recommended for us, the children of God, is best summed up by the apostle Paul when he said,
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of god."
• 1 Corinthians 10:31
That is the social and religious demeanor that any obedient Son and Daughter of God should be doing. Yes, it is that simple. Remember that you are either a Prince or a Princess of God, because you are now God’s royal children. Christianity is a philosophy of life (not a religion). It is time that we all practice its principles. In short, act in this world like the Prince or the Princess that you are.
Ernest L. Martin
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