ASK Monthly Newsletters
May 2001 

Dear Associates, Students and Friends:

There are well over 20,000 Christian denominations on earth and almost all of them claim to have got their teachings of Christianity from the Bible, or at least, when their denomination was started the originators supposedly gave heed to the central teachings found in the Scriptures. The doctrines now promulgated by most of them show them drifting far from those basic scriptural teachings, and some (like the Roman Catholic Church) candidly admit that the Scriptures are not their principal guide. Biblical teaching is now rated as inferior to that of the opinions of the Church Councils of the past or the beliefs of the present hierarchy.

Even the denominations that claim to be following the Bible are far from doing so. What is the problem that makes people accept so many different and contradictory doctrines from one book called the Holy Bible? It is not that most Christian laymen are insincere and are deliberately trying to deceive people into believing their ways. No, laymen are normally not at fault. But when it comes to trained professionals (the ministers and priests), they know enough of the Scriptures that they find themselves having to compromise almost daily their denominational beliefs with the teachings of the Scriptures. In order to keep their jobs they must instruct what the denomination has authorized, not what the Scriptures actually teach.

In many cases the errors are prompted by a lack of perspective. There is nothing more important than having a proper perspective (within a surrounding context that can be understood) in comprehending anything, and this especially applies to the Bible. Let me give you a humorous, but truthful example of what I mean. About thirty-five years ago when space travel was really getting under way in America, a cousin of mine by marriage became interested in such things. He took pride in "knowing more" than his peers in matters of astronomy (and, by the way, he did know more).

He had a favorite story about himself that helps to explain that having a proper perspective is essential to understand any subject. He told about going to a filling station where he normally bought gasoline. The owner and he began discussing various subjects, then my cousin suddenly pointed to the southwestern part of the early evening sky and said: "Jim, do you see those two stars up there?" "Yes, I see them," was his reply. Then my cousin with great seriousness said: "Well, Jim, you have heard all the talk about space travel lately, and I have been given the opportunity to be a part of it. You know what I am going to do?" "No, George, what are up to?" "I got an official notice that I am scheduled for a space flight to go right between those two stars within the next six months." "You plan to do what?" was the response of his astonished friend. "That's right, I am going to fly in space in a direction right between those two stars and when I accomplish the task I'll come back and tell you how I did it — do you want to go with me?" The station owner retorted very quickly, "Listen George, I am not going anywhere with you, I am staying right here on solid earth where the Good Lord put me in the first place."

George was delighted with the station owner’s answer. The reason was because he had just succeeded in pulling off a practical joke on someone who did not have a proper perspective of our solar system and the movements of the planets. The fact is, those two "stars" that George was going to "fly between" were the planets Venus and Mars. What the station owner was not aware of was the fact that the whole earth (including George, the station owner and everyone else on earth, including our globe itself) was going to "fly between" (that is, journey between) those two planets within the following six months. The earth does this every year or two in its normal orbit around the Sun.

What this shows is that George had a perspective on the motions of the solar system while the gas station attendant did not. What does this illustration have to do with the Bible and its teaching? The truth is, most people in the world view the Holy Scriptures in about the same way the service station man looked at the solar system. They do not approach an understanding of the Bible with the proper perspective. It was about 500 years ago that all intelligent people finally realized that the earth was not flat and that the Sun was the center of our celestial system and not the earth. But when it comes to the Bible, almost all people (even biblical scholars) are as much in the "Dark Ages" today as they ever were. This false perspective is often the same that guided ecclesiastical leaders in late antiquity. They were judging doctrinal matters of the Bible by using non-biblical parameters.

As an instance at how far afield they are from comprehending the most simple of biblical teachings (and in a context of modern education that ought to be of paramount importance), the preachers and theologians are still following the order of the scriptural books that Jerome imposed upon the world in the fifth century A.D. They avoid the arrangement of the books in about 97% of the proper Greek New Testament manuscripts. They adopt a provincial version that completely destroys the proper manuscript context. It is no wonder people are so mixed up. Theologians have jettisoned the manuscript order which left the hands of the canonizers and they have adopted an arrangement of the biblical books that literally tears apart the literary contexts established from one book to another. Almost everyone today is viewing the biblical books and their arrangement in about the same way people viewed astronomical matters in the "Dark Ages." This world needs to have the Original Bible of those who officially canonized the Scriptures. But still to this day, preachers, ministers and even biblical scholars are seemingly unaware of what the real Manuscript Order of the Scriptures happens to be. They desperately need to read my book "Restoring the Original Bible" that will give the truth of this vital issue. Look at the matter closely.

Though the books which make up the King James Version represent the proper Bible, the original prophets and apostles designed those books to be 49 in number and with the five central books being those that describe the actions and teachings of Christ (while He was on earth and also in heaven) [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts]. Not only that, the other books of the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament were originally arranged differently than hardly anyone realizes today. It seems that preachers, theologians and religious leaders are almost always the last people on earth to change their attitudes even when proper research is shown to be true. The theological world needs a big shaking to its very foundations. They need to get back to viewing the Bible in a correct way — with a proper perspective. Typically speaking, they are still arguing their points like people in the "Dark Ages" who viewed the earth as "flat" and that the earth is the center of our system rather than the Sun. They need to adopt the original order of the Bible books that gives the proper perspective.

That is not the only error that is being perpetuated today. In the United States there are five major Christian television networks turning out 24 hour programming all over the country and there are hundreds upon hundreds of separate television and radio stations. There are also churches galore in town after town. Preachers and priests are so powerful that they are able to influence governments. Even the Bible itself can be found in almost every home and hotel room. It is the best seller in the bookstores. But truthfully, there is today more illiteracy about what the Bible teaches than at any time in history. In fact, the Bible makes statements on many important topics, but what we find is many preachers more often than not teaching the exact opposite of what the Scriptures say.

Notice a few points concerning the crucifixion of Christ. Five times in the New Testament it records that Christ was crucified on a tree (and Christ referred to it as a living tree — a green tree — Luke 23:31), and yet almost everyone today says He was crucified on a cross made up of dry wood planks or others teach it was a dry pole. But it does not end there. John 19:31 shows that the two thieves as well as Christ were crucified on one stauros [Greek], that is, on one instrument of execution (not on three separate crosses), but professional theologians do not teach this truth today (indeed, most don't even realize that is what the Scriptures say). Besides that, the Bible actually shows that Christ was killed by being stoned by the people of Jerusalem after He was nailed to that tree (and the Jewish authorities have maintained records showing this). And too, the New Testament shows plainly that Christ was executed near the summit of the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem, but theologians for the past 1600 years have placed His crucifixion in the exact opposite direction. And, to reconcile the "three days and three nights" of Matthew 12:40 with "the third day" of Luke 24:21, the Bible shows Christ was crucified on a Thursday, but most preachers say it was on a Friday. Count it for yourself. Since late on the afternoon of the first day of the week (Sunday) was reckoned "the third day" since events involving the crucifixion of Christ had taken place, then the previous day (it would have been on the afternoon of Sabbath, the seventh day of the week) would have been "the second day." Then, of course, the previous day to that "second day" (Sabbath) would have been the afternoon of Friday. Friday, then, was "the first day" since those things had taken place. So, one day before Friday is Thursday. It is obvious that the afternoon of Thursday is the only time that properly fits (and this would allow for three night periods and three day periods of time). Only by inclusive reckoning can Friday be sustained. Luke 24:21 will not allow Wednesday for the crucifixion. (See my "The Case for a Thursday Crucifixion.")

If that were not enough, there are thousands of pictures and statues of Christ that have been created over the centuries and almost everyone of them shows Christ with long hair. In no way was this the case. And errors are not limited to Christ having long hair. In paintings such as Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the Bible says they were reclining on their sides, while da Vinci has them all sitting at a table. Not only that, the New Testament says it was the time of Unleavened Bread, and the great artist da Vinci had hot cross buns on the table. Some might say these are only minor errors and that they make little difference to the message of Christ. The fact is, if professional men and women make mistakes like these on obvious matters, how can one be sure they are right when it comes to those so-called "important" issues? The truth is, if one wants to find out what the Bible actually teaches on any subject, the easiest way is to recognize what preachers and theologians believe today, and then look for the Bible to teach the exact opposite of what they say. Really, it has become that bad.

For example, the Bible teaches the law of tithing. But the Scriptures say that Israelites were to pay ten percent of their agricultural produce to the Levites and the Levites were to pay ten percent of this tithe to the priests. But what do preachers do today? They tell people that it is a law for all Christians to pay tithe to the preachers (not to the Levites). In fact, it is not possible to pay the biblical tithe today because there are no official Levites available to receive the ordained tithe. Though Jews today pay money for the upkeep of the synagogue, they do not pay the biblical tithe because it is illegal for them to do so. It is a sin to pay a tithe to any but true Levites. And Christian ministers are not Levites! Preachers are sinning by demanding and accepting tithes. True, churches need funding to operate, but using the tithing command is illegal. My booklet "The Tithing Dilemma" clearly explains this.

But more importantly, the ones who deviate the most from the teachings of the Scriptures (and ironically they happen to be the ones who claim to adhere faithfully to the Holy Scriptures) are those who rely on what they call "the Holy Spirit" to guide them rather than the biblical texts. They claim that speaking in tongues is a sure sign to them that the Father and His Son are working with them. They believe this gives them the power to proclaim prophecies. They say they can give a supernatural "word of wisdom or a word of knowledge" even from God himself (I Corinthians 12:8). They also think that the sick can be healed when they lay hands on them. These factors prove (to them) that they are in personal and intimate contact with Almighty God (through His Spirit) and that these supernatural attributes they possess give them authority to set aside teachings in the written Word of God (if necessary) to support their ministries. But, if any spirit informs a person that he or she can put aside the teachings of the Scriptures, one can be certain that that spirit is not the Holy Spirit. We are told by John to test the spirits because many (not the few — but many) false prophets have gone out into the world (I John 4:1). Many who speak in tongues (they say is a sign of having the Holy Spirit) are gross violators of biblical teachings.

Indeed, vast numbers of "Pentecostal" preachers and advocates of charismatic phenomena are guilty of violating the written teachings of the Scriptures on many important subjects. To many of them what they call the present teaching of the "spirit" is more authoritative than the written Word of God" in the Bible. Let me give a few examples. It is normal for many Pentecostals (as the majority of TV and radio evangelists are) to put up banners at their meetings saying: "Come Expecting a Miracle." Where the problem lies is the fact that they do not tell the whole story. Their emphasis on signs and miracles is not what Christ had in mind for His people. Indeed, Christ Jesus countered this belief by saying "an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and no Sign shall be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah" (Matthew 12:39). Christ did not advocate the seeking of signs or miracles. He taught just the opposite. What preachers should do, who put up banners saying: "Come Expecting a Miracle," is also to place underneath their banner the statement of Christ which said: "An Evil and Adulterous generation seeketh after a Sign." The people would then be given the full teaching of Christ on this matter and not be led astray by those who claim to have the Spirit of God and know more than the Scriptures.

Signs and miracles should not be emphasized today, except the one sign that Christ was resurrected from the dead (after the three days and nights) to provide a salvation for all mankind. Then there are those who speak in a type of tongues in church without so much as having an interpreter as the apostle Paul demanded (I Corinthians.14:28). They abandon on their own authority what Paul taught about keeping silent unless one knows that there is someone who can (and has authority) to interpret what is said. Paul absolutely forbade anyone speaking publicly in any assembly of Christians if there was not some means of edifying the assembled group with a proper interpretation. But today, you can turn on television and see some of the most prominent of evangelists speaking in what they call "tongues" and there is no interpreter around (except on rare occasions) to inform what these evangelists are supposed to have said. They praise the Lord, yet they think nothing about violating the scriptural teaching on these matters. They simply believe they have an intimate and personal relationship with God through the Spirit, and this gives them authority to change Paul's teaching. Christ, however, had some words to say to such people — and they are a warning to all of us. "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter in to the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21,22). These are very strong words by Christ, and that is why I emphasize them.

People ought to be very careful in whom they trust. Indeed, if we wish to trust humans, then all of us (in one way or another) are going to be disappointed. Certainly, do not put your complete faith in Ernest L. Martin. True, I work hard to give you the facts I know. And I try diligently to be honest in my teaching, but there is only one person you can absolutely trust and believe in, and that is our Savior, Christ Himself. What we of A.S.K. want to do is to point you (and everyone else in the world) to the only source of help and salvation known in the world today. He is the Messiah Christ Jesus who died for us on the tree of crucifixion. But just because men or women may "Praise the Lord" and exhibit good works is no criterion for following them. Good works can even deceive. Paul said: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good works and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17,18).

Of course, performing good works and having kindly words are of themselves perfectly fine and to be recommended, but when preachers use such things as a means to get people to believe contrary to the Bible, then Paul would have nothing to do with them no matter how good they looked on the surface. This especially applied to preachers in Paul's day who were trying to get the Gentiles to become observers of the Mosaic Law as a means to salvation "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (II Corinthians 11:13,14) The biggest mistake that people can make is to imagine that Satan looks ugly and that he is always advocating outward evil (such as war, murders, moral and ethical crimes, etc.). Of course, Satan may have a hand in such things but his greatest activity is in the churches — to deceive those who claim to follow the Father and His Son.

The central doctrine of deception that Satan has spawned off on an unsuspecting Christian public (and most "tongues speakers" believe) is the heathen doctrine of the inherent immortality of human beings, often called the teaching of "the Immortality of the Soul." That doctrine comes directly from Babylon and it took up its roots in Hinduism and early Greek philosophical thinking. So entrenched is this non-biblical doctrine in modern Christianity that it is simply taken for granted among about 95% of Christian people today. Though the Scriptures make it plain that only Christ (at the present) has immortality (I Timothy 6:16), preachers deny this biblical teaching and proclaim that when a Christian dies he or she goes immediately to be with Christ in heaven or to hell-fire. This error voids the scriptural doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. When this false doctrine is used in its fullest, it means that Christ did not die on the tree of crucifixion (because, if His soul was immortal, as is everyone's) how could the real Christ ever die? He couldn't, if the soul (or a part of the person) is truly immortal. However, the Bible states consistently that Christ did in fact die. If He did not die, you and I (and all people on earth) have no savior! This is the teaching that Satan the Devil is out to promote and it is where he has got the people deceived the most. The majority of preachers and Christian believers are thoroughly deceived on this issue. True, we Christians need to have an open mind, but no one should accept that the soul is immortal.

Next month I have an important (and new) Prophetic Report that all of you readers should study. Its title is: "How to Fully Escape the Great Tribulation." This is research that is of vital significance for those who will live during the events of the Great Tribulation on earth. God promises us protection during that time, but you will have to know the priorities of what constitutes wisdom and understanding. Also, some have thought that I make too much of asking for contributions each month to keep the work of ASK going out to the world. OK, I will not make an issue of it this time, but it is still a fact that we desperately need your offerings to keep the research going out the world. We appreciate YOUR help. If you profit from our research and you benefit from its teaching, then you should cheerfully support it. May God bless you in your giving to the work of ASK.

Ernest L. Martin

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