Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This month’s first article is called "The Intertestamental Period." It follows on from last month’s topic and article ("The Folly of Tradition") regarding major changes in Judaism that occurred between the completion of the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus Christ to earth. These changes made Judaism an entirely different system of belief and practice from that understood in the time of Ezra as presented in the canonical Law, Prophets and the Writings. Again we see the historical folly of man-made rituals, beliefs and laws substituted for God’s Laws.
Hellenistic cultural influences and "spiritualism" were the reasons that the religious observances, laws and traditions were so radically altered, so much so that by the time of Jesus Judaism was unrecognizable from the practices at the time of Nehemiah and Ezra. Leading the movement toward these changes was the sect of the Pharisees, which survived the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and Judah in 70 B.C.E., leading directly to modern Judaism in all its current forms.
With this information that Dr. Martin notes from Jewish sources you will understand why the Judaism of the Pharisees was criticized by Jesus, Stephen, the apostles and later Paul. It was a different unbiblical Judaism than we find in the Law of Moses. Judaism today is derived from and based on the so-called "oral tradition" that was an important part of the Judaism at the time of Jesus and the apostles. Quoting R. Travers Herford (in a work different from the book noted in the article "Intertestamental Period") titled, Pharisaism: Its Aim and Its Methods (New York/London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912), pp. 48–49,
"The Tradition of the Elders can be traced in the Mishnah up to the time of the early Sopherim, not far distant from Ezra; it is the thread which binds together the development, through Hasidism and Pharisaism, of the Jewish religion. And it marks the course of the mainstream of Judaism far on through the centuries. The Essenes vanished. The Sadducees were swept away when the Temple was destroyed. It was the Pharisees who alone could or did weather that storm, and carry the divine treasure of the religion of the Torah into safety."
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There is included a second short article, "A Major Proof of the Bible," which is from 1974, shortly after Dr. Martin began lectures and publishing independent of all denominational ties. It notes that all scripture focuses on Christ, and so must reason, evidence and proof. Dr. Martin makes that clear in this short but powerful article.
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Next month’s article by Dr. Martin is titled "The Key to the Understanding of Old Testament History." It is packed with several important information about the "Axial" period of history that saw,
The destruction of old civilizations and empires
The disappearance of peoples, religions, traditions, philosophies, sciences, libraries and historical records
The rise of new civilizations and empires—seemingly overnight
The rise of new peoples, religions, traditions, philosophies, sciences, libraries, and
The beginning of organized recorded history outside of the Bible—beginning with Nebuchadnezzar.
The "Axial" Prophet was Jeremiah through whom YHWH gave the prophecies and who oversaw the destruction of the old world order, and the establishment of the "New World Order" of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar the "Head of Gold." This Babylonian system is with us to this day in the structure of all human governments, and will continue until the 2nd Coming of Christ.
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I would like to give another reminder that ASK will hold a short 2-hour meeting (plus a period for questions) near our Portland office on July 13, 2002. David Sielaff will give a presentation about future projects and publications of ASK, and then the questions and discussion. Videotaped portions of this meeting will be put on the ASK website after the meeting date. Let us know if you would be attending this meeting.
Meeting Time: July 13, 2002, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Place: Greenwood Inn, 10700 SW Allen Blvd., Beaverton, Oregon 97005 (Take the Allen Blvd., Exit #B off the 217 Freeway. (Greenwood Inn Phone: 503-626-4542)
Room Reservations: There are several motels in the area. ASK cannot make or suggest room reservations for overnight accommodations. Please make your own arrangements. Greenwood Inn reservations can be made at 800-289-1300.
Questions anyone? If you are not able to attend the meeting, but wish to submit a question or an inquiry, write or email us. We will answer as many as possible on the video or in future newsletters. Your names will not be used, and anonymity will be maintained, of course.
Note: Mr. Sielaff will not, repeat NOT, model his collection of religious headgear at the meeting.
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We at ASK are gratified to note through your emails, book orders, correspondence—and notes included with your contributions—that you feel it is important that ASK has the means to further publish the works of Ernest L. Martin with the aim of making Scripture plain and understandable.
There is no reason why, with proper understanding of the various contexts and structure of the books of the Bible, that the Word of God cannot be read as you read your daily newspaper or news website. (Although keep in mind that the vocabulary level of the Bible is somewhat higher than that of your newspaper. God does not "dummy down" His Word.) This was Dr. Martin’s purpose.
There is a wealth of excellent "basic" information contained in articles and tapes that Dr. Martin presented in the past, even before many of you were born. The information was given once and not again because the topic was covered to Dr. Martin’s satisfaction, and because new research took him in other directions.
In this time of transition and "changing gears" for ASK, we ask for your continued contributions to sustain the mass of work that needs to be done. Your help is greatly appreciated.
David W. Sielaff
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