Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The book of Romans and the book of Galatians are at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The two studies by Ernest Martin, "The Principal Theology of the Book of Romans" written by him in 1979 and "The Book of Galatians" from 1980 detail important aspects of the Gospel by analyzing these two books. These articles are put together this month as a "package" so you can see how they complement and reinforce each other, and so you can note the consistency of Dr. Martinís theological understanding through the decades, culminating in his book The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine.
As always, read the Bible for yourself, and not just the comments of Dr. Martin. The Bible is the Word of God. Read it and use it to know the mind of God. Dr. Martinís work is intended to explicate the Bible, and not in any way to be a substitute for it. Please do not denigrate Scripture by ignoring the message contained within its pages. You only hurt yourself by doing so because you do not gain the benefits God intended.
Introductions and Conclusions
In the book of Romans, after the introduction, Paul praises the Romans, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8). He gives them the good news. After he gives an introduction, Paul does not praise the Galatians, but he expresses surprise and dismay at their lack of discipline, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" (Galatians 1:6). He gives the Galatians the bad news that they compromised the Gospel of Christ.
The introductions to each of the epistles, especially the Pauline epistles, is a most interesting study. Look at the similar statements of each of the epistles. (Note especially the mention of the Father and the Son, but seldom a mention of the Holy Spirit.) See,
|Romans 1:7||Galatians 1:3||Colossians 1:2|
|1 Corinthians 1:3||Ephesians 1:2||1 Thessalonians 1:1|
|2 Corinthians 1:2||Philippians 1:2||2 Thessalonians 1:2|
with similar statements in,
|1 Timothy 1:2||2 Timothy 1:2||Titus 1:4||Philemon 1:3|
The formulaic statement is not in the book of Hebrews, however a similar formula occurs in 1 Peter 1:2 and 2 Peter 1:2. A still different similar opening phrase to Paulís appears in 2 John 1:3 and Revelation 1:4. These similarities are, of course, well-known.
Study the openings of each of the Pauline epistles to learn how he addresses his various audiences. Then, note the differences between Paul and the other New Testament authors. The statements that Paul and others use, though formulaic, are sincere and heartfelt by their authors, expressing exactly their feelings for their respective audiences.
In the conclusion of each epistle or letter, Paul uses similar phrasing toward the end of each book, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20). In Galatians Paul uses words almost identical to those used in Romans, "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen" (Galatians 6:18). 1
Similar words are used to close each of the other Pauline letters to churches and groups, see 1 Corinthians 16:23, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 6:24, Philippians 4:23, Colossians 4:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:18, and Hebrews 13:25. In two of the four Pauline letters to individuals, Titus 3:15, Philemon 1:25 the same formulaic closing is found. Both Titus and Philemon were intended to be read to groups, although addressed to individuals. The concluding formula is not found in 1 or 2 Timothy, originally send to individuals alone. These ending phrases used by Paul are well known by commentators. The formulaic saying is not found in any of the so-called "catholic" epistles of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John or Jude,. However, the formulaic statement is found at the end of the book of Revelation, which was written by John, but post-Mystery.
The Mystery in Romans 16:25
When Dr. Martin was working on the latest edition of Restoring the Original Bible, I was working at Fuller Seminary. I asked him about the ending of Romans after Romans 16:20. Commentators on Romans have noted that it seems to be a second ending to the book. I found it peculiar that Paul used the term "mystery" in the sense of "The Mystery" received in about 61 to 63 C.E., and as presented in Ephesians and Colossians. The phrase "... the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began" (Romans 16:25) caught my attention. Compare Romans 16:25 with Ephesians 3:9 and Colossians 1:26Ė27. The same Mystery is discussed in all three passages. There was only one mystery that was from the beginning of the world, "the Mystery" revealed to Paul, John and others. 2
It seemed to me that Paul in Romans 16 was referring to the same "mystery." Dr. Martin was not sure, but he thought it was a possibility. It was possible that Paul added an ending to Romans after the original one. The date of the new ending would have come after the revelation of the mystery. 3 The original date of the writing of Romans (with an original ending at the "Amen" of Romans 16:20) was pre-Mystery. The addition of Romans 16:21Ė27 was post-Mystery. We will never know for sure this side of the resurrection.
I am writing this Newsletter from Jerusalem where the New Testament ekklesia began nearly 2,000 years ago. The purpose of my travel was to make contact with several people that Dr. Martin met on his last trip in 2001. Details must wait for later until follow-up arrangements can be discussed publicly. Suffice to say that reestablishing contacts between ASK and several important religious, political and scholarly individuals should prove highly useful in the future for everyone involved.
It should be possible to locate at least one of the boundaries of the site of the outer sanctuary of Jerusalem Jewish Temples. Josephus tells us that the northern and western walls of the outer Temple enclosure was expanded twice, first in the time of Simon the Hasmonean (who expanded it from the original size of the Solomonic and Zerubbabel Temple), and again in the time of Herod the Great. In both instances the boundaries were expanded to the west and to the north to create a larger enclosure. This allowed the older Holy Place to continue functioning until the new Holy Place could be dedicated.
We also know that the eastern wall of the outer Temple area in Herodís time fully enclosed the Gihon Spring. It was because the Gihon fresh water supply was within the safety of the Templeís eastern wall that it took the Roman armies such a long time to capture Jerusalem after the legions surrounded the city. Fresh water is essential to a besieged army. It was only because of internal strife that weakened the defenders that the Romans were able to capture Jerusalem as quickly as they did. Before Herodís expansion the eastern wall of the Temple enclosure was west of the Gihon Spring.
Only the southern wall never changed location as far as the historical records indicate. It is likely, therefore that much of the same foundation cutting in bedrock for the southern wall was used for ALL of the Temples, with some changes to the west and the east of this east-west line. This would mean that although Jesus prophecy certainly came true (that no stone would be left upon another in either the Temple or the city of Jerusalem), the bedrock cuttings to support the huge foundation stones going up the precipitous hill above the Gihon should still be extant and available to be found. Agreements, in principal, have been made with Israeli and Palestinian archeologists to look for such cuttings in bedrock. It will be a cooperative effort.
Although I personally consider Dr. Martinís Temple evidence to be much more than a theory (he has conclusively proven his points of evidence through literary sources), for an outside researcher who may be skeptical of literary evidence, a scientifically disprovable test is necessary.
All good theories, scientific or otherwise, need to have the possibility of being "disproved." This means that a test should be devised that could potentially disprove the evidence presented. If results should prove negative then a new hypothesis can be made incorporating the new data.
Reestablishing Dr. Martinís contacts in Jerusalem and the United States that he originally made in 2001 have proven to be favorable to cooperating and working to demonstrate the fact of the cuttings in the bedrock, particularly for the (theoretically) unmoved southern wall of all the Jewish sanctuaries. The final reason for the southern wall bedrock cuttings not being expanded to the south is contained in a passage in the book of Ezekiel. More on this in later months as developments progress. Once existence of the bedrock cuttings is established, it will go a long way toward proving ó in addition to the literary evidence ó that the Temples were located above and west of the Gihon, as Dr. Martin so powerfully demonstrates.
Like Paul in his introductions to his epistles, we give thanks to God for your support and help, both by your prayers and financial support. They sustain us and help us maintain our balance when things get crazy in the world and in our lives. Busy times are upon us all. Everyone I communicate with seems to be busier than ever. Your communications to us indicate how busy you all are.
Your questions and encouraging comments mean much to us as they arrive day by day. Many of you indicate that you are not just reading the articles, but are in fact studying the Scriptures. If you do the same you will benefit much more than you imagine. The Word of God will become a part of you beyond what you expect, because you will understand the intent of Godís message to the original audience, to the audience at the end time, and to yourself, when appropriate. Such understanding will become part of your "long-term memory" even to the ends of the ages.
Your words of support reassure us and let us know that we are on the right track with the work we are doing to present the Gospel of Christ, as so well and clearly explained through the research and writings of Ernest Martin. We greatly appreciate your help.
David W. Sielaff
© 1976-2021 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions