Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
In his book Essentials of New Testament Doctrine, Dr. Martin wrote:
“I plan to write a book on the subject of the ages. I can prove, without doubt that we are experiencing at least seven different types of ages for mankind (all simultaneously) at this very moment. God has given a multitude of ages to perform His work of salvation for the human race. The apostle Paul called them God’s ‘own time periods’ (1 Timothy 2:6, see Greek).”
Martin, Essentials, p. 224, note 63 1
Dr. Martin was not able to write that book before his death in January 2002, nor did he compile notes of new information in preparation for that book. 2 Therefore I am publishing the basic information about the ages over the next three (3) months in sections:
Each of the three sections will contain additional material contributed by me. For the booklet (Parts 1 and 2) additional material will be in footnotes. My purpose is to republish the original with only typesetting changes, and by occasionally breaking up long paragraphs for the sake of clarity. No words have been added or subtracted. I do this because the booklet was not the solely Dr. Martin’s work, but was coauthored by Mr. Reid.
Part 3 will contain my usual editing where I freely add or subtract words, phrases, paragraphs, as well as footnotes, to make as clear as possible Dr. Martin’s intended meaning — as I see it. Particularly in transcripts of audiotapes there are many extraneous words and phrases that need not be in written text. Sometimes whole paragraphs shifted for a cohesive message. This is in my role as editor.
This work is used with gracious and express permission of coauthor Gary Reid. The foreword to the original booklet is in Addendum 4 at the end of the article.
I have noted that the ASK website lacked the important, expansive, yet specific information about the doctrine of the ages in the Bible, although a quick form of the basic information is in Dr. Martin’s article “The Time Periods for the Resurrections” (www.askelm.com/doctrine/d971005.htm) on the ASK website, and in Essentials (see footnote 1). This article remedies that lack. I know Dr. Martin considered the doctrine of the ages to be important in understanding the mechanism and timing of God’s salvation of all mankind. The doctrine of the ages provides the time-framework in which God’s acts take place in history.
As I prepared this material I was stunned how precise and plainly stated were the thoughts in this article. It is a masterful presentation. Each sentence is truly a complete statement. I strongly recommend that you read this article slowly and out loud to get the full impact of the words, especially the Scripture passages. At the time this article was written Reid’s and Martin’s understanding of salvation was extremely mature and developed (as you will see). Dr. Martin held to this understanding until he died. I believe this information, and I hope you do also, because it is thoroughly biblical and true.
For those of you familiar with the arguments presented, you will appreciate a new presentation. For those of you who are encountering this information for the first time, you will delight in God’s care for you because God’s plan involves a simple yet profound system that began when Christ “made the ages.”
Next month in addition to the article, I will explain how historically limited biblical terms like olam in Hebrew, aion (the noun) and aionios (the adjective) in Greek acquired the limitless meaning of “eternal.” The Greek philosophical concept of eternity does not exist in the Bible, even when referring to God. As a preview, let me state that Greek philosophical thought influenced Christian theology of the 3rd and 4th centuries C.E. to transform the meaning of aion from a well-established biblical term of varying, limited, albeit sometimes long, episode of time, into a concept of limitless duration.
I know I say often how much we appreciate hearing from ASK supporters and readers, but your notes and emails and phone calls sustain us emotionally and give us a “lift,” just as your financial support keeps us financially solvent. You regularly show us that we are “worthy of our hire” as we continue to publish the good and powerful work of Dr. Ernest L. Martin in order that that the teaching of your Bible is made plain to you. Understand that nowhere else can such quality information be found. We are glad that it is important to you. It also is important to us.
We receive many notes of appreciation each month. Let me share one short note of appreciation that seems to communicate so well the thoughts behind so many of your notes and letters and emails to us:
Dear Ramona & David,
Thank you for your latest articles. I look forward to them each month and I’m never disappointed! It’s amazing how much information Dr. Martin was able to put together during his lifetime — and it all makes perfectly good sense. I read a lot of other literature but none of it has the insight to understand how the various scriptures fit together, so they always end with wrong conclusions!
Thank you for keeping his work alive! I know that God has a plan for all of this — so keep up the good work!
God bless you,
This note is typical of many that give us so much encouragement and a “well done.” Your occasional critiques are also important and allow us to make corrections on occasion. Please continue communicating with and supporting ASK as you have been doing.
Even more important than providing your financial support and your notes of thanks to us, we hope that you pray for ASK to continue and thrive so we can continue in putting forth the best information about God’s Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless you support us with your prayers our efforts will be in vain.
David W. Sielaff
1 This information is contained in chapter 16, “Resurrections from the Dead,” pp. 212–246 of Ernest L. Martin’s Essentials of New Testament Doctrine (Portland, OR: ASK, 1999/2001, 2004), http://www.askelm.com/books/book007.htm.
2 Perhaps some day in the future one of you shall write the definitive biblical study on this subject of the ages in the Bible. The information is easier than ever to compile and analyze with the aid of computer bible software.
3 The Foundation has since dissolved as a corporate entity. Mr. Reid presently resides in Canada.
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