Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The subject of this month’s article is Satan, his origin, and the non-biblical assumptions people make about him. Satan is an enemy, an adversary of mankind. At the same time he is a servant who is fulfilling God’s will and purpose by his actions, however unwittingly he does so. Dr. Martin discusses in detail two passages of Scripture, Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28, both of which have been assumed to provide information about the origin of Satan. The article is titled “Assumptions about Satan.”
The point Dr. Martin makes in this article is, first, to show that the subject of Isaiah chapter 14 does not refer to Satan, but it refers to a man. Second, he shows that Ezekiel chapter 28 also does not refer to Satan. In this presentation from a 1970s tape, Dr. Martin also shows that the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11–19 refers to a man (like Isaiah chapter 14). While Dr. Martin’s understanding of Isaiah chapter 14 remained unchanged through the years, his conclusions about Ezekiel chapter 28 changed dramatically from the 1970s. However, he continued to understand that Satan was not the being discussed in Ezekiel chapter 28.
Dr. Martin’s later research showed that Ezekiel 28:11–19 does not refer to Satan, nor does it refer to a human being. While the “Prince of Tyre” was indeed a man (Ezekiel 28:1–10), the focus changes in verse 11, with the introduction of a new, a different, “word of the Lord” that came to Ezekiel (compare 28:1 and 28:11). The “King of Tyre” was a spirit entity, a cherub identified elsewhere in the Bible by the name Moloch. Moloch, of course, was known outside of Israel as the pagan god by the same name. The proper understanding of Ezekiel 28:11–19 is shown in Dr. Martin’s September 2000 article titled “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple of God” at http://www.askelm.com/temple/t000901.htm.
This month’s article has excellent information from the mid-1970s (clarified by the September 2000 article) that is not presented elsewhere in ASK material, information that scholars have long known. Another reason I present this older information is so you can see the process of development in Dr. Martin’s study, ever learning and gaining more and more biblical understanding.
Dr. Martin warns about making assumptions, yet he himself made assumptions in the 1970s about the King of Tyre of Ezekiel 28:11–19, as most of us have, one way or another. We are all human beings who are learning to grow in grace and knowledge. If you desire perfection you will be sorely disappointed in this life. Some may fault Dr. Martin for being wrong in the past, but, if you desire your teachers to know everything about their subject, you will always be disappointed. (Remember, based on faulty assumptions even the apostles were wrong, about Christ’s return. This too was according to God’s will.)
Look to God and to His Word, the Bible. Study it with energy, prayer, and thankfulness as you increasingly learn the mind of God Himself. While the carnal mind is enmity against God, you have the advantage of having God’s Spirit (Romans 8:5–11). As the apostle Paul wrote to encourage the people in Rome:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [or test] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This is hard work. But it is work that God loves for you to do. It will transform you “by the renewing of your mind.” It will increasingly lead you to understand the “will of God” so that you will be trainable, as new creations, to go out and fulfill the will of God as He delegates us to help reconcile all things to Himself. Just as the apostle Paul and his associates were delegated, we too will be given the ministry of reconciliation:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17–20
Dr. Martin was not afraid to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We should not be afraid either. Admit mistakes and move on, ever learning and growing. There are no teachers who always “have it right the first time.” Some never get it right. Anyone who is critical of a scholar for changing his mind has a great deal to learn about Scripture and scholarship. Next month the topic will be “The New Apostle John” which will show the radical change that John the apostle made in his life as he grew in grace and in knowledge. As Dr. Martin often said, he felt willing to “change on a dime” when new information informed his biblical understanding. He is to be applauded for that trait, as we all are. It is part of our education process. It is part of our maturing.
The material in this article is at times difficult, but the groundwork has been laid in recent articles so that as serious students you can handle complex biblical material. I thank God that this is the case.
The topic came up the other day that over 30 years some 100,000 articles and booklets on tithing have been sent to people informing them that tithing is not necessary today. In fact, it is wrong (even a sin!) for anyone to tithe today. The reasons are simple and obvious, once understood. Rarely has anyone said “thank you” for the tithing information that Dr. Martin researched and updated, its latest form as the book The Tithing Dilemma, available for purchase in print, but it is also online — free, complete, and entire at http://www.askelm.com/tithing/index.asp.
While it is rare for people to thank ASK for the tithing information, one would think some people would be gracious and support ASK, which helped free them and their finances from tithing organizations and even from organizational religion. How many thousands of dollars have people saved because they were freed from the (often self-imposed) yoke of religious bondage? But no, we hear nothing. But you who support ASK are different.
Perhaps those people do not like that religious organizations lied to them over the decades. Perhaps they hold anger toward organized religion, anger which they somehow transfer to ASK, and they decide not to help us (who helped them, they then blame the messenger), or worse, they help no one, not their neighbors, family, or friends, which the Bible encourages us to do:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit [care for] the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
If this applies to you, whether with regard to your immediate or extended family, or your friends, or your neighbors, then please, for your own sake (if not for theirs), do what should be done to help them. Consider Ephesians 4:25–32 and 1 Timothy chapter 5 with regard to helping others. Life is not about “saving yourself,” because you do not and cannot save yourself. Your life and your faith is not yours, it is God’s.
For those of you who help ASK — in whatever way — we are grateful. I wish I could communicate to you more fully about the comments from those of you who do appreciate the work done by ASK and how it is humbling to be in your thoughts, prayers, and to receive your contributions. We thank you and honor you (and God) by continuing to produce quality biblical studies and research.
David W. Sielaff
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