Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Last month’s article was about the Song of Solomon, arguably the most secular book of the Bible. This month’s article is about the most symbolic book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. Dr. Ernest Martin considered that the Book of Revelation was largely chronological in its format and that its prophecies were the skeleton upon which other major prophecies of the Bible attached themselves to flesh out the larger prophetic scenario. In other words, the Book of Revelation is the chronological framework for other prophecies in the Bible. It links other prophecies together. This is indeed the case.
Mention is often made in Revelation to prophecies elsewhere in the Old and New Testaments. These mentions refer to much longer contexts and portions of these other prophecies. They are like tag lines or identifiers that direct the knowledgeable student to the longer prophecies for the full and important details. These references would have been recognized by the original listeners of the Book of Revelation as it was read aloud. These references should be recognized by us as well.
The presentation for this month focuses on the first of four major visions in the Book of Revelation. It is titled “The Seven Churches of Revelation Today.” This title tells us that Revelation has relevance to today and for the future. 1 Specifically, the long vision of the messages to the seven churches in Revelation chapters2 and 3 will make considerably more sense to you as they are understood and explained by Dr. Martin.
In the future, as you read the Book of Revelation for yourself, if you keep in mind the material in this article, then much of the mystery surrounding the Book of Revelation will be reduced considerably. Revelation will be a more open book to you. The symbols and references will begin to link together and make sense in your mind. I hope you will never read the Book of Revelation the old way ever again.
As you read the article and the relevant passages in Revelation, note how God praises and chastises those He is judging. Judging with God is most often not condemnation. It is often educative and part of that education is praise, even to His angels and other beings in the spiritual realm.
This transcribed article was originally presented as a taped lecture in 1994. At that time Dr. Martin believed the time of the end would soon begin. He altered that view with the article he was preparing at the time of his death in January 2002, 2 although the adverb “soon” is a relative term depending on the scale of history you use. As you will note, the words “soon” and “quickly” are terms used often in Revelation.
The information in this article is highly relevant to the future, and it should be read carefully with your Bible open, studying the Scripture verses. Only by engaging with the biblical text can you fully receive and understand the message as God intends. All of the material on the ASK website is presented with this in mind, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in a letter (an epistle) that is directed at the end-time generation:
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- Quench not the Spirit.
- Despise not prophesyings.
- Prove all things;
- hold fast that which is good.
- Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18–22
The admonition for us to “prove all things” regarding spiritual matters is the central admonition in this passage of Paul. For our part we at ASK strongly encourage you do as Paul admonishes you to do. As you know, to “prove” something means to test it. We are to test whether things are true or false, good or bad, righteous or sinful. We do this by studying the Holy Scriptures. If we do not study, we cannot prove, we cannot test, we cannot decide, and we cannot “hold fast that which is good.” Only then can we wisely “abstain from all appearance of evil.”
This is ideal advice especially now when, as prosperity worldwide is increasing, temptations abound more and more, temptations from society, those around us, and even temptations from our loved ones to compromise the things that we tend to minimize, but which God considers important because such compromise may stunt our spiritual growth. Going along to get along is not right when spiritual fornication is involved, any more than it would be right when physical fornication takes place.
You show your attitude toward God by your actions within the society and community in which you live. This is true whether you consider society’s approbation to be more important than God’s, or whether you consider God’s words to be more important. Such unambiguous statements as “flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14), or “keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21), or “flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22), “flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18) should be more important to you than “getting along” with society, your “church” (kirke), your neighbors, or even your relatives. However, always remember to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16) in relations with others. However, when morality is at issue it almost always possible to withdraw oneself from confrontations with other people.
You may question the context of the paragraph above this line, but I assure you, you will understand it better after you have read Dr. Martin’s presentation.
Many of you communicate to us by your letters, notes on the response cards, by email, and by your phone calls, and tell us how much you appreciate, and understand the vast information on the ASK website. Most importantly you tell us that you increasingly and plainly understand your Bible. This is most important to us who present the vast quantity of quality information on the ASK website and through our publications. Also, many of you have said that the information has had a great and positive impact on your lives over the years. This is extremely gratifying for us and we pray that more and more people will be so blessed. It is our pleasure to continue to present works of Dr. Ernest Martin whose research and Bible studies were motivated from his love of God’s Word, intended to help you read your bible as plainly as possible. We should,
“Beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 3:18
When was the last time you learned something true and new from your Bible teachers? Are they growing in grace and in knowledge? Blind acceptance of instruction by any teacher is never wise, nor required by God.
We thank you for your continued assistance in making possible the distribution of this material to others around the world. ASK is reaching people one at a time, as God draws them. We are not a marketing organization. We are a teaching organization. We thank you, on behalf of new readers and listeners, on behalf of continuing readers and listeners, and on our own behalf as well. May God bless you for your contributions, your encouragements, and your prayers.
David W. Sielaff
1 See Dr. Martin’s short 1974 presentation “The 7 Churches of Revelation” at http://www.askelm.com/news/n020728.htm which covers just a small portion of what is in his current article. Comparison with the earlier article and this later 1994 article shows Dr. Martin’s developing understanding. DWS
2 See the article “The ‘Great Generation’ and Modern Prophecy” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p021201.htm where Dr. Martin’s last research shows the time of the end when Christ would return might be almost 100 years or so from 1998. Of course, Dr. Martin did not make an effort to give a precise date. DWS
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