Pat's Paragraphs

February 2018

Dear Friends.

I want to share some exciting news! “Beyond life,” our FaceBook site with articles on the state of the dead, and “TimeTalk,” our FB site with articles about the Sabbath, are reaching wide audiences. Our short articles (posts) are generating great discussions and are promoting wonderful truths.
We love to see positive exchanges taking place between readers, as in the case of Victoria, who believes her soul goes heaven when she dies, and Richard, who sees things differently. Here is Richard’s testimony:
My Dear Victoria, whom should we believe is telling the truth? The Bible or the Pastor? Being born a Roman Catholic, I was taught to believe that my soul goes directly to Paradise to be with God. Upon learning to read the holy Word, I was convinced that what I was taught about the immortality of my soul was just a fabrication. . . . As I read many verses of scriptures referring to the soul after death, I was convinced that the greatest moment [will be] the Reunion of all those that have died since Adam [when] those whom God has in his book of life will be raised to life. 
We're excited about the opportunities to reach people where they are. I want to share the following exchange with you, even though its a bit long. It will give you a sense of how we can share clear, relevant Bible truth on social media.
"I am a grieving mother who needs some answers."
Donna: My 39 yr old son died recently, so this very much interests me. I took all my children to church when they were kids. I know my son made a profession of faith. We like to say he is in Heaven waiting for us. But is this correct? Or is his Soul in a dorment state until the Second Coming? I am a grieving mother that really needs some answers.
 
Beyond Life: Donna, all of us can find comfort in the dominant biblical definition of death: sleep. Sure, it's a euphemism, but it's consistent with Bible verses like "the dead know not anything" Eccl. 9:5. Jesus told His disciples that their friend Lazarus, who had died, was asleep, "but I go to awaken him" (John 11:11).
 
Yet we still have to find ways of thinking about death, and many folks find comfort in thinking of it as an alternate form of life. They imagine their dead loved ones in paradise, heaven, the presence of Jesus, etc.
It's hard to criticize them for that, since that idea is deeply embedded in our cultural DNA. The assumption is that such an idea is biblical. But it is not.
 
This is what I get from the Bible: when you die your consciousness blinks out. You're dead. There is no sense of time passing or of waiting. Your next flash of awareness is the resurrection. Your loved ones will have to wait for the resurrection to see you again, and it may comfort them to think that you are alive in some other form, but for you, no sense of time or place. See you in the morning!
 
Donna: Beyond Life, thank you for giving me the answers I needed. Although I liked to think of Jamey's Soul in Heaven looking down on us, I didn't think that was so. So I will anxiously look forward to the Resurrection to see my son again.
This social media outreach does not generate a big financial response; it doesn't sell many DVDs or inspire generous donations. But it does reach hearts with words of truth, as you can see. 

Our response rate is often over 10% - that means that more than 10% of the people who see our posts respond directly in some way or share them with their own friends. That is a significant rate of response! During this period of testing and experimentation, we are reaching thousands of people. But we need to be reaching hundreds of thousands!

Our Facebook posts are well researched and carefully written. But that's not the end of it. There is the constant need for follow-up: monitoring and responding to comments and questions is an essential part of the work.
This requires a major commitment of time, energy, and dollars. Getting our message in front of the right people requires careful targeting and the wise use of financial resources. That’s why we’re so appreciative of your support.

We’d love for you to become involved directly as well. Take a few minutes to visit the Beyond Life Facebook page; take a look and read the messages and comments. We’d be happy for you to respond to the comments of others and share precious truths. Our posts are also available at  www.beyondthesmoke.org .

Your participation via comments, your prayers and your financial support are crucial!

Thank you! May God be mighty and honored through these humble efforts!

In Christ, 

Pat Arrabito
"If this thing comes it will smash your church in ten years."
(Rabbi Joseph Hertz to SDA Pastor Arthur Maxwell)
Social Reformer Elisabeth Achelis and Rabbi Joseph Hertz
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Death and Angels ( from the Beyond Life Facebook Page )

“Carol killed herself last week.” Mark stunned me with the news about his ex-wife.

“I went to her funeral,” he said. “I felt afraid of how her family and friends might treat me. She had told them so many bad things about me. I thought they might not want me there. But I went anyway.

"When I got there a woman came over to greet me. She was warm and loving. She held my hand and said, ’Carol’s at peace now.’ I was surprised at her voice. She sounded just like Carol. For an instant I thought she was Carol.

"What do you think?" he asked. “Could it have been Carol’s voice? Has she become an angel, and was she there to comfort me?"

Do people become angels after they die? Does God allow our loved ones to die because He needs more angels?
Questions like these arise from our desire to make sense out of death – to find some relief from grief as we face the sad vacuum left when someone we care about is gone. The belief that the dead have moved on to a better life certainly offers more comfort than the belief that they are in hell.
But if the writers of the Bible could get together and send a greeting card to someone mourning the loss of a loved one, it would probably bear these words of Paul which he originally addressed to the Christians in the city of Thessalonica:

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16, 18 NASB).

This passage is consistent with the teaching of the whole Bible on the subject of life after death. People do not become angels when they die – not even very good people. Instead, they “sleep” in the grave ("sheol" or "hades") until the resurrection.

Angels are a separate order of being. See Psalms 8:4, 5: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”

There are both good and evil angels. The Bible contains a brief report of a terrible conflict between the two groups. "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war” (Revelation 12:7, NASB). Michael is the Son of God, Jesus, in His role as Commander of the loyal angels. The dragon is Lucifer, the angel who became Satan, leader of the rebellious legions. The battle ended with Satan and his hordes being driven out of heaven.

We know that Jesus was an eyewitness to the event, for He testified, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18) The demons that Jesus confronted during His earthly ministry were none other than Satan and his cohorts. Powerful beings, they are still active today. They will finally be destroyed in the same lake of fire in which all who reject God’s grace will meet their ultimate punishment.

--Jim Wood
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