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Pat's Paragraphs

November 2016

Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is almost here and some of us have hardly thought about it, or made our “Thankfulness” lists, what with all the presidential election campaigning consuming us. But – it’s over! And we can be thankful for God’s promise to be with us to the end!

Of great interest to me, and many of you, as we’ve listened to the candidates, has been their attitude toward religious liberty. It’s a subject worthy of consideration.

On Friday, October 21, the first-ever California Sabbath workplace discrimination case to go to jury trial came to an end. Dusanka Bodiroga, who fled religious persecution in Romania some years ago, claimed that her refusal to work on Sabbath cost her the job she’d worked at for over six years in the California prison system. The California Dept. of Corrections defense team accused her of poor performance, bad attitude and sloppy attendance. Her work records and coworkers testified to the opposite. Someone was lying, and it wasn’t the work records or her colleagues.

Bodiroga’s attorney, Bernard Alexander, finished his arguments with a powerful rebuttal debunking the defense.

Then the jury voted. Against her. 10-2. 

Said Alan Reinach, Religious Liberty Director for the Pacific Union Conference: “The jury did not seem hostile to our client’s religion... It seemed that they didn’t...see through the lies. Even the most obvious lies did not seem to upset them.”

This case, I believe, highlights our changing world. There was a time in the USA when religious liberty and minority rights were paramount; when truth was a virtue, foundational to a society built on trust. This seems to no longer be the case. Along with the shockingly low value placed on truth, we see a surprising amount of resentment toward Christians, with blame cast on them for society’s problems, and little interest shown in accommodating their views or needs.

These prophetic words seem to be fulfilled : “Judgment is turned away backward, and justice stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter”  (Isaiah 9:14).
 
In times of such uncertainty, frustration, disappointment and fear, what this world needs is a clearer picture of the character of God - His goodness, patience, power; His amazing, everlasting love, demonstrated in every doctrine and in every Christian life.

I pray to be a part of that picture, and I pray that every DVD and piece of literature produced and distributed by LLT will be filling that great need.

Please continue to pray with and for us, as we produce and send out materials about God’s Sabbath rest, His freedom, and His mercy and fairness in regard to death.

We’re back to work on “Beyond the Smoke” (working title), the program(s) that will clearly show what the truth is about death and the afterlife. We cherish your prayers and support!

Thank you, and may God bless and use you to reveal His goodness!

In Christ,

Pat Arrabito
Don’t beat that dog!

I had a tough time with Geometry. It was a lifetime ago, but I still remember how it frustrated me. I did eventually learn how to find the area of a rectangle (length x width). And I recall that the area of a circle works out to pi times the radius squared, or A=πr2. But don’t ask me to figure out how much fertilizer I need for my oddly shaped yard.

One peculiar phrase from Geometry class stuck with me: “The Pythagorean Theorem.” Something about triangles. Right angles and squares and hypotenuses and so forth. Whatever it was that Pythagoras figured out, it was right on the mark. Geometrically speaking, that is.

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and philosopher who founded a famous school of mathematics in Croton, a coastal town in South Italy. He died about 495 BC. At least that what history books tell us. His followers might have argued that he didn’t really die at all.

Pythagoras m ixed religion with mathematics, synthesizing a set of “doctrines” that included metempsychosis. That's the hifalutin word for the transmigration of the soul. So, for his disciples, his apparent death was simply the separation of his soul from his body. His soul would inhabit another body – not necessarily a human body – then another, and another, and so on.

Xenophanes, one of his contemporaries, testified to Pythagoras’ belief in transmigration this way: “Once they say that he was passing by when a puppy was being whipped, and he took pity and said: ‘Stop, do not beat it, for it is the soul of a friend that I recognized when I heard it giving tongue.’” *

By the way, Pythagoras and his followers were strict vegetarians. Can you guess why?

Transmigration is just one version of the immortal soul doctrine that eventually found its way out of a glorified cesspool of Greek philosophy to infect the speculations of some early Christian theologians. It’s still with us today, popularized by Eastern and New Age religions – and by the entertainment media. It’s a clever and enticing delusion that diverts minds from the simple truth about the nature of man and the state of the dead.

*Luchte, James (2009) Pythagoras and the Doctrine of Transmigration, London: Continuum International Publishing Group

Jim Wood
 
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The definitive documentary on the history of the Sabbath. Hosted by Hal Holbrook. Five hours. Five DVDs.

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