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Pat's Paragraphs
August 2018
A fiery summer is in full swing here in northern California. Thankfully, we’re 30 or 40 miles from the closest out-of-control blazes and are not threatened by them, but our air is smoky, the sun is red and bits of ash are falling on us.
This has been a treacherous summer for our Napa County neighbors – especially Lake County and Mendocino County.So much suffering, so much loss, so many tragic stories. Thankfully, not much loss of life. But even one death is a tragedy and leaves family and friends mourning. It highlights the human longing to know what’s next – what happens to our dead loved ones?
We want to put out answers for those longing to know. Yet we find, like that famous line in Hell and Mr Fudge says, “folks are partial to the truth they already have.” I’ve noticed that no matter how clearly the biblical word says, “the dead know nothing,” someone is sure to respond, “but their soul goes to heaven.”

That concept seems almost permanently stuck in people’s minds! We want to dislodge it, folks! We want the truth to be so clear, so compelling, so attractive, so obvious, that people will “get it,” that they will understand how the dead are truly dead.

And why do we care? Believing that the dead are conscious leaves people wide open to demonic deceptions. Without the truth they have no defense. Truth saves lives for eternity!

So Jim Wood and I are filming some vlogs – video blogs – on the subject. These are 3-5 minutes, not long, not fancy, just Jim or me talking about things like the biblical definition of death, what the Bible says about talking to the dead, what is a soul, and more.

For a sample, click here to check us out on Youtube. Or head over to our FB site, Eternal Future: Beyond the Smoke. Take a look, leave a comment, share them with someone who needs to know, let us know what you think and give us your ideas for other topics we ought to be talking about.

We greatly appreciate your prayers for Jeff Wood, our producer/director/editor and more,
(remember, he was hospitalized for a serious injury weeks ago). He’s facing a couple months of rehab, but we’re rejoicing to see his progress and begging God for full and complete restoration. We’re all eager to get back to work on the visuals for our video “shorts” on the state of the dead!

Although we’re small, we are called to unveil one of the most crucial topics for our time, one that could deceive and trick folks out of their place in the kingdom of Heaven.

We are so grateful for your prayers and support! Thank you! And God bless you!

Pat Arrabito

PS. There’s a special event coming up soon that’s taking me on a little jaunt - I’ve got a
grandson coming into this world sometime around August 18-24 (supposedly – you know how that is!), far away in Turkey. By God’s grace, I’ll be there to welcome him. This isn’t exactly vacation, as I’ll still have email, phone and text, and will continue writing and responding when you contact us. Our office will be manned while I’m gone, so don’t go away!
Is Romans 14:5 an Anti-Sabbath Text?

One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind (Romans 14:5).

This text is sometimes used to support the view that the Sabbath is a matter of indifference for Christians. Some take that a step further and say that for Christians all days are holy; thus there is no need to "keep" one day as better than the others.

These interpretations have special appeal for those who oppose the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. What does this verse really mean?

"One day above another" is literally "a day above a day." There are several different views on what the "one day" is. Some scholars think this may be a reference to the unlucky days of the pagans or to a syncretistic 1  religious calendar. However, the first part of verse 6 shows that Paul is referring to days that fall within the Judeo-Christian context: He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord.

Some Bible scholars see the annual festivals of the Jews here. Others think that Paul is talking about days designated for fasting. And, of course, there are those who insist that the reference is to the weekly Sabbath.

"Every day alike." The word "alike" has been added by translators. It does not appear in the original Greek. Thus the comparison Paul sets up reads, more literally, like this: "One man regards (esteems) a day above a day, another regards (esteems) every day." With insight provided by verse six, we could put it this way: "One man observes one day (for the Lord), while another man observes every day (for the Lord)."

Some people assume that verse 5 is talking about the Sabbath and come up with something like this: "One man observes the Sabbath once a week (on the seventh day, of course) while another man observes every day as the Sabbath." But as the verse continues it becomes clear that Paul is not talking about the Sabbath.

"Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind." These words remind us that Paul is giving practical advice at the level of personal opinion—"disputable matters." These are not issues that have been settled by divine revelation through angels, prophets, or apostles. These are things that people can decide for themselves—matters of personal preference or conviction.

This automatically eliminates from consideration all points of doctrine that are indisputable because they are based on divine injunction or on other authoritative teachings from the Word of God. So, observance of the Sabbath cannot be at issue in Romans 14. After all, the Sabbath "was enshrined among the eternal sanctities of the Decalogue, uttered…amidst the terrors of Sinai." 2

The days under consideration may be Jewish festival days or other days for feasting or fasting, but—whatever they are—Paul leaves the question of their observance up to the individual. In such matters he teaches that Christians should mind their own business and not make mountains out of molehills. Good advice.
__________

1 A blending of diverse beliefs, i.e., Christian and pagan.

2 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown,  Commentary Practical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible  (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973), 1177.

(Adapted from "Sabbath and Romans 14:5" at our Sabbath Intersections website)

–Jim Wood
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