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Did you get this weird booklet in the mail?

This week I received the strangest religious booklet in the mail. It was about 87 pages and most of the page numbers were styled as a countdown timer. The main title was “The Perfect Storm is Coming!” and the cover looked like this:

The inside of the book featured many odd illustrations, including these two artist’s conception of two of the Beasts from the Book of Revelation:

According to the booklet, the text has been “simplified and adapted from The Great Controversy, a nineteeth century Christian classic by E.G. White.” The booklet goes all over the map with arguments and claims but can be summed up in these bullet points:

  • The US is hopelessly corrupt and evil.
  • The original of this evil is twofold:
    • The “false” belief in the immortality of the soul.
    • The abandonment of God’s Law primarily by forsaking the Saturday Sabbath and worshiping on Sundays.
  • The Catholic Church is ultimately behind both beliefs and uses most Protestents as useful idiots.
  • The Catholic Church and its Protestant lackeys will force the US Congress to pass a compulsory Sunday worship law and institute US Gov’t persecution of anyone who worships on Saturdays.
  • This persecution of “true Sabbath keepers” will bring about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ, who will turn His back on anyone who practiced Sunday worship.

If you’ve received this book recently, I’d like to hear about it and see if together we can discern a pattern of who it got sent to. I can’t decide whether it’s because these people got ahold of the ALA mailing list (Reading) or the Gary Johnson for President mailing list (Republican leaning). I doubt either would be happy seeing their mailing list used this way.

A little more about the book/booklet itself. It claims as heretical the belief that people immediately pass into the afterlife after they die. Using a number of scriptures, including I Thessalonians 4:14 and Job 14:10-12, the author claims that people cease to exist at death until they are called forth to the Last Judgment. These sound convincing enough, but there are at least two passages of the Bible that appear to assert the opposite:

Luke 16:19-23

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

Revelation 6:9-11

 When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. They cried out in a loud voice, “How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.

While the quotes above are from a Catholic translation, it reads similarly in most Bibles. If yours doesn’t, let me know what translation you’re using and what the text says.

Ultimately I won’t truly know whether I’m right till I die. But I don’t think you can categorically say that the Bible denies a “pre-Judgement” afterlife.

On the other hand, while I disagree with the consequences, I think it’s also fair to say that nothing in the Bible itself specifically transfers Sabbath worship from Saturday to Sunday. Paul and the Book of Acts makes reference to having “the Lord’s Supper” on the “Lord’s Day”, traditionally regarded as Sunday, the day of the week where Jesus rose from the dead. But neither Paul’s letters nor the Book of Acts specifies that as a substitute for honoring Saturday as the Sabbath. On the contrary, there are many examples of Paul and other disciples attending Sabbath services until they get thrown out. If you don’t believe that, leave a comment and I’ll dig up more scripture. All in all, if you insist on being a biblical literalist, you should be going to church on Saturdays as your primary “keeping the Sabbath” obligation.

Leaving the half empty/half full theological arguments of this booklet, we come to the laughably insane assertion that the Catholic Church and its Protestant allies will both mandate Sunday church attendence and persecute Christians who worship on Saturday. The day of Sunday Blue Laws mostly ebbed away. Also, the political power of the Catholic Church in the US seems to be fading. They couldn’t prevent marriage equality from becoming fact in New York despite a Republican legislature and a large Catholic population. How would they manage compulsory Sunday worship?

 I guess that’s enough on this subject for now, but again, if you are a fellow recipent of this odd tract, I’d like to hear from you.

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