National Sunday Law

National Sunday LawNational Sunday Law by A. Jan Marcussen
My rating: 0.5 of 5 stars

When I read this book, I knew what my review would be just not how to begin it and finally decided honesty is the best policy.

I am a Seventh-day Adventist and the topic of this book focuses on what Seventh-day Adventists believe is a central part of last day events before Christ’s Second Coming. Unfortunately, the author has produced such a horribly written book as to induce cringe worthy level of embarrassment to any mainstream Adventist. And to learn that it was left at people’s doors or mailed to them anonymously makes its impact even worse because while I believe the author was sincere in wanting to do good; I will not vouch for the ideas presented because fairly early in the book I began skimming through and will never read it for a second time.

This book is not in any way affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist church and the publication company is named as to be confused with a genuine evangelistic ministry.

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The Millennium Bug: Is This the End of the World as We Know It?

The Millennium Bug: Is This the End of the World as We Know It?The Millennium Bug: Is This the End of the World as We Know It? by Jon Paulien
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The world approached the year 2000, the threat of disaster due to a glitch in programming to our technological world was all the rage in the media only to fizzle out. However Jon Paulien’s The Millennium Bug is not about Y2K, but about how Christians—more specifically Seventh-day Adventists—should approach the then upcoming calendar change to 2000 when thinking about the “end times”.

Almost 20 years ago, the world was getting both excited and anxious about the upcoming new millennium. Besides the magically alluring numeral 2000, there were questions about if the change would adversely affect computers causing chaos and to many Christians if this change in millennium would see Jesus’ Second Coming. Paulien examines all the theories surrounding the millennium with the Second Coming and why Adventists with their history of Great Disappointment were even getting infected with “the millennium bug”. Yet while Paulien was informative with all the reasons why the calendar change to 2000 was just artificial especially in light of what occurred leading up to the year 1000, when he turned to what Adventists should concentrate on when thinking about “the end times” a lot of his writing would suggest checking out his a previous book of his on that subject instead of giving complete answers in this particular book.

While this fact was a tad frustrating, Paulien went a long way in answer many question dealing and surrounding various ‘end time’ theories in which millenniums are involved whether dealing with the age of the Earth or when the millennium of Revelation occurs. The Millennium Bug isn’t perfect and in parts a bit dated, it is still a good quick read of information.

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Blood Brothers

Blood BrothersBlood Brothers by Philip G. Samaan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world’s three great monotheistic religions all come from the same physical location and the same heritage, yet they are each other’s throats with no hope in sight. Philip Samaan in Blood Brothers examines the relationships between Jews, Muslims, and Christians not only today but in the past through Biblical and secular history.

The sons, both physical and spiritual, of Abraham have much in common but today can’t seem to get along and shed blood without a thought. Yet, Samaan breaks new ground in helping everyone understand the issues over the course of millennia that drove them apart from one another enough to think of the “others” as enemies instead of brothers. Once the issues were covered and explained, Samaan then turns to show how these brothers can come together through the Seed of Abraham, Christ Jesus.

As a native-born Syrian, Samaan is familiar not only with all three religions but has first-hand experiences with many Biblical examples of the vine and the olive tree from his childhood on his family’s farm. But as a long-time missionary with experience around the world with Jews and Muslims, his personal experiences of showing his Christian faith to them and the conversations are a strong part of this book. But written in the early 1990s, Blood Brothers shows it’s age as Samaan focuses more on Christian evangelistic efforts towards Jews. This is because at the time Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth was presenting an end time scenario that is contradictory to that found in the Bible influencing many Christian denominations, except for Seventh-day Adventists. Almost 25 years later, the “battle” between Muslims and the West shows the age of Blood Brothers.

In around 140 pages, Blood Brothers present the issues that have divided the sons of Abraham over the centuries. But Samaan reveals how to bridge these divisions and how to the Seed of Abraham is the hope of all of his sons. Even though the shows it’s age in it comes to the world stage, it doesn’t take away from the importance of the answers Samaan gives.

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In Search of the Golden Rainbow

In Search of the Golden Rainbow: A Once In a Lifetime AdventureIn Search of the Golden Rainbow: A Once In a Lifetime Adventure by Charles Armistead

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The allure of lost treasure fascinates everyone, yet no many try to actually find it. Charles Armistead retells his time looking for such In Search of the Golden Rainbow with his father, great-uncle, and several business partners. Yet while searching for gold, Armistead learns lessons about life and death.

Covering a period of nine months, Armistead describes his time while searching for a lost Mexican mine in the Oregon Mountains of New Mexico. Over the course of 96 pages, Armistead relates many adventures and mishaps throughout in a smooth transition from one to another. Yet because of nearly 40 years between the events and the writing only the incidents that made the biggest impression and the details both Armistead and his father could agree on were included in the book. Although the book is clearly written for a teenage audience, its short length is a major downside and something I didn’t realize way back when my mother read me this book when I was a child. While the book does have a religious message as well, Armistead doesn’t “preach” throughout it instead only bring in a religious message into the book at an appropriate connection to the events he is retelling.

In Search of the Golden Rainbow is over 35 years old, yet it is still an enjoyable read. Armistead’s writing style provides a quick and easy read of his time looking for lost gold while also finding some spiritual truths. If I had decided when I was a teen to read this book for myself instead of relying on my faulty childhood memories, I would have enjoyed it not only for the adventure but also that Armistead relayed spiritual lessons in a conversational way and not highhandedly.

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The Great Controversy (Conflict of the Ages #5)

tgcThe Great Controversy by Ellen G. White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The death of the Apostles brought an end to the sacred history recorded in the Bible save for the prophecies of the future in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, however the message of the Gospel and the history of the Church continued. The Great Controversy, the final volume of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series in which the history of the Christian Church is chronicled from the destruction of Jerusalem to the end of sin and the recreation of Earth. At almost 700 pages, the events of the last two millennia are touch with special emphasis on the Reformation, the message of 1844, and the climax of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan at the end of time.

The Great Controversy focuses entirely on the Christian Age with White beginning the history with the how Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire yet at the same time was watered down with the influences of paganism and other errors. Yet White emphasizes that like Biblical Israel, even though the majority of Christians worshiped—unknowingly—in error, some still held to the truth of Scripture. Then over the course of the next 250 pages, White describes the Protestant Reformation from Wycliffe through the Pilgrim Fathers arrival on the shores of the New World. White then transitions to the events leading up to Great Disappointment of 1844 and the Biblical explanation for the significant event that occurred in Heaven. White explains how the Great Controversy is effecting those living not only when she first wrote the book but to the reader today and how it our decisions will effect where we stand during the events she describes at the end of the book with the second coming of Christ and the destruction of sin.

The Great Controversy is the last of the five-book Conflict of the Ages series and is a mixture of non-Biblical history as well as explanations of the prophetic events of Daniel and Revelation that have and yet to occur through to the end of sin. This book shows that God’s message of love through His law is still relevant today as it was from the beginning of Genesis and before, even with the attempts by Satan to undermine it or simply overthrow it for his own vision. As in even book in this series Ellen White wants the readers of The Great Controversy to know that the present world of sin will not last and there will be an end, yet it is up to the reader to decide where they will stand in relation to Christ and Satan.

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The Acts of the Apostles (Conflict of the Ages #4)

aotaThe Acts of the Apostles in the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Ellen G. White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Upon the ascension of Jesus Christ, the focus of sacred history turned to the men he entrusted with spreading the message of the Kingdom of God to Jew and Gentile across the world. The Acts of the Apostles the penultimate volume of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series in which the rest of the New Testament through the lives of the Apostles in how they were transformed into preachers and leaders of the new church and how they spread the World, upheld faith, and corrected error. In a little over 600 pages, the events in the book of Acts and the circumstances surrounding the writing of the Epistles and the book of Revelation are revealed in the context of sacred history.

The Acts of the Apostles presents the events of the book of Acts in an in-depth in how the Disciples of Christ became Apostles for truth and how Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle. As in in the Bible, the focus for much of the book is on the conversion of Paul and his ministry to both Jews and Gentiles on various missionary trips. At the beginning, the Church focused on presenting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to the Jewish community as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy until the stoning of Stephen and shift to the Gentiles through the Holy Spirit and total rejection of the Jewish leadership. Throughout the discussion on Paul’s ministry to Jew and Gentile alike, the events surrounding and leading to his writing the Epistles that are contained in the New Testament are examined and the principles and lesson within them expounded upon. After Paul’s death, the lives of Peter and John are examined to enlighten the reasons surrounding and the lessons taught in their own Epistles to the church. And John’s time on Patmos in which God revealed to him through prophecy the culmination of sacred history.

The Acts of the Apostles is the fourth volume of the five-book Conflict of the Ages series and the last to fulfill cover Biblical events. This book shows the change in the character of the disciples to become champions of Christ and how a persecutor was transformed into proselyte, both show to believers raised in the Christian faith and those from without that Christ works to change everyone willing. In the last chapter, Ellen White transitions the scope of the Christianity from the Biblical record of sacred history to the events after the life of the Apostles done to her own day and then the climax of The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.

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The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages #3)

doaThe Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The whole of sacred history is centered on one individual, Jesus Christ, either through the prophecies and sacrificial meanings of the Old Testament or the good news of His life and message in the New. The Desire of Ages is the seminal work of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of Ages series in which the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is examined in great detail to show the love of God for man. Through over 800 pages of wonderful, engaging writing the 33 years of when the Son of God walked shoulder-to-shoulder with man.

The Desire of Ages is not a strict chronological retelling of the Gospels; instead it is a more in-depth look into the life and teachings of Christ to reveal the love of God for man. Yet, while White focuses on Christ’s mission to save man and show the true nature of God she does not shy away from explaining the challenges Jesus faced during His ministry. The Messianic expectations of Jewish culture before, during, and after Christ’s life were fully explained by White and how throughout His ministry it hindered his efforts to turn hearts to the Father. Alongside the cultural expectations was the hatred of the religious establishment that saw Jesus as a threat to their authority even though mean thought He might be the Christ. And finally the hardest burden Christ dealt with was His disciples whose earthly expectations and resulting disappointment continually saddened their Teacher.

The Desire of Ages is the central volume of the five-book Conflict of Ages series just as Christ is the central pillar of sacred history. For many, including myself, Ellen White’s book on the life of Christ is best spiritual book on His life outside of the Bible because of the in-depth perspective she writes and expounds upon. At the end of the book as heaven rejoices at Jesus triumphant ascension to rejoin His Father as our mediator, White reveals how the disciples returned to Jerusalem just as joyously knowing Christ reigned with His Father. Through the Acts of the Apostles the good news of Christ would begin to be spread around the world.

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