Sunday 14 November 2021

Pandemic, Vaccination and the Mark of the Beast

I come from a family of mostly evangelical Christians. My 5 sisters and I are Alliance, Baptist, Lutheran and Seventh-day Adventist. We all believe the pandemic is real. We follow the public health guidelines and all 6 of us have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Those of us who already qualify have also received the 3rd (booster) dose. 
However, I am aware that some (many?) Christians don't see things the way we do. Some think that the pandemic is a hoax (it isn't). Some think it's no worse than the flu (it is). Some believe it's just a variant of the seasonal flu (it isn't. The corona virus and the influenza virus are 2 distinct families of viruses, and they can co-exist not only in the same population, but in the same individual at the same time). And some believe that preventing us from attending church in the usual fashion is a form of religious persecution. It most definitely is not. It's a public health guideline that applies equally to all religious gatherings, funerals, weddings, sports and recreation, theatres, etc. So, it's not essentially a religious law. It has not prevented any of us from attending online services of the religion of our choice. It has attempted to prevent church services (and other gatherings) from being super spreader events. God has not created a magical force field around our churches that will prevent the corona virus from spreading if we choose to gather and flaunt the public health guidelines. As a matter of fact, God is in favour of public health guidelines. They're in the Bible. Just read Leviticus 13, for example. For an interesting discussion on whether or not it's a violation of religious liberty, view the following video: 

(I have my rationale for disagreeing with these positions, and I am willing to share them - just email me. But I won't go into them here because I know that people believe what they want to believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. "A mind convinced against its will is of the same opinion still.")
And then, there's the idea that microchips are injected with the vaccination. Not only is that virtually impossible (see this article), but the vaccine comes in multidose vials. Even if microchips could be drawn up through a needle, what would prevent one person from getting 2 or 3 microchips and the next person getting none? 
Finally, probably the most puzzling and disconcerting is the idea that the COVID vaccination is the mark of the beast. I do understand that people see the similarity between the restrictions on the unvaccinated and Revelation 13:17,
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
However, let's really look at this. Yes, some of the unvaccinated will lose their jobs. But nothing is preventing them from getting another job that doesn't require vaccination. Or even becoming self-employed. As far as buying is concerned, most merchants that require proof of vaccination also offer the option of a recent, negative COVID test. Or curbside pick-up or online shopping. So, the vaccination really does not qualify.
Furthermore, I don't think anyone who believes that the COVID vaccination is the mark of the beast, has actually identified who the beast is. If you read Revelation 13, the beast shows up (verse 1) before his mark is mentioned (verse 16). So, it seems reasonable that we need to know who the beast is before we can identify his mark. If the vaccine is the mark, who then would be the beast? Pfizer? Big Pharma? Whoever the beast is must match the description in Revelation. Of course, Revelation is a highly symbolic book, but each symbol has a meaning, which can only be discovered by Bible study. 
Another point is that the issue with the mark of the beast is worship. The third angel's message in Revelation 14:9,10a makes this clear:
 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God...
I have not switched gods since receiving the COVID vaccination. Nor have my sisters. Nor any other vaccinated Christian that I know. We still love and serve and worship the same God. So, who would we be worshipping if the vaccine is The Mark? We get back to the issue of having to identify who the beast is before we can identify what his mark is. 
Honestly, believing that the COVID vaccine is the mark of the beast doesn't make any Biblical sense. It doesn't fit. I do have my beliefs about the beast and his mark. And I believe that they make Biblical sense. I'm not going into an in-depth study here, but I will recommend a series of videos that help explain it better than I can, Landmarks of Prophecy. I highly recommend that you watch the whole series because each one builds on the previous ones. It might not make as much sense if you skip directly to the one on the Mark of the Beast. This series also helps explain a lot of the rest of the book of Revelation. 
(And more on Vaccine Myths and Facts from the Alberta government).

Saturday 6 November 2021

Ranfurly Fair Entries

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1 Corinthians 9:24,25

Three months later, I finally realized that I hadn't blogged anything about the Ranfurly Fair back on August 8. It had been 5 years, I think, since the last time I had entered any of my craft projects in the local fairs. Last year, I considered it, but then we ended up with the Corona virus pandemic interfering with everything. This year, while I may not have agreed with the decision, the premier of Alberta decided that we were "open for the summer." Some events proceeded and others did not, and I determined to enter some items in the Ranfurly Fair. I also considered entering some in the Innisfree Fair, but then decided to take my daughter and grandson on a quick trip to Drumheller, and we set out on the day of the Innisfree Fair.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have probably commented before that I find the small local fairs quite generous with their ribbons, and often they will award more than one first, second or third place ribbon in each category. I wanted to explain that when I say that I won either a first or second place ribbon on each item I entered. 
In the Quilting Class, in the Table Runner category, I was awarded a 1st for On Guard For Thee
another first for Work Zone in the Baby Quilt category, 
a second for Fiesta in the Lap Quilt category, 
a first for Audacious in the large quilt category, 
and a second for Celtic Ballad in the wallhanging category. 
In the Knitting class, I won a first for Lavender Rhapsody in the afghan category. 
In the Crocheting class, I won a second for Mistletoe and Lace in the afghan category (Because I consider this a rather non-descript afghan, I was actually trying to finish the Circles Throw to enter it, but didn't quite make it. It will likely be entered next year). 
I won a first for the Daffodil dishcloth 
and a second for this bowl cozy in the Other Crocheted Item category. 
Finally, in the Christmas section, Christmas Tree Skirt class, I won a first for Blue Christmas, 
and another first for Country Christmas in the Table Runner class. (This is the centre runner of a set of three, so I can still enter one of the side runners in next year's fair, since they are not identical). 
An interesting note is that On Guard for Thee, Fiesta and Audacious have each been entered in other contests, without placing at all. And that's the difficulty of most contests - there is usually only one grand prize, one gold medal, one first place...
But that's not true in the game of life. While my quilts may never be good enough to even be entered in Quilt Canada's Juried Quilt Show, and I certainly will never be an Olympic athlete, everyone of us can strive for the "incorruptible prize" mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the Bible text at the beginning of this post. That prize is eternal life, and it's already been won for you and me by our Lord Jesus Christ. 
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16
You may never win a prize in a fair, contest or challenge, but none of us needs to be a loser in the game of life.