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The First Medical Miracle

Daniel Hale Williams performed the first documented successful pericardium surgery in 1893. Over the past 129 years, countless miracles have occurred with many procedures now considered routine outpatient surgeries. One thing that you may not know about my family is that my Uncle Tony is the longest living recipient of an open-heart transplant in the Unted States. Still alive today, Tony Mankus is a living example of a medical miracle.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man, Genesis 2:21-23.

Moses writes about the first medical miracle ever recorded in the Bible. Rather than place Adam under general anesthesia like a common procedure in American hospitals, God wanted until Adam was sound asleep. Likely following a full day of work in the Garden of Eden as a ground’s keeper and farmer. As Adam was unconscious, God operates as a surgeon who removes a rib and part of his side to form the first medical miracle, in the Bible forming the first woman on earth.

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment, Luke 1:34-37.

Thousands of years later, Mary had her own doubts about an encounter with an angel. Scientifically, to conceive a child without having sex is impossible unless it’s done via a test-tube with donated sperm. Yet, the angel reassured Mary that this would be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. After dealing with the fact that God could have chosen anyone, Mary came to realize that anything is possible with God, especially, medical miracles.

by Jay Mankus

More than Just a Golden Bowl

As someone with a healthy appetite, I prefer to place my dinner into a bowl, often mixing everything together with Cajun spices before taking a bite. Since blue is my favorite color, the bowls in our new kitchen are either blue or white with blue designs. When I think of golden bowls, that’s a color reserved for a China set, a typical item you’ll find on an online wedding present registry.

And one of the four living creatures [then] gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath and indignation of God, Who lives forever and ever (in the eternities of the eternities), Revelation 15:7.

However, one of Jesus’ former disciples has a vision of seven golden bowls. These elegant and shiny bowls are each held by seven different angels in heaven. Yet, these golden bowls first appear in the hands of an unique living creature described early by John in the Book of Revelation. This isn’t your typical golden bowl from a China cabinet. Each bowl represents one of seven plagues.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse, Romans 1:18-20.

Similar to the ten plagues poured out upon Egypt to force Pharoah to release Israel from following 400 years of slavery, God chose seven bowls in Revelation. These seven bowls unleashed God’s wrath and indignation upon individuals who bowed down to the Anti-Christ by receiving the mark of the beast, 666 stamped upon their right hand or on their forehead. This is more than just a golden bowl, a warning to everyone around the world that it’s better to repent than rebel.

by Jay Mankus

When War Broke Out in Heaven

Reading the Bible can be like watching a movie with drama and suspense. There are moments where scenes abruptly end, forcing you to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Such is the case of the war that broke out in heaven. There are pieces of this event scattered throughout the Old and New Testament leading to the archangel Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels banished from heaven, expelled to earth.

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, Revelation 12:7.

Isaiah 14:12-19 speak of Lucifer’s fall from grace. Lucifer appears in the Garden of Eden as a serpent, like a king cobra but able to speak like Balaam’s donkey. Based upon Genesis 1-2, Adam was given authority over the earth which served as a demotion in Lucifer’s eyes. Based upon words of Matthew 4:5-11, the tempter received the authority lost by Adam which is supported by Ephesians 2:2.

But they were defeated, and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer. And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him, Revelation 12:8-9.

Ezekiel 28:17 reveals Lucifer’s departure from heaven as does Luke 10:18. The war itself appears to be as Lucifer exercised his freewill which opposed God’s plan. Perhaps each of the temptations Jesus faced shines light on why Lucifer rebelled and what caused other angels to follow. Whatever the reason, John has a quick vision which summarizes when war broke out in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 198: Alarm the Alarm

While “Write this Down” may be an expression used by teachers preparing students for an upcoming unit test, it’s also the name of a popular band. Back in 2005, Write This Down formed their Christian rock band in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This band consists of vocalist Nate Rockwell, Mike Kuwica, Nick Lombardo and Chad Nichols. Today’s song Alarm the Alarm sends an important message.

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[f]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

While writing to first century Christians, one of Jesus’ disciples sounds the alarm about a daily spiritual threat. Peter appears to allude to Ephesians 2:2, pointing to the Devil’s ability to roam the earth as a fallen angel who was kicked out of heaven. If you want to be able to overcome daily temptations, 1 Corinthians 10:13, write down this passage so that you will find a way out of any temptation.

by Jay Mankus

So Be It

Charles Spurgeon preached about John’s first doxology on September 2nd, 1883. A doxology is a liturgical formula of praise to God. The disciple whom Jesus loved writes his first doxology which can be found in Revelation 1:5-6. Meanwhile, the word Amen comes from ancient Hebrew which when translated into English means so be it. Perhaps, this is a way to express that no matter what happens, God is in control.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it), Romans 11:36.

The apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter in his letter to the Church at Rome to a doxology. If you have ever attended a traditional Roman Catholic Church, the above passage is spoken by the priest during a traditional mass. One of the churches I attended in Maine, the priest sang these words at the end of each service. While modern worship is more emotionally based, Paul’s doxology confirms what Christians believe.

Amen! (So be it!) they cried. Blessing and glory and majesty and splendor and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and might [be ascribed] to our God to the ages and ages (forever and ever, throughout the eternities of the eternities)! Amen! (So be it!) – Revelation 7:12

Another one of John’s doxologies is listed above. The context of this doxology is based upon angels who are overwhelmed by the holiness of God. All those present fell prostate before the Lord, moved by the Holy Spirit to honor the God of eternity. When you have an opportunity to experience the presence of God on earth, somebody say Amen, so be it.

by Jay Mankus

Get Out of Here

When I was in grade school, you would hear someone yell “get out of here” in the lunchroom weekly. As students gathered around a table to talk about what’s going in life, students would exaggerate or say something outrageous. This would trigger one or more students to exclaim, “get out of here.” As times have changed, get out of here is now used as a warning to leave as a means as escaping quickly.

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them, Revelation 8:6.

Meanwhile, the sounding of a trumpet in the Bible is often symbolic of considerable consequences. This may be to signify an alarm of war, a call to assemble, or a command to march. During a series of visions in the Book of Revelation, John sees 7 angels who each have a trumpet. In the passage above, lips are puckered, ready and prepared to sound their trumpet.

The first angel blew [his] trumpet, and there was a storm of hail and fire mingled with blood cast upon the earth. And a third part of the earth was burned up and a third of the trees was burned up and all the green grass was burned up, Revelation 8:7.

As someone who has experienced a number of hailstorms over the years, “get out of here” is a call to seek shelter immediately. While playing hide and go seek on summer vacation in Maine, everyone made a beeline to a our cabin, holding our hands over our hands as hail fell from heaven. Whenever the skies above reveal a future storm on the horizon, get out of there (outside) and into the safety of God’s shelter.

by Jay Mankus

Does Your Church Have an Angel?

When I think of angels, I usually imagine guardian angels who watch over an individual’s life. Yet, according to John, one of his visions that makes up the book of Revelation, there were 7 specific churches in Asia Minor who possessed an angel. Based upon the passage below, John compares these angels with spiritual messengers who guided the leaders of these 7 churches.

As to the hidden meaning (the mystery) of the seven stars which you saw on My right hand and the seven lampstands of gold: the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven assemblies (churches) and the seven lampstands are the seven churches, Revelation 1:20.

As someone who has attended various churches throughout the United States, there are certain places where you sense the power of the Holy Spirit as you enter. Meanwhile, other church buildings seem strange, often giving me an uneasy feeling as I sit down. Is the difference between these churches the presence of an angel or the power of the faith within the members of a congregation?

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service], Psalm 91:11.

One of the Psalmists writes about an angels ability to accompany Christians. Yet, God uses angels to defend and preserve the faith of those who believe. However, if Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, whether or not freewill is exercised will dictate the spiritual climate of a church. If angels are like modern day spiritual guides, the more church leaders keep in step with the Holy Spirit will set the culture and spiritual tone of modern day houses of worship.

by Jay Mankus

Who Deserves the Credit?

Depending upon who your reliable source may be in life, credit and praise is assigned to various individuals and or forces. The superstitious tend to lean to luck for someone’s good fortune. Scientists may point others to random selection to explain earthly blessings. As an aspiring screen writer, Hollywood refers to the Universe falling right into place to account for unexpected gifts. Yet, the earthly brother of Jesus points first century Christians toward who really deserves the credit.

Every good gift and every perfect ([d]free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]m James 1:17.

When I was in high school, one of my close golfing friend Chris always seemed to get good breaks while on the golf course. Whether it was skipping his golf ball over the water, going through a tree or receiving a friendly bounce off the cart path, his string of luck never seemed to end. One of our teammates, Steve, attributed this to the luck of the Irish. Since Chris’ family was Irish Catholic, it made sense to me at the time. This belief continued until I began to read the Bible in college.

And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself], James 1:18.

One New Testament author refers to daily encounters with angels that go unnoticed, Hebrews 13:2. A Psalmist points to guardian angels who guide and protect human beings every day, Psalm 91:11. The apostle Paul writes about an invisible force that you can actually keep in step with, Galatians 5:25. Meanwhile, Moses speaks of blessings and curses that will come upon you based upon your degree of obedience, Deuteronomy 28. When you put this all together with the passages above, God deserves the credit for being the giver of all good things in life.

by Jay Mankus

What Made the Angels Sing?

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” first appeared in 1739 as part of a collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems. This compilation features lyrical contributions from Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Charles Wesley wrote “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and later went on to found the Methodist Church. Meanwhile, Whitefield became a famous evangelist speaking at Big Tent Revivals on the east coast.

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this, Isaiah 9:6-7.

Sometime after reading Luke 2:14 which tells of an angelic chorus singing praises to God, Wesley was inspired to begin writing this Christmas carol. Later on music to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was adapted from “Vaterland, in deinen Gauen” by Felix Mendelssohn. Going back to the story in the Bible, the birth of Jesus suddenly brought a great company of heavenly hosts to appear before shepherds.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. 11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! – Luke 2:9-11

The anticipation of the Bible’s first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 was within moments of being fulfilled. Jesus was about to become a second Adam to restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden, Luke 19:10. Just as children are anxious to pour out the contents inside of their stockings and rip open their presents, the realization of God with us, Emmanuel, inspired the angels to sing.

by Jay Mankus

What Happened to the Fallen Angels?

According to Revelation 12:9, the former archangel Lucifer and a third of the angels in heaven were thrown down to earth. The apostle Paul reveals that Lucifer now serves as the Ruler of the Air in Ephesus 2:2. While there is no direct mention of this, it is assumed that fallen angels now serve the Devil, aka Satan in the spiritual dimension, creating havoc for all human beings behind the scenes, Ephesians 6:12.

And angels who did not keep (care for, guard, and hold to) their own first place of power but abandoned their proper dwelling place—these He has reserved in custody in eternal chains (bonds) under the thick gloom of utter darkness until the judgment and doom of the great day. [The wicked are sentenced to suffer] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent towns—which likewise gave themselves over to impurity and indulged in unnatural vice and sensual perversity—are laid out [in plain sight] as an exhibit of perpetual punishment [to warn] of everlasting fire, Jude 1:6-7.

One section of the Bible known as the Catholic Letters, (universal letters to Christians scattered throughout the world following the persecution of Nero), provides a glimpse of what happened to fallen angels. Jude eludes to their eternal fate as followers of Lucifer. Comparing the judgment these angels will face to something worse than what occurred to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Old Testament.

For God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them to be kept there in pits of gloom till the judgment and their doom. And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven other persons, when He brought a flood upon the world of ungodly [people]. And He condemned to ruin and extinction the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes [and thus] set them forth as an example to those who would be ungodly; 2 Peter 2:4-6.

At some point prior to their expulsion, these angels abandoned their proper dwelling place. By exercising free will, these angels stopped caring for, guarding, holding on to and keeping the responsibilities assigned to them by their heavenly Father. When you examine the words of the Devil in Matthew 4:1-9, these once heavenly beings wanted recognition and praise. Subsequently, self gratification similar to the process illustrated in James 1:14-15 reveals what happened to these fallen angels.

by Jay Mankus

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