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When Heaven Opened Up

Revelation in the Bible is one of those books that you have to read multiple times to truly understand what’s going on and what has to occur prior to Jesus’ second coming. As I finish up my summer long study of Revelation, it’s amazing how much important information I picked up this time around. I’m not sure how I missed this content before, but John writes about the day heaven opened up.

After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness). 12 His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems); and He has a title (name) inscribed which He alone knows or can understand. 13 He is dressed in a robe dyed by [c]dipping in blood, and the title by which He is called is The Word of God, Revelation 19:11-13.

American businesses have a way with grand openings. Inside and outside before a now store opens, progress is made daily as buildings begin to take shape. Some may use countdowns; others promise free items for the first x number of customers, and I’ve been to openings with raffle prizes all day long. One of John’s final visions that make up Revelation is the day when heaven opens up for good.

And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite (afflict, strike) the nations; and He will shepherd and control them with a staff (scepter, rod) of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God the All-Ruler (the Almighty, the Omnipotent), Revelation 19:14-15.

The word “heaven” appears to 327 times in the Old Testament and 255 times in the New Testament. What has always confused me is what happens to all the people who have died prior to Jesus’ second coming and the day of judgment. The best explanation is provided by one of Jesus’ disciples, 2 Peter 3:8. If time in heaven is infinite, this time gap will be taken care of. The most important thing is making your reservation now, 1 John 5:12-13, so when heaven opens for good, you’ll have a room waiting for you.

by Jay Mankus

Intoxicated Eyes

I was first introduced to the concept of the second glance by the Casting Crowns song Slow Fade. Eve was the first human being to experience this in Genesis 3:4-6. Jesus’ earthly brother compares this lustful look to a fish sizing up the perfectly set bait in James 1:13-15. However, the disciple whom Jesus loved takes this one step further as eyes become intoxicated by specific temporary pleasures on earth.

Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

If you want a more recent example of intoxicated eyes, check out the attached clip from the Chronicles of Narnia. Unaware of the apostle Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 11:14, the White Witch appears as an angel in disguise to Edmund. Yet, when you have gone an extended period without indulging your fleshly desires, passion takes over as you do the completely opposite of what you know to be right, Romans 7:15.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls then came and spoke to me, saying, Come with me! I will show you the doom (sentence, judgment) of the great harlot (idolatress) who is seated on many waters, [She] with whom the rulers of the earth have joined in prostitution (idolatry) and with the wine of whose immorality (idolatry) the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated, Revelation 17:1-2.

The last mention of intoxicated eyes occurs in the Book of Revelation. Building upon the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:18-21, John has a vision of inhabitants of the earth drunk on sexual immorality. John appears to be referring to a demon who he compares to the great harlot. Whatever this being or individual represents, when you let yourself go, drifting away from God, you become vulnerable to intoxicated eyes. May this blog serve as a warning to put to death these desires, Colossians 3:5, before enticement and lust drag you down all over again.

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

The Unleashing of the Seven-Fold

Over the past 30 years, I have been introduced to theology which is the science of God. After attending seminary for a couple of years, the deeper you get, the more confusing the spiritual realm becomes as you’re introduced to various theologians with opposing views. During a recent study of the Book of Revelation, I discovered a new concept that John calls the seven-fold Holy Spirit.

I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:25-26.

John was first introduced to the Holy Spirit during a conversation with his spiritual mentor. Jesus’ last week on earth has been given the title Passion Week. As His death on a cross approached, Jesus turned to the future when his presence would be replaced by an invisible counselor. Jesus compares this spiritual entity as an advocate and intercessor when you are in need or uncertain of what to do.

Out from the throne came flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne seven blazing torches burned, which are the seven Spirits of God [[c]the sevenfold Holy Spirit]; Revelation 4:5.

Acts 2 describes the unleashing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. A first century doctor is like a reporter on the scene explaining this as a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, Acts 2:2. As great as this encounter was for Jesus’ followers, John has a vision of the sevenfold presence of the Holy Spirit. This unleashing of the Holy Spirit provides a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

by Jay Mankus

The Prayers of God’s People

If you make studying the Bible a daily goal, human nature will cause you to skip a few days due to sheer exhaustion, a busy schedule or neglect. Yet, if you persist by making this practice a spiritual discipline, I can guarantee that you will learn something new every day. While local churches were closed due to Covid 19, reading the Bible is what kept me going spiritually.

And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us, 1 John 5:14.

My latest insight came in the form of the passage below. While John’s words appear to be similar to the imagery of a first century doctor in Luke 15:8-10, Revelation highlights the prayers of God’s people. Meanwhile, Luke focuses on rejoicing angels in heaven who celebrate when anyone on earth repents by entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders [[e]of the heavenly Sanhedrin] prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each was holding a harp (lute or guitar), and they had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God’s people (the saints), Revelation 5:8.

Apparently, heavenly prayers of those who have passed away and are looking down on earth, Hebrews 12:1, use Old Testament practices found in the Torah. Just as high priests of Israel participated in wave offerings, Numbers 18:11, heavenly music plays as the prayers of God’s saints are offered up daily. May this vision provided by John from heaven inspire you to continue to offer up requests to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

Come and See the Future

Sometimes you can read too much into the Bible when you study it. However, Ukraine is currently the 7th largest producer of wheat in the world. Meanwhile, Ukraine is the 4th largest exporter of wheat, but Russia is preventing cargo ships from carrying out these shipments. If Russia’s ongoing invasion of the Ukraine does not go in their favor, this could spark a worldwide shortage of wheat by years end.

When He broke open the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, Come and look! And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and in his hand the rider had a pair of scales (a balance), Revelation 6:5.

According to a couple of websites, olive oil is projected to increase in price by 20% in 2022. Meanwhile, the fine wine market continued to appear strong in the first quarter of 2022, so anyone panicked by my first paragraph still has time to get their life right with God. Based upon a consensus of Bible scholars, in the days of the third seal in the Book of Revelation olive oil and wine will be in great abundance,

And I heard what seemed to be a voice from the midst of the four living creatures, saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius [a whole day’s wages], and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not harm the oil and the wine! – Revelation 6:6.

If you want to come and see the future, pay close attention to the price of wheat. Based upon the law of supply and demand, the supply of wheat will influence the worldwide price. This global market principle is the economic relationship between the sellers and the buyers of various commodities. If you want to come and see the future like John, watch the price of wheat, oil, and wine in the years to come.

by Jay Mankus

Taking the Peace from the Earth

God’s timing is one of those things in life that can’t be forced. When individuals try to make something happen like Sarah’s desperate effort with Hagar in Genesis 16:1-16 only made matters worse. The birth of Ishmael took peace away from the earth as this child would be become the father of the Arab nations which are still at war with Israel today, even if it’s only behind the scenes for now.

Therefore do not pray for this people or lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I will not listen when they cry out to Me in the time of their evil trouble, Jeremiah 11:14.

Following the events of 9/11/2001, writers of the West Wing, a drama series on NBC, took a break from their regularly scheduled show to create a standalone episode entitled Isaac and Ishmael. This secular interpretation actually did a good job of illustrating how peace has been removed from the earth due to Sarah’s attempt to take matters into her own hands.

And another horse came out, flaming red. And its rider was empowered to take the peace from the earth, so that men slaughtered one another; and he was given a huge sword, Revelation 5:4.

While studying the Book of Revelation, I found the second seal relates to current events in the United States. As crime and murder rates skyrocket to reach new and all-time high in major cities across the country, perhaps the end of days is near. If global warming advocates continue to make false predictions every 10 years, dating back to the 1980’s, why can’t I chime in as well? While the third seal is still years away, may this passage serve as a warning to get to know Jesus so you can experience internal peace.

by Jay Mankus

What Makes Demons Tremble?

Over five billion copies of the Bible have been sold worldwide. This book is a great resource for history, faith, and religious practices. Yet, the Bible contains details of what will happen in the last days on earth. The book of Revelation refers to seven tribulations that lead up to the battle of Armageddon, Revelation 16:14-16. The conclusion of this war is what makes demons tremble.

You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as [a]make a man’s hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]! – James 2:19

If you follow current events by watching cable news or reading articles on various sites, not much makes sense. Criminals in many states are being released from jail without bail on the same day only to commit similar or more violent attacks on law abiding citizens days later. This trend has spiraled act of control resulting in numerous unnecessary deaths if these criminals were punished for their first violent offense.

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.

This is not how the Bible works. According to Matthew 12:36-37, there will be a day of judgment where you will have to give an account for everything you have done on earth. Individuals who have had near death experiences have explained this as watching a movie about your life containing the good, bad and ugly moments. After dying, everyone will be judged by God. This is what makes demons tremble.

by Jay Mankus

Prepare Yourself for Perilous Times

Eschatology comes from the Greek word ἔσχατος. When translated into English, éschatos refers to the part of theology concerned with the final events of history. One of the Gospel authors devotes an entire chapter to the signs of the times. In the passage below, Matthew highlights specific events to look for as Jesus reflect upon what the end of times will resemble. This chapter serves as a map to prepare readers of the Bible for perilous times.

While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet, Matthew 24:3-6.

The initial sign of the times is wars and rumors of wars. This is followed by famines and earthquakes. The imagery Jesus chooses to describe these perilous times like the pain a woman endures during the child bearing process. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament refer to specific events that set in motion the arrival of the anti-Christ. If you’re not taken up into heaven by the Rapture, Jesus’ second coming, these perilous times will be beyond what most individuals can handle.

But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear], 2 Timothy 3:1.

In view of what lies ahead, I am reminded of something that Jesus says during the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. In the middle of this famous speech, Jesus provides advice to prepare yourself for perilous times. Matthew 6:34 highlights that each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Therefore, don’t be overwhelmed by the circumstances that is beyond your control. Rather, take one day at a time, with the perspective that each new day is a gift from God.

by Jay Mankus

Is this the End?

Every generation has their own perspective on what’s going on in the world. My grandparents endured at least one World War. My father lived through the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis. While I don’t have any grandchildren yet, when I take time to look around at society, I don’t like what I see. Like scenes from apocalyptic movies of the past, all signs indicate that the end of the world as we know it is approaching.

But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 2 Timothy 3:1-2.

In Matthew 24, the disciples beg Jesus to reveal what the end of days will look like. While Jesus doesn’t give a specific date in the future, a series of events of mentioned so that Christians won’t be caught off guard. The apostle Paul takes a different approach to the last days of the earth. Based upon a revelation that he received from God, Paul describes specific attitudes and behaviors that will become more obvious as this day draws near.

[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:3-4.

As a former high school teacher, I like to make lists so that I can stay on track. When I recently read 2 Timothy 3:2-4, I began to mentally visualize each of these selfish actions. As I went through this list, I silently said “check, check, check.” While I try to be a positive person, current events and people on social media make me wonder exactly how close is the end? If you want to know more on this topic, read the Book of Revelation. Yet, the best thing you can do in the meantime is to be shining stars in a dark and dying world, Philippians 2:13-16.

by Jay Mankus

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