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“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits — who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases,
who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalms 103:2-4).
Consider some technological accomplishments that have been attained recently in medical treatments.
A 66-year-old tire salesman in North Carolina spent the latter part of his life blind due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative condition that destroyed photoreceptor cells in his eye. He received a “bionic eye” — the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System — from the Duke Eye Center in Durham, giving him the ability to see light and differentiate between objects through contrast.
An infant in Denver would not be alive if doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado hadn’t operated on a cyst on her left lung before she was born. They pulled her halfway out of her mother’s womb, leaving her umbilical cord attached as life support while they performed the surgery.
A Polish man, who was paralyzed in 2010 after a knife attack severed his spine, can walk again using a frame after a team of surgeons removed olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) — specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell — cultured them, and transplanted them into his spinal cord.
A new treatment using the combination of two drugs that “reboot” the immune system has produced what can be claimed to be a cure for advanced melanoma — a deadly skin cancer that usually results in death within a few months after diagnosis.
Augustine wrote long ago, “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.” To a certain degree, the miracles of yesterday have become medical advances today. Some of these advances have changed the understanding of treatable human behavior in significant ways. For example, Tourette’s Syndrome, now known to be a rare neurological disorder treatable with medication, was at one time widely accepted as a form of demonic possession and was dealt with accordingly.
In 1944, doctors performed the first heart surgery. In 2013, around 3,500 heart transplants were performed. In 1900, people could typically expect to die from pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis and gastrointestinal infections. Today, vaccines can cure infections even when given after symptoms first appear. As noted above, patients injected with their own cells allow their bodies to essentially heal without outside invasive intervention.
Treating and even curing human sickness has made amazing progress. However, there can never be a medical cure for the great enemy, death. Each new breakthrough verifies its permanency. In the past thirty years there have been 38 documented cases of patients who were pronounced dead resuscitating without medical intervention due to a spontaneous and unexplained restarting of the heart muscle after death.
This is now referred to as The Lazarus Syndrome. A recent movie, the Lazarus Phenomenon, used two of these cases in a religious attempt to showcase near-death experiences and so-called visions of heaven and hell. While researching the Lazarus Syndrome, the authors of a December, 2007 article in The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine developed this notable conclusion consistent with our scriptural understanding: “It is important to realize that death is not an event, but a process … during which various organs supporting the continuation of life fail.”
Christ’s Thousand Year Kingdom to Heal Disease
Christ’s thousand year earthly kingdom, referred to in his model prayer (Matthew 6:10), remains a mystery to most people. This kingdom will fulfill the earthly portion of the Abrahamic promise by blessing all the families of the earth and bringing forth offspring as numerous “as the sand which is upon the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). This kingdom will be the new heavens and the new earth which Isaiah, Peter, and John wrote about (Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1).
The earthly portion of the Abrahamic promise was repeated to Jacob in Genesis 28:13,14. His seed or offspring were described in verse 14: “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Christ’s kingdom based on the New Covenant will develop Jacob’s seed to include all mankind and expand to fill the earth.
The purpose of this kingdom is the restoration to mankind of all that was lost in Eden due to Adam’s sin. Restitution will bring man everlasting life, perfect health, dominion over the earth, and sonship with God. The scope of Christ’s kingdom will be world-wide. It will liberate all mankind from the prison house of Adamic death (Isaiah 42:7, 49:9, 61:1). It will dissolve all of the present earthly kingdoms and transform mankind into a single holy nation (Psalm 2:9, Daniel 2:44, Revelation 2:27). It will educate everyone about God (Jeremiah 31:34, Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14).
The power of God operating through Christ and the church will fix all that is broken. First, the merit of Christ’s sacrifice as a ransom for Adam will be applied to release all mankind from the Adamic curse. That will bring Adamic death and the dying process to an end. It will enable Christ and the church to bring back to life all in the tomb so they might hear the word of the Lord and learn righteousness (John 5:28,29).
The application of Christ’s merit will also result in the healing of all disease. No one will say he is sick, for his iniquity will be healed (Isaiah 33:24). The physical ailments that plague mankind, whether paralysis, blindness, infection, heart disease, or genetic defects of any kind, will be cured, for these are part of the Adamic curse.
Mankind will come forth from the grave with a body that the Lord will provide, a physically perfect body not affected by the disease and physical effects of the Adamic curse (1 Corinthians 15:38-40). With the curse lifted, each one will be able to clearly understand and reason upon the kingdom’s message of truth and righteousness and, if willing in heart, be able to apply that message and progress up the way of holiness (Isaiah 35:8).
However, each one will come forth from the grave with the same fallen character developed during this life. One’s attitude, values, behavior, and reasoning will be imperfect and selfish, just as it was when death occurred. It will be the work of the kingdom to change character and heart into that of perfect human beings, but only if they are willing to learn and obey (Ezekiel 11:19,20). How can the kingdom do this and not violate man’s free moral agency?
The blessings of the kingdom, representing the immensity of God’s great love for his human family, when poured upon mankind, will melt the stony heart in most individuals. These blessings are described by Isaiah as a great feast, the like of which the human race has never seen (Isaiah 25:6-8). The overwhelming response to these blessings will be: “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).
The kingdom will restore mankind to the character-likeness of God, with a heart that is perfect, filled with the fruit of the spirit including divine love. The experience with sin will have taught each person the consequences of disobedience. Death will be no more because the desire to disobey will have been thoroughly purged from each heart. Mankind will once more have dominion over the earth— the realm God always meant humanity to have (Psalm 8:5-8). Surely all will praise God from whom all blessings flow (Psalm 67:3-7).
Categories: 2015 Issues, 2015-January/February
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