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Bible Commentaries
Mark 16

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-13

The Resurrection and Appearance of Jesus Christ Mark 16:1-13 records the resurrection and appearance of Jesus Christ.

Mark 16:1-8 The Resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28:1-8 , Luke 24:1-12 , John 20:1-10 ) In Mark 16:1-8 we have the account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 16:1 “that they might come and anoint him” Comments - Jesus had already been anointed for burial when the woman wiped His feet with her hair (see Mark 14:3-9).

Mark 14:8, “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.”

Mark 16:1 Comments Biblical scholars hold two views as to the time and day when the women first visited the empty tomb, stating they either arrived Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Mark and Luke clearly state that the women discovered the empty tomb early Sunday morning (Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1). However, statements made by Matthew and John are not so clear, leaving room for debate (Matthew 28:1, John 20:1). Thus, scholars use the accounts of Matthew and John as the basis for an argument of a Saturday evening discovery of the empty tomb, although the Sunday morning view is generally preferred by scholars.

Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

Mark 16:2, “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”

Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

John 20:1, “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”

Modern English versions offer translations that reflect both views, translating the Greek phrase Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων in Matthew 28:1 as “after the Sabbath day” ( NIV, RSV), or “towards the end of the Sabbath day” ( ASV, AV, YLT). [163]

[163] A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 645-646.

Alfred Edersheim says the Jewish day begins at evening (6:00 p.m.) instead of midnight, as is used in the modern Western civilization. [164] Thus, if we understand the women to be making their way to the tomb before 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening, then they would have arrived as “the end of the Sabbath day” (Matthew 28:1), while it was still Saturday, so that the first day of the week “began to dawn” at 6:00 p.m. on our Saturday evening. This is how Rotherham brings out his translation:

[164] Alfred Edersheim says, “It is noteworthy that in Genesis 1:0 we always read, ‘And the evening and the morning were the first day,’ or second, or third day, etc. Hence the Jews calculate the day from evening to evening, that is, from the first appearance of the stars in the evening to the first appearance of stars next evening, and not, as we do, from midnight to midnight.” See Alfred Edersheim, The Bible History Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eedmann Publishing Company, c1876-1887, 1984) 19.

Rotherham, “And, late in the week, when it was on the point of dawning into the first of the week, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to view the sepulchre.”

However, the NIV interprets Matthew 28:1 to mean the dawning of the following Sunday morning after the Sabbath. This is generally the preferred interpretation, that the women went to the tomb early Sunday morning as daylight began to dawn.

NIV, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.”

This issue over how to translate Matthew 28:1 is not a new one, but dates back to the early Church fathers. Eusebius gives an alternative explanation to these verses. Williams and Caffin quote Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) on his comparison of Matthew 28:1 and John 20:1 by saying,

“The expression, ‘on the eve of the Sabbath’, is due to the translator of the Scripture; for the Evangelist Matthew published his Gospel in the Hebrew tongue; but the person who rendered it into the Greek language changed it and called the hour of dawning on the Lord’s Day.” ( Quaestionum ad Marinum 2.1) [165]

[165] A. Lukyn Williams and Benjamin C. Caffin. Matthew, in The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v. 1.0 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc., 2001), “Introduction: 4 What Was the Original Language of the Gospel.” The Greek text of this passage is found in PG 22 col. 941a.

Mark 16:4 Comments The stone was not rolled away so that Jesus Christ could come out of the tomb, for He could not pass through walls (John 20:26). The stone was rolled away so that His disciples could bear witness to His resurrection, and the angel could testify to them that He had risen. Thus, in Matthew 28:6 the angels invite the disciples to come and see the empty tomb.

John 20:26, “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”

Matthew 28:6, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

Mark 16:5 Comments Phil Edwards says when he visited the Garden Tomb, he noticed to the left was an area carved out of the wall of stone large enough to lay a body, while on the right was a place cut out just large enough for someone to sit. Thus, Mark 16:5 tells us that the angel was sitting to the right of the place where Jesus’ body had been placed. [166]

[166] Phil Edwards, “Easter Sermon,” Panama City First Assembly of God, Panama City, Florida, April 24, 2011.

Mark 16:7 “tell his disciples and Peter” Comments - The fact that Jesus singles out Peter both reminds him of his sin, but most importantly, lets him know that he has been forgiven, and that it is time for Peter to get busy in serving the Risen Saviour again. Jesus will single out Peter on another occasion by the shore of Galilee and ask him three times if he loves Him. Thus, Jesus has Peter at the forefront of Him mind when he purposed to appear to the disciples in Galilee.

Mark 16:7 Comments - Jesus will indeed go before His disciples into Galilee, and Matthew’s Gospel will emphasize this meeting after His Resurrection. Only Mark’s Gospel makes another mention of His meeting with the disciples in Galilee (Mark 16:7). Matthew’s Gospel mentions it three times in his final chapter. He records how the angels told the women at the Garden Tomb to have His disciples meet Him there (Matthew 28:7). Jesus then appeared to these same women as they left the Tomb and told them to have His disciples meet Him there (Matthew 28:10). It was in Galilee that Jesus delivered to His disciples the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). Thus, it was an important meeting.

Matthew 28:7, “And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Matthew 28:10, “Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”

Matthew 28:16, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.”

Some scholars believe that the reference in 1 Corinthians 15:6 to Jesus appearing to above five hundred disciples took place in Galilee. It would have been a location, perhaps in a rural area, where Jesus would have been able to appear with causing a disturbance.

1 Corinthians 15:6, “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”

Verses 1-20

The Passion and Resurrection of Christ Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:20 gives us the account the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This section concludes with Christ’s commission to His disciples to preach the Gospel with signs following.

Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Betrayal and Arrest Mark 14:1-52

2. The Trial Mark 14:53 to Mark 15:20

3. The Crucifixion and Burial Mark 15:21-47

4. The Resurrection Mark 16:1-13

5. The Commission to Preach Mark 16:14-18

Verses 9-20

The Longer Ending of Mark - Many scholars question the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20, supposing that it has been added at a later time based upon the fact that two of the oldest and most valuable manuscripts, the Sinaitic ( א ) (4 th c.) and the Vaticanus (B) (4 th c.), omit this passage, while the Bobbiensis (k) (5 th c.) contains the short ending, and some other manuscripts follow these variations. However, because an overwhelming majority of ancient manuscripts contain the longer ending, many other scholars support this passage of Scripture as original. This debate is not a recent one. Scholars tell us that Eusebius [167] and Jerome [168] and a few others [169] state that the longer ending was missing in almost all the Greek copies of the gospels of their time. The ancient Armenian manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel also exclude the longer ending, with one exception. In 1891 F. C. Conybeare discovered an Armenian manuscript of the Gospels in an ancient monastery of Armenia dated A.D. 986 in which there was “a space of two lines” after Mark 16:8, followed by the text written with red ink, “Ariston Eritzou,” meaning “of the presbyter Ariston,” after which was written the text containing Mark 16:9-20. [170] Since the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel is of ancient origin and has been so well accepted by the modern, evangelical community, it is considered by many as authentic as the rest of Mark’s Gospel.

[167] Eusebius notes that in nearly all of the accurate manuscripts, the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel is missing ( Quaestionum ad Marinum 1) . The Greek text of Quaestionum ad Marinum is found in PG 22 cols. 937-958. See also Douglas Ezell, “Gospel According to Mark,” [on-line]; accessed 14 March 2010; available from http://mb-soft.com/believe/txs/mark.htm; Internet.

[168] Jerome writes, “The solution of this question is two-fold; for either we do not accept the testimony of Mark, that is carried in few gospels, almost all the books of Greece not having this passage at the end, especially and since it seems to speak various and contrary things to the other evangelists; or this must be replied, that both speak truly.” ( Epistle 120: To Hedibia 3) See Jerome, Episle 120: To Hedibia, On Biblical Problems, trans. Roger Pearse (Ipswich, UK: 2007) [on-line]; accessed 14 March 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/jerome_letter_120.htm; Internet. The Latin text of this quote of Jerome in Epistle 120 can be found in PL 22, col. 987.

[169] James L. Kelhoffer lists Eusebius, Jerome, Hesychius of Jerusalem, Severus of Antioch and Theophylactus of Ochrida as church fathers who dealt with this textual problem in Mark’s Gospel. See James L. Kelhoffer, "The Witness of Eusebius ad Marinum and Other Christian Writings to Text-Critical Debates concerning the Original Conclusion to Mark's Gospel," Zeitschrift f ϋ r die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft NW 92 (2001): 78-112. This is cited by Stephen C. Carl, “Hypotyposeis: Sketches in Biblical Studies,” [on-line]; accessed 14 March 2010; available at http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/2004/02/kelhoffers-article-on-eusebius-and.html; Internet.

[170] F. C. Conybeare, “Aristion, the Author of the Last Twelve Verses of Mark,” The Expositor Fourth Series, vol. 8, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1893), 241-243.

Mark 16:9-11 Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene (Matthew 28:9-10 , John 20:11-18 ) In Mark 16:9-11 we have the account of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene.

Mark 16:12-13 Jesus Appears to Two Disciples (Luke 24:13-35 ) In Mark 16:12-13 we have the account of Jesus appearing to two of His disciples.

Mark 16:14-18 Mark’s Version of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20 , Luke 24:36-49 , John 20:19-23 , Acts 1:6-8 ) Mark 16:14-18 is Mark’s version of the Great Commission. However, we find that each of the Evangelists ends his Gospel with a commission. A careful study reveals that each commission is based upon the structural theme of its particular Gospel. The theme of Matthew is the coming of the King to establish the Kingdom of Heaven and lay down the doctrine of the Kingdom. Jesus does this in Matthew’s Gospel by delivering five major discourses, which establishes the structure of this Gospel. As a result, Jesus commissions His disciples to go and teach, or disciple, all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe His commandments, or doctrines, laid down in Matthew’s Gospel. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the teacher in the five-fold ministry.

In contrast, the commission that closes Mark’s Gospel emphasizes the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. This is because Mark is structured around the proclamation of the Gospel with miracles accompanying it. Jesus tells His disciples in Mark to preach the Gospel and promised them that signs and miracles would accompany their preaching. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the evangelist in the five-fold ministry.

The structural theme of Luke’s Gospel is the collection of verifiable eyewitness accounts as to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, Jesus commands His disciples to be witnesses of these events by preaching the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47), and to tarry in Jerusalem unto they be endued with power on high (Luke 24:49). He is making a clear reference to the contents of the book of Acts and establishes its structural theme. Since the Gospel of Luke does not reach this goal of spreading the Gospel, (this is why Luke’s commission seems incomplete) we must rely upon an additional volume to fulfill our Lord’s commission. The book of Acts opens with the fulfillment of power coming from on high and closes with the fulfillment of the spread of the Gospel to Greco-Roman world. Thus, Luke clearly links these two writings in an unmistakable way through this commission. This link is necessary because the office of the prophet and apostle work together in the Church. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the prophet (Luke) and apostle (Acts) in the five-fold ministry.

The structural theme of John’s Gospel is the five-fold testimony of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. John’s Gospel reveals His deity with the testimony of the Father, of John the Baptist, of Jesus’ miracles, by the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures and finally in the last chapter by the testimony of Jesus Himself. This is why John’s commission is simply, “Come, follow Me.” This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the pastor in the five-fold ministry.

Mark 1:18 Illustration T. L. Osborn tells the story of his evangelistic crusade in Thailand, a nation where very few converts had been made by the missionaries after years of work. He preached the first night with no results. Returning back to the hotel, he began to pray and question the Lord on why his preaching was having no effect upon the people. The Lord spoke to him and told him that he was preaching about Jesus, but he was going to have to go preach Jesus. In other words, T. L. Osborn was going to have to preach boldly with an expectation of signs and wonders, praying for miracles in faith. He returned the next evening and preached with all of his might, praying for the sick, demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in power and signs and wonders. Many people responded and gave the lives to Jesus Christ, and churches began to grow at this point in Thailand. [171]

[171] T. L. Osborn, Good News Today (Osborn Ministries International, Tulsa, Oklahoma) , on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 1990-91.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:14 Comments - The previous passages list two appearances of Jesus to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11) and the two on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13), with both passages closing with remarks that the apostles did not believe. Thus, the statement, “And these signs shall follow them that believe,” means that Jesus’ disciples needed to believe in His resurrection in order to be able to preach the Gospel. It was necessary for Jesus to appear unto the eleven in order for them to believe.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world” Comments - We know that word “the world” refers to the nations and their physical boundaries, and it also to people as much as a physical location. It can also refers to various sectors of a society. In other words, we are to go into the world of the alcoholic, into the world of the sick and hurting, into the prison wards, into the cultures of the prostitutes and drug addicts and into all social classes and people in order to meet them at their point of need. Jesus told us where to go and what to say. Yet, how to accomplish this task is the work of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to us in order lead, guide and direct us to complete this great commission.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” Comments - In the preceding passages the Gospel of Mark gives three examples of those who did not believe when they first heard the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection; the testimony of Mary Magdalene was met with unbelief (Mark 16:9-11), as well as the testimony of the two on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13), and Mark records the rebuke of Jesus at His first appearance to the eleven for their unbelief (Mark 16:14).

Why does Mark tell us that someone must believe and be baptized to be saved? We know that this is a reference to salvation and water baptism. In order to answer this question, we must understand the meaning of water baptism. This is most clearly explained in 1 Peter 3:21.

1 Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

1 Peter 3:21 tells us that the baptism that saves us is not being dipped in water to wash away dirt, but a water baptism, which is an act of faith that allows us to have a good conscience towards God. It is the act of baptism, in obedience to God's command, that gives us this good conscience. A formal altar call is a relatively recent activity in church. But before this time, the act of water baptism served as the first outward testimony that a person had become a Christian. It was the first act that a new believer does in obedience to Christ. In the early Church, water baptism was a new believer’s first public testimony of his/her decision to follow Christ rather than a response to an altar call. It serves as a “crossing over the line” into a genuine commitment to join a local fellowship of believers. It is the first step in the Christian life as an act of obedience. Water baptism is the pledge of a good conscience toward God and our initial response to faith in Christ’s redemptive work on Calvary. As an act of faith and promise to serve God, baptism is our way of pledging to serve God with a good conscience night and day. In this sense, the new believer becomes identified with the body of Christ. If his old friends ever questioned his sincerity and hoped that he would come back into their worldly traditions, then water baptism served to settle the issue once and for all. The new believer was then genuinely considered a “Christian.” This is why water baptism gives the believer a good conscience towards God. It is like responding to an altar call. With his act of water baptism, he is allowed to join the local church congregation, which is how is will be established in the faith and secure his entrance into Heaven. Thus, from a biblical perspective, there is very little “daylight” between the experience of salvation and the act of water baptism. Water baptism serves to “establish” a person’s decision to follow Christ. In the book of Acts people were baptized the same day they were saved

When I was twenty-one years old I rededicated my life to the Lord privately on the steps of my church at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. Several weeks later during a Sunday morning altar call the Spirit of God convicted me to walk forward and rededicate my life publicly. I was later re-baptized, because God wants us to give Him our public testimony. It is one thing for a person of a different religion to say he believes in Jesus, but it is very different when that person leaves his traditions and religion and goes to join a church. At that point his family may attempt to kill him, as is common in the Muslim religion and other extreme religions. Or, a person may simply be ostracized. This is why water baptism is so closely linked to the act of salvation, though the two are certainly distinct. We know that it is possible for a person to go to Heaven without experiencing the act of water baptism, but this is the exception and not the norm.

Mark 16:16 “but he that believeth not shall be damned” Comments - If one does not put his faith in Jesus, he certainly is not going to be baptized.

Mark 16:16 Comments - Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 that those who hearken unto the preaching of the Gospel see the messenger as a sweet savour of life in Christ Jesus, but to those who reject the Gospel, the messenger is to him the savour of death.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

Ezekiel spoke on a similar topic was a watchman over the nation of Israel in Ezekiel 3:16-21. God called him to tell the people to repent of their sins.

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe” Comments - Within the immediate context of Jesus’ final commission to His disciples, the statement, “And these signs shall follow them that believe,” means that Jesus’ disciples needed to believe in His resurrection in order to be able to preach the Gospel. They could not effectively witness about Jesus Christ unless they first accepted His resurrection. Although the Resurrection of Jesus Christ became a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith in the early church, prior to Pentecost these disciples were struggling with this divine truth. Jesus was asking His disciples to settle the fact in their hearts that He was most certainly resurrected and alive for evermore. Thus, faith in His resurrection would become the foundation for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anyone who has become a believer can become an evangelist for Jesus Christ, with signs following, but not everyone enters into the office of an evangelist, and regularly walks with signs and wonders, which office is emphasized in Mark’s Gospel. The reason we do not see every believer operating in the miraculous is because they do not believe preaching with signs and wonders is for them, in other words, he is not taught to expect God to work miracles through him as a young believer; but the simple requirement is that he believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Mark places emphasis upon the office and ministry of the Evangelist, and Mark’s commission is a commission primarily for the work of the evangelist. Therefore the statement “And these signs shall follow them that believe,” refers more specifically to a particular type of disciple of Christ, who becomes passionate about evangelizing, who will thus find himself operating in the miracles listed in Mark 16:17-18. If we interpret this verse within the context of Mark’s Gospel we note that Jesus trained His disciples to preach the Gospel and signs and miracles following. For example, when He rebuked the storm, He asked His disciples, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). When they could not heal the boy with epilepsy, Jesus rebuked his disciples for their “unbelief.” (Mark 9:19) Jesus then explained that they needed to maintain their faith level for the miraculous by a disciplined lifestyle of prayer and fasting (Mark 9:28-29). He then taught them how to believe by cursing the fig tree in Mark 11:12-26. They can speak to mountains and it shall be removed if they believe that whatever they say shall come to pass. In other words, Jesus was saying in Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow the Christians that maintain their faith-level through a disciplined lifestyle of prayer.” This explains why only some Christians, and not others, are operating in the miraculous.

Mark 9:19, “He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.”

Mark 9:28-29, “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

I asked the Lord why I did not see signs in my preaching. He quickened to me Mark 16:17 and I understood that I must expect and anticipate these signs (26 August 2007). I then remembered sitting on the platform in a Benny Hinn crusade in May 2007 and recognizing Hinn’s intense expectations for healings during the course of the meeting. He took time during each meeting to give the Lord a chance to heal people, and then gave many people an opportunity to testify. I have also observed Rodney Howard-Brown expecting the miraculous to manifest during his meetings in the form of laughter and drunkenness. I have also seen Joyce Meyer doing an altar call for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and she expected many to be filled. These miracles also apply to salvation altar calls for the evangelist. Thus, I must give the Lord an opportunity during my meetings to move and manifest for miracles. Cecil Stewart says, “There is not an age of miracles. There is a God of miracles who fills every age.” [172]

[172] Cecil Stewart, “Sermon,” Leadership Conference, Africana Hotel, Kampala, Uganda, 4 September 2009.

Mark 16:17 “In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues” Comments - This passage teaches us that these signs will follow believers, not just the pastors and church leaders. It tells us that the least believer in the Kingdom of God has authority over the devil to cast him out. In the name of Jesus Christ we have authority over the devil because Jesus Christ delegated this authority to us in Matthew 28:18-20.

The Lord told Kenneth Hagin that after His ascension into Heaven, He gave His Church the authority and responsibility of casting out demons and delivering people from the bondage of darkness. If the Church does not cast out demons and deliver people, then this work will not be done. Jesus Christ delegated His authority and this task to the Church and if we fail to deliver others, then it will not get done. [173]

[173] Kenneth Hagin, I Believe In Visions (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1984, 1986), 87-90; Kenneth Hagin, The Triumphant Church (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1993, 1994), 131-7.

The signs of demons coming out of people, and them being filled with the Holy Spirit are events that take place primarily at the time of one’s conversion, when the evangelist is first proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ to a heathen people.

Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark 16:18 Word Study on “sick” BDAG says the Greek word α ̓́ ρ ̓ ρ ̔ ωστος literally means, “powerless,” and carries the additional meaning, “sick, ill.” Leon Morris says this word means, “feeble, sickly,” being derived from the Greek prefix ἀ and the verb ρ ̔ ώνυμμι , which means, “to strengthen.” [174]

[174] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, in The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 376.

Comments - The evangelist is a person who must travel in order to preach to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. If he begins to fulfill the requirements of Mark 16:17 and sees demonic deliverances and sees converts being filled with the Holy Spirit, then the devil will try to fight against this man of God. Therefore, Jesus promises in His next statement, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” This statement reflects spiritual warfare that an evangelist experiences, as well as physical challenges of eating and drinking foods that are possibly harmful in a foreign land, or even wicked people trying to poison this minister. God will protect this evangelist as he goes forth preaching the Gospel.

“they shall take up serpents” - This does not mean that they will tempt God by holding snakes, but like Paul on the island, God delivered him when he was bitten by a snake as a testimony of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. See:

Acts 28:3-5, “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.”

“drink any deadly thing” - Illustration: Arthur Blessitt, while carrying cross through the jungles of Central and South America, had to drink filthy rain water in order to survive on a number of occasions. [175] Andrew Wommack tells the story of how he was locked inside his room while in India under martial law and had to drink the faucet water, which he was told was practically deadly. Andrew did not get sick. [176]

[175] Arthur Blessitt, Praise the Lord, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

[176] Andrew Wommack, “Sermon,” (Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, Kasese, Uganda, 14 February 2007).

“and they shall recover” The Greek literally says, “and they shall do well.” The ACV reads closely to this literally meaning by saying, “They will lay hands on the feeble, and they will fare well .” The YLT reads, “on the ailing they shall lay hands, and they shall be well .”

Summary - Mark 16:18 covers all types of healings, from instant healings to gradual healings. When hands are laid upon us, we are never to turn off the switch of faith that healing is for us.

Mark 16:19-20 The Ascension of Jesus (Luke 24:50-53 , Acts 1:9-11 ) In Mark 16:19-20 we have the account of Jesus’ ascension into Heaven.

Mark 16:20 “the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” Comments - As a young Seminary student, I began to be exposed to many different messages and sermons from Bible scholars, preachers, and professors. One of these messages was delivered in a chapel service at my seminary by a British theologian who did not even believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I began to ask the Lord how to distinguish between those who are teaching the Word of God accurately, and those who are misinterpreting the Scriptures, the Lord helped me to understand this verse and a similar verse in Hebrews 2:4. When God's Word is preached, He will always confirm His Word with signs and miracles. He gives proof to the accuracy of His Word. I quickly saw that most preachers lacked this evidence in their ministries. I began to seek those ministers who had this Scriptural testimony in their ministry of miracles. I could trust that they are preaching the genuine Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:4, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark 16". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/mark-16.html. 2013.
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