HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Mark
Theme: Transfiguration; demon-possessed boy; death of Christ; mark of greatness; rebuke of sectarianism; teaching about Hell.
We come now to the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, and his version of the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration is found in the first three Gospels, the synoptic Gospels.
Mark tells us in detail that while the Transfiguration was going on at the top of the mountain, there was complete failure of the apostles at the foot of the mountain. They could not cast the demon out of the boy.
Then Jesus again announces His death, and the apostles dispute as to who should be greatest among them. Jesus rebukes them and warns about Hell. This is another chapter just loaded in Mark’s Gospel of action.
Mark is usually briefer in his account than the other evangelists, but he does give us the longest account of the Transfiguration. It is interesting to consider why he would emphasize it. The other Gospels give the account of the Transfiguration, with the exception of the Gospel of John. The Transfiguration does NOT only prove, and set forth the deity of Christ. It also sets forth the humanity of Christ. The Gospel of John emphasizes the deity of Christ and therefore omits the account of the Transfiguration, although the other three Gospels record it.
The Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ is, in my judgment, is not only the proof of His humanity but the hope of humanity. The Man Whom you see glorified there, Transfigured, is the kind of Person that you, my friend, will be someday if you are a child of God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 Jn:3:2). The glorious prospect of being like Christ Jesus is before every person.
The Lord Jesus Christ was glorified before His death and resurrection, and this is the picture that is given to us here. You will find that the Gospel of Luke presents details which neither Matthew nor Mark include, because Dr. Luke is the one who sets forth the perfect humanity of Jesus.
The Scripture story offers no explanation of the Transfiguration. The event is afterward referred to only in the most general way by Peter, and possibly by John (Jn.1:14).
The Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13)
Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. (KJV)
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (KJV)
Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. (KJV) . . . There are many interpretations of this, but it seems to me that the Lord made definite reference to His Transfiguration. Peter makes reference to it. He said that He was witness of the power and Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. When? At the Transfiguration! 2 Peter 1:16-18 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (KJV)
Matthew uses the expression, "till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Mat.16:28); Mark uses the expression, "till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power;" and Luke says, "till they see the kingdom of God" (Lk.9:27). They all refer to the SAME event, and this event was to occur BEFORE some of those who were then present would die. They saw the Kingdom of God in prepared existence and active for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, AFTER the resurrection of Christ Jesus. They saw the Kingdom "come with power," through the power of the Holy Spirit's work through the apostles. 3000 men turned to the Lord that day. And they too, saw the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom, not literally, but by revealing His invisible Presence to the spiritual eye of faith. What they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears confirmed His Presence in His Kingdom.
The demonstration of the awesome majesty of Jesus is more fully explained by Matthew. Mark adds no material facts. I would suggest to you, to also study the parallel in Matthew.
I think that possibly the reason this is stated at this particular time, BEFORE His death and resurrection, was so we could understand that . . . IF He went to the cross or not, the Kingdom is in His Hands. He COULD have stepped off this Earth, and gone back to Heaven and He would still have been the sovereign Ruler of the Universe . . . BUT . . . IF He had gone back, He could NOT have saved you and me!
Doesn’t this prove to you that He loves us? He KNEW what lie ahead! He KNEW every agonizing detail of His agony, persecution, shame, suffering and death! Yet He stayed on Earth so He could take OUR place on that horrible cross for you, and for me! Thank You Jesus!
Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
And after six days . . . 6 days after this discourse with His apostles, on their way to Caesarea Philippi, and after they were come into those parts.
Jesus taketh with him Peter, James, and John . . . His favorite apostles, a sufficient number (Mat.18:16), to be witnesses of His Transfiguration. Peter, James and John: (Mat.10:2; 17:1; 26:37; ; Mk.5:37; 9:2; 13:3; 14:33; Lk.6:14; 8:51; 9;28).
And leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves . . . where they were alone. This was not Mount Tabor, as some say, but either the mountain which Caesarea was at the foot of, or possibly Mount Lebanon (Mat.17:1).
And he was transfigured before them . . . the above three apostles. The question arises as to why He took these three men. We are not told, so it is not necessary for us to know. These three were chosen several times, over the rest.
Peter says that they were eyewitnesses of His majesty. This is the glorified Christ as He will come someday to this Earth. This also is a picture of what you and I will be someday. We are told that we shall be like Him (1 Jn.3:2). John says, "...we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father" (Jn.1:14).
The word transfigured here is the Greek word metamorphoom, or metamorphose in English. The Transfiguration took place in the BODY of Jesus. It was NOT just a light or some effect produced from the outside. The Transfiguration was the Light that shone from WITHIN the Lord Jesus! I think that the Transfiguration teaches the perfect humanity of Jesus and also His deity (Jn.10:30).
Mark 9:3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (KJV)
And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them . . . His raiment became white, whiter than we could possibly believe. The Light came from within Him. The word fuller means a cloth dresser and refers to the laundry. There was NO modern wash day miracle that could have produced such brightness. The rays of His glory and brightness came from His body, through His clothes, and made them as bright as the light of the sun at noon day (Rev.21:23). See: Mat.17:2.
Jesus’ Face was like the face of Moses, that the Israelites could not behold because of the glory of his countenance, when he came down from the mount (Ex.34:29).
Mark 9:4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (KJV)
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus . . . Elias is the Greek for Elijah. Elijah was the representative of the prophets. Moses was the representative of the Law. The Bible tells us that BOTH the Law and the Prophets bore testimony of the death of Jesus. Luke tells us that they talked about the death of Jesus. We know that Moses knew of Christ because we are told in: Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (KJV) . . . Moses knew He was coming. All of the prophets spoke of His suffering and the glory that would follow.
Prophecies of Jesus’ death in Books of Moses: (Gen.3:15; Ex.12:1-13,46; Lev.17:11,14; Num.21:8-9; Deut.21:22-23)
Prophecies of Jesus’ death in the Prophets: (Ps.22:6-8,18; 34:20; 41:9; 69:4; 109:3,5,25; Isa.50:6; 53:4-6;12; Zec.11:12-13)
No strength in me; Fell at His Feet: (Gen.17:3; Lev.9:24; Dan.8:7,18,27; 10:5-9, 16-19; Eze.1:28; Hab.3:16; Acts 9:4; Rev.1:17)
Mark 9:5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. (KJV)
And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias . . . Luke 9:32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. (KJV) . . . It is possible that it was night when Christ was Transfigured, and they were tired and fell asleep, just as they did later in the garden with Him. When they awoke, either by the talk of the men with Christ, or by the rays of brightness and glory, which streamed from them, especially from Christ. Needless to say they would have been surprised, to say the least. They saw the brilliant glory that was upon Jesus, and saw the two men that were with Him, who also appeared in glorious forms (Phil.3:21). It seems that the apostles knew it was Moses and Elias, either by revelation, or from hearing what they said. Just as the two prophets were leaving Christ, Peter addresses himself to Christ and says,
Master, it is good for us to be here . . . in this mountain, with You and these great men. They had had much misery and distress in the valley, and more would come. It is better to be here, than to go to Jerusalem, and there suffer and die. Peter still had the horror of this on his mind.
If thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles . . . (Mat.17:4). Simon Peter could not resist speaking up. Every event was favorable for him. He usually stood up to say something, and often it was to say the wrong thing . . . UNTIL the Day of Pentecost! Here it is the wrong thing; he should have kept quiet. God Himself rebukes Peter, because Peter was trying to place Moses and Elijah on the same level with the Lord Jesus. Luke offers the explanation for this indiscretion of Peter's by stating: Luke 9:33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. (KJV) . . . Have you ever talked without thinking, without knowing what you are saying? Peter was reprimanded. He should have kept quiet!
Mark 9:6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. (KJV)
For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid . . . I think Peter was stunned by what they saw, and did not know what he should say. Consider: what would be suitable to say in this situation? My suggestion: nothing! Just take it all in!
Peter was the spokesman for the three of them here, just as he always was the spokesman of all the apostles. Simon Peter often spoke when he did not know what to say. I think that Simon Peter’s reasoning (or non-reasoning), put his foot in his mouth time after time again, and it was certainly true here. A lesson here for us: THINK before you speak!
Mark 9:7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (KJV)
And there was a cloud that overshadowed them . . . Jesus, Moses and Elias, and also the apostles; who, according to Luke, entered into it, and so were covered by it. Luke 9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. (KJV)
And a voice came out the cloud, saying, this is my beloved Son, hear him . . . Whose Voice was this? This was the Voice of Almighty God the Father, bearing a testimony to the Sonship of Christ Jesus. The Voice was directed, NOT to Moses and Elias, but to the apostles, instructing them to hear and obey Jesus, who was the end of the Law and Prophets; and was the Great Prophet that Moses had spoken of (Deut.18:15), and was to be listened to and obeyed, and of Whom all the prophets had testified of. (Mat.17:5).
All attention today is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. His Word is final. We do NOT put Moses or Elijah on a level with Him.
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (KJV) . . . Thank You Jesus!
Mark 9:8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. (KJV)
And suddenly, when they had looked round about . . . when they heard the Voice, they looked to see if they could see who it was that had spoken.
They saw no man any more . . . Moses and Elias were gone.
Save Jesus only with themselves . . . only Jesus was there with Peter, James and John. (Mat.17:8). The Voice only regarded Jesus, and had been directed to them. "Jesus Only" is an excellent headline! "Jesus Only" is not only a caption in Mark's Gospel, but it should be a headline in the lives of believers today.
Mark 9:9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. (KJV)
And as they came down from the mountain . . . Christ Jesus and His three apostles, Peter, James and John, whom He had led up there.
He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen . . . on the mount, meaning the Transfiguration of Himself, seeing Moses and Elias, and the bright cloud from where the Voice came from, which bore testimony of Christ's Sonship. He ordered them to keep everything that they had seen, a secret from everyone, even from their fellow apostles,
Till the Son of man were risen from the dead . . . Mat.17:9.
The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus must go along with this story of the Transfiguration, for the Transfiguration represents the goal . . . and the goal can only come ONLY through the death of Christ on the Cross and through His resurrection from the dead. Christ Jesus always puts His death and resurrection together.
Mark 9:10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. (KJV)
And they kept that saying with themselves . . . "they kept it close" is what Luke states (Lk.9:36). They told no one about what they had seen on the mount.
Questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean . . . they talked one with another, what the meaning of such an expression was. They were not completely ignorant of the general resurrection of the dead; for this was the hope of Israel, but they did not know what He meant by His particular words rising from the dead. Did He mean it in a literal sense? which supposed His death? Even though He had recently told them of His death, they did not know what He meant. They were entirely ignorant of the Resurrection.
At the time of Jesus' resurrection they rushed to the cemetery, but they did NOT expect to see a living Savior. You do not go to the graveyard to see the living, but to pay respect to the dead. Resurrection from the dead: (Job 14:14; 19:25; Ps.49:15; 71:20; Ecc.3:21; Isa.25:8; 26:19; Dan.12:2; Eze.37:1-4; 37:12; Hos.13:14; Mat.22:29-32; Mk.12:26; 16:6; Lk.14:14; 20:37; 24:26,46; Jn.5:21,25,29; 6:40,45,54; 11:23-26; Acts 23:6; 24:15,21; 26:8; Rom.4:17; 1 Cor.6:14; 15:20-22,42,51-54; 2 Cor.1:9; 4:14; Phil.3:11; 1 Thes.4:14,16; Heb.6:2; 11:35; Rev.20:13).
Mark 9:11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? (KJV)
And they asked him, saying . . . when they saw Elias on the mountain, or else by what Christ had said concerning His resurrection, or both:
Why say the Scribes . . . some versions adds, "and Pharisees",
That Elias must first come? . . . before the Messiah comes, or before the setting up His Kingdom in greater glory. (Mat.17:10).
Mark 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. (KJV)
And he answered, and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things . . . He did not mean by this that Elijah was yet to come, for very soon He tells them that he had come. He meant to confirm that it was a true doctrine which the scribes taught, that Elijah would appear before the Coming of the Messiah.
And restoreth all things . . . to restore, means to put into the former situation (Mat.12:13). So it means, to heal, to correct, to put in proper order. Here it means that Elijah would put things in a proper state; be the instrument of reforming the people; of restoring them, in some measure, to proper notions about the Messiah, and preparing them for the Messiah's Coming. Before the coming of John the Baptist, their views were wrong, their expectations worldly, and their conduct corrupt. He corrected many of their ideas about the Messiah (Mat.3:1), and was the instrument of an extensive reformation; and thus restored them, to some degree, to correct ideas of their own economy and of the Messiah, and to prepare them for His Coming.
And how it is written of the son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought . . . Prophecy of two things: #1.The coming of Elijah to restore all things just before the Second Coming (Isa.40:3; Mal.5-6). This will be fulfilled when the two witnesses appear on Earth (Rev.11:3-12). #2. His own sufferings, which have now been fulfilled (Mat.27; Mk.15).
Mark 9:13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him. (KJV)
But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come . . . this means John the Baptist, who in prophecy is intended by him.
And they have done unto him whatsoever they listed . . . this refers to John the Baptist who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Lk.1:17) to prepare before the First Coming what Elijah in person will do before the Second Coming (Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3). Whatsoever they listed . . . whatsoever they desired (Mat.14:1-12). (Mat.17:12).
As it is written of him . . . what is written of John the Baptist, are the words regarding his coming, and the prophecies concerning him, and particularly, that under the name of Elijah, in (Mal.4:5), and which had had their accomplishment.
IF the Jews had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, John the Baptist would have been the fulfillment of the prophecy . . . BUT . . . since they did NOT accept Jesus as their Messiah at His First Coming, the prophecy of Elijah as His forerunner would be fulfilled at His Second Coming.
From the remarkable scene on the mountain top, Mark takes us down to the total defeat of the apostles at the foot of the mountain.
It was difficult for the disciples to grasp the idea that their Messiah would have to suffer. The Jews who studied the Old Testament prophecies expected the Messiah to be a great king like David, who would overthrow the enemy, Rome, but their vision was limited only to their own time and experience. 2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (KJV) . . . People today say the same thing! Where is He? Where is the Promise of His Coming?
People then and now, do not understand that the values of God's eternal Kingdom were different from the values of the world. They wanted relief from their present problems, but deliverance from sin is far more important than deliverance from physical suffering or political oppression. Our understanding and appreciation of Jesus has to go far beyond what He can do for us here and now.
A Stubborn Demon Cast Out (Mark 9:14-29)
Mark 9:14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. (KJV)
And when he came to his disciples . . . the other nine, who were left at the bottom of the mountain, and were waiting for Him to return.
He saw a great multitude about them . . . the multitude that followed Him from Bethsaida to there, and which very probable, had increased when Christ arrived in those parts, and the people heard of it.
And the Scribes questioning with them . . . disputing with and challenging them about their Master, His doctrines and His miracles, and their mission and authority from Him. They were very disrespectful to them, because they could NOT dispossess a dumb spirit.
The questioning of the scribes had reference, no doubt, to the ineffectual attempt of the nine disciples to cast out the demon (verses 15-18). It was a great victory to these unbelievers to witness such a failure, and they eagerly forced the advantage which it appeared to give them.
Mark 9:15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. (KJV)
And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed . . . either that He should come at that moment, to relieve His apostles, when the Scribes were prevailing over them, or because of that lingering shine and glory which was on His Face, through His Transfiguration, and not yet completely gone; like that which was on the face of Moses, when he came down from Mount Sinai.
And running to him, saluted him . . . wishing Him all peace and prosperity, expressing their great joy at His coming to them; which was very pleasing to them, and especially at this time.
Were greatly amazed . . . it is possible that the people supposed Jesus to have been much farther away from them than He had been, and that His return was not expected. Whatever the cause of their amazement was, its effect made them run to Him and greet Him.
Mark 9:16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? (KJV)
And he asked the Scribes, What question ye with them? . . . seeing the scribes around His apostles, in strong debate with them, He questions them: what is it ye seek and want from them? what is your argument with them? Before anyone had found time to tell Jesus what had been going on, He surprised the scribes by demanding of them, "What question ye with them?" They saw at once that He knew all, and their failure to answer shows that they deserved a rebuke for their rejoicing.
Mark 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; (KJV)
And one of the multitude answered and said . . . the scribes made no reply, not wanting to tangle with Him, for they had often found His wisdom too much for them. If the apostles were spoken to, they too were silent, because of shame, since they had not succeeded in the cure of the person brought to them, which gave their enemies a hold on them. The parent of the afflicted child answered,
Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit . . . stating that he had heard much of Jesus, and as a very great Man, and he believed Him to be a Master in Israel, who was famous both for doctrine and miracles, and therefore he brought his son to Him, to be cured by Him. But, since Christ was not there, he took the child to His Apostles, who tried, without success. The case of his son was, he had a "dumb spirit". Matthew says he was "lunatic" (Mat.17:15); and by his account of him it appears, that he had the "epilepsy", or falling sickness. It seems that when the "epilepsy" or "falling sickness" (Mat.4:24); seized him, whether by the fireside, or by a river or brook, or any place of water, or in any other dangerous situation, he fell into it, not being able to help himself, or avoid any danger to which he was exposed.
Called a dumb spirit because it deprived its victim of speech (see verse 25). The young man was not only deaf and dumb, but a lunatic, and subject to fits.
Mark 9:18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. (KJV)
And wheresoever he taketh him . . . where ever the evil spirit or devil took the boy, be it near a fire, or water, whatever danger, or dangerous place,
He teareth him . . . or throws him into it, or dashes him against it; or inwardly racks, tortures, and convulses him.
And he foameth . . . at the mouth, like one that is mad.
And gnasheth with his teeth . . . through the excessive pain he is in.
And pineth away . . . his flesh is withered, dried up, and consumed away. This was the sad and deplorable case this child was in, who was his father's only child, and therefore his health and life were very dear to him. He then says to Jesus,
And I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not . . . since Jesus was not there, the father of the boy, begged the apostles, who had power against unclean spirits, to cast them out. They were not able to heal the boy.
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. (KJV)
He answereth him . . . the father of the child, and who is included in the reproof afterwards given, for his unbelief, and taking part with the Scribes against His disciples.
O faithless generation . . . (Deut.32:5). Jesus had to be speaking to the man and the multitude, because this way of speaking was never used of the apostles by Jesus.
How long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?. . . reprimanding them with the length of time that He had been with them, in which so many wonderful works had been done among them, and yet they remained unbelieving and impossible. I think He was saying that His patience and longsuffering would not always continue; and that in a short time, He would be gone from them, and they would no longer enjoy the benefit of His ministry and miracles, but wrath should come upon them to the fullest.
Bring him hither to me . . . meaning the lunatic child. These words also are directed, NOT to the apostles, but to the father of the child. “Bring thy son hither" (Lk.9:41; Mat.17:17).
Mark 9:20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. (KJV)
And they brought him unto him . . . the father of the child, and those that were with him, brought the child to Jesus, into His Presence,
And when he saw him . . . when Jesus saw the child, or the child saw Jesus; or the evil spirit in him, and by him which were all at once:
Straightway the spirit tare him . . . threw the boy into a violent fit, shook him, and convulsed him in a horrible manner; knowing his time was short, and being filled with anger and rage, that he should be obedient, as he knew he must, to leave the child quickly; and was therefore resolved to do all the mischief, and put him to all the pain he could:
And he fell on the ground . . . the boy fell at the feet of Jesus, not being able to stand, through the violent motions and convulsions the demon threw him into.
And wallowed, foaming . . . rolled about from side to side, foaming at the mouth, and in the most horrifying torture.
Mark 9:21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. (KJV)
And he asked his father . . . as the boy lay rolling about in this miserable condition,
How long is it ago since this came unto him? . . . He asked the boy’s father how long this had been going on, so the cure would be more remarkable, and express His divine power and goodness.
And he said of a child . . . or from a baby. So, it was not for any actual sin that he had committed, that this sore affliction came upon him; and yet he could not be without sin, since it was not agreeable to the justice, mercy, and goodness of God, to afflict, or suffer to be afflicted, one that is innocent; and therefore must be tainted with original sin, which is the source and spring of all afflictions, calamities and judgments.
Mark 9:22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. (KJV)
And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire . . . if he had been near a fire, the demon cast him into it so that some part or other of his body has been scorched or burnt and his life was in danger.
And into the waters to destroy him . . . if he had been near any brook or river, the demon threw him into it. All this is said to magnify the case, and show just how miserable the child was, from the frequency of the fits, and the danger he was exposed to.
But if thou canst do any thing . . . this man's faith was very weak, and maybe weaker than when he first came from his home with his child. He had brought him to the apostles of Christ, and they could not cure him; the evil spirit was as strong as or stronger than ever. The child now lay in a violent fit, so that the father was just about ready to give up on any healing. The small hopes he had that Christ might be able to cure him, seem nearly gone, yet he begged once more.
Have compassion on us, and help us . . . his child lay in a dreadful condition, rolling on the ground at his feet. The father was greatly distressed for his son, he begs for both the power and pity of Christ; and begs that if He was able, He would apply them.
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (KJV)
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe . . . since the man put an "if" on the power of Christ, Christ puts an "if" on the faith of the man. Jesus’ power was NOT lacking, it was the faith of the man in Him that was lacking.
All things are possible to him that believeth . . . all things are NOT possible to be done by the believer himself, but ALL things are possible to be done FOR him, by God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son or the Spirit of God. Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (KJV)
If thou canst believe . . . the father's doubtful remark, "If thou canst do any thing," is echoed by Jesus’ answer, "If thou canst believe." The additional remark, "All things are possible to him that believeth," does not mean Jesus was not able to heal an unbeliever, for many of the miracles were done on persons who had no faith; but it hints at refusal to believe, as at Nazareth, to heal those who in the face of expert evidence, still would not unbelieve. It also might have been a reason for the father to get rid of the doubt implied in his petition, and it was a statement in the presence of the scribes who had rejoiced over the failure of the disciples, that "all things were possible" with Himself.
Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (KJV)
And straightway the father of the child cried out . . . when he found it lay on his faith, and that the result of things would be according to that, the father expressed himself with much passion, being in great distress; partly with anger at his unbelief, and partly through fear of not being cured,
And said with tears . . . repenting of his unbelief, and grieved at the present weakness of his faith; which he very simply confesses, saying,
Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief . . . somewhere, he found in himself a small degree of faith in the power of Christ, but it was mixed with still lingering unbelief, because of the greatness of his son’s disorder. Said with tears . . . the Savior's response brought within the afflicted father the struggle which was intended. His tears expressed his anxiety for his son, and his words declared the weakness of the faith on which the cure was now to depend. The conflicting answer, "I believe; help thou my unbelief," can have come only from a heart confused between a burning desire for a cure and a weak faith. Having said, "I believe," he feared that he had gone too far, calling his weak faith unbelief, and begs Jesus to help him strengthen it. This was so much different from the conduct of the scribes who were fighting against the powerful force of evidence and struggling to hold tight to their stubborn unbelief!
Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. (KJV)
When Jesus saw that the people came running together . . . when they heard passionate cry of the father of the child, and the sincere pleas he made, they expected that something would be done. Already, a large portion of the multitude had surrounded Jesus, having run to Him when He first came into view (verse 15). The running together probably means the coming of others from the vicinity, and perhaps the rush of all to get still closer to Him. This was far from the privacy which Jesus had been maintaining, so Jesus immediately went about casting out the demon, and then withdrew with His apostles into a house (verse 28).
He rebuked the foul spirit . . . that brought this disorder on the child, and had continued it so long, with such violence. Matthew calls this foul spirit, "the devil" (Mat.17:18).
Saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit . . . calling him this, not because the spirit was dumb and deaf, but because he had been the cause of dumbness and deafness in the child, for he had at times taken away both his speech and hearing.
I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him . . . Jesus, in a very commanding way, ordered the unclean spirit to leave his possession (the boy), and NEVER to return. This He said, partly with regard to the devil, who would want to repossess the boy, and partly with respect to the father of the child, to confirm his faith in the cure, and that he might not worry about the return of the disorder.
Mark 9:26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. (KJV)
And the spirit cried, and rent him sore . . . the demon, or devil; for it was he, not the child, that cried and made an terrible noise, at his being ejected; being filled with wrath and rage, that he was forced to leave the possession where he had been for so long. It was for that reason, in spite and malice, before the demon left him, that he shook and tore the boy, and threw him into horrible convulsions.
And came out of him . . . though totally against his will, being forced into it by the superior power of Christ.
And he was as one dead . . . meaning the child, after the horrible convulsions the demon put him through. He lay as still as if he had no breath, no life in him.
Insomuch that many said, he is dead . . . the people thought the boy really was dead. They had no hopes of his coming to life again.
Mark 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. (KJV)
But Jesus took him by the hand . . . some versions read: "Took hold of the hand of the child", And lifted him up . . . from the ground, on which he was cast by the spirit;
And he arose . . . this is omitted in some versions, although in one edition, it states, "and the child was healed". All the expressions show, that the boy was perfectly well. As one dead . . . the astonishing arrogance and cruelty of the demon, can alone account for the convulsion into which he threw the young man as he left him. I think that the cry when the demon left was not a clear sound, but a fearful shriek. The shock given to the nervous system of the young man, left him as if he were dead. Such torture as was inflicted by this hideous demon, gives us an idea of the state of society which must prevail among these Godforsaken spirits.
Mark 9:28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? (KJV)
And when he was come into the house . . . possibly into the man's house whose child he had healed, or into some other in these parts, for retirement and refreshment.
His disciples asked him privately, why could not we cast him out? . . . the nine apostles, who were very concerned about this matter, fearing they had lost the power of casting out devils. They wanted to know why they could not cast this demon out of the boy.
Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (KJV)
And he said unto them . . . Matthew, besides the following reason, gives another, as given by our Lord, why they could not cast out the evil demon, that being their unbelief; of which they were in some way guilty, as well as the Jews, and the father of the child. Mark omits it, and only relates this as the reason.
This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. . . which it seemed that they had not observed (Mat.17:19).
I do believe that we do have demon possession in today’s world. The Bible tells us much about demons. We read in: Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (KJV) . . . Why do demons walk in “dry places”? Because that is where humans live. There is great vulnerability of anyone who opens themselves up to demonic possession. Let me list some of the most common roads of demon-possession: alcohol, drug abuse, fortune tellers, palm readers, hauntings, séances, necromancy, sorcery, tarot cards, occult, Ouija boards, crystal balls, witchcraft . . . just to name a few.
Many unbelievers who approach these subjects, believe that ghosts are the spirits of dead people, and they just want to get a person’s attention. My friend, any interaction with non-human spirits or demons, can be extremely harmful and dangerous, for these “demonic beings” can masquerade as human spirits. BEWARE!
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “sorcerer” is the same root word from which we get the modern term “pharmacy.” Drugs will be rampant in the Great Tribulation (Rev.9:21; 12:9; 13:13-16; 16:13-14; 17:2,5; 18:3,9,23; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8; 22:15).
Return through Galilee, Second Prediction of Death (Mark 9:30-32) (Mat.17:22-23; Lk.9:43-45)
Mark 9:30 And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. (KJV)
And they departed thence . . . from the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, the country where the mountain was, where Christ was Transfigured, and at the foot of it, where the above miracle was done. This is to be understood of Christ and His twelve apostles, although some versions read: "He went out"; not alone, but with His apostles, as the following account shows:
And passed through Galilee . . . in order to go to the coasts of Judea, and on to Jerusalem, where He would shortly suffer.
And he would not that any man should know it . . . He passed through the country, as privately as He could, that He might have the opportunity of speaking alone with His apostles, to remind and inform them of some important things, which they needed to know.
They were returning from Cæsarea Philippi (Mk.8:27), the way they had gone by passing east of the upper Jordan through the district called Iturea. That they returned "through Galilee," shows that they came down on the west side of the Jordan. They were on their way back to Capernaum (verse 33). He would not that any man should know it, is the last time His privacy is mentioned, which Jesus had maintained ever since His journey to the vicinity of Tyre (Mk.7:24,33,36; 8:23,26; 9:25). It was this privacy which brought on the provoking remark of His unbelieving kindred, "Depart hence and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly" (Jn.7:3-4).
Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. (KJV)
For he taught his disciples, and said unto them . . . continuing on what He had a short time before told them Mk.8:31).
The son of man is delivered into the hands of men . . . "sinful men", as in (Lk.24:7). This is spoken as if it were already done, because it was predetermined and agreed upon, that it should be; and because, in a very short time, the Son of Man would be delivered into the hands of wicked men, according to the will of God (Acts 2:23), with His own consent, by the means of Judas, the Jews and Pilate.
And they shall kill him . . . put Him to death in a vicious and violent way, opposing all laws and justice.
And after that he is killed . . . this is omitted in some versions, and in its place it reads, "and shall put him into a sepulchre" . . . that being what followed His death.
And he shall rise the third day . . . Jesus always is extra careful to mention this, to comfort His apostles, when He tells them of His death.
Death of Jesus predetermined: (Ps.76:10; Isa.46:10-11; Dan.4:35; 9:24-27; Mat.26:24; Lk.22:22,37; 24:44-46; Jn.19:31-37; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:27; 15:18; Rom.4:17; 11:33-36; 1 Pet.1:20; 2:8; Jude 1:4; Rev.13:8)
Mark 9:32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. (KJV)
But they understood not that saying . . . meaning all of what He had said, concerning His delivery to His enemies, His death, and His resurrection. Matthew says, "they were exceeding sorry upon it" (Mat.17:23). They could not understand how this could be, nor why, such an innocent Man as He was, would be put to death; neither could they connect this with His character, as the Son of God, the Messiah, and King of Israel. The ideas they had, were of the Messiah abiding forever, and setting up a Kingdom on Earth. Possibly this regarded only His resurrection from the dead; and whether it was to be taken literally or in a spiritually sense.
And were afraid to ask him . . . lest they should be rebuked for their ignorance and stupidity, as they had been lately rebuked by Him for their unbelief, and the neglect of their duty; and as Peter had been severely reprimanded for disagreeing with Him about the same things. It often is the case, even today, that a Passage of Scripture is obscure (dim, murky) simply because it has only one meaning, and this meaning, people are unwilling to accept.
Dispute about Who shall be Greatest (Mark 9:33-37)
Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? (KJV)
And he came to Capernaum . . . where He met with the collectors of the tribute money, and paid it to them, as told to us by Matthew (Mat.17:24), although Mark makes no mention of it. Two completely different people, writing what was most important to them. As I stated before, reading all accounts of a Passage bring the best results.
And being in the house . . . the house of Simon and Andrew, very probable where He stayed when at Capernaum.
He asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? . . . while in their journey to Galilee; or as they travelled through the parts of Galilee to Capernaum. The question Christ asked, not because He did not know the answer, for He did . . . but to have the case laid before Him; that He might reprove them for their pride and ambition, and have a chance to teach them humility, and of informing them of the TRUE nature of His Kingdom, and His subjects, for they had some misconception concerning it, in which they had some very wrong thoughts.
Some say there seems to be a discrepancy between Matthew and Mark. Matthew represents the disciples as beginning the conversation by asking who should be greatest, while Mark introduces it by saying that Jesus asked them. I think arguing on this is foolish. The end result on both are the same . . . their being rebuked by the Lord Jesus.
Mark 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. (KJV)
But they held their peace . . . fearing a reprimand, for their vanity and affection of worldly grandeur.
For by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest . . . they wanted to know WHO would be advanced to the highest position, and have the greatest place of authority, honor and dignity, in the Kingdom of the Messiah, they expected would be in a short time set up; for aside from what Christ had said to them, concerning His being given over to the power of evil men, and concerning His death and resurrection, they still kept their previous opinion, to which they did not know how to reconcile His dying; and just chose to leave His meaning in doubt, and remain ignorant about it.
Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (KJV)
And he sat down . . . as their Master, to examine this matter, and pass judgment upon it.
And called the twelve . . . all the apostles, for it seems that they all had the same idea; so Christ calls them all unto Him, for what He had to say, applied to them all.
And saith unto them, If any man desire to be first . . . to have the preeminence, and be in the chief place in the Kingdom of the Messiah,
The same shall be last of all, and servant of all . . . his pride and vanity must be cast out, his ambitious views shall be upset; instead of being first, he shall be last; and instead of having superior reverence and respect, he shall be debased, and treated with neglect and contempt, and instead of being the master over others, shall be the servant of all. The only way to be promoted in Christ's Kingdom, or in the Gospel dispensation, is humility and meekness, and performing the lowest services to all, with diligence and cheerfulness. We must have the same characteristics of the Lord, or we do not have any chance at all of promotion!
Mark 9:36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, (KJV)
And he took a child . . . which was in the house, that He called to Him, and set by Him, as Luke says (Lk.9:47).
And set him in the midst of them . . . His apostles, that all might see and learn from this example.
And when he had taken him in his arms . . . and embraced him, to show His respect for humility, meekness and humble people,
He said unto them . . . the following words.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. (KJV)
Whosoever shall receive one of such children . . . meaning any believer, who is like a child in humility, meekness, modesty and lowliness of mind, whosoever performs the task of love and kindness to the lowest believer,
In my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me . . . because the humble believer belongs to Christ, is one of His, partakes of His grace, is loved by Him, and shall be glorified with Him one day . . . such is Christ Jesus’ great respect to His humble followers, that He takes it as if done to Himself. Any humble believer, becomes a member of Him (Jn.14:20), and like Him, and respected by Him. Christ Jesus is in all TRUE believers, in the Form of His Spirit (Jn.14:16,26).
Any time we show respect to one of Christ's members, it is showing respect to Him; and by showing respect to Christ, it is showing respect to His Father, from whence He came, and by whom He was sent, and in Whose Name He acted, and Whose work and service He was concerned about.
Mark is very brief here, devoting only two short clauses (33-37) and (42-50) to a dialogue which occupies the entire eighteenth chapter of Matthew. (Mat.18:1-5).
John's Jealousy, Comments about Offenses (Mark 9:38-50)
Mark 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. (KJV)
And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name . . . could this have been one of the disciples of John, or one of the seventy whom Jesus had sent out (Lk.10:1), and who, although he did not personally attend on Jesus, like the twelve, yet had the power of working miracles. There is no evidence that he was just an exorcist, or that he used the Name of Jesus only as a pretense.
And he followeth not us . . . this means that he was not one of the close attendants of Jesus. Seeing such a man casting out demons provoked John to jealousy, because he thought that none others than the chosen twelve should be honored with this power. Such jealousy in regard to official privileges is a very common passion, and one against which men occupying positions of trust and authority should be constantly on their guard.
And we forbad him . . . to go on in this way, casting out any more devils,
Because he followeth, not us . . . was not one of their company, nor any of Christ's apostles, and had not received authority and commission from Christ, to do what he did. They feared, that the dignity of Jesus would be lessened, and some dishonor and reproach be reflected upon Him; and besides the honor of Christ, that this case was too much like that of Joshua, when Eldad and Medad prophesied in the camp (Num.11:26-29).
Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. (KJV)
But Jesus said, Forbid him not . . . not him or any other they might afterwards meet, who might be casting out devils in His Name, giving this as a reason for it;
For there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me . . . miracles such as to cast out devils, or heal any sickness and disease, for such a man can NEVER reproach and blaspheme that Name, which he makes use of in doing wonderful works. No man can call Jesus accursed, who casts out devils in His Name (1 Cor.12:3).
Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part. (KJV)
For he that is not against us, is on our part . . . some copies read, "he that is not against you, is for you"; and since this man was not against either Christ, or His apostles; he was doing the same work, promoting the same interest, and destroying the kingdom of Satan: and therefore, even though he did not follow them, and as he was opposing the same common enemy, and did nothing against them, he should be counted as one for them, and on their side. An old proverb: All that are not against a man, and take no part of his enemy, are to be counted as his friends.
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to stand on strictly neutral ground in reference to Christ. He must prevail in one way OR the other. If in no way he is against Christ, then he is for Him; and if he is not for Christ, he is against Him (Mat.12:30).
There is something here that is worthy of discussion. As for John and the rest, forbidding him, they seemed to be guilty of two huge errors: #1. Envying for Christ's sake, as Joshua did for Moses's sake (Num.11:26-29), as John's disciples did for their master's sake (Jn.3:26), willing that Christ, and those whom He sent out, should have the honor of those miraculous operations. #2. Limiting the grace of Christ to only that flock which followed Christ, and the twelve; a thing that good men are too prone to.
Much better was the spirit of Paul, who tells us: Phil. 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: . . . 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (KJV) . . . Christ Jesus wants all His people to have such a spirit, as not to hinder, but commend, not to envy, but to rejoice in the doing good.
These verses are in the context of a discussion that Jesus was having with the twelve apostles. They had been arguing among themselves about who among them "should be the greatest" (Mk.9:34). Human ambition was even a problem among those closest to our Lord. Jesus explained to them that those who would be "first" would have to give up all desire to be elevated above others and, instead, become the servant of all. To illustrate the point, Jesus set a child in the midst of them, took the child in His arms, and said, Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name , receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. (KJV)
This should have a great impact upon us. The world has corporate ladders to climb, fancy titles to offer, lofty positions for which to compete, and abundant opportunities to become famous above your fellow man, but dear one, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. All available positions in His TRUE Kingdom are positions of humble service. Only those who stoop to help others are the ones who are tallest in the sight of Almighty God. Selfish ambition must be surrendered at the door of the Kingdom in exchange for self-sacrificing service.
It seems that Christ had authorized a non-apostle to cast out devils. According to Luke chapter 10, Jesus had given such authority to seventy disciples. It seems to me that the apostles had most likely come upon one of these who truly did have His authority to cast out devils and that they had taken it upon themselves to forbid him.
But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man that can do a miracle in His Name, that can speak evil of Him. Jesus says that anyone who is not against Him is on His side, and whosoever shall give a cup of water to drink in His Name, shall not lose his reward (Mk. 9:39-41).
The apostles had made a mistake concerning this man. He was doing his work (actually rightly) in the Name of Christ. When God looks at a man there is no doubt concerning his spiritual state. NO one can sit on the fence! As for a person’s soul, there is NO neutral ground. Anyone who stubbornly ignores the will of God are just as much "against" Christ as those who aggressively pursue evil (2 Thes.2:10-17; 1 Jn.2:21-26). Fence-sitting, Condemned: (Mat.4:10; 6:24: 12:30; Mk.9:40; Lk.9:50; 11:23; 16:13; Jn.7:7; 15:19,23; 17:14; Rom.6:16; 8:13; 2 Cor.6:15-16; Jam.4:4; 1 Jn.2:15-16,19; Rev.3:15-16; 19:19-20; 20:4-6,10)
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV) . . . See Mat.7:15-23.
Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (KJV)
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name . . . is it easy to be a Christian? Isn’t that easy . . . just giving a cup of water to a thirsty disciple of Jesus? Let’s dig a little deeper. What about bringing the Truth to today’s evil world? My friend, the vast majority do NOT want to hear the Truth! They will NOT listen to a teacher or preacher who is bringing the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! They did not listen in the past, and they will not listen today!
Genesis 6:5-7 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (KJV) . . . Hardly anyone in the world is listening to God anymore and every generation that follows is increasingly apostate, wicked, immoral, faithless, and devoid of God. Today’s world is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah, when no one listened to Noah's preaching. Some say Noah preached 100 years (Gen.5:32; 7:6), while others say 120 years (Gen.6:3). You would think that someone would have been saved in that time, but NO one got on that boat except Noah and his family, just eight souls (Gen.7:13; 1 Pet.3:20).
Genesis 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. (KJV) . . . Abraham begged the Lord to spare Sodom (Gen.18:22-33). The Lord finally agreed that He would spare Sodom IF He found 10 righteous people. NONE were found! Sodom was totally destroyed: (Gen.19:24; Deut.29:23; Isa.1:9; Jer.20:16; 49:18; 50:40; Lk.17:28:29; 2 Pet.2:6; Jude 1:7).
Another thing to consider: what about “Christianity” in the Great Tribulation? Satan’s Antichrist shall be in charge. Anyone who refuses the mark of the Beast (Rev.13:16-17), shall be killed. If you make it to this horrific time (Mat.24:21), will you have the guts to refuse that mark? IF you accept it, you are doomed! (Rev.14:9-11; 20:4). It is great wisdom to accept Jesus as your Savior today, and be taken out of this world (1 Thes.4:13-18), BEFORE the Great Tribulation comes. I truly do believe the Rapture is very near! 2 Peter 3:8-9 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV) . . . Jesus IS coming back! The Rapture is the first step, and it is the next prophesied event on God’s calendar to take place. Are you ready?
Getting back to Mark 9:41:
Because ye belong to Christ, Verily l say unto you, he shall not lose his reward . . . because you are His disciples, are called by His Name, are partaking of His amazing grace, bear His image and likeness, are loved by Him, given to Him, redeemed by Him called by His grace, and shall be with Him, you shall NOT lose your reward . . . then and now! Rewards: (Ps.18:20; 19:9,11; 58:11; Pro.13:13; 24:14; 25:22; Isa.40:10; 49:4; 62:11; Jer.31:16; Mat.6:1,4,18; 10:41; 24:47; Mk.10:30; Rom.8:18; 1 Cor.3:11-18; 9:17; Col.3:24; Heb.11:6; 2 Jn.1:8; Rev.22:12)
Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. (KJV)
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me . . . or shall cause them to stumble. The Greek word for "offend" means "cause to stumble" or "ensnare." Jesus was probably picturing the damaging effect the apostles' argument might have on someone who was just inquiring about Him or was just a babe in Christ (verse 39).
It is better for him that a mill stone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea . . . the word "mill stone" is used without expressing what kind. There were two common kinds of millstones in use at that time. One was a small slave-operated millstone; the other was a huge grindstone that required animal power. The "ass turned" kind, was far heavier than the small hand turned ones used by female slaves (Lk.17:35). In this Passage the Lord says that it would be far better for one to suffer a terrible form of capital punishment than to be guilty of this sin. The drowning by a millstone around the neck was a form of capital punishment that Jesus referred to, that was practiced by the Greeks, Syrians and Romans. The SIN that Jesus refers to was causing a young Christian to sin. This is a very serious sin, and must not be taken lightly in the Church. The Lord Jesus is absolutely NOT prescribing the death penalty as punishment for this sin, but instead is showing us just how wicked this sin really is. Millstones, were cylinder-shaped stones used in a mill for grinding grain: (Deut.24:6; Jud.9:53; Isa.47:2; Jer.25:10; Mat.18:6; Mk.9:42; Lk.17:2; Rev.18:21).
On verses 41 & 42, see Mat.10:40-42, 18:6).
Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (KJV)
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off . . . (Mat.5:30). Cutting off of the hand must not be understood, as though the Jewish Sanhedrim had a power of inflicting such a punishment, on persons found guilty of certain crimes; or that it was required they should do this to themselves. This is stated by Jesus, brought to us in such language, to show the horror of the crimes committed, to express His hatred of them, and to persuade persons against them; and to show, that it is better to have the hand cut off than to be guilty of such evil.
It is better for thee to enter into life maimed . . . going into Heaven not whole . . . this is to be understood, not literally, but symbolically. It is better to part with everything here in this life, that is harmful in any way to what is spiritually good eternally.
Than having two hands, to go into hell . . . by enjoying such worldly things, that are agreeable to the flesh, can bring ruin to the soul, that it be cast into Hell.
Into the fire that never shall be quenched . . . this is an indirect way of saying Hell. It is an allusion to the valley of Hinnom from where Hell has its name, here and elsewhere, where a constant fire was kept, for the burning of polluted things. (Josh.15:8; 18:16; 2 Ki.23:10; 2 Chron.28:3; 33:6; Neh.11:30; Jer.7:31-32; 19:2,6; 32:35)
Mark 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (KJV)
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched . . . Jesus is referring to: Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (KJV) . . . "Their worm shall not die" from the body, "and the fire shall not be quenched" from the soul.
Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (KJV)
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off . . . Such sins that are common to men, as the foot is to the body . . . do NOT support these vile sins, that are a means of causing the little ones to stumble and fall, or of leading them out and away from the ways of Christ . . . CUT them off friend!
It is better for thee to enter halt into life . . . some versions say "eternal life", and the meaning is simply that it is far better to go alone without such company into Heaven,
Than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never . . . Hell’s fires are ETERNAL! They shall NOT be quenched (put out).
Mark 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (KJV)
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched . . . some versions read: "because from thence there can be no deliverance" which is really an interpretation of these symbolic expressions, and is a good one. This shows the eternity of Hell’s torments, and also points to the anguish and misery of them.
Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (KJV)
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out . . . this may mean that even the most beloved by men, their most intimate companions and bosom friends . . . yet these are to be parted with, when they prove to be snares and stumbling blocks, or give offence, by trying to draw into sin, and away from Christ.
It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye . . . that Kingdom, which God has prepared for His people, from the foundation of the world (Mat.13:35; 25:34; Lk.11:50; Jn.17:24; Eph.1:4; Heb.4:3; 9:26; 1 Pet.1:20; Rev.13:8; 17:8), and of His rich grace, gives unto them, and in which they will enjoy with Him for all eternity.
Than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire . . . as in the two instances above, where it was added, "that never shall be quenched". Hell is compared to the fire that never shall be quenched (Isa.33:14). It is also set here as opposition to "eternal life" (Jn.3:15). It is better to enter into eternal life maimed, than having two hands and go into Hell. Being cast into Hell is the alternative of entering into eternal life in Heaven. My friend, Hell is eternal punishment for not believing God and rejecting His only begotten Son, completely opposite of eternal life in Heaven for believing God and accepting His Son.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. Offend = to entrap, trip up, stumble or entice to sin. It is only the sinful exercise of the offending eye of which Jesus speaks. Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (KJV) . . . Spiritual vision is our being able to see clearly what God wants us to do, and to see the world as He sees it. Our spiritual insight can be very easily clouded by self-serving desires, interests, pleasures and goals. Staying close to God is the best way to keep our spiritual sight, or restore it IF it is lost. A “good” (single) eye is one that is fixed on God and stays there!
The Lord Jesus means that we are to attack the root of ALL unholy desires, as well as cut off any and all circumstances that have the tendency to arouse or excite them. For it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. IF we reject the warning to cast from us an offending member, Jesus said that we will find the whole body "cast into hell." This is extremely harsh language from the lips of Love Incarnate! It would be better to go into Heaven with one eye or one hand than to go to Hell with two. Do NOT tolerate sin in your lives, because if left alone and unchecked, it could eventually destroy you. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. The hand is organ of action, to which the eye is excited. Jesus repeats Himself, in identical terms, of very stern Truths. It would be much better for us that one of our members should perish, and not that our whole body should be cast into Hell. These hard lessons seem to be characteristic of our Lord's manner of teaching. What do you think is His reason behind these hard lessons? WHY is Jesus talking about Hell??? Because He wants NO one to go there! JESUS taught more about Hell than any other subject. BEWARE!!! Please do NOT believe most of these modern day preachers who do NOT preach Hell! Please do NOT believe the modern day doctrine the everybody will go to Heaven! (Universalism). This is the doctrines of devils! (1 Tim. 4:1). Check out everything that you hear and read with God’s Word (including me). (Acts 17:11).
Mark 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (KJV)
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched . . . this is repeated again . . . WHY? It is IMPORTANT! Not only to assure the Truth of it, but to raise the attention of the mind to it, and fix an appalling impression on it. This image is taken from: Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (KJV) . . . This represents those who shall be cast into Hell, as being in a state of decay and rottenness, while unquenchable fires are burning them but never consuming them. As I said, an appalling impression to say the least! Fires not quenched: (Isa.33:14; 66:24; Jer.17:27; Eze.20:47; Mat.18:8; 25:41; Mk.9:43,45,48)
Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. (KJV)
For every one shall be salted with fire . . . no doubt about WHO shall be salted with fire here! It is every one that transgresses the Law of God, it is every one that offends anyone that believes in Christ Jesus, retains their sins, and sinful companions . . . it is every one of these that are cast into Hell, where the worm is always gnawing at their conscience (Lk.16:25), and the fire of God’s divine wrath is always burning (Mat.25:41). With that fire, every one of them shall be salted . . . that fire shall be to them what salt is to flesh . . . just as salt keeps flesh from decay and corruption, so too does the eternal fire of Hell, for it will burn, torture and agonize rebellious sinners. It will preserve them as they were; they shall NOT be consumed by it, but shall continue in it; just as the stubbornly continued in their sin while on Earth. These words of Jesus show and prove that the soul in torment shall NEVER die, or ever be able to forget, especially its gnawing, tortured conscience. The fire of Hell CANNOT be put out, CANNOT be quenched, ever! They will NOT be annihilated by the fire of Hell, instead they shall be preserved to remember how they blasphemed and disobeyed God.
And every sacrifice shall be salted with salt . . . this refers to: Lev. 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. (KJV) . . . The Lord Jesus here means the same persons as before; and implies that the wicked in Hell shall be victims to divine justice, and sacrifices to His wrath and vengeance . . . and as the sacrifices under the law were salted with salt, these sinners shall be salted with the fire of Hell, and shall never be utterly destroyed, but remain forever the objects of God's sore displeasure (Ps.2:5) and fiery indignation (Heb.10:27). OR . . . He could refer to the saints and people of God, who are a holy, living and an acceptable sacrifice (Rom.12:1; Heb.13:15-16; 1 Pet.2:5) to Him. So as the sacrifices of the Jews were salted with salt, and became acceptable to God; those who are seasoned with the grace of God, are preserved from the corruptions of the world, are acceptable in the sight of God, and are kept safe to His Kingdom and glory (1 Pet.1:2-5). Two ways to look at this.
Mark 9:50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. (KJV)
Salt is good . . . to make meat taste good, and keep flesh from corrupting . . . so too is the grace of God, to season men's hearts and souls, and make their minds, thoughts and words savory, and preserve them from the corruption of sin. Those who are partakers of the grace of God must be good and useful to others, both by their words and actions, and especially ministers and teachers of the Gospel. But, remember, all TRUE Christians are "the salt of the earth". (Mat.5:13).
But if the salt hath lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? . . . there is no bringing back the flavor of salt, no fixing it, if it goes bad, it becomes good for nothing.
Have salt in yourselves . . . salt is the doctrine of grace, and Word of Christ. We must take caution in our walk and conversation, we must have holiness of heart and life, so we can act and speak wisely towards them that are without (Rev.22:15).
And have peace one with another . . . the God of peace (Isa.9:6) calls us to the Gospel of peace (Rom.10:15; Eph.6:15), and requires that the grace of God teaches us. Salt is a symbol of firm union, harmony and agreement. So the covenant of peace is called a covenant of salt (Num.18:18; 25:12). This warning was necessary to the apostles at this time, since they had been disputing the point among themselves, of who would be greatest in the Kingdom of the Messiah, and which had prompted this sermon of Christ's.
Salt is here used, as in the preceding verse, to symbolize that believing in the Christian life leads to persistence and self-sacrifice. IF salt has lost its saltiness, Jesus asks the question "wherewith will ye season it?" The question answers itself, and affirms that the lost saltiness cannot be restored. IF we go from the symbol to that which is symbolized, it is affirmed that if a man lose the power of perseverance in the Christian life, there is NO restoration for him . . . his inevitable fate is to be cast into Hell, to be “salted with fire.”
We are required to encourage patience in one another, and "have peace one with another." Any strife among them would destroy their salt, whereas peace would tend to preserve it.
This closes the first general division of Mark's historical story. Until now, after a few introductory statements in the first chapter (Mk.1:1-13), all the incidents which Mark records occurred in Galilee, or in regions close by. Mark now leaves Galilee, and does not return. See chapter 10.
Gospel of Mark
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9. .ch.10. . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16