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Mark Sixteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

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.

Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

young man. Matthew 28:2 says the women encountered an “angel;” Luke 24:4 says there were “two men;” and John 20:12 says Mary Magdalene saw “two angels.” Since angels often appear as men, there is no contradiction. The word “angel” in Greek is the same as “messenger,” and God had sent two messengers (whether angels or men) to roll the stone from the tomb and greet the women.

Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Mark 16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Now when Jesus. There is an obvious change in Mark's narrative between Mark 16:8 and 16:9, and many modern scholars believe that Mark 16:9-20 constitute a later addition by some writer other than Mark. Two of the most ancient Greek manuscripts terminate Mark's gospel with Mark 16:8, even though this would leave it with a very abrupt and unlikely ending. The verses in question do appear in the large majority of the ancient manuscripts, even though they are not as old as “Sinaiticus” and “Vaticanus.” Also, the verses are quoted by at least two of the important church fathers whose writings predate even these two manuscripts. Furthermore, the events described in this passage give every evidence of being true and significant, and there is no internal evidence that it is not a part of the inspired text. Even if it was added later, either by Mark himself or someone else, there is no good reason not to accept it as genuine Scripture.

first to Mary Magdalene. It is a testimony to God's grace that Mary Magdalene, once a demon-possessed sinner, was given the privilege of being first to see and speak with the resurrected Christ (see John 20:11-17).

Mark 16:10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

Mark 16:11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Mark 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

Mark 16:13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

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.

hardness of heart. The Greek word for “hardness of heart” is sklerokardia, from which is derived our English word “cardiosclerosis.” There are some forty references in the Bible to what may be called spiritual cardiosclerosis, the first in connection with Pharaoh's hardness of heart (Exodus 4:21). We are warned: “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7), in the final such reference.

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

preach the gospel. Christ's “great commission” appears in one form or another in every gospel and Acts but this is the most succinct, yet comprehensive, statement of it. Christ died for all and He desires that all know it. This is His command to every believer.

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

shall be saved. Every true believer should gladly give testimony to his new life in Christ by following Him in baptism. Those who refuse or ignore this command should examine the reality of their professed faith. Baptism is clearly a part of the great commission (Matthew 28:19) and normally is to follow immediately upon true repentance and faith in Christ (e.g., Acts 2:38, 41). Nevertheless, it is faith in Christ that saves, not faith plus baptism. As this verse says, “he that believeth not”—not he that is not baptized—is unsaved. This is the clear testimony of many Scriptures (e.g., John 3:18, 36), as well as Christ's promise to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43).

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;

these signs. In the apostolic period, before the New Testament was written and available, the apostles and other early evangelists “went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4), “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” (Hebrews 2:4). This was necessary for a time, since they had neither Christ with them in person any longer nor any written record of His life and teachings. Eventually, as the church became established and the New Testament Scriptures were written and circulated, these miraculous attestations became unnecessary. This passage did not specify a time limit, but neither did it promise that such miracles would continue throughout all subsequent time. The very existence of the church and the inspired writings of the apostles in the New Testament would be sufficient. Jesus had rebuked those who would not believe without signs and wonders (John 4:48; Luke 11:29), and Paul later said that prophecies and tongues and supernatural knowledge would eventually cease (1 Corinthians 13:8).

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.

take up serpents. Both the virtue and danger of miraculous signs are illustrated in Acts 28:3-6. Paul was miraculously healed of a bite from a deadly viper, and this made a great impression on the barbarians in Melita. They not only were made willing to listen to his message, but they also “said that he was a god” (Acts 28:6).

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.