Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mark 16:9-20 comments: faith or a sign

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.

A woman who had seven devils removed from her is the first person that Jesus shows Himself to.  Think about that or a century or so. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that she is or was a prostitute.

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

11  And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12  After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

Here is the passage in Luke that carries that full encounter with Jesus.

Luke 24:13 ¶  And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.17  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:20  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35  And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

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

Three witnesses and no one believes them. It would help you to read the other gospel accounts. 

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

Here is the Great Commission, given to the Jewish apostles specifically. The word, “creature,” is used in this context to designate specifically a human person. While the higher animals have souls, the seat of self-identity (see Numbers 31:28 and Job 12:10 for confirmation that they have souls and compare Mark 8:26 and Luke 9:25 to see by the method of word substitution how the Holy Spirit defines soul as self identity), they do not require salvation.

There is no question that there are animals in the spiritual world. Their prototypes surround the throne and appeared to Ezekiel (read Ezekiel, chapter one, and Ezekiel 10:15 with Revelation 4:6-9 to see the prototypes of beasts and read 2 Kings 6:17 for an appearance of animals in the spirit world).

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

Salvation is predicated upon belief, not upon baptism. This verse makes that clear.

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

1Corinthians 1:22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

John  4:48  Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

1Corinthians 14:22  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

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.

These five signs are given to the early Jewish church but;

1 Corinthians 8 ¶  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

These signs vanished with the death of the last apostle. That which is perfect and complete (Colossians 4:12), the Bible, in its entirety, appeared not many years after that as there was an Old Latin Bible available by the middle of the second century, around the death of the last person taught directly by an apostle and before church leader Tertullian said (AD200) that the Apostle’s original writings were still extant. We are to read and hear it, to believe it and obey it. Those people who play with these gifts given to the apostles invite demonic oppression and heretical practices in themselves and in their churches.

The evidence of the Spirit of God being in a Christian today is not his or her ability to perform these signs.  For the Christian today the fruit, the evidence of the Spirit of God residing in them is;

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The Christian should be as wary of people claiming to have signs of the Apostles as they should be wary of those who hold to Calvin’s Covenant Theology and those who hold to Replacement Theology who insist the church is some kind of “new Jew” who has appropriated all of the prophetic promises God specifically made to the Jews in the Old Testament.  See how Christ hates that in Revelation 2:9 & 3:9 as much as He hates a priesthood or pastorate that holds itself above the people in Revelation 2:6 & 2:15 [Nicolaitan is “Victory over the Laity]. I would be very concerned if I was involved in a faith tradition that claimed that baptism saved you, that the physical promises made to the Jews were now owned by the Christians, or that to obey a priest or a pastor was to obey God as if they had more of the Holy Spirit in them than any other believer they ministered to had.

They’ll buy into all of that at the end, though.

2Thessalonians 2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Are you manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit or are you communing with Satan?

19 ¶  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The signs given to the apostles are no longer extant, although in the Tribulation the Jews may receive those again. For Christians today to claim these signs and not be able to produce them as defined by the Bible makes Christians a laughingstock.

God honors faith. He expects faith. Believe the Book. If you need a sign your faith is weak. The Jews’ faith was often weak. Unbelief  hinders your ability to receive God’s blessings which, apparently  from the Bible, He wishes to pour out on you. Do you really believe in Jesus Christ, that He is a real person whom you encounter and interact with every day? Perhaps you should pray the prayer in Mark 9:24, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, trusting in His righteousness and not your own, to have eternal life, then understand what being saved requires.

Romans 10: 8…..The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [Greek is used to refer to  Gentiles or non-Jews in general in several verses such as Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:28 & Colossians 3:11]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It’s not rocket science.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

As Jesus said in Mark 5:36, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

You don’t get eternal life by belonging to a particular faith tradition, having a certain church membership, and undergoing a specific ritual, or even getting dunked in the public water system. You get eternal life by trusting in Christ.

Now is the time.

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