Cut Mark 16:9–20 out of the Bible? Really?!?

Mark 16:9–20, The Great Commission. Many modern scholars call into question the genuineness of these last twelve verses. For a discussion on whether these verses of Mark’s Gospel should be included in the Bible, see E. W. Bullinger’s (1837-1913) The Companion Bible (appendix 168).

Bullinger states that the two oldest Greek manuscripts of the Testimony of Yeshua (from the fourth century) don’t contain these verses. On the other hand, more than six hundred other Greek manuscripts do contain them as do the oldest Syriac manuscript known as the Peshitto (which Bullinger believes is from the second century) and the Curetonian Syriac (from the third century). He notes that Jerome when translating the Bible into Latin (The Vulgate, A.D. 382) had access to Greek manuscripts older than any now extant included these twelve verses in his Bible. Additionally, he notes that the Gothic Version (A.D. 350), the Coptic (fourth or fifth century), the Armenian (fifth century), Ethiopic (fourth to seventh centuries) and Georgian (sixth century) versions all contain these last twelve verses. Bullinger goes on to say that there are nearly one hundred ecclesiastical writers before the oldest extant Greek manuscripts who attest to the authenticity of these verses. Moreover, between A.D. 300 and 600 there are about two hundred more writers who do.

Bullinger gives two reasons why he believes these verses may have been omitted from several of the oldest Greek NT manuscripts. After the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 extending one hundred years there is a complete blank regarding the history of the early church and a complete silence about this era from Christian writers. Therefore, no one knows what was going on in the church during this period including whether such signs and wonders as enumerated in these last verses in Mark’s Gospel were still occurring. He speculates that when later translators came to the last twelve verses of Mark and saw no trace of these spiritual gifts currently being manifested in the church (in the fourth century), some marked them as doubtful, spurious or even omitted them altogether. This same doubt has been passed on to modern scholars.


Are you spiritual naked and unprepared for Yeshua’s coming?

Mark 14:51, A certain young man…naked. The reason for the inclusion of this detail in the Gospel record has puzzled many commentators. For example, Matthew Henry suggests that it was added to show the barbarous nature of the Jewish gang that arrested Yeshua, and how narrow was the disciples’ escape from their hands.

There seems, however, to be a greater spiritual lesson to be learned from this story.

Previous to this, Yeshua, as he and his disciples were coming into the Garden of Gethsemane, admonished them to sit and pray with him (v. 32), to stay and watch (v. 34), to watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation because of the weakness of the flesh (v. 38). Instead, the disciples slept (vv. 37, 40). Elsewhere, Yeshua instructs the elect saints of the last days to endure tribulation and spiritual apostasy to the end (Matt 24:13), and to watch vigilantly and be ready for his second coming (Matt 24:42, 44; 25:13). These warnings are in the context of his Parable of the Ten Virgins. All slept while awaiting the bridegroom’s arrival. While five were spiritually prepared, five were not. Those who were unprepared were dubbed as foolish and weren’t allowed into the wedding. Likewise, in the end times, there will be believers who YHVH views as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked because they have grown lukewarm spiritually (Rev 3:14–17).

The point of this discussion is this: If the disciples of Yeshua fail to maintain a state of spiritual preparedness (by watching, praying, keeping oil in their spiritual lamps, enduring to the end) while awaiting his return, they, like the young man in Gethsemane and the Laodiceans in the Book of Revelation, will be found to be spiritually naked lacking robes of righteousness on the day of his return and thus unprepared to meet him (Rev 19:7–9 cp. Matt 22:2, 11–12).


Are you close, but not there yet?

Mark 12:34, You are not far from the kingdom. Yeshua makes this complimentary statement to the scribe who had correctly and succinctly summarized the message of the Torah (both its letter and spirit intent) in verses 32–33.

However, note that Yeshua didn’t say, “You are in the kingdom of Elohim (i.e. you have eternal life).”

What was the one thing that kept the scribe from being in the kingdom?

It was doubtless the same thing that kept the rich young ruler from obtaining the eternal life that he sought (Matt 19:16). After having obeyed the Torah the best he could, the young ruler still needed to surrender all to Yeshua the Messiah, and to follow him unreservedly (Matt 19:18–22).

Not only is it difficult for humans to surrender all to the Master, and then to follow him wherever he leads, but having followed the Torah the best we can, we must still humbly recognize that without the righteousness of Yeshua in the equation, our best efforts at Torah-obedience will still miss the mark of YHVH Elohim’s acceptable standard of righteousness, thus leaving us maybe not far from the kingdom, but definitely not in the kingdom of Elohim.


Yeshua on Divorce

Mark 10:2–10, (cp. Matt 5:31–32 and 19) Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? Yeshua confirms the fact that divorce wasn’t part of YHVH’s original marriage plan, but that Moses allowed divorce only for a specific reason.

In the Torah, divorce was permitted for lack of virginity at the time of marriage, and for specific sexual sins committed that violated the marriage covenant (note Deut 22:13–14 cp. Deut 24:1–4), yet eventually (by the time of Yeshua), among some of the Jews, the divorce laws had become so relaxed that a man could put his wife away for any reason (Matt 19:3). To those Jews who had such a liberal interpretation of the Torah’s divorce laws, Yeshua was addressing not what the Torah specifically said, but what the religious-legal interpretations had become of those laws.

To bring the concept of marriage and divorce back to the Creator’s original design, Yeshua upheld that, according to the Torah—YHVH’s master plan, marriage between a man and a woman was inviolable and that divorce was permissible only for certain gross sexual sins and for (irreconcilable) hardness of heart (see more at Matt 19:8–9).

The bottom line of what Yeshua is saying is this: YHVH’s highest ideal is for a man and woman to marry and become one, as YHVH Elohim (the Godhead—the Set-Apart Spirit [the feminine side of Elohim], and the Son) is one, of which the marriage is to be a reflection. Sadly, because of the hardness of the sinful human heart, divorce happens, which Moses permitted under certain circumstances, but not for just any reason. Divorce, though permissible, is YHVH’s lowest ideal for the family, since it leaves in its wake so much ruination.

Mark 10:10–13, Divorces…little children. The proximity to Yeshua’s teaching on divorce with his blessing the little children presents us with an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. It’s as if the Gospel writer is obliquely conveying to us the fact that divorce is detrimental to families—especially to children.

Mark 10:11, Divorces his wife and marries another. Tertullian (A.D. 160–220), the early church father, understands this to mean that he who divorces his wife in order to marry another does so unlawfully and is thus an adulterer. He concedes that Moses allowed for divorce and that Yeshua accepts this provision in the Torah, but not if it’s done for the wrong reasons and, therefore, unlawfully (Ante-Nicene Church Father, vol 3; “Tertullian Against Marcion”; Book 4, chap 34; pp. 404–405; Hendrickson, 1995).


Elohim hates contention and strife!

Mark 9:38–41, Yeshua forbids sectarianism. Though someone may not be in our spiritual camp, if they are doing good and are not against us, we’re to give them credit of the good they are doing. This is the high road of love, mercy and grace that Yeshua expects his disciples to follow in regards to those of other congregations, denominations or ministries.

Mark 9:38–50, Avoid strife and contention. This is a very enigmatic passage that commentators struggle with trying to explain, since Yeshua links together so many seemingly disparate concepts. I say “seemingly,” since there is nothing average about the Master’s intellect, or his knowledge of spiritual truth. Our inability to comprehend his sayings should only spur us onward to dig all the more into their heights and depths of meaning, thus uncovering the nuggets of truth from within the transcendent intellect of our Master and Creator!

Yeshua the Master begins his discourse by discouraging sectarianism. “Those who aren’t against us are for us.” He then promises rewards to those who are kind to his disciples, implying that his disciples should in turn be kind to others who, though they may not be a part of your particular group, they may not necessarily be working against you, for they may also be kingdom workers but with a different assignment than yours (vv. 38–41).

Next, our Master warns against offense—especially those who offend (or cause to stumble) the little ones who are still young and tender in their faith. Linked with the preceding thought, the implication may be that Yeshua’s servants need to beware of not offending any of his kingdom workers whether they are part of “our group” or not. Only the Almighty sees the larger picture much as a general oversees his troops. The individual soldier knows his own marching orders, and may be oblivious to the orders of other soldier’s elsewhere, and is thus in no position to judge another soldier who has other marching orders.

Yeshua then issues a strong warning against any actions (the hand), or any directions of our lives (the foot), or any perspective (the eye) that may lead us to sin in causing one of YHVH’s kingdom workers elsewhere to stumble spiritually. Such an offense may bring us under the severe and unquenchable fires of YHVH’s eternal judgment. In other words, when we, through offensive actions and perspectives, cause one of YHVH’s kingdom workers who is operating outside of our limited view of things to stumble, we may be doing irreparable damage to the advancement of the kingdom, thus risk bringing the wrath of Elohim squarely down upon us (vv. 42–48).

Yeshua concludes his discourse with an even more mysterious statement that commingles a variety of biblical concepts. Many biblical commentators admit the difficulty of understanding this passage (e.g. Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Beale and Carson). He indicates that his disciples, as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1), must allow themselves to be laid on the altar of YHVH’s service like the animal sacrifices of old. As these sacrifices went through the sprinkling of salt (Lev 2:13; Ezek 43:24) and the burning of fire on the altar of sacrifice, even so, as living sacrifices doing YHVH’s kingdom work, Yeshua’s disciples must be willing to endure the fires of trials and adversity. Fire both consumes and purifies, while salt both preserves and seasons—two activities that are continually needed in the disciple’s life as part of their spiritual refinement in order for them to become perfect and sin-free like their Master.

Yeshua ends with the admonition to be salty or spicy (in our words and actions) as we advance his kingdom. But we mustn’t be offensive in our demeanor such that it causes others to stumble, thus breaking the peace between our fellow coworkers, since we are all working together for the same Master. No matter what, maintain peace one with another (vv. 49–50)!

This final admonition brings us full circle back to Yeshua’s initial point in his instructions to his disciple to avoid sectarianism and to be a peacemaker among spiritual brethren. YHVH hates division and strife within the congregation of the righteous and calls it an abomination (Prov 6:16–19). Those who cause it are to be avoided (Rom 16:17; 2 Thess 3:6) if not excommunicated (Tit 3:10)!


Did Yeshua really say, “Eat Pork…and poisonous frogs and deadly mushrooms” while you’re at it? Yeah right!


Did Yeshua really say that we could eat anything that we could get our hands on and stuff into our mouth as many in the  church believe and teach? Let’s use our brains and think this thing out!

Mark 7:19, Thus He declared all foods clean. This phrase is excluded from the KJV, but is included in the NAS, NIV and some other modern translations. Some Bible teachers see this phrase as Yeshua’s endorsement for eating unclean meats such as pork. Even if this phrase were in the original language, Yeshua would never have considered swine to be food—a very non-Jewish concept and out of context with a Torah-adherent society. Furthermore, the Jews in his audience would have strongly reacted against Yeshua saying such a thing. What’s more, earlier in this passage Yeshua upholds the Torah over men’s tradition (Mark 7:6–13), and so Yeshua wouldn’t be teaching anything against the Torah by saying we can eat swine!

Not only that, the context of this passage has nothing to do with eating meat. It has to do with eating bread (v. 2). No mention of meat is made here. Only bread, which in verse two is the Greek word artos meaning “food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.” This has nothing to do with meat. The issue was whether it was mandatory to wash one’s hands before eating bread, which was not a Torah law, but was an extra-biblical Jewish legal law. Period. This is what Yeshua was addressing.

The Hebrew Roots Version, which is a translation from the Aramaic, confirms the KJV rendering of this verse. However, some of the modern texts (e.g. the NIV and NAS) add the phrase to the end of this verse, “In saying this [Yeshua] declared all foods clean.” This variant phrase in the newer English translations is the source of the confusion in the minds of many who read this.

The KJV is translated from the Greek family of manuscripts called the Textus Receptus or Continue reading


18 Attributes of a Demonic Spirit


Mark 5:1–20, The Gadarene demoniac. This encounter between Yeshua and this demon-possessed individual teaches us about the characteristics of one who is tormented or even possessed by an evil, unclean spirit.

  1. One with an unclean spirit is “unclean in thought and life” (Mark 5:2).
  2. Such an individual may have a pre-occupation with things relating to death and dying (Mark 5:3).
  3. They may possess superhuman strength thanks to the aid of the demon in him (Mark 5:4).
  4. They may act wild, and unable to be restrained (Mark 5:4).
  5. They may be prone to fits of shouting loudly (Mark 5:5), shrieking or making a shrill cry (Mark 9:18).
  6. They may cut themselves, or resort to other acts of self-mutilation (Mark 5:5) or self destruction (e.g. burning oneself by fire, Matt 17:15; Mark 9:22), or attempts at drowning (Mark 9:22).
  7. The demoniac may possess supernatural knowledge (Mark 5:7).
  8. The demon can speak through the demonized person (Mark 5:7), or cry out (Mark 9:26).
  9. A demonic spirit wants to possess or inhabit something; if not a human, then an animal (Mark 5:12), or a house, an objects like idols or books (Acts 19:19).
  10. They may be clothed improperly or scantily (Mark 5:15).
  11. They will not a possess a “right [sound, self-controlled, sober]” mind (Mark 5:15).
  12. A demonic or an unclean spirit may cause convulsions or spasmodic contractions, bodily contortions within a person, or cause a person to be hurled to the ground (Mark 1:25; 9:18, 20), wallowing or rolling around on the ground (Mark 9:20).
  13. Epileptic-type seizures or madness can be some symptoms of demon possession (Matt 17:15).
  14. A demoniac may foam at the mouth (Mark 9:18, 20).
  15. A demoniac may grind or gnash of the teeth (Mark 9:18)
  16. A demonic spirit can cause one’s body to waste away, dry up or become rigid (Mark 9:18).
  17. Demonic spirits can accompany people as they come into the congregation of YHVH (Mark 1:23; Luke 4:33).
  18. A demonic spirit can make one to be mute or unable to speak (Mark 9:17).