An Embarrassing Verse in Mark

Justin Johnson

Mark 16:18 is so embarrassing that erudite Christians think it should be removed from the Bible.

This is a “great commission” passage where Jesus is resurrected and giving his disciples instructions and descriptions of what will follow belief.

Why isn’t this passage regularly practiced in churches?

Instead of saying something more palatable to preachers like love, joy, peace, or longsuffering, the Lord says what follows them that believe are speaking in tongues, taking up serpents, and drinking deadly things.

Wow! No wonder Easter celebrations are for one week only.

The truth is that Jesus was not talking to you in Mark 16:18. The new creature called the Body of Christ is not found in any passage in Mark; it was still a mystery. Jesus was talking to the believing remnant of Israel which would live through the great tribulation.

Revelation describes this time. Revelation chapter 9 describes creatures that torment men called locusts with tails like scorpions and serpents. These creatures only hurt “those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Rev 9:4). A sign of a believer at that time is that they are not hurt by these serpent-tailed creatures.

In Revelation 8, the waters become deadly, and many men die as a result. A sign of a believer at that time would be that they could drink the waters and not die.

Mark 16:17-18 is strange if you think it is talking about the church today (not living in the great tribulation), but there is a literal fulfillment found for remnant Israel as they endure to their kingdom in Revelation.

If you don’t understand something in the Bible, do not change, alter, or remove the words. Keep studying. What will help you to understand many confusing passages is to rightly divide the Bible by the revelations given to Paul.

Let God be true and every word of His magnificent book,

Justin “fresh water only” Johnson

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Published: April 23, 2022
Last Modified: June 4, 2022
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