The last verses of Mark 16 are some of the most misunderstood, controversial and debated verses among Christians; they are also among the most ridiculed by Bible critics. Modernist theologians try to remove the verses by ‘higher criticism’; they search for ‘manuscript evidence’ that will remove these ‘sign’ verses to their satisfaction. Fundamental ‘scholars’ change the meaning of the words to fit their allegoristic interpretations. Although Mark 16 fits perfectly with all the Old Testament prophecies related to God’s Kingdom reign on earth, and even though the “signs” are confirmed in Matthew through the early part of the book of Acts, men refuse to accept what the Bible says, as it says it. Anything and everything is employed to make the passage say something else other than what is said! They all fall into the miserable category of skepticism: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7).
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.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
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;
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.
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.
Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
The question is, “Why does my preacher say he believes the Bible but he does not have these signs that confirm his message?” (Mark 16:20). For the person who knows very little about the word of God, the answer comes easy: “These things do not happen today.” And, guess what, that is right! For a Christian who professes to believe the Bible, he faces a dilemma: he does not do and cannot do what the passage says, although he professes to believe every word of Jesus in Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (When I was in seminary ages ago, the excuse of choice was “the early church needed miraculous signs in its beginning”).
To my ‘charismatic’ friends I say that you may claim to do all in some form from vs. 15 to even the “serpents” in vs. 18 (as long as you get defanged ones), and blame any failure on your ‘faith’ or on someone else’s, but you are stopped literally cold, dead in your tracks by the last two signs in vs. 18: drinking deadly things without harm and healing those who are truly sick, by the laying on of your hands. The simple fact is, you cannot “confirm” the words you preach with “signs” that follow.
“El Papa visita Estados Unidos”
In the USA, (September, 2015) we were subjected to a ‘religious blitzkreig’ by the Roman Catholic Jesuit Pope, Francis II, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a former Argentine nightclub bouncer before he became the religious ‘bouncer’. After his RCC indoctrination, he was Argentina’s Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and headed it up during the country’s “National Reorganization Process“, more commonly called “the Dirty War“. This “Dirty War” was an upheaval over control of the sociopolitical situation in Argentina. Forced disappearances, illegal arrests, imprisonments, were common place. He was accused of being involved, but of course, the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in the superstitious, Roman Catholic controlled country.
Jesuits are taught to be masters of deceit and that ‘the end’ (advancement of the Roman Catholic Church, or ‘RCC’) always justifies ‘the means’ (assassinations, theft, lying, etc., etc.). Their history of political manipulation, social and educational perversion is legend among countries with a dominant RCC population. For prime current examples, a look at the social, economical and government efficiency of Mexico, the Philippines, or scores of Central and South America countries. The RCC controls the morals of those who hold government offices; the ‘fruit’ is obvious. You might as well take at look at leading USA politicians that are devout Roman Catholics such as the now former Speakers of the House (John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi: both devout RCC). The secret meetings of Pope Francis during his recent whirlwind trip to the continent with Fidel Castro in Cuba, as well as with the USA politicians and the now ‘great defender of the faith’ in Kentucky, Kim Davis, were not just for ‘tea and crackers.’ The Pope’s visit illustrates the slithering path of Catholicism that even the whiz kid mathematician, T.S. Spivett, could not record. Put all of this with President Obama’s actions towards a nuclear Iran, add the Vatican Bank’s money laundering into Iran (Frontline PBS program, 2014), the recent “natural” death before trial of the only pedophile bishop charged and ‘house arrested’ by the Vatican, out of thousands of Catholic bishops accused of pedophilia, plus the alleged great changes under el papa from Argentina–you will get a small window into the vast, deceitful mysteries of Roman Catholicism.
Media news outlets such as CNN and Fox slobbered, gushed and sighed for days over this ‘vicarious son of God’, ‘El Papa’ who claims to be God’s only representative of Jesus Christ on earth. In a great display of sympathy that elicited ‘Oooh’s’ and ‘Ahh’s’ from the superstitious, this man crept from his special little golf cart to embrace and lay his hands on a few cripples. The old man has a bad back just like a lot of us. ‘All the Pope’s horses, all the Pope’s men plus the Virgin Mary, candles, genuflecting priests and nuns, haven’t been able to put him together again’. So, guess how many cripples were healed on his trip, and began to leap with joy? How many instances of healing at the hand of the “successor of Peter to the Papal seat of Rome” and “Vicarious Son of God on earth” were like those seen in the book of Acts?
Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Acts 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Answer: None. One of those poor souls had previously, years before, even had a Pope’s hands laid on her and she remains in the same condition as before, perhaps even worse. The knowledgeable observer to these religious side shows makes a note that Simon Peter said “Silver and gold have I none…” El Papa could not say that! He is the puppet head of the richest religious organization in the world. Gold decked cathedrals and high living, rich bishops cover the third world countries, while the poor souls living around these hypocritical ‘churches’ languish in physical and spiritual poverty, sickness and death.
By taking the Bible and twisting its words, adding rituals instead of righteousness, the Roman Catholic system has done irreparable harm to true Christianity for centuries, all over the world. The common man in cultures that revere or worship its ancestors, pay homage to spirits in the river, rocks, mountains, trees, or the ‘Almighty Dollar’, is easily duped when a teaspoon of truth is mixed with a ton of lies. When a man can pay his way out of judgment, burn candles for divine favor, fall before ‘holy’ places, kiss the chalk toes off a statue of ‘Christ’, see ornate art in gold and silver, and have local ‘priest witch doctors’ with a ‘representative of God Himself’ over them in a land on this earth, plus have the “Mother Mary” figure to pray to in Heaven–he finds it very comfortable to swap a plain rock in the jungle or his dollar bill for some carved marble idol like a Pieta by another Roman slave, Michelangelo. Deep inside conscience, he knows the marble, candles, and robed priests give him no more peace and comfort than his plain rock, jungle witch doctor, Mercedes or dollar does. This religious and whorish system has been instrumental in wars, social unrest, poverty, and more suffering than anything else in modern world history.
The hypocrisy of the RCC in the Philippines, has for centuries fueled the Islamic terrorist opposition to the Roman Catholic controlled government. The young village Filipino, recruited by MILF or any other terrorist organization to oppose government corruption and lies, does not see Christ in any light other than that portrayed by the Roman Catholic Church. Can we blame them so easily? In fact, the majority of reports in the Philippines that claim “Christians were attacked by Muslim terrorists” –should read “Roman Catholics”. In some jungle villages where we started churches, as simple Bible believers and do what the Philippine Catholic system does not do: provide medicines and clinics to the people with no strings or cost, we were and are readily accepted, protected, and welcomed. Sue (my wife) has treated ‘terrorists’ among all the others and we have always been treated with kindness in return.. (We know firsthand; such as foreign aid sent into the PI that was distributed to the poor people by Roman Catholic nuns–with the stipulation that they first attend Mass and ‘donate’ a few pesos into the church pot!)
The same is true in every country where the RCC is dominant. The ‘Christ’ of Catholicism is always hanging on the cross, dead, helpless, and pitiful. Mary (seen as ‘the Mother of God’) is powerful and supposedly gets everything done, if you pay enough. This is why you can see a large full color, four story painting of Mary on the side of an Iloilo City, Philippines building, where in giant letters she claims that she “will save the world”. Her picture and statues fill airports, private businesses and government offices, throughout the land. In Davao City Philippines you can behold her large public statue, trampling the old serpent, the devil, under her feet. It does not bother the RCC in the least bit that, according to the Bible, it is the Lord Jesus Christ that bruises the serpent’s head under His heel and that the Bible states: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:5 ).
I think even the “faith healers” like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and the self “Appointed Son of God” in the Philippines, Apollo Quiboloy with his global television channel, the Sonshine Media Network International, one and all, must have been chomping at the bit to have such free advertising like the Pope had!
By the way, speaking of hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus said: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).
The correct answer to “signs” is easy and the dilemma is removed, if we allow the Bible to interpret itself.