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Monday, February 25 2013

Mark: Was It John Mark?

The Book of Mark has, since the earliest times, been attributed to John Mark, a resident of Jerusalem who was a believing youth at the time of the Messiah's Ministry. As we will read, he was clearly identified in Acts and some of the epistles, but is not specifically recorded in, or identified himself as the author of, the Book of Mark.

Was John Mark the author? Even though he is not named, was Mark nevertheless recorded in the Book of Mark (i.e. did he record himself) as the young man of Jerusalem who followed the Messiah and the apostles (minus Judas Iscariot) to the Mount of Olives? Notice that the apostles all fled after the Messiah told Peter to stop defending Him (and themselves), but a young man who was also there, but not part of the mob that came with the traitor Judas, thereafter also fled when they tried to arrest him along with the Messiah i.e. "14:51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 14:52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." That young man stood his ground longer with the Messiah than the apostles did.

The Garden of Gethsemane

"14:32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 14:33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John [see What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?], and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]: tarry ye here, and watch.

14:35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

14:37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

14:39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 14:40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

14:41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 14:42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

14:43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas [see The Traitor In History And Prophecy], one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

14:44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 14:45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 14:46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 14:47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

14:48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 14:49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 14:50 And they all forsook him, and fled.

14:51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth [see The Linen Of The Saints] cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 14:52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest [see How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?]: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes." (Mark 14:32-53 KJV)

As we read above, the "certain young man" and Peter were known to each other, having both faced the mob and eye-witnessed the arrest of the Messiah. Later, after the Messiah's ascension, after Peter had been arrested by the Romans but was freed by an angel, the first place that Peter went in Jerusalem was to a household of believers. The owner of the house had a teenaged son (i.e. a "young man") named Mark i.e. "to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark." Was it just a coincidence that Peter went to where a then specifically-named, prominent (why else was he recorded in the Scriptures?) young man was living?

The Night

"12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter [i.e. the "Easter" there is a mistranslation by the King James version; it is only in Passover in which "Then were the days of unleavened bread"; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover and The Messiah's Days Of Unleavened Bread) to bring him forth to the people.

12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

12:6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

12:8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 12:9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 12:10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. 12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 12:14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

12:15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

12:16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished." (Acts 12:1-16 KJV)

Peter, in his epistle (see The Epistles: First Peter and The Epistles: Second Peter), directly mentioned John Mark as his "son" in the faith - again attesting to John Mark's relative youth i.e. Peter would have been in his late twenties or early thirties at the time of the Crucifixion, thereby making John Mark a teenager.

"5:12 By Silvanus [see Who Was Silvanus?], a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." (1 Peter 5:12-13 KJV)

John Mark, was known mostly as Mark. If he was the author of the Book of Mark (this writer believes there to be a very high probability that he was), it also served the practical purpose of not then having two gospel books by men named John - the apostle John, and John Mark.

The prime factor for John Mark being the author of the Book of Mark was his documented closeness to Peter, as we read above, but also to the apostles Paul and Barnabas (to whom John Mark was a relative). Mark would have obtained eyewitness information from Peter (the reason that there's a lot of "Peter" in Mark's document), while Paul thereafter would have received that same information from Mark. Notice also the consistency of the youth factor, as described in the quotes above, and also here where he departed with Paul and Barnabas, but returned early to Jerusalem as a youth would be of a mind to do.


"12:25 And Barnabas and Saul [see The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas] returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark." (Acts 12:25 KJV)

"13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem." (Acts 13:13 KJV)

It was that parting of John Mark that later caused a parting between Paul and Barnabas. All would reconcile later, but for that journey John Mark went with Barnabas. John Mark's experiences with the doctrinal heavyweights of Christianity was nevertheless growing steadily - he had already worked with Peter, Paul and Barnabas while yet a youth.

"15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." (Acts 15:35-41 KJV)

Later, John Mark (also recorded as "Marcus"), then a man, stuck with the apostle Paul when it mattered most - when Paul was imprisoned and facing execution for preaching the Gospel. It was by that time that Mark had become living library and testimony of the Gospel, having lived through what we read in the New Testament, and having personally known the Messiah, the twelve apostles, Barnabas, Luke and many others. As by then a grown man and servant of the LORD, he didn't back down from anything or anyone - the time for compromising with the "world" was over. While it can be debated as to whether or not John Mark was the author of the Book of Mark, his experience, knowledge and dedication to have written it are absolutely certain.

"4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." (2 Timothy 4:11 KJV)

"4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)" (Colossians 4:10 KJV)

"1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers." (Philemon 1:23-24 KJV)

Studies For The Book Of Mark

Ahead Of The Prophet

How Did The Messiah's Ministry Begin?

Sabbath Teachings And Healings

The Harvest Prophecies

Faithful Doers Of The Word

Teaching In The Temple

The Two Signs Of Christ's Return

The Cross Of Christ, Or The Cross Of Men?

The Ascent From Bethany

The Healing Spirit

How To Pray

Sending Away The Escapades Goat

The Messiah's Storms At Sea

The Moses And Elijah Vision

The Caesar Questions

The Two Sabbaths Of Passover Week

Counting On The Resurrection

What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven?

Fact Finder: What is the purpose and meaning of fasting?
See The Biblical History Of Christian Fasting

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This Day In History, February 25

138: Roman Emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, providing the way to make Antoninus Pius the next emperor (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

493: Odoacer surrendered Ravenna after a 3-year siege.

1308: Edward II was became king of England.

1336: 4,000 defenders of Pilenai committed a mass suicide rather than be captured by the Teutonic Knights.

1525: French king Francis I was defeated and captured by Imperial forces at Pavia.

1570: In the last such decree made (to date) against a reigning British monarch by any pope, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII who broke away from the Church of Rome and created the Church of England). Pius (his real name was Antonio Ghislieri, born in Bosco, Italy) also absolved her subjects from allegiance to her (the pope in effect gave his "blessing" to anyone in England who would assassinate Queen Elizabeth), an of murder and treason that the majority of them refused to attempt.

1723: Christopher Wren died. The English architect became a prolific designer of buildings after the Great Fire of London in 1666, notably the new St. Paul's Cathedral.

1815: Napoleon left his exile on Elba, intending to return to France.

1899: Paul Julius Reuter, German founder of the Reuter's news agency that bears his name, died. It began in 1850 when he set up a European pigeon post service from Aachen to Brussels.

1932: Austrian-born Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship, thereby allowing him to run for President (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1954: Gamal Abdul Nasser, a man dedicated to the destruction of Israel, became leader of Egypt.

1971: The Pickering (a city near Toronto) Nuclear Generating Station, the first commercial nuclear power station in Canada, became operational.

1986: After the assassination of his major political opponent Benigno Aquino, and the uprising that followed, Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos fled into exile in the U.S. (adding to the U.S. collection of ousted dictators during that time, which earlier included the Shah of Iran).

1991: Members of "Warsaw Pact" signed an agreement to dismantle the once powerful communist military alliance.

1994: Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler, shot 43 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Hebron before he was overcome and beaten to death.


Copyright © Wayne Blank