MARK: The ox; the servant; the gospel of work and activity, no genealogy.
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
If Christ was a mere man, [as argued by heretics such as Mr Dealtry] how is it that he was sinless? ...The testimony which Mr. Dealtry would throw overboard, explains it, because it reveals the source of Christ's high capacity and impulse in a divine direction, in a divine paternity. This explains everything.
The clay of fallen human nature, in the hands of the Divine Potter, was fashioned unto the likeness of the divine; that by the instrumentality thus established, a door of escape from the pit might be opened for this doomed race...
...other men who have not been miraculously conceived, are called sons of God. But the answer is that they acquire this title from Christ, and possess it only in prospect of being made like him. "We are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. iii, 26). By union with him, they are legally covered with his name, and incorporated with his relationship. They are not adopted till the resurrection.-(Romans. viii, 23; Luke. xx, 36).
They are only sons by virtue of connection with him who was primitively and par excellence the Son of God. The relation had its origin in him, and in judging of what constituted that relationship, it will not do to go to those who have only a borrowed title; and say that because that they are mere men; therefore Jesus was.
We therefore repeat that if the sonship of Christ had reference to his origin, every proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God, is a proclamation that God was his father, and not Joseph.
The sonship of Christ, whatever it may mean, is one of the most conspicuous features of their testimony; and if that sonship has its basis in a preternatural origin, that preternatural origin is one of their incessant protestations.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Feb 1868. p46-52.
Son of Yahweh
By this means of paternity, Christ escaped the hereditary moral and mental bias of the race, and received such a divine intellectual impress as made him strong in spirit or mind, and of quick understanding in the fear and word of the Lord. He was therefore enabled to overcome all the promptings and desires of his unclean nature derived from his mother, and maintained his moral perfection without blemish and undefiled.
Such being the case, he required no justification or cleansing pertaining to the conscience as we do : he needed only a cleansing or justification by spirit of his physical nature-sin's flesh-which he bore.
This cleansing took place, as we see in the type, at the end of thirty-three days, or years. Luke tells us that at his baptism, he ' began to be about thirty years of age.' His ministry lasted about three-and-a-half years, so that Christ, when he offered himself to the Father, through the Eternal Spirit, as a sacrifice for the sin of the world, was between thirty-three and thirty-four years of age. It was after thirty days (or years) that the sacrifice was offered.
It is argued by some that Christ was justified at his baptism from the condemnation ruling upon his flesh-nature before he could go on probation, but the type emphatically teaches that he was not justified or cleansed from his physical uncleanness until the end of his life, or after the thirty-third day.
Christ required no justification morally, and the only other justification which the Scriptures teach he did require, was justification by spirit from the condemnation of mortality resting· upon his flesh-nature, and this could not be effected until he had made reconciliation for iniquity in death and resurrection.
(Law of Moses)
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
But in Malachi's prophecies above quoted "a great and terrible day" is spoken of, even the day of the Lord's coming and appearance as a refiner's fire and fuller's soap. Now before that day, says the prophet, a messenger shall be sent; and at the close of his prophecy tells us his name in these words-
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall restore the heart of the fathers in the children, and (hashiv understood, restore, turn,) the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse."
Now the contemporaries of Jesus understood this in its obvious sense, namely, that the identical Elijah who was translated should return to Palestine on a mission to Israel before their being made to pass through the refining and purifying process on the day of terror. This appears from the question put by the disciples to Jesus after seeing Elijah on the Mount with Moses-
"Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?"
This was a reason urged by the scribes for rejecting Jesus. As if they had said, "This Jesus cannot be the Messenger of the Covenant, for Elijah has not yet made his appearance." The disciples were in a difficulty. They acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ, but they had seen him before Elijah, which did not harmonize with Malachi's testimony. Jesus admitted that the scribes were right about the coming of Elijah; for he said,
"Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things."
This is a truth that must not be lost sight of. Elijah's mission is to restore all things when he comes. What things? Not things pertaining to the Gentiles; for there is nothing Gentile worth restoring. Destruction, not restoration, is to come upon the things of the Gentiles both ecclesiastical and civil. The things to be restored are the things of Moses' law, as far as compatible with faith in the blood of the New Covenant, constituting the Amended Law.
Hence in the verse preceding that about Elijah, the Lord says to Israel,
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even the statutes and judgments." (Mal iv. 4)
These are the civil law of the nation, the law of the state, the existence of which is quite compatible with the New Covenant to which it will be accommodated in the time of emendation.
On a former occasion, Jesus said to the multitude,
"If ye will receive it, John is the Elijah being about to come-Ηλιας ο῾ μελλων ερχεσθαλ." (Matt xi. 14)
I understand Jesus to say in these words, that Elijah's coming is still future. He says, too, "John is Elijah" - but in what sense are they identical? Let the angel of Yahweh who appeared to John's father, answer the question-
"John shall go before the Lord Israel's God in Elijah's spirit and power, to restore to posterity the fathers' dispositions, and disobedient ones to just persons' mode of thinking: to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke i. 17)
Then "Elijah's spirit and power, " like his mantle on Elisha, had fallen upon John; and hence the identity, which, however, did not at all affect the proper coming of Elijah at the appointed time. In this sense Jesus said to his disciples,
"But I say unto you
(though there is truth in what the scribes say)
that Elijah once came already, and they did not know him, but have done to him whatever they listed. John said of himself plainly, "I am not Elijah." (Matt xvii. 12)
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1855
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy
The seventieth week was the week in which the covenant was confirmed in the attestations which the Father gave to Jesus as his Son, and as the Seed of Abraham and of David, to whom he had promised the land of Canaan, and the kingdom and throne of David for an everlasting inheritance.
The week of confirmation was divided between the ministry of John and that of Jesus. The former was engaged in baptizing the people into the hope of Messiah's immediate manifestation; and when he was about finishing his work, Jesus was baptized, and publicly recognised before the assembled people, as the Son of God by a voice from the excellent glory.
He was also anointed at the same time, and sealed, as the Most Holy One of Israel. John having now finished his ministry, was thrown into prison by Herod the tetrarch; and Jesus being thirty years old, entered upon the work of the latter half part of the week, or three years and a half remaining to complete the 490 (Luke 3:15,19-23).
Elpis Israel 3.4.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
It is strange that the action of gospel obedience should have occupied so much time, and so many volumes to define. Water is admitted to be the medium through which it is performed; and that the terms used in connection with its administration are burial, planting, birth, "body washed."
Can a man be buried, or a seed planted, without being put out of sight? And is not a birth an emergence from a cavity in which the thing born was previously concealed? Then water baptism is a being put out of sight in water, and to be born of it is to emerge from the bosom of the deep.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Dec 1854
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
And of spirit, what know we? Nothing but in its effects. The gifts of the spirit are familiar only as manifestations of power. God, by the Spirit, enstamped on the apostles and early believers, certain powers and faculties extra to those appertaining to the living soul of Edenic origin; but the essence of the spirit is as inscrutable as the Father's person.
Prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; this was but the expression of ideas burningly impressed on their minds by the omnipotent power of the Father, exerted by, or through, or in the spirit.
Our familiarity with prophecy is apt to make us imagine ourselves familiar with the modus operandi of inspiration. The prophets were acted upon by divine impulse; but the divine impulse understand ye? Nay; we know it as a fact-that is all.
The spirit, though a fact is a mystery to our understanding. We talk much of it, and may come from sheer familiarity with the word, to put it by in the mind as a thing we understand; but let it be perceived, that it is only in its manifestations or functions toward ourselves, that we apprehend it. In itself, it is incomprehensible.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1869
12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Was there not a tempter in Christ's case personally distinct from Jesus?'
Answer. Yes. But that tempter was not a Serpent, nor 'the Serpent;' but one sustaining the character of a personal adversary to him.
If the tempter be distinct from Christ, the tempted, can we be safe, or justified, in departing from that idea?
Answer. We are not justified in so doing; therefore I have been careful to abide by what is written without regard to the glosses of 'theology,' and the petitio principii of 'divines.'
Herald Oct 1852
It is a characteristic of Mark's Gospel that where Matthew is full in his description, Mark is concise. Matthew records parables and teachings; Mark deals mainly with activity and actions. His record has no genealogy, for "servants" are not considered in that regard. Instead, words such as "straightway," "immediately" are used consistently as though the Great Servant is on constant duty, wholeheartedly performing the divine Will.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
The gospel is not preached when the things of the kingdom are omitted. And this is one grand defect in modern preaching; either there is nothing said about the kingdom, or a kingdom is preached which is a mere matter of speculation, a kingdom of heaven in principle, in the hearts of men, or somewhere beyond the skies!
But, the gospel does not treat of such a kingdom as this, a mere fiction indoctrinated into men's minds by "the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive." So inseparable is the idea of gospel from that of kingdom, that we find them not only substituted for each other, but associated together as terms of explanation.
Thus, "Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God" (Luke 8:1; Mark 1:14); and in the prophecy of Mount Olivet it is written, "THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the habitable (EN HOLE OIKOUMENE, the Roman empire) for a testimony to all the nations: and then shall come the end" (Matt. 24:14).
Elpis Israel 2.1.
NO REPENTANCE WITHOUT FAITH
"First then as to metanoia. It is a word derived from mĕetanŏeō, which is itself compounded of meta and nŏĕeō-the meta having the force of with, in the sense of on the same side with; also towards; while nŏĕō has its root in noos or nous, signifying mind, understanding, intellect; comprehensive of its states, or affections. Hence the verb nŏĕō is expressive of the operations of the intellect, as, thinking, considering, attending, pondering, &c.: to think with is therefore the radical idea of metanoeo; so that if God, for instance, present a proposition to the intellect, metanoeo is to think with that proposition, or to approve as true what God affirms is true.
...No person is the subject of gospel metanoia who does not think with, towards, after God, and therefore against his former self in his ignorance. As I have said before, the thinking of a sinner and the thinking of God are essentially and totally different kinds of thinking. It is evident, therefore, that when a sinner comes to think with God, he must think against his former mode of thinking, which implies that he has turned from that condition of mind to God.
If an idolater or image-worshipper, he may have renounced the adoration of idols as the result of God's teaching, showing its absurdity, and vindicating his own claim to the exclusive veneration of his creatures: still, though "turned from dumb idols to serve the living and true God," such a person might yet be ignorant of the gospel of the kingdom. He would be the subject of ten eis ton Theon metanoian; the metanoia towards God but not of pislin tēn eis ton Kyrion Iēsoun Christon," the pislin or faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ."
In apostolic times men were brought to think with God before the name of the Lord Jesus was preached to them for faith. "Except ye be changed and become as the children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens." This was metanoia, which preceded faith in Jesus, but not faith in God; and as necessary to justification as belief of the truth.
... With them [the apostles] faith was the belief of the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ with metanoia of heart-a full persuasion of the exceeding great and precious promises of God only very partially fulfilled as yet in Jesus Christ-the hypostasis, or assured expectation of things hoped for, a certain persuasion of things not seen.
... The kingdom of God being at hand was the reason given why they should believe in the gospel of that kingdom. Mark says, "Repent ye, and believe in the gospel;" to which Matthew adds, "for the kingdom of the heavens has approached." The gospel is one thing, and the basileia, or kingly power of the heavens, another. The Jews were exhorted to think with God and believe in his gospel; because His incarnate power who was to be the future king of the heavens of Daniel's beasts was in the midst of them.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, August 1854
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
We do not know who inserts the advertisement of Christadelphian works on prophecy that appears from time to time in the papers. It is an excellent thing to do. By this means, a brother unable to give effective testimony to the truth in any other way-(we take it for granted that only a brother would do such a thing)-may be able to fill a wide field of influence, the effects of which will only be known in the day of account.
21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
As the Servant of Yahweh, he taught with authority (Mark 1:22), authenticated his teaching with miracle (vv. 23-28), healed those of Peter's house (vv. 30-31), attended to the people of the city who gathered to him (vv. 32-34).
We can only wonder at the tenacity of the Lord's dedication as he continued in his work, despite the weariness and exhaustion indicated by v. 35. He needed some moments of quietude and solitude, so that this lonely Son of God could spend time with his heavenly Father, finding renewed strength to continue the heavy burden of his work.
But he was not permitted this for long, as the thoughtless disciples and multitude sought him out. Frequently he sought such a refuge (vv. 12-13). There is a great example, however, in his "rising early in the morning."
He knew the value of the morning hours. He rose while the world was still. He saw when the light spread abroad from the east, and with fresh tokens of his Father's presence. He joined with all creation in praising the evident presence of God.
Let us, too, think of God before the world gets possession of our thoughts as each day progresses. - GEM
42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
Sin the flesh
The scriptural concept of "covering"' and "cleansing" turns our minds profitably in the direction of what must occur within us, through and as a result of the required "atonement." The orthodox ideas attached to "atonement" - someone else being required to pay for our guilt, to suffer instead of us for our sins - tends to dull our conscience and turn our minds away from our own need for cleansing and purging.
It is the blood of Christ, the perfect sacrifice, that first "covers," then "cleanses" us - not ritually, but practically and gloriously. He did not die to "'atone" for our sins in the orthodox sense. He lived, and died to become and provide a cleansing medium by which our sins are first mercifully "covered," and then progressively - and at last completely and perfectly - cleansed from us: "washed away."
"Atonement," then, as it occurs in the AV, does not mean an external payment or compensation or expiation: that is, something done outside of ourselves; something substitutionary. This is a corrupted, orthodox meaning. It means an internal covering, cleansing, purging, purifying, and putting in a right condition: something done not so much for us as to us. (Of course, it is all "for" us in the sense of "for our sakes," "on our behalf.")
The sacrifices of the Bible were not to pay for sins; nor were they a substitute to suffer and die in the place of the sinner, as orthodoxy teaches. True, pagan sacrifices doubtless were this, for they were a corruption and perversion of the true - the true, revealed Divine conception being far above the comprehension of the mind of the flesh.
The sacrifices of the Bible were a humble recognition that the only condition acceptable to God is purity and perfection; that sin is filth and uncleanness; and that sinful man can be reconciled to God only by being covered by, and washed in, the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Purifying of the heavenly Ch 2