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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
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.
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.
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