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MARK 16:19-20

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following. Amen."


 A Preacher in his Study


LESSON 1, FEBRUARY 20, 2007:

Mark's favorite word of transition is probably "straightway" (19 times) or immediately (17 times)," both of which translate the same Greek word, "eutheos." Mark twice uses "forthwith" to advance his narrative.

But in our verse "so then" is selected by the Holy Spirit to bring this great Gospel to its conclusion.

"So" is spelled "men" in Greek and means "indeed" 22 times in the New Testament and "verily" more 14 times and "truly" 12 times as well.

"Then" is "nun" in Greek and carries the idea of "therefore" 263 times and "wherefore" ... plus "then" 197 times.

Mark is preparing us for his last few thoughts.

Once Jesus had finished his Ministry, words and deeds, He returned to Heaven.

The chain of words, the string, I mean "so then," occurs 17 times in Scripture. However, at times one sentence ends with "so" and the next begins with "then."

Paul is the champion of this terminology, using it a dozen times. Hear the logic of the great Apostle.

Mark, even with his last "so then," is still affirming the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ!

He is all He said Himself to be!

The preposition "after," which is "meta" in Greek, is used here adverbially. It tells us "when" Jesus Jesus ascended into Heaven.

Mark here calls Jesus "Lord," just Lord!

Not Jesus!

Not Christ!


The One who has absolute control!

I realize that at times in Greek/Roman culture "lord" could simply be a substitute for "sir." Just a term of respect. But that is not how Mark is using it here.

The verb "had spoken" is "laleo" used as an aorist infinitive in the active voice. If Jesus' precise words were in view here, Mark probably world have used the verb "lego." Here Jesus' voice and inflection and mannerisms are included too! This is likely eyewitness information! The aorist sense of time indicates that Jesus' first coming to earth is under consideration here. When He comes again, He will have much more to say!

We have so far had a concise summary of our Lord's Ministry. For the full Story one must read Mark 1:1 through Mark 16:18.

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them ...." Mark 16:19a

The "them," the addressees, are the disciples. Not just the Twelve, but all the Believers with Jesus that last day! "Autois" is the dative plural personal pronoun that Mark used.

Blessed ears, those that heard the words of our Lord!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 2, FEBRUARY 21, 2007:

Mark records the last minutes of Jesus on earth, after His Resurrection I mean. "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven." Mark 16:19

As you know, Jesus being "received up" into Heaven is called the Ascension. The verb translated here is "analambano" and indeed means "to take" or even "to get hold of" something or someone. The prefix "ana" can and often does mean "up" as a direction. This specific verb shows the determined effort to bring Jesus back to Heaven rests on God's part. It is then a passive verb. Jesus was ascended to Glory!

Here's how Luke records the Ascension: "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him ...." Luke 24:50-52

Surprisingly, neither Matthew nor John record this great event! Maybe Matthew, who presents Jesus as the Divine King, leaves Him on earth where He some day will rule and reign! And John, who reveals Jesus as God, very God of very God, sees Christ as omni-present, everywhere at once, anyway. His immediate location being not all that significant then!

However, Luke again tells us about Jesus' ascending to Heaven in Acts 1:9-11. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Jesus was definitely received up "into" heaven! "Eis," when used with an accusative case object as here, means "in, at, on, by, near or among," whichever best fits the context. Jesus did not just go "near" Heaven ... but "into" it! He's there right now, in the "midst," in the very heart of the City!

The Old Testament even "hints" at Jesus' Ascension I believe. In Psalm 47, while God is being celebrated and worshipped as King of all the earth, these words are penned: "God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises."

There was shouting when Jesus got "Home!"

When the Saviour "went up" into Glory!

Someone grabbed the Trumpet and blew it forcefully and victoriously!

Then creation erupted into singing, glorious singing!

What great prophecy this is!

Messianic to the core!

But wait a minute, did I not just read in Acts that ... "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

He is coming back just like He went away to Heaven!

Then, according to psalm 47, get ready!

When He returns, riding that white horse of victory, there will be shouting!

Trumpets sounding!

And, oh yes, singing!

Much singing!

Manifold singing!

Praises to his Name!

We do not preach enough about these two great events!

Jesus' Ascension ... when He went away to Heaven!

And His Revelation ... when He returns to earth!

One history, one prophecy!

One past, one future!

But ... both are absolutely certain!


                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 3, FEBRUARY 22, 2007:

Our Text tells us that Jesus, having ascended to Heaven, "sat on the right hand of God." Mark 16:19

Psalm 110:1 prophesies this event, saying: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." God the Father is talking to God the Son here!

The Greek verb Mark uses, "kathizo," means to tarry or to continue or to be "set," as well as the physical act of sitting.

Jesus is not going anywhere ... until He returns to earth to catch us away at the Rapture! He will remain at His Father's right hand.

The expression "right hand" is lovely. "Dexios" means literally "the right side" of anything, as opposed to any other side. Hence, right hand. It is founded upon the verbal root "dechomai" which means "to receive!" Or "to accept!"

Usually in Scripture the "right hand" is the hand of power and strength. It is also the side on which the most honored guest sits at a banquet, just right of the host! I found 167 times that the Bible uses that term, "right hand." Most of the time it is just a direction, but a few times it is critically significant!

God right hand is the hand of victory! "Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy." Exodus 15:16 Then ... "O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory." Psalm 98:1

The right hand symbolizes faithfulness too. "Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." Deuteronomy 5:32

It is the place of honor too! "Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand." 2nd Kings 2:19

Jesus, in one of the greatest Messianic Psalms of all, said: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11

The right hand saves! "Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them." Psalm 17:7

God's right hand gives us stability according to Psalm 18:35. "Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great." Then, "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." Psalm 63:8

God's right hand deals with his enemies! "Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee." Psalm 21:8

It too is righteous and holy! "According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness." Psalm 48:10

The One Who sits at the Father's right hand is exalted! "Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand." Psalm 89:13

The right hand is the avenue of God's judgment too! "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath." Psalm 110:5

This word "valiantly" is translated "army" 56 times in our Bible! "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly." Psalm 118:15-16

His great right hand ... loves us! "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me." Song of Solomon 2:6

God's Right Hand holds my right hand! "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." Isaiah 41:13

God's right hand was involved in creation! "Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together." Isaiah 48:13

And It, He really, protects us, withholding harm! "He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about." Lamentation 2:3

The right hand of God is associated with the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus too. From there, the right hand, He is praying for you and me! "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Hebrews 8:1-2

God's right hand ... on John, literally! "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last." Revelation 1:17

Pastors, especially for you! The "stars" are the messengers of those seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, their preachers! "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." Revelation 1:16

At the right Hand of God!

I never knew it meant so much!

And there today sits my Saviour!


                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 4, FEBRUARY 23, 2007:

The remaining eleven Disciples of Jesus heard these words anyway. Maybe others too who believed in Jesus. I am speaking of the last words our Saviour spoke in the Gospel of Mark.

They they watched!

Beholding Him slowly rise into the heavens, each Christian gazed intently at toward our Lord.

Then we are told: "They went forth, and preached everywhere." Mark 16:20

That's exactly what Jesus had just commanded them four verses earlier!

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 15:16

Jesus was a Preacher!

Now, so are His disciples!

An unusual thing here, the pronoun, the subject of this inspired sentence, is not simply indicated by the verb, not that alone anyway. It is provided in the text by the Greek word "ekeinos," a masculine plural demonstrative pronoun. These preachers were men. Also I mention that the pronoun here is the very first word in the verse. That shows prominence. The Holy Spirit is emphasizing the response of the disciples to Jesus' teaching.

The verb "went forth" translates "exerchomai" as an aorist participle and means "to go away" or "to go out." It can also mean "to come out" but that sense does not fit the context here.

But watch what they do as they go!

They "preached" the Word of God!

"Kerusso," the specific verb employed here, means "to proclaim" a message. Often this specific verb indicates the man who is a forerunner of the King! His arrival is indicative of a coming royal visit! He is exhorting folks to "prepare," repent, clean up the surroundings, repair the roadways, beautify the city ... the King is coming!

The "herald," which "kerusso" implies, public preaching of course. With the authority of the King behind it too!

As I studied the textbooks said that the herald expected results to his proclamations also! It upset him if things did not begin to occur!

We preachers in a way are merely mouthpieces.

We are ambassadors, representatives, of Christ who saved us and called us and commissioned us and sent us!

Now notice "where" they preached!


"Pantachou" in Greek incorporates the adverb "pas" which means "any or all or the whole of something," here earth itself, the land is in mind. That's right! Beginning at Jerusalem they or their successors eventually preached in all Judea and then Samaria and ultimately to the uttermost parts of the earth! That's what Acts 1:8 tells us.


That's what they were!

Thank God for them!

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7.


                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 5, FEBRUARY 25, 2007:

These men not only preached, that glorious act not being a solo endeavor!

Mark carefully adds: "the Lord working with them!"

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them ...." Mark 16:20

By now the respectful and, to the disciples at least, Divine Title "Lord" had been affixed to Jesus!

At first He may have been Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth! The Carpenter. The Rabbi. Mary's Son.

But as He made Himself known and gained followers, their having been "born  again from above," Jesus was soon addressed as "Christ" and "Lord" and "God" also! He is God come in human flesh!

"Lord," in Greek "kurios," became a very costly word for the Christian to use, that is to use concerning Jesus Christ the Saviour!

Many of these Believers lived during the days of the Roman Empire, during the era when the Caesar on the throne invented and demanded "emperor worship." He proclaimed himself divine or had the Roman senate do so, then expected at first and demanded a little later that he be reverenced and adored and worshipped!

However, all a citizen had to do was say words like these: "Caesar is Lord!" To swear allegiance! To pledge one's total loyalty!

But the Christians, under penalty of law, could not do that!

They could only say: "Jesus is Lord!"

Well, the penalty stiffened!

No longer just loss of jobs or prison terms for these "Christ Followers," but death itself! Throw them to the lions! Burn them alive! Torture them into eternity!

Rome did too!

But Christians did not!

They did not compromise!

They would call no man "Lord" but Jesus!

Besides, Paul would later write that "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 1st Corinthians 12:3

That's the Lord, "kurios" ... "the person to whom one belongs," Mark means here. Our Master and Ruler and Forerunner and Deliverer and Provider as well as Saviour!

The expression "working with them" translates one word, a verb, "sunergeo." Immediately we know that the prefix "sun" means "with" or "together," indicating some kind of "union" obviously! The "sun" relationship is much closer that the "meta" or "para" ones also! So says one of my lexicons. Then "ergeo" means "to labor" and requires a good deal of effort and toil! This term is a present participle in the active voice! The Lord just kept on and on toiling and laboring and helping His Preachers!

In 1st Corinthians 3:9 Paul plainly says that "We are laborers together with God," with our Lord!

In the King James Bible "sunergos," the noun now, is translated several ways: "fellowlabourers, fellowhelpers, fellowworkers and companions in labour!"

Preachers, think of it!

"The Lord working with them."

Also ... "the Lord working with us!"


What motivation!

What power!

Lord willing, next Lesson we shall arrive at one of the most exciting verbs in the whole Text!

I use it often in prayer, just before or just after being in the Pulpit!

Until Monday ...

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 6, FEBRUARY 26, 2007:

"Confirming the Word!"

That's what the Lord is said to do for His Preachers as they went forth proclaiming The Word!

Here's the whole verse.

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following." Mark 16:20

The verb "confirming" is actually a participle. That's a verbal adjective. It is describing the Lord, the crucified and risen and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. The One Who has ascended to His Father's Right Hand according to Mark's record in the previous verse. "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

In Heaven sits Jesus as our great High Priest, yet He's by our side as we Preach, "confirming" His Word!

"Bebaioo" means "to establish." To "make stable!" Steadfast! Firm! Sure! Its "root" seems to be founded in the Greek "basis," which implies a foundation, the base of anything! The verb "baino" means "to walk."

Using "bebaioo," Romans 15:8 has God "confirming" His Promises to us! 1st Corinthians 1:8 reminds us that God has "confirmed" us to the end! God can even "establish" such things as friendships according to 2nd Corinthians 1:21. We are to be "stablished" in the faith says Paul in Colossians 2:7. God's Grace is an excellent "establishing" agent too according to Hebrews 13:9.

Furthermore, just as Hebrews 2:3 teaches that our salvation can be assured ... John Mark, in our current Text here, teaches that the Word of God can also be so assured!

Yes, just as massive skyscrapers have phenomenal foundations, many feet deep and heavily reinforced, so must the Christian! And our dear Lord provides such a base for His children, using the Word of God in the process! At least that's the idea I get from "bebaioo."

Therefore the Scriptures themselves must have, and do have, an ineffable foundation! Built on solid rock!

As far as the English word "confirming" is concerned, it is built of two Latin terms. The prefix "com" is an intensifier here, making the root verb even stronger! It means "with" in normal Latin vocabulary. "Firmare" means "to strengthen!" As a Latin noun "firmus" means "stable."

Things so entrenched will not be easily shaken!

Often before I preach, or just after ... maybe even when driving back home, the Holy Spirit brings this verse, Mark 16:20, to mind. Then I pray, asking the Lord to "confirm His Word" as preached that very evening!

It is amazing how He answers such a request.

After all, His Word being made strong and stable in our lives, certainly glorifies His dear Name!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

The Greek verb stem that provides our participle "confirming" is amazing. After writing the Lesson here, I consulted a Greek Dictionary and saw these definitions. Bebaioo, standing firm on the feet! Maintaining solidity! In ancient Greek literature bebaioo is often found in connection with logos, the Word! To verify! To assure! "Give me a basis in Thy Word!" True security! Solidly grounded! Guaranteed, in a legal and commercial sense! Some even teach that "arrabon," the word for "earnest" in a real estate transaction, and "bebaios" are synonyms. Also it can be used synonymously with "streizo," the verb for "fix, set up or make firm!" Then "inwardly secure" or "well grounded" occasionally appear. I have here researched and quoted from Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1, pages 600-604. I do not recommend this ten volume set in its entirety. However, it is the most detailed Greek Dictionary we have today in the English language. The very best way to determine the meaning of a word is to study how the Holy Spirit uses it in Scripture!



LESSON 7, FEBRUARY 27, 2007:

The word we must discuss today is "signs."

Our two-verse Text includes Mark 16:19-20, the last things John Mark ever wrote Scripturally.

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

We learned previously that our Lord Jesus Christ, even sitting in Heaven at God's right Hand, can still impact things on earth! Especially the preaching of His Word!

He can "confirm" the Book as His men travel and preach it ... "with signs following."

In Mark's day, and in context, those signs may have included certain Apostolic activities that are no longer operational today. "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." Acts 19:11-12

But today what do they involve?

We must investigate the noun "signs" to see. In Greek "semeion" indicates certain "marks" or "tokens" that point to some object, some truth or person being highlighted!

This is one of the New Testament's favorite words for Jesus' miracles too, especially in the Gospel of John where he uses the word 17 times! It occurs another 7 times in Revelation also.

Jesus' miracles and God's supernatural works are designed to POINT to Someone! To Jesus I believe!

They manifest His power and glory and essence!

And when Mark tells us that the Lord accompanies his Preachers, confirming the Word and allowing "signs" to follow them, I believe such things are meant as souls being saved! Young men being called to preach! Churches started! Christians repenting and confessing and forsaking sin! Believers growing in Christ! Love for the Bible increasing! A Revival spirit engulfing the people of God! And, above all, Jesus being glorified in everything!

Those are "signs" enough!

That is, until Jesus comes again!

Then, if you want to talk about "signs," we shall let Him lead the discussion!

Until then, our task is to remain faithful to His call in our lives!

Preach the Word!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 8, MARCH 2, 2007:

The present participle "following" is built on the verb "epakoloutheo" and means something like this: walking down the same road with someone.

That's right!

"Keleuthos" in Greek is a road or a pathway!

The "a" prefix is simply a particle of union, strengthening the meaning.

And the initial prefix, "epi," means a superimposition, that is ... "over" or "upon" something.

These indicators or signs are "all over" the preaching of God's Word!

See what I mean: "

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."

The "present" sense of the participle means that the action being presented is constant or durative.

As long as the preachers proclaimed the Scriptures, the Lord worked with them, confirming His Word with constant signs!

Then, as with all the Gospels, the final note is sounded: "Amen!"

This Greek term is built upon a Hebrew stem. In Greek "amen" means that which is firm or faithful.

It's Hebrew forerunner means "truth!"

The Old Testament spells it "emeth."

Interestingly, that word for truth begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, and ends with the last letter, tav.

Are we being told that the Truth is also the First and the Last?

The Beginning and the End?

Or to enter the Greek world of Mark, the Alpha and the Omega?

I believe so!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell







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