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;
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(17) They shall speak with new tongues.—This is noticeable as being the only distinct reference in the Gospels to the form of the Pentecostal gift. The promise of the Spirit itself had been prominent, however, throughout our Lord’s teaching (Luke 11:13; John 14:17; John 14:26), and appears from Acts 1:8 to have been specially renewed between the Resurrection and Ascension. On the nature of the gift itself, see Notes on Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6; 1Corinthians 12:10; 1Corinthians 14:4-26.

Mark 16:17-20. And these signs shall follow them that believe — Bengelius subjoins, “That believe with that very faith mentioned in the preceding verse.” (Though it is certain a man may work miracles and not have saving faith, Matthew 7:22-23.) “It was not one faith by which Paul was saved; another, by which he wrought miracles. Even at this day, in every believer, faith has a latent miraculous power: (every effect of prayer being really miraculous:) although in many, because of their littleness of faith, and because the world is unworthy, that power is not exerted. Miracles in the beginning were helps to faith; now also they are the objects of it. At Leonberg, a town in Wirtemberg, in the memory of our fathers, a cripple, that could hardly move with crutches, while the dean was preaching on this very text, was in a moment made whole.” See note on Mark 11:22; where many similar instances are referred to; the number of which might easily be increased on the most certain evidence. Shall follow them that believe — The gospel word, and faith therein, must precede, and then the signs shall follow. In my name they shall cast out devils, &c. — That is, by my authority committed to them, and by my power attending them. Raising the dead is not mentioned here; so our Lord performed even more than he promised. If they drink any deadly thing — But not by their own choice: God never calls us to try any such experiment; it shall not hurt them. They shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover — Immediately, without the use of any further means. Such was the purport of our Lord’s discourses with his disciples till his ascension, as is more largely related by Luke and John. And after he had spoken unto them — In this and a similar manner, time after time, for forty days; he was received up into heaven — While they were steadfastly beholding him; and sat on the right hand of God — That is, was invested with the highest dignity and authority, there to reign in all the glory of his mediatorial kingdom: And they went forth and preached everywhere — Through all parts of the Roman empire, and even to divers barbarous nations, and that with amazing success; the Lord working with them, according to his promise, and confirming the word with signs following — Which were at once the most solid, as well as the most obvious and popular demonstration of those divine truths which they delivered. Amen — So may the presence of the Lord be always with his faithful ministers! and may his gospel be attended everywhere with success, as well as with convincing evidences of its divine authority!

16:14-18 The evidences of the truth of the gospel are so full, that those who receive it not, may justly be upbraided with their unbelief. Our blessed Lord renewed his choice of the eleven as his apostles, and commissioned them to go into all the world, to preach his gospel to every creature. Only he that is a true Christian shall be saved through Christ. Simon Magus professed to believe, and was baptized, yet he was declared to be in the bonds of iniquity: see his history in Ac 8:13-25. Doubtless this is a solemn declaration of that true faith which receives Christ in all his characters and offices, and for all the purposes of salvation, and which produces its right effect on the heart and life; not a mere assent, which is a dead faith, and cannot profit. The commission of Christ's ministers extends to every creature throughout the world, and the declarations of the gospel contain not only truths, encouragements, and precepts, but also most awful warnings. Observe what power the apostles should be endued with, for confirming the doctrine they were to preach. These were miracles to confirm the truth of the gospel, and means of spreading the gospel among nations that had not heard it.And these signs - These miracles. These evidences that they are sent from God.

Them that believe - The apostles, and those in the primitive age who were endowed with like power. This promise was fulfilled if it can be shown that these signs followed in the case of any who believed, and it is not necessary to suppose that they would follow in the case of all. The meaning is, that they would be the result of faith, or of the belief of the gospel. It is true that they were. These signs were shown in the case of the apostles and early Christians. The infidel cannot say that the promise has not been fulfilled unless he can show that this never occurred; the Christian should be satisfied that the promise was fulfilled if these miracles were ever actually wrought, though they do not occur now; and the believer now should not expect a miracle in his case. Miracles were necessary for the establishment of religion in the world; they are not necessary for its continuance now.

In my name - By my authority, and using the power that I would in such cases, if bodily present. This was done; and in this they differed essentially from the manner in which Jesus himself wrought miracles. He did it in "his own name," and as possessing original, underived authority. See the account of his stilling the sea (Matthew 8:26, etc.); of his healing the sick Matthew 9:5-6; of his raising Lazarus, John 11. The prophets spoke "in the name of the Lord." The apostles did likewise, Acts 3:6, etc. There was, therefore, an important difference between Jesus and all the other messengers that God has sent into the world. He acted in his own name; they in the name of another. He wielded his own power; they were the instruments by which God put forth the omnipotence of his arm to save. He was therefore God; they were men of like passions as other men, Acts 14:15.

Shall they cast out devils - See the notes at Matthew 4:24. Compare Acts 16:16-18.

Shall speak with new tongues - Shall speak other languages than their native language. This was remarkably fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4-11. It existed, also, in other places. See 1 Corinthians 12:10.

17, 18. And these signs shall follow them that believe … They shall take up serpents—These two verses also are peculiar to Mark.

The Ascension and Triumphant Proclamation of the Gospel Thereafter (Mr 16:19, 20).

See Poole on "Mark 16:15"

And these signs shall follow them that believe,.... Not all of them, but some; and not always, only for a time; and which were necessary for the confirmation of the Gospel, and the establishment of Christianity in the world; and not only believing hearers, but believing ministers of the word, are chiefly designed; and this is said, for the encouragement both of those that preach the Gospel, and of them that hear, believe and obey. The Persic version, contrary to all others, reads, "ye shall show signs and wonders to them that believe not"; see 1 Corinthians 14:22.

In my name shall they cast out devils; so the Apostle Paul dispossessed the damsel, that had a spirit of divination; commanding the spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her, and it did; and evil spirits also went out of others, through his means, by the power of Christ, Acts 16:18; and this power continued for a considerable time among the saints: the phrase "in my name", is in the Arabic version, joined to the word "believe", in the preceding clause; and is omitted in the Persic version, but is rightly retained by all others in this place; for by the power and authority of Christ, and not their own, and by calling upon, and making use of his name, such miraculous operations were wrought by the apostles:

they shall speak with new tongues: or languages, not such as were new made, and had never been heard and known before; but foreign languages, such as they had never learned, or were able to speak, or understood before; and this not only did the apostles on the day of pentecost, but even common believers at other times, Acts 2:4 Acts 10:45.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with {e} new tongues;

(e) Strange tongues, ones which they did not know before.

Mark 16:17. Σημεῖα] marvellous significant appearances for the divine confirmation of their faith. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:22.

τοῖς πιστεύσουσι] those who have become believing, generically. The limitation to the teachers, especially the apostles and seventy disciples (Kuinoel), is erroneous. See Mark 16:16. The σημεῖα adduced indeed actually occurred with the believers as such, not merely with the teachers. See 1 Corinthians 12. Yet in reference to the serpents and deadly drinks, see on Mark 16:18. Moreover, Jesus does not mean that every one of these signs shall come to pass in the case of every one, but in one case this, in another that one. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:4.

παρακολ.] shall follow them that believe, shall accompany them, after they have become believers. The word, except in Luke 1:3, is foreign to all the four evangelists, but comp. 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:10.

ταῦτα] which follow. See Krüger, Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 2; Kühner, ad Anab. ii. 5. 10.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου] in my name, which they confess, shall the ground be, that they, etc. It refers to all the particulars which follow.

δαιμ. ἐκβαλ.] Comp. Mark 9:38.

γλώσσ. λαλ. καιναῖς] to speak with new languages. The ecstatic glossolalia (see on 1 Corinthians 12:10), which first appeared at the event of Pentecost, and then, moreover, in Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6, and is especially known from the Corinthian church, had been converted by the tradition with reference to the Pentecostal occurrence into a speaking in languages different from the mother-tongue (see on Acts 2:4). And such is the speaking in new languages mentioned in the passage before us, in such languages, that is, as they could not previously speak, which were new and strange to the speakers. Hereby the writer betrays that he is writing in the sub-apostolic period, since he, like Luke in reference to the Pentecostal miracle, imports into the first age of the church a conception of the glossolalia intensified by legend; nay, he makes the phenomenon thereby conceived as a speaking in strange languages to be even a common possession of believers, while Luke limits it solely to the unique event of Pentecost. We must accordingly understand the γλώσσ. λαλεῖν καιναῖς of our text, not in the sense of the speaking with tongues, 1 Corinthians 12-14, but in the sense of the much more wonderful speaking of languages, Acts 2, as it certainly is in keeping with the two strange particulars that immediately follow. Hence every rationalizing attempt to explain away the concrete designation derived, without any doubt as to the meaning of the author, from the Acts of the Apostles, is here as erroneous as it is in the case of Acts 2, whether recourse be had to generalities, such as the newness of the utterance of the Christian spirit (Hilgenfeld), or the new formation of the spirit-world by the new word of the Spirit (Lange), the ecstatic speaking on religious subjects (Bleek), or others. Against such expedients, comp. Keim in Herzog, Encykl. XVIII. p. 687 ff. The ecstatic phenomena of Montanism and of the Irvingites present no analogy with the passage before us, because our passage has to do with languages, not with tongues. Euthymius Zigabenus: γλώσσαις ξέναις, διαλέκτοις ἀλλοεθνέσιν.

Mark 16:17. Here also we find a great lapse from the high level of Mt.’s version of the farewell words of Jesus: signs, physical charisms, and thaumaturgic powers, taking the place of the spiritual presence of the exalted Lord. Casting out devils represents the evangelic miracles; speaking with tongues those of the apostolic age; taking up venomous serpents and drinking deadly poison seem to introduce us into the twilight of apocryphal story. Healing of the sick by laying on of hands brings us back to apostolic times. θανάσιμον is a ἅπ. λεγ.

17. And these signs] For this word applied to Miracles see note, ch. Mark 6:2.

shall follow] Literally, shall proceed along with. The same word in the original is used by St Luke, Luke 1:3, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things” (literally, having carefully followed up).

them that believe] i. e. those that shall have believed, shall have adopted the Faith and been baptized.

In my name shall they cast out devils] As is afterwards recorded to have been done by Philip the deacon in Samaria (Acts 8:7), by St Paul at Philippi (Acts 16:18) and Ephesus (Acts 19:15-16).

they shall speak with new tongues] as all the Apostles did on the day of Pentecost, and the Gentile friends of Cornelius (Acts 10:46), and the twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:6), and many afterwards in the Church of Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:10).

Mark 16:17. Τοῖς πιστεύσασι, in the case of them that believe) by the instrumentality of that very faith, of which Mark 16:16 treats: comp. Hebrews 11:33, etc. The state of mind [faith] whereby Paul was saved, was not different from that whereby he performed miracles. Even in our day, faith has in every believer a hidden power of a miraculous character: every effect resulting from our prayers is really miraculous, even though that miraculous character be not apparent; although in many, both on account of their own feebleness, and on account of the unworthiness of the world,—not merely because [as some say] the Church, being once planted, needs not the continuance of miracles, though no doubt the early miracles of the New Testament have ‘made’ for the Lord Jesus “an everlasting name” (comp. Isaiah 63:12),—that power does not exert itself in our day. Signs were in the beginning the props and stays of faith: now they are also the object of faith. At Leonberg, a town of Wirtemberg [A.C. 1644, thirteenth Sunday after Trinity], a girl of twenty years of age was so disabled in her limbs, as hardly to be able to creep along by the help of crutches; but whilst the Dean [Raumeier was his name] was, from the pulpit, dwelling on the miraculous power of Jesus’ name, she suddenly was raised up and restored to the use of her limbs.[12]—ταῦτα, these) Miracles are here alluded to of a most palpable kind, and such as are altogether removed from every suspicion of trickery.—παρακολουθήσει, shall follow in the train of) The word and faith precede the signs, Mark 16:20.—ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί Μου, in My name) which believers call upon.—καιναῖς, new) Such as they themselves had not previously known: or even such as no nation had previously spoken: 1 Corinthians 12:10. For in Acts 2:4, the tongues of the Parthians, Medes, etc., are called other tongues, not new tongues. Ἕτεραι, other tongues, were such as were used before, viz., by the various nations: but καιναὶ, new tongues: for instance, as at Corinth, where one spake in the tongue, and another had to interpret it, although there was no one present who used the foreign tongue; a proceeding which was as it were a kind of prophetical exercise.

[12] This happened in the presence of Duke Eberhard III. and his courtiers, and was committed to the public records, which are above all suspicion. However D. Ernesti, Bibl. Theol. T. ii. 416, regards the whole affair as not worthy to be dignified with the name of miracle. The very words of the Dean are given by E. B. in his Ed. of Beng. Gnom., which the curious reader can consult. The girl had been for nine years continuously disabled. E. B. tells a marvellous tale in addition. At Lavingen, in the year 1606, Nov. 26, Joseph Jenisch was born of the noble stock of the Kellers; he was destitute of a tongue from his birth, but in consequence of the earnest prayers of his parents and family, when he had not yet finished his first year, he was able to name distinctly the several members of the family, and was, therefore, dedicated to the service of the ministry, which for forty years he discharged at Böblingen and Münchingen: he died on the 10th of April 1675.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verses 17, 18. - And these signs shall follow them that believe. Such evidences were necessary in the first dawn of Christianity, to attract attention to the doctrine; but our Lord's words do not mean that they were to be in perpetuity, as a continually recurring evidence of the truth of Christianity. St. Gregory (on 1 Corinthians 14:22) says, "These signs were necessary in the beginning of Christianity. In order that faith might take root and increase, it must be nourished by miracle; for so even we, when we plant shrubs, only water them until we see that they are taking root, and when we see that they have rooted themselves, we cease to water them. And this is what St. Paul means where he says 'Tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving' (1 Corinthians 14:22)." In my name shall they cast out devils. St. Mark, of all the evangelists, dwells most perhaps on this, as characteristic of our Lord's work, and as the evidence of his supreme dominion over the spiritual world. They shall speak with new tongues. This was the first intimation of the great miracle to be inaugurated on the day of Pentecost. The gift was continued but for a very limited time. They shall take up serpents. The instance of St. Paul at Melita (Acts 28:3-5) would be familiar to St. Mark's readers. And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them. There are some few traditionary notices of the fulfillment of this promise; as in the case of "Justus Barsabas," mentioned by Eusebius ('H.E.,' 3, 19), and of St. John, mentioned by St. Augustine. It may be observed of this passage, that no one could have interpolated it after the cessation of the signs to which it refers, which took place very early. Mark 16:17Shall follow (παρακολουθήσει)

The preposition παρά, alongside of, gives the sense of accompany.

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