Galilee and Jerusalem

Mark 16.

It has very often been remarked that we have two terminations to the gospel history of our blessed Lord one being in a scene laid in Galilee, the other in Jerusalem and Bethany. The first aspect of the gathering of the disciples in Galilee corresponds to the assembling of the earthly tribes in the last days, as fully shown to us in Isaiah (see chapter 9:1-7, etc.); whereas the second is rather that of the Jewish remnant which becomes the Church, and is in connection with a heavenly calling and testimony. At the end of Mark's gospel, we find the two terminations. The first eight verses correspond with our first aspect; then the remainder of the passage goes with the second.*

*Though this is not a paper on critical questions, yet it may be well to state that I suppose that none of our readers reject the verses 9 - 20; surely there is abundant evidence that they form part of Scripture, whatever Tischendorf may say.

I would very briefly note one or two things in these two passages in Mark; calling attention, first of all, to the well known character of this gospel, that of our blessed Lord's service.

1. The sun has risen in this first part, and the declaration of the angel is that they (the women) shall see Jesus in Galilee, where He is gone before them.

The aromatic spices were useless, like many other things that have cost much and are of no use for the present time; the stone was rolled away; Jesus was risen, and the glory of the risen Messiah should be known in His splendid kingdom. The whole earth should be full of His glory, as the risen sun was filling it physically with light and warmth. The Sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings, should arise (Malachi 4); Israel and the whole earth should be brought into blessing. Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, was risen, and should precede the faithful into Galilee; full earthly blessing is assured.

2. The second part is of the greatest importance to us, and I merely wish to notice the mission given here to the apostle, the services of Christ in connection with His heavenly position, and the heavenly calling of the Church.

It is evident that the ninth verse begins a fresh subject, and Mary of Magdala is mentioned, as we find in John 20, to whom the risen Saviour declared the blessed and heavenly relationship of His own with His Father and God, and whom He sent with the glorious message to the disciples. This would seem to be emphatically stated (notice the pronoun) in the tenth verse of our chapter. This is distinctly connected with a new and heavenly order of things.

Then in verse 12, we have the journey to Emmaus, which is given us in detail in Luke 24, which surely is an introduction to our blessed Lord's new position in glory; and again notice the emphasis on the pronoun in verse 13, "They went and told it unto the residue."

Then comes the mission to which I have alluded, and which no doubt is given to us in Luke. The point I wish to dwell upon is the complete victory of the Lord over the powers of evil, and His sending out the gospel to the whole creation. Happy they who enter into the thought at the end of the passage, where the Lord, from the glory, carries on His ministry, working with them whom He has sent out in this glorious labour, and strengthening them to the end.

It may be well to notice that Mary Magdalene and the two going to Emmaus are spoken of before the commission is given to His servants; for I presume that, as we have noticed, the relationship and full heavenly position are made known - fully announced  -  before true Christian service begins. Then the service is given. The good news is to be preached in all the creation; and the signs of the complete victory over evil are announced. Demons should be cast out: the first source of evil to man was their coming in.

Then the Babel was counteracted; the terrible confusion of tongues, so justly merited by mankind, should be overcome through perfect grace. They should speak with new tongues. Serpents should be taken up, and poison have no effect. Although, no doubt, these wonderful gifts were not permanent (see, for instance, Acts 28), yet they form a wonderful picture of victory over evil, and of the superiority of the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ over all the adversary's power.

Then they should lay hands on the sick, and they should be healed. We must not wonder at the amount of sickness and number of invalids in this serpent-bitten earth, where so much poison is freely circulated, and so readily bought and consumed. Sickness is very general; but the sick should be healed.

Jesus is still seated at the right hand of God in heaven; and is still from the glory directing the service of those whom He has sent forth. The mission is glorious indeed, for we are sent out into the domain of death, suffering, sickness, and confusion of tongues, to announce the good news of the God of glory; and to bring into this afflicted earth life, joy, healing, and peace.

I speak of the principles of Christian service, and of the present place of our exalted Lord; taking the symbolic gifts to His first servants as a moral encouragement to us all till He comes.

May we fulfil our mission! E. L. Bevir.

"That which hinders" (2 Thess. 2) is in general only an instrument, a means, which prevents the manifestation of the man of sin - the wicked one. So long as the assembly is on earth, the pretension to be God in His temple cannot take place, or at least would have no influence. Satan has his sphere, and must needs have it, in the mystery of iniquity; but there is no longer a mystery when the place of God in His temple is openly taken. That which hinders is, therefore, still present. But there is a person active in maintaining this hindrance. Here I think indeed that it is God in the Person of the Holy Ghost, who, during the time called "the things that are," restrains the evil and guards divine authority in the world. As long as that subsists, the unrestrained exaltation of wickedness cannot take place. Consequently I do not doubt but that the rapture of the saints is the occasion of the hindrance being removed. J. N. Darby.