Class Notes: 9/29/2013

Mark 6:6;- Mark 6:20; The doctrine of apostle; Are there degrees of punishment? Events leading to John the Baptizer's death

In our study of Mark, last time we stopped in Mark 6:5-6; where Jesus was rejected by the people in His own hometown of Nazareth and as a result was unable to do many miracles there because of the resident's unbelief.

But he kept on traveling around and teaching thereby preparing His disciples to be sent out on their own missions.

Mark 6:7; The twelve that He had previously chosen "to be with Him" were now commissioned to go through the villages of Galilee proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and calling the people to repent, and so be prepared to receive their King.

The Greek word "apostello" that means to receive delegated power "is transliterated as apostle so the twelve were apostles sent to the Israel with the gospel of the kingdom, the Messiah and the King.

Jesus delegated power to them and sent them out two by two and He empowered them with the credit card of healing and casting out of demons to authenticate the message.

This brings us to a brief discussion on the doctrine of apostleship. The original ancient historic use of the Greek word, "apostello" that is transliterated "apostle," was for the admiral of the fleet. It was a military title for highest delegated rank in a naval fleet that was being deployed.

Our passage describes the twelve disciples as being delegated as apostles to Israel. Even though most of them are the same, the apostles to the Church we distinguish the difference between the apostles to Israel and the apostles to the church because they are not the same.

For example Judas Iscariot was an apostle to Israel but not to the Church and Paul was an apostle to the Church but not to Israel.

In our passage we see that Jesus personally appointed and delegated the apostles to Israel. He was also personally involved in the appointment and delegation of the apostles to the Church on the day of Pentecost ten days after His ascension. Eph 4:7-8;

But since that initial distribution by Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit makes the distribution of all spiritual gifts, according to Heb 2:4; and 1 Cor 12:11;

Paul Gal 1:1; Col 1:1; Paul and Jesus' half-brother James were apostles to the Church 1Cor 15:7-8;.

Some others who may have been delegated the gift of apostle to the church include Barnabas, Apollos, Silvanus, and Timothy.

The gift of apostleship was designed to carry the Church until the completion of the canon of scripture. Therefore, this gift carried both absolute authority in administration as well as absolute authority in both verbal and written communication for every local assembly within the entire church.

This means that there have been no apostles delegated to the church since the canon of scripture was completed.. Today anyone who says they have the delegated authority and office of the spiritual gift of apostle is a liar.

The spiritual gift of apostle exercised authority over all the local churches until the completion of the canon of scripture. Then apostleship was removed.

In other words, this is the only spiritual gift of leadership that ever had authority over all the churches. Today all local churches are autonomous with authority vested universally in the Word of God and the locally with the pastor-teacher.

Apostles had to be eyewitnesses to the resurrection, which qualified the eleven who survived and James. Paul was qualified by seeing the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road, 1Cor 9:1;1Cor 15:7-9;

The authority of apostleship is established by certain temporary gifts such as miracles, healing, or tongues, Acts 5:15; 16:16-18; 28:8,9. However, later in the church age once the authority was established, these spiritual gifts such as miracles and healing were removed.

We know this because later in his ministry Paul could not heal two of his closest friends. He requested prayer on their behalf, but he could not heal them. One was Epaphroditus in Phil 2:27, the other was Trophemus in 2Tim 4:20; Paul had to leave Trophemus behind ill in Miletus because he could not heal him.

Mark 6:7; He sent them out "two by two" for legal reasons Deut 17:6;

Mark 6:8-10;They were instructed to take no extra provisions of any kind with them. No suitcase no extra shirt nothing. Net note 11

They were to depend on God to provide food and shelter through the hospitality of Jewish believers who lived in the area that they were ministering to and not move from house to house. Net note 14

They were to stay with the people who welcomed them until they were done witnessing in that area. They were to stay with someone that they were compatible with so that way could and relax and enjoy themselves once they had established rapport.

They were not to impose on the hospitality of many people or accept what appeared to be more attractive place to stay once they had settled in.

Mark 6:11; If there was an area where no one would receive the message they were to leave and "shake the dust off their feet"

They were to expect rejection. If any place would not offer hospitality or listen to their message, they were to leave there and to shake the dust off their feet.

To Israel per the Mosaic Law the dust of a heathen country was unclean and defiled. It was regarded like a grave, it carried the concept of death so devout Jews would shake the dust off their sandals when they left Gentile territory to show that they were dissociating themselves from it.

This ritual would show those who had rejected them that they were acting like pagans in rejecting the disciples' message. So to shake off the dust was to pronounce a curse upon that city or that home.

So they were actually told to pronounce a curse and the Lord would honor their pronouncement, which means that some of those homes and cities would be under discipline from God. James 4:6;

In Mark 6:11; the translators of KJV have added ""It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city" This phrase is not in the oldest Greek manuscripts of Mark's text so it is not in the NASB or the NET translations.

This phrase is in the oldest texts of the parallel passage in Matt 10:15; "More bearable" suggests that something is more bearable, so it suggests the possibility of degrees of punishment.

A question that arises from this phrase is are there degrees of punishment? The answer is no, based on four principles.

Degrees of punishment tend to deny the literal lake of fire. There is nothing in the scripture that indicates that one part of the lake of fire is hotter than another.

Degrees of punishment are contrary to the doctrine of unlimited atonement: Christ died for every sin that was ever committed. Man is not judged on the basis of his personal sins. The basis of condemnation and consignment into the lake of fire at the last judgment is one's human good, not one's personal sins.

Degrees of punishment also destroys the only issue of salvation. The only issue in salvation is faith alone in Christ alone.

The false concept of degrees of punishment would imply that one rejecter of grace gets less fire than another rejecter of grace. The unsaved are unsaved only because they reject Christ as savior but there is no such thing as degrees of rejection. No one can reject Christ any more or less than another. Rejection is absolute.

The theory of degrees of punishment is actually based on the Hegelian fallacy that states that for every thesis there must be an antithesis, and when you put the two together you get synthesis.

In this case we have a problems where the false concept would be based upon the false idea that if one unbeliever commits some terrible evil and another unbeliever performs some great human good they must be in different categories in the lake of fire in eternity.

People connect these ideas and incorrectly think that there must be degrees of punishment. But this false system cannot be superimposed on the absolute truth revealed in scripture.

It simply means just as Sodom and Gomorrah received judgment in time (there is no judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah in eternity) those who reject the disciple's message will also receive judgment.

The "day of judgment" simply means the day in time when the land will be judged. Israel is going to be judged under 5th cycle of discipline and it was more bearable for the people in Sodom and Gomorrah who were incinerated in a moment of time than it was for the people in Israel in 70 AD when they were surrounded, blockaded and starved to the point where they ate their babies and committed suicide.

Mark 6:12-13; These verses are a summary of the results of their mission. The use of oil when healing is only described in the gospel of Mark and provides the symbolism that indicates that they were functioning under Jesus' authority not their own.

The ability to heal in this manner that is also referenced in the Church Age in James 5:14; was a temporary gift that was used in the early part of the church as a credit card to authenticate the communicator's message.

Mark 6:14; This King Herod is Herod Antipas who was the son of Herod the Great. Herod Antipas and his second wife Herodias were ruling in Galilee at the time. Herod Antipas was tetrarch or ruler of one fourth of his father's (Herod the Great) kingdom of Galilee and Perea under the aegis of Rome from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39.

He heard of what Jesus was doing and what he heard reminded him of John the Baptizer who he had just executed.

He thinks John may still be alive even though He had seen John's head on a platter when he delivered to his stepdaughter so he is frightened because some were saying that based on the mighty works that were being done that John was risen from the dead.

Mark 6:15; Others thought He must be the promised Elijah, Others said He was a prophet, or possibly one of the older prophets that had come back to life.

Mark 6:16; But because of his guilty conscience Herod was personally convinced that Jesus was none other than John the Baptizer who he had beheaded resuscitated.

Mark 6:17; Herod Antipas had ordered John to be put in prison because of his second wife Herodias. According to Josephus, this prison was at the fortress-palace of Machaerus near the northeastern shore of the Dead Sea.

Herod Antipas had married a daughter of king Aretas IV but then he became enamored with his half-niece Herodias who was the daughter of his half-brother, Aristobulus, who was married to Herod's half-brother Philip who was the tetrarch who ruled the other side of the lake.

So Herod divorced his first wife and married Herodias who also divorced Philip.

Mark 6:18; John the Baptizer had repeatedly denounced this marriage as unlawful. Net notes 23 and 24. John's criticism did not bother Herod but it did bother Herodias.

Mark 6:19; Herodias was used to getting her own way so John's rebuke infuriated her and she was out to get him. She was not satisfied with John's imprisonment because she wanted to kill him,

Mark 6:20; Her plans to kill John were thwarted because Herod Antipas was in awe of John (Net note 26), and knew he was a righteous and holy man so he protected John from Herodias' murderous intentions by keeping him in prison. Herod liked to listen to John even though he did not understand what John was talking about.

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