Category Archives: Gospel Story

JUDGMENT OF THE DRAGON

SYNOPSIS – The Dragon is released for a “short season” to launch a final attempt to destroy the saints, however, Satan is the one destroyed – Revelation 20:7-10

The point is now reached for the final downfall of the “Dragon.” The second literary division of the book introduced the cosmic enemies of the “Lamb” – The “Dragon,” the “Beast from the Sea” and the “False Prophet,” and “Babylon, the Great Whore.” In the third division, the destruction of each is presented in reverse order – “Babylon,” the “Beast” and the “False Prophet,” and now, Satan.

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IMPRISONMENT OF THE DRAGON

SYNOPSIS – The Devil is imprisoned in the “Abyss” until an appointed time when he is released to deceive the nations into a final attempt to annihilate the saints – Revelation 20:1-3

The book of Revelation presents an image of Satan imprisoned in the “Abyss” for a “thousand years” until his release at the end of the period. During his incarceration, the “Dragon” is prevented from “deceiving the nations” – Only after his release is he authorized “to deceive the nations” once last time.

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INTRODUCTION TO MARK

A brief introduction to the Gospel of Mark, its history and structure

The New Testament includes four gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The first three are categorized as ‘synoptic’ gospels, meaning to “see together.” ‘Synoptic’ is a compound of the Greek preposition sun (“together”) and optikos (“to see”), hence “to see together.”

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Deceivers and Tumults

SYNOPSIS:  The Olivet Discourse opens with warnings about coming deceivers who will deceive many with false expectations about the end of the ageMatthew 24:4-14.

grey and white wolf selective focus photography

Jesus began his final discourse by warning of coming deceivers who claim his authority and spread rumors about various calamities in order to “deceive many.” This warning is repeated at pivotal points in the Olivet Discourse – “Many false prophets will arise and deceive many,” false messiahs and prophets will show signs and wonders in order to “deceive even the very elect” of God (Matthew 24:4-8; Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11). Continue reading Deceivers and Tumults

BLIND BAR-TIMAEUS SAVED

SYNOPSIS – Jesus restored the sight of a blind beggar while “on the way” to his death in the city of Jerusalem – Mark 10:46-52

This is the last recorded healing miracle in the gospel of Mark. It is no coincidence that Jesus is designated the “Nazarene.” The only previous time when he was so identified was when he exorcised a demon, thus delivering someone oppressed by the Devil. That was his first recorded healing miracle in Mark. Thus, in this gospel, the name “Nazarene” frames his first and last healing miracles – (Mark 1:24).

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DISCIPLES STUMPED

SYNOPSIS – Unbelief hindered the ability of Jesus to heal some afflicted persons, not lack of fasting or other ritualistic practices – Mark 9:14-29

While Peter, James, and John were seeing the vision of the Transfiguration, the rest of the disciples were ministering nearby. Apparently, whenever the disciples ministered when Jesus was absent, in short order, they found themselves in trouble. As soon as the crowd saw Jesus return from the mountain, they flocked to him seeking healing and deliverance.


In this instance, the disciples were not, necessarily, at fault. Previously, in Nazareth, Jesus had been unable to perform many miracles because of the unbelief of its inhabitants – Unbelief is the real problem in this story –  (Mark 6:1-6).

The reference to the “faithless generation” is directed to the crowd more than to the disciples. The gospel of Mark uses “generation” five times and never applied it to the twelve disciples. Most often, it refers to the generation of Jews that was contemporary with Jesus – The one that rejected him (Mark 8:12 [twice], 8:38, 9:19, 13:30).

(Mark 9:14-29) – “And coming to the disciples they saw a large multitude around them, and Scribes discussing with them…And one out of the multitude answered him, Teacher! I brought my son to you, having a dumb spirit, and wherever it seizes him it tears him and he foams and grinds his teeth, and wears himself out; and I spoke to your disciples that they should cast it out and they could not. But he, having answered, said, ‘O faithless generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me!…And when he had gone into a house his disciples privately were questioning him, ‘Why, were, we, not able to cast it out?’ And he said unto them, ‘This kind by nothing can come out except by prayer.’” – (Parallel passages – Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-42).

Some commentators suggest from the description that this was a case of epilepsy, not genuine demon possession. However, Jesus, as presented in the account, treated it as a genuine case of demon possession, and acted accordingly. Further, in the past, the unclean spirit had forced the boy to throw himself into fire or water in its attempts to destroy him. Typically, epileptics do not attempt to kill themselves when experiencing seizures when they are incapacitated.

The response by Jesus to the pleas of the boy’s father demonstrated the problem was not unwillingness or inability on his part to deliver the boy but unbelief – (“As for this, ‘if it be possible to you?!’, all things are possible to him who has faith,” and, “help my lack of faith!”).

There was doubt expressed in the words of the father and he pleaded for Jesus to help his unbelief.

Verse 29 reads, “This kind (of demon) can come out by nothing except by prayer.” The King James Version adds the words “and fasting” to the end of the statement – (“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”). These two words are missing from many of the most authoritative Greek manuscripts. It is all but certain that a later copyist added them to the original text. Moreover, the sudden introduction of fasting into this context is odd since the subject figures nowhere in the story.

The problem was the lack of faith, not any failure to fast or engage in other ritualistic practices. Jesus routinely exorcised demons by a simple word of command without verbal formulas or religious ceremonies. Prayer, taking one’s requests to God, is an expression of genuine faith.

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