Mark Chapters 15 and 16

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Mark Chapters 15 and 16 - Christogenea on Talkshoe 12-16-2011

Last week we concluded with the end of Mark chapter 14, and the unlawful trial of Yahshua Christ in the court of the high priest. There we saw that while they wanted to have Christ executed, they had a problem with consistent witnesses establishing a charge worthy of a capital offense. Therefore the high-priest himself provoked Christ in order to instigate a charge that satisfied those taking part in the judgment against Him.

XV 1 And immediately at morning making counsel the high priests with the elders and the scribes and all the council, binding Yahshua they led Him off and turned Him over to Pilatos.

Here we see that after the mock show-trial in the home of the high priest, they still required a meeting in order to work up a plan by which they could convincingly present Christ to Pilate as a criminal who was worthy of execution. When Judaea was designated a kingdom, up until the time of Herod Archelaus, the king had the privilege of trying capital offenses. However when Judaea was reduced to a province, and a Roman governor was set over it by the emperor, the local political leaders lost that privilege, and only the Roman governor could try capital offenses. Christ having had many followers, the high priests could not risk politically the murder of Christ by themselves. In Matthew chapter 26, verses 3 through 5, we learn that the high priests had been planning for a way to execute Christ, while avoiding a “tumult among the people”. Since it was the feast, Jerusalem was typically very crowded at this time, and a major disturbance would have invited an inquiry by the Roman officials. They had to pressure the Roman governor into complying with their wishes. A Roman citizen, such as Paul of Tarsus, would have the right to appeal to Caesar. We see in Acts chapter 27 that Paul, not wanting to trust either the Judaeans or a possibly corrupt governor with his fate, exercised that right. However Christ, not being a Roman citizen, did not have that right.

2 And Pilatos questioned Him: “Are You King of the Judaeans?” Then responding to him He says “You say!” 3 And the high priests accuse Him of many things.

The King James Version, and the late manuscripts upon which it is based, add the words “but He answered nothing” to the end of verse 3. These words do appear in one ancient manuscript, the Codex Washingtonensis, which is generally dated to the 5th century.

4 Then Pilatos questioned Him again saying: “Would You not answer anything? Look at how many things they accuse You of!” 5 But Yahshua did not yet answer anything, consequently for Pilatos to wonder.

Yahshua's silence is in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

This is described quite similarly to the account as it is given at Matthew 27:11-14. Yet many of the details which exist in the other gospels are not found in Mark's, which is very concise. For instance, Matthew 27:1-10 gives many of the details surrounding the fate of Judas Iscariot and the thirty silver pieces, which are not found here. This is evident throughout Mark's gospel, and it is consistent with the facts surrounding the creation of the gospels. Where Matthew was an eyewitness to many of these things, and created his more detailed account much earlier, Mark was compelled at a much later time to record many of the things that were related to him by Peter. Even if Mark was the youth in the garden, who fled naked from the temple soldiers when Yahshua was seized, that does not necessarily mean that he had witnessed the ministry and trials of Christ to the same extent as the other disciples.

The four gospel accounts all tell of the trials and crucifixion of Christ from different aspects, and we must remember that the disciples were scattered at this time. We read at Mark 14:50, of the events the night before this, that “leaving Him they all fled.” Peter followed along, as it is recorded in Matthew and elsewhere, and we learn from John's gospel that he also was with Peter. In John, we have a more complete account of what transpired between Christ and Pilate. In Luke alone, we learn that Pilate had sent Christ to Herod, and did not surrender Him to the desires of the jews until Herod had sent Him back again. So from each writer we see differing aspects of the events of that day, and surely because no writer recorded those events completely, and each had different perspectives on the events formed from the things that they both saw for themselves, and that they heard from others. None of the accounts conflict, and none of them can be proven to be false. They are all merely different, because each writer had a different knowledge or placed a different emphasis on the various things which occurred that day. In retrospect, it is fortuitous that the disciples were scattered at this time, because in that manner we have these different accounts from different aspects, and each of them helps to fill in the gaps that a single account from a single perspective would not have been able to provide.

As an example of the different perspectives of each writer, comparing the Gospel accounts of the trials of Christ we see that the Judaeans did not enter into the Praetorium, or “judgement hall” as it is called in the King James Version. Rather the Judaeans remained outside. John 18:28 says “Then they brought Yahshua from Kaiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning, and they did not enter into the Praetorium, that they would not be defiled but may eat the Passover.” While Christ would not answer charges against Him which were leveled by the high priests, as it is described in Mark 14:60-61, once again Christ made no reply before Pilate concerning the charges made against Him by the Judaeans, in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7. Yet He did converse with Pilate himself, as only the gospel of John describes, when Pilate took him away from His accusers into the Praetorium (a Latin word used of a governor's residence, or also of the residence of the emperor in Rome).

6 Now each feast he released for them one prisoner, whom they interceded for. 7 And there was he called Barabbas, bound with those rebels who in the sedition committed a murder. 8 And the crowd going up began to request just as he did for them.

That Barabbas was released to the people as their own wish is mentioned in all four gospels. It is evident in Matthew 27:15, and explained fully in John 18:39, that on account of a custom in Judaea, one criminal each year at this time was granted by the governor a release and a stay of execution. John 18:40 tells us that Barabbas was a robber. Here at Mark 15:7, and also at Luke 23:18, we learn that he was a rebel being held in prison for sedition and murder. Sedition was a very serous offense in the Roman Empire, and along with it robbery and murder made Barabbas both an enemy of the state and the people. Yet the Judaeans esteemed Christ to be an even worse criminal, simply because they could not overcome His teaching concerning God and Scripture, and all of the good things which He did! They were threatened by His good works. The self-righteous enemies of God would kill even God Himself in order to maintain their own status and dignity.

Barabbas was a murderer and a robber as the Gospel clearly states, and this too is symbolic of the children of Israel: that Christ died on behalf of a sinful people, so that those sinful people may live.

9 Then Pilatos replied to them saying: “Do you desire that I shall release for you the King of the Judaeans?” 10 For he knew that on account of envy the high priests handed Him over.

This statement is attested to at Matthew 27:18. Their envy of Christ is expressed in John chapter 11:47-48: “47 Then the high priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said 'What do we do, seeing that this man makes many signs? 48 If we should leave Him thusly, they shall all believe in Him, and the Romans shall come and they shall take both our place and our nation!' ”

Matthew 27:17 says “Therefore upon their convening Pilatos said to them: 'Whom do you wish that I shall release for you, Barabbas, or Yahshua who is called Christ?'” The language in Matthew supports Luke's account that Pilate had at first sent Christ to Herod, but then Herod had sent Him back. In Matthew it is also evident that Pilate knew Yahshua was called “Christ”, which means “the Anointed One”, and so Pilate must have also known that He had a great following, and that the high priests and others were envious of Him for that reason. Yet it is also evident that Pilate himself never openly perceived Yahshua Christ as a threat to Roman governance, and therefore even sought to release Him, as we learn especially from the account as it was related by John. This is even in spite of what we see in Luke that the high priests had charged Christ with. Here in Mark we see only that the Judaeans accused Christ of “many things”, in verse 4 above. But at Luke 23:2-5 we see this: “2 Then they began accusing Him saying 'We have found Him perverting our nation and preventing giving tribute tax to Caesar, and saying of Himself to be the anointed king.' 3 Then Pilatos asked Him, saying 'Are You the King of the Judaeans?' And replying He said to him 'So you say.' 4 Then Pilatos said to the high priests and the crowds 'I find not any guilt in this man.' 5 But they were more strongly saying that 'He agitates the people teaching throughout all of Judaea, even beginning from Galilaia as far as here.'” Apparently, the Judaeans demanding that Pilate release Barabbas, who was a leader of a sedition, they had to find a way to assert that Christ was at least as great a threat to Roman authority, and they did so with outright lies. There is no record in the Gospel that Christ Himself ever claimed to be the anointed king, and there is no record that He taught not to pay taxes to Caesar – for just the opposite is true.

While it is not recorded here in Mark, it is also evident in Matthew chapter 27 where Pilate questions Yahshua concerning some of these charges, that Yahshua had Pilate state that He was King of the Judaeans, where He replied “So you say” to a question, and Pilate certainly would have realized that, but he was evidently not threatened or offended by it so he did not see it as a direct challenge to Roman authority.

At this point in Matthew's gospel we see Pilate receive a warning from his wife, which does not appear anywhere else, where Matthew wrote at 27:19: “Then with his sitting upon the step, his wife sent to him saying: 'Nothing with you and that righteous man! [You must have nothing to do with that righteous man!] For today I experienced many things in a dream on account of Him!'” Pilate's wife had a dream, and due to the dream she had attempted to persuade him to release Yahshua.

11 But the high priests agitated the crowd in order that still more he should release Barabbas for them. 12 Then Pilatos responding again said to them: “So what shall I do with He whom you say is King of the Judaeans?” 13 And again they cried out: “Crucify Him!” 14 So Pilatos said to them: “For what evil has He done?” Then exceedingly they cried out: “Crucify Him!”

The high priests, as we can see in Acts 5:17, belonged to the sect of the Sadducees, and they had agitated for the death of Christ when Pilate sought to release Him. This guilt upon the Judaeans is compounded in Matthew chapter 27:25 where it says “His blood is upon us, and upon our children!” As we have seen in the parable of the fig tree as it was told in Luke chapter 13, where the fig tree clearly represents Jerusalem in the ministry of Christ, and as we have seen with the cursing of the fig tree described in Matthew chapter 21, there can never again be any good fruit from the people of Jerusalem, which also represents all of those in Judaea and elsewhere who never converted to Christianity, those who rejected Christ and the Gospel. And here they admit full guilt for His death, for they all agreed with the Sadducees.

As it is recorded at John 19:15: “Then they cried out 'Kill! Kill! Crucify Him!' Pilatos says to them: 'Shall I crucify your king?' The high priests replied: 'We have no king except Caesar!'” Christ Himself never directly claimed to be King, and even though He could claim the title by birthright He did not. However the Judaeans accused Him of claiming the title, which would be an act of sedition against Rome. Here Pilate apparently mocks the Judaeans, seemingly accepting their claim that Christ was indeed their King. We saw above at Mark 15:9 that the Judaeans had made this accusation, that Christ claimed to be King of Judaea, but that Pilate understood it to be a false charge. Today it is important for us to understand, that there can be no good fruit from Jerusalem, ever. The people known as jews today, they all have the blood of the Christ upon them. By the declaration of their own fathers, they all bear the guilt of Deicide: the murder of God. There can be no greater crime in the universe.

15 Then Pilatos determining to do that which is satisfactory for the crowd released Barabbas for them, and scourging Yahshua handed Him over that He would be crucified.

Mark's rather concise account nevertheless captures the essence of what had transpired: while Pilate contested the guilt of Christ, and Pilate's objections are portrayed in the other gospels more strongly than they are here, he nevertheless relented to the demands of the people. The other gospels indicate that Pilate would by no means have been able to convince the people otherwise. Matthew 27:24-26 states “24 And Pilatos, seeing that nothing helps, but rather a tumult arises, taking water washed the hands before the crowd, saying 'I am innocent from the blood of this man! You see to it!' 25 And responding all the people said: 'His blood is upon us, and upon our children!' 26 Then he released Barabbas for them, but having scourged Yahshua he handed Him over in order that He would be crucified.”

Psalm 26:5-6, in consideration of Pilate: ”5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. 6 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:”

If Pilate had not relented, and a riot had happened in the city, where typically tens of thousands of outsiders were also gathered for the feast, then he himself would have had to answer to Caesar against all of the accusations of the jews. That would have been a situation he could not have won, since the life of one man – a man who was not a Roman – was simply not esteemed in contrast to the peace imposed by Roman tyranny.

John 19:12 records a threat which the Judaeans made against Pilate, if he did not accede to their wishes, as follows: “From this point Pilatos sought to release Him. But the Judaeans cried out, saying 'If you should release this man, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone making Himself king speaks in opposition to Caesar!'”

Except for the ten Senatorial provinces of the empire, all of the other provinces were considered to be Imperial provinces. The governors of these provinces were appointed directly by the emperor, who at this time was Tiberius Caesar. The phrase “friend of Caesar” represented a political designation in Rome, and the emperors gave their friends such appointments as governorships of provinces, which were often very lucrative. The Judaeans here are actually making a veiled threat, that if Pilate did not accede to their wishes, that they would begin to accuse him before the emperor of being a traitor.

In fact, this same thing did indeed happen to Pilate a short time later, as Josephus describes in the 18th book of his Antiquities. However it was due to an embassy of the Samaritans, and not of the Judaeans. Pilate was ordered to go to Rome to face Tiberius for certain accusations arising from when he put down a sedition of Samaritans, but never had to face charges because Tiberius died shortly before Pilate arrived in Rome. According to Josephus, Pilate had been in Judaea for ten years. Reading Josephus' Antiquities, it was constant among the Judaeans, to send embassies to Rome to complain about their rulers. The sons of Herod even went to Caesar in Rome in order to complain about their own father. So the threat to Pilate was very real, that “If you should release this man, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone making Himself king speaks in opposition to Caesar!” Looking at one's own career, and comparing it to the cost of one life that is seemingly only incidental, what is it to a governor to let one man go to his death at the wishes of his own countrymen, and to spare oneself the political troubles gained by upsetting them?

Nearly 30 years later another procurator of Judaea, Felix, “desiring to bestow a favor upon the Judaeans” as it says at Acts 24:27, left Paul in bonds when he left office. He evidently did so because he was leaving Judaea for reason of the Judaeans of Caesareia, who had an accusation against him that he had to answer before Caesar Nero. According to Josephus, in Book 20 of his Antiquities, Felix only escaped punishment because of the influence that his brother, Pallas, had with the emperor. And this was in spite of the fact that he evidently sought to make amends with the jews by leaving Paul in bonds.

An close examination would betray the fact that the jews as a people have been prone to creating political agitation, so that they may be favored as a special class, all throughout history. The latest manifestation of this element of their character is the great holocaust hoax.

16 Then the soldiers led Him off into the court, which is the Praetorium, and they call together the whole cohort. 17 And they put on Him a purple cloth and bestowed upon Him a crown of braided thorns. 18 And they began to salute Him: “Hail, King of the Judaeans!” 19 And they beat His head with a reed and spat at Him and kneeling made obeisance to Him. 20 And when they had mocked Him they took the purple cloth off of Him and put on Him His garments. And they lead Him out in order that they may crucify Him.

Isaiah 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

21 And they conscript a certain Kurenaian passing by, Simon, coming from a farm, the father of Alexandros and Rouphos, in order that he would take His cross.

It is incredible, the lengths some people go to, and the lies they repeat without question, in order to make excuses for universalism. Many commentators have asserted that this Simon was some sort of brown arab, or even a negro, simply because he was from Cyrene, which was in Africa. First, while Simon was a name found among the Greeks, it was mostly and originally a popular Hebrew name. Here Mark even mentions the names of his sons, as if they were expected to be known by his readers, and we see that they have common Greek names. Cyrene was a famous Greek settlement, on that part of the African coast adjacent to Egypt. The settlement is described by Greek historians as far back as Herodotus, and probably dates to at least the 7th century BC, prior to the start of the Persian period. Simon was with all certainty a Judaean Hebrew from Cyrene, fulfilling his Scriptural obligation to appear in Jerusalem for the Passover feast.

22 And they bring Him upon the place Golgotha, which is interpreted “Place of the Skull”.

There are a lot of extant fables concerning this Golgotha. One recent character (Ron Wyatt) claims that the Ark of the Covenant is buried there, and he has his followers even among some of those claiming to be Christian Identity, although there is absolutely no substance or merit to this claim, and not one shred of solid evidence is presented as proof, and he is also found to contradict himself often.

Golgotha is also mentioned in the apocryphal First Book of Adam and Eve, a work which was apparently written quite late, but which does seem to reflect early Christian beliefs and values, some of which certainly have some merit. It is mentioned again in the book known as the Cave of Treasures. This is a spurious work that, while many people even in Christian Identity cling to parts of it as fact, is actually the product of a 6th century Jacobite writer, and it is full of heresies and fantastic novelties which have no Scriptural basis whatsoever.

23 And they had given to Him wine flavored with myrrh, but which He did not take.

Psalm 69:21: “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” The scripture also fits the account related at verse 36 below.

24 And they crucify Him and part His garments casting lots for them, for what anyone should take.

Psalm 22:12-18: “12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”

John, in chapter 19 of his gospel, acknowledges the fulfillment of these things, where he writes “23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Yahshua, took His garments and they made four parts, a part for each soldier, and the shirt. Now the shirt was seamless, woven altogether from the top. 24 Therefore they said to one another: 'We shouldn’t tear it, but we should cast lots for it, whose it shall be', that the writing would be fulfilled: 'They divided My garments among themselves and cast lots for My clothing'. So therefore the soldiers did these things.”

25 Now it was the third hour and they crucified Him. 26 And there was an inscription of His charge having been inscribed: “The King of the Judaeans”.

There is a much fuller account in John's gospel, at John 22:16-22: “16 So then he handed Him over to them that He would be crucified. Therefore they took Yahshua, 17 and bearing the cross for Him, He went out to what is called 'Place of the Skull', which is called in Hebrew 'Golgotha', 18 where they crucified Him, and with Him two others on the left and right, and Yahshua in the middle. 19 Then Pilatos wrote an inscription and set it upon the cross, and it was written: 'Yahshua the Nazoraian, the King of the Judaeans'. 20 Therefore many of the Judaeans read this inscription, because the place where they crucified Yahshua was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew in Roman, and in Greek. 21 Then the high priests of the Judaeans said to Pilatos: 'Do not write ‘King of the Judaeans’, but that He said ‘I am King of the Judaeans’!' 22 Pilatos replied: 'That which is written, is written!'”

27 And with Him they crucify two robbers, one on the right and one on His left.

The verse which the King James Version has numbered as 28 does not appear in the ancient manuscripts, and is a late interpolation. It reads “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” The verse does appear in Luke's account of the events in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Luke 22:37 where Yahshua Himself quotes Isaiah 53:12: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

29 And those going by blasphemed Him shaking their heads and saying: “Hah! He destroying the temple and building it in three days, 30 save Yourself descending from the cross!” 31 Likewise also the high priests mocking between one another with the scribes said: “He has saved others, Himself He is not able to save! 32 Christ, King of Israel, descend from the cross now, that we would see and believe!” And those crucified together with Him reproached Him.

Psalm 22:7-8: “7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”

Psalm 109:25: “I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.”

Luke has a different perspective of what those crucified along with Christ had said. Only Luke, in chapter 23 of his gospel, records an actual conversation between the robbers, “39 Then one of the criminals hanging blasphemed Him saying 'Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!' 40 But the other replying and censuring him said 'Do you not fear even Yahweh, seeing that you are in the same judgment? 41 And we justly indeed, for we receive worthily for what we have done. But He has done nothing improper.' 42 And he said 'Yahshua, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!' 43 And He said to him 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.'”

33 And with the sixth hour coming there was darkness upon the whole land until the ninth hour.

Many attempt to explain this darkness with a solar eclipse, however it cannot be characterized in that manner, since the behavior of this darkness is nothing like an eclipse. Eclipses usually come on gradually and last for only a few minutes. I prefer not to conjecture an explanation. The sixth to the ninth hours represent noon to 3PM as we measure time today. Both Tertullian, who lived at the end of the second century, and Lucius of Antioch, who lived in the third, left writings which asserted with confidence that this event was to be found in Roman records which are now no longer extant. The third century Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus supplied passages from men long before his time, a Thallus of Samaria of the first century, and a 2nd-century chronicler named Phlegon of Tralles, who is said to have attested to these things. The fourth century writer Paulus Orosius stated that not only did the gospels attest to these things, but also “some books among the Greeks”. Other writers, such as Eusebius, offer historical attestations of this event as it appears in the gospel accounts.

34 And in the ninth hour Yahshua cried out with a great voice: “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani!”, which is interpreted: “My God, My God, for what reason have You abandoned Me?” 35 And some of those who stood nearby, hearing it said “Look, He calls Elijah!”

The apostles interpreted this utterance of Christ as a fulfillment of Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Of course their understanding cannot be debated. However it is clear that the people who heard these words did not understand them in that manner, and even believed that Christ was calling to Elijah, where He called “Eloi, Eloi”.

There is one other possible interpretation, and even if this other interpretation is not how the apostles understood the words of Christ here, it is nevertheless plausible that Yahweh by design had this phrase contain a dual meaning, that it could be a double-entendre. The Hebrew word “el” (Strong's Hebrew number 410) can also mean judge. It appears in this context often in the Psalms, where the King James Version nevertheless translates the word in the plural, as gods, and where it may have more properly been rulers or judges, at Psalm 136:2 or 138:1 or at Ruth 1:15 and 1:16, for examples. Therefore, while David in the 22nd Psalm clearly referred to God when he uttered the words, it is nevertheless plausible that Christ refers not to God – for He is the fleshly embodiment of God – but that He instead uses this phrase in reference to those who condemned Him, who had all gone off to the comfort and business of their own lives as He hung there dying. So while I have translated this passage in the traditional manner, as “My God, My God, for what reason have You abandoned Me?”, it may well have been Christ's intention to challenge those who condemned Him, “My judge, My judge, for what reason have You abandoned Me?”

36 Then someone running and filling a sponge with vinegar placing it around a reed gave Him to drink saying: “Permit it! We may see if Elijah comes to take Him down!” 37 But Yahshua emitting a great sound expired.

Matthew 27:48-49: “48 And immediately one from among them running and taking both a sponge full of vinegar and placing it upon a reed, gave Him to drink. 49 But the rest said “Leave Him that we would see whether Elijah comes saving Him!” [So they had thought that he was calling Elijah.] But another taking a lance pierced His side, and there came out water and blood.” In Matthew, the last line describing the piercing of Christ is wanting in the King James Version, but it appears in the Greek, and the event is also attested to in John 19:34.

38 And the curtain of the temple had torn in two from the top unto the bottom. 39 And seeing it the centurion, who stood nearby from opposite Him, that thusly He expired, said “Truly this man was a son of God!”

This is attested to Matthew 27:54, and in Luke where he records the soldier as having said only that “Certainly this was a righteous man”, at Luke 23:47.

The gospel of John does not mention the darkness, the earthquake, or the tearing of the veil. For these reasons, many of the critics of the synoptic gospels use John's gospel in their attempts to discredit them. Yet it is cleat that John's gospel was written with an entirely different focus, contains many details which the synoptic gospels do not contain, and it is patently unfair to use it against the others, or to use those others against John, especially where they do not explicitly disagree with one another. Where the Biblical standard calls to for two witnesses, or three, the Biblical critics are calling for four! They should hold themselves to that same standard.

40 And there were women observing from afar, among whom were also Mariam the Magdalene, and Maria the mother of the lesser Iakobos, and the mother of Ioses, and Salome, 41 who when He was in Galilaia followed Him and served Him, and many other women came up with Him to Jerusalem.

This is attested to by all of the Gospels. While the Gospel accounts are focused on Christ, and then on the intercourse between Christ and the twelve apostles, or upon Christ and those who were opposed to Him, it is wrong to think that through these many events it is only Christ and the twelve who are present, or Christ and the Pharisees. Here we see that these women were with Him all the way from Galilee to the time of His death, and certainly at diverse times and at different events there were others who were also present together with Him and with the twelve.

42 And already upon it being late, since it was the preparation day which is before the Sabbath, 43 Ioseph from Harimathaia having come, an honorable councilor who also himself was expecting the Kingdom of Yahweh, having undertaken it he entered in to Pilatos and requested the body of Yahshua.

Having no place to store a dead body, they had to bury the body before the feast, and had little time to do so. Therefore Christ had to be buried in Jerusalem. Handling a dead body would not preclude a man from Passover, since Numbers chapter 9 shows that those who buried the dead were still required to celebrate the Passover, in spite of their being considered unclean for seven days.

That Joseph was able to approach the Roman governor shows that Joseph was a man of at least some import in the community. John says in his gospel at 19:38: “Then after these things Ioseph from Harimathaia, being a student of Yahshua (but secretly on account of fear of the Judaeans), asked Pilatos that he may take the body of Yahshua, and Pilatos permitted it. Therefore he came and took His body.”

44 But Pilatos wondered if He had already died and summoning the centurion questioned him if He had long been dead. 45 And knowing from the centurion he granted the corpse to Ioseph.

Although all four gospels record this event, only Mark records the wonder expressed by Pilate, whether Christ was already dead.

According to John's account of these events, Nicodemus also helped Joseph bury Christ. He wrote in chapter 19 of his gospel: “39 Then Nikodemos also came (he having come at first to Him at night), bearing a mixture of ointment and aloe, about a hundred pounds. 40 Therefore they took the body of Yahshua and they bound it in linen cloths with the perfumes, just as it is a custom with the Judaeans to bury. 41 Now there was in the place where He was crucified a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one as yet was buried. 42 So there, on account of the preparation day of the Judaeans, because the tomb was near, they had laid Yahshua.” Nicodemus is mentioned three times in John's gospel, here and in chapters 3 and 7, but he is not mentioned at all elsewhere in the New Testament.

46 And purchasing a linen cloth, having taken Him down he wrapped Him in the linen cloth and set Him in a tomb which was hewn out of bedrock and he rolled a stone over the door of the tomb. 47 And Maria the Magdalene and Maria the mother of Ioses observed where He was laid.

Not to express certainty that this tomb of Christ's has been found, there was at least one similar tomb uncovered by archaeologists in a garden in Jerusalem, which some imagine may be this very tomb. It has become quite a tourist attraction. The tomb is actually in a part of a wall built onto the side of a hill or an embankment, with a doorway or an archway opening to a hollow in the hill. A large rounded stone was at one time placed into a groove front of the archway, which could be rolled out of the way when necessary.

In ancient times, bodies of dead family members were laid out in the family tomb until all of the flesh had decayed from their bones. Once that process was complete, the bones were removed and placed into an ossuary, a stone, chalk, or wooden box that was made to hold the bones of the dead. Poorer families dug deep holes in the ground for the same purpose. The moving of the bones would make room for the next family member who passed to be laid out in the tomb.

For the garden tomb mentioned, see:

XVI 1 And upon the passing of the Sabbath Maria the Magdalene and Maria the mother of Iakobos and Salome purchased herbs in order that having come they may anoint Him.

Clifton Emahiser has a paper on his website, entitled Three Days and Three Nights, which discusses this passage in the context of the chronology of the death and resurrection of Christ. This is a passage which is easily passed over, but which is quite instrumental in establishing the chronology of Christ's death and resurrection.

It was highly unlikely, and defies the context of what was written here, that the women would have been able to purchase anything in Jerusalem so late on the preparation day of the Passover, in a city where the Pharisees had practically complete control to ensure that every aspect of their law in the manner in which they interpreted it would be followed. It is much more practical to imagine that the women were able to purchase the herbs after the passing of the high Sabbath, which was the Passover, when the shops would again be open, and then to await the first day of the week – the day after the regular seven-day Sabbath – to go to the tomb. This would accord perfectly with the assertion by Christ that He would be in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights, as Christ Himself states at Matthew 12:40.

If Christ was entombed at the end of the preparation day, which we may call a Wednesday, and then if the Passover were Thursday, and if a regular day which was another preparation day were Friday, and then the regular Saturday Sabbath, then the women coming to the tomb on the first day of the week before dawn – as all the gospels agree that they did – and finding an empty tomb, is the only way that Christ's words could have been fulfilled. It was on that intervening Friday, between the high Passover sabbath and the regular weekly sabbath, that the women were able to purchase herbs they they may anoint the body of the Christ.

2 And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they come to the tomb upon the rising of the sun. 3 And they said to themselves “Who shall roll away for us the stone from the door of the tomb?” 4 And looking up they observe that the stone had been rolled away, for it was exceedingly large.

Christ had already been resurrected the night before, after spending three full days and three full nights in the tomb.

5 And having entered into the tomb they saw a youth sitting on the right clothed in a white robe, and they were astounded. 6 Then he says to them: “Do not be astonished! You seek Yahshua the Nazarene who had been crucified. He has arisen, He is not here! Behold the place where they laid Him! 7 But you go tell His students and Petros that He goes on before you into Galilaia. There you shall see Him, just as He said to you!”

Matthew fails to mention Salome, where Luke makes a general statement concerning “the rest of the women with them”. Luke adds a second youth dressed in white who encountered the women. The first two gospels certainly do not rule out the possibility of a second youth.

John's account focuses only upon Mary Magdalene. Then John gives an account which the other apostles did not fully repeat, concerning Mary's report to Peter and John, her return to the tomb with them, and her encounter with Christ. Luke does corroborate Peter's going to the tomb at this time, upon the report of Mary Magdalene, and while John's account focuses on what happened to Mary at that time, Luke's account focuses on what happened to Peter.

Upon close inspection, with a minor idiosyncrasy or two, none of these gospel accounts make any of the others implausible. Rather once again, we see a much more complex story being told only in part by each of four or more different witnesses. All four may easily be considered to be true, and none of them suffer at the hands of any other. There are no real discrepancies, but just different aspects of the same events told from different perspectives.

8 And having gone out they fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment held them. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Of course, they said nothing to anyone until they did as they were directed, to return to the apostles and relate to them that which they had seen.

The Gospel of Mark ends here. The 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, which is the scholarly and critical edition of the text of the New Testament Greek which I have employed as the primary text for all of my own studies, supplies three endings to the Gospel of Mark, all of which it considers as being spurious. The first ending is short, a few lines, and begins appearing in some Greek manuscripts in the 6th century and later. The second, longer ending, is that which is known in English from the King James Version of the Bible. It is found in the 5th century Codices Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Syri, and Bezae. A third version, which is the same as the second except with an additional lengthy interpolation, is found in the 5th century Codex Washingtonensis.

I will not translate them here, except to say that from these additions to Mark come many bad ideas, such as the idea that Christians should be able to handle snakes and drink poisons. The longer version also conflicts with the account found in the gospel of John, since it places the discourse between Christ and Mary Magdalene as having occurred before the return of Mary Magdalene to the apostles, upon which Mary, Peter and John were said to returm to the tomb (John 20:1-10). Therefore my reasons for rejecting all of these additions are based upon both manuscript and contextual evidence.

The older manuscripts of the 4th century, the Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, do not contain any of these endings to Mark. Neither do many of the oldest manuscripts of Eusebius or Jerome, who wrote in the fourth and fifth centuries. So for all of these reasons, along with other internal evidence, the Christogenea New Testament translation of Mark's gospel ends at 16:8. It is apparent that either Mark never had the chance to finish his gospel, or perhaps there was an ending which for one reason or another was lost before the fourth century.

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