The Bible

 

Mark 1

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Mark 1 - Chapter Summary      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

In this painting by Jean-Marie Melchior Doze, Christ is pictured healing a man afflicted with leprosy, as described in Mark 1.

Mark's Gospel opens with the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. Then it quickly covers Jesus's temptations in the wilderness, and His calling of the first disciples by the sea of Galilee. Then Jesus preaches in Capernaum's synagogue, casts out demons, and heals people, including a man afflicted with leprosy. It's quite a chapter!

As the chapter begins, Mark cites the prophecy from Isaiah 40:3, identifying John as the messenger who prepared the way for Jesus.

In verses 3-4, the references to the wilderness are important, because the Jewish Church at that time was in a state of vastation, or a spiritual emptying out. The official church was hostile to both John and Jesus, but there were still many people who were spiritually hungry and thirsty in that spiritual wilderness, and they flocked to the Jordan to receive this new message, as described in verse 5.

John instructed them, from the Word, to shun all evils as sins against God, and to believe in the Lord's Divine Human.

In Verse 6, John's clothing of camel's hair, and his simple food of locusts and wild honey, symbolize the outer truths of the Word. And the Jordan River signifies the beginning of a state of rebirth, or regeneration.

In Verses 7-8, John's prophecy of the Lord, who will be mightier than he, and who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, means that the outer truths of the Word can only bring about external purification, while the Word itself, via its internal sense, can drive internal purification (regeneration) by Divine Truth and Good.

In Verse 9, Jesus comes to John to be baptized. Here, the LORD - as to His Human - was initiated into the external truths of the Word. Jehovah God was already the Word in its first principles. As God incarnate, He now became united with the Word in its external, earthly, form.

When, in Verses 10-11, Jesus comes up out of the water and the heavens open, it symbolizes His ascent from external truths into the interior truths and goods of the Word, even to the Divine Truth and Good in Himself.

After this dramatic baptism, Jesus enters a state of temptation (in verses 12-13). But these hellish assaults by evil spirits end in the Lord's victory, and He is attended with divine peace and consolation.

In verses 14-15, John is imprisoned, but Jesus starts to preach. Where John was in effect saying "On your marks, get set", Jesus is now saying "Go!". The time is fulfilled. Jesus, filled with Divine power, announces the descent and reality of Divine Truth and Good, and calls people to repent of their evils, and to believe in this new gospel.

In verses 16-20, Jesus finds his first disciples. They're fishermen, symbolizing people who learn and then teach natural truths, and, afterwards, spiritual truths. The Sea of Galilee signifies the knowledges of truth and good as a whole complex. (Arcana Coelestia 40, Apocalypse Explained 514)

Next, in verses 21-27, Jesus preaches in the synagogue in Capernaum, astonishing his listeners. He taught pure truths which were based on Divine Good, which stems from Divine Love.

Divine Truth has a cleansing power. People's minds are affected by spiritual influences - good ones from angels in heaven, and bad ones from evil spirits in hell. Evil spirits don't want us to experience the disinfecting power of truth; they'd rather be "let alone" to keep us locked into false ideas and evil ways, and in unexamined lives.

In verses 26-32, we see Jesus healing Simon's wife's mother, and "all that were diseased", and casting out devils. The Lord, in his Divine Human, has the power to use our affection for truth to fight evil, and lead us to good.

In verses 35-40, we get a glimpse of a recurring theme in the life of the Lord. The Lord was working through the process of redemption during his whole ministry. He had taken on a human body and a human mind, and he needed to gradually unite it to his Divine essence. The Lord's human created an interface through which the hells could attack him, and through which he could battle them and win. Those states of prayer, temptation, and doubt that the Lord went through were part of the process. After winning through those states, the Lord was ever closer to making his human fully Divine, with greater power to teach and heal.

Leprosy in the Word symbolizes a state of profanation, i.e. when a person has been initiated into the knowledge of what's true, and into the love of what's good, but then afterwards acts contrary to such knowledge and love.

When the leper kneels before Jesus, seeking his help, he's acknowledging the he needs the Lord's power to cleanse his life. He can't do it by himself. The Lord can work with him, because of that humility.

In verses 43-45, the Lord tells the healed leper to "say nothing to any man", to show himself to the priest, and to make the offerings that Moses commanded. Why? Because this miracle of being able to cleanse our lives isn't just a work that affects ous understanding; we need to work through it over time so that our loves actually change. We need to live it, to practice it: "Go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."

The leper doesn't do as he was asked. He "got" the truth, but it wasn't really conjoined to good yet. The united good and truth remained "outside the city", and people had to leave their comfortable cities to seek it.

When we think about how this chapter applies to our lives, it might be something like this: We should go to John, in the wilderness, and get baptized in the Jordan - that is, we should start taking some action - stopping doing bad things, and going to God's Word for some guidance and help. We should listen to the teachings of Jesus, and learn truths. We should humble ourselves, and ask the Lord's healing. And then we should practice doing good, giving the Lord a chance to nurture truths and goods in us, first externally, (we know we should) and then internally (we love to).

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 730, 870, 1444, 1573, 1663, 1690, 1748, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 55, 378, 405, 458, 478, 546, 553, ...

Divine Providence 114

The Lord 12, 18, 19, 30, 41, 42, 48, ...

Life 103

Interaction of the Soul and Body 20

True Christian Religion 104, 113, 123, 144, 164, 342, 528, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 66, 120, 204, 293, 376, 443, 475, ...

Canons of the New Church 39

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3

Marriage 104, 113, 123

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 3, 9, 12, 13, 27, 81

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Leviticus 14:1, 2

2 Kings 1:8, 20:5

Psalms 33:9

Isaiah 40:3, 42:13

Malachi 3:1

Word/Phrase Explanations

gospel
‘Gospel’ signifies the coming of the Lord. ’To preach the gospel’ is to announce His coming. ‘Gospel’ is glad tidings, and ‘the everlasting gospel’ is...

jesus christ
It is relatively well known that "Jesus" means "Savior" and "Christ" means "the anointed," but there are spiritual meanings that extend well beyond these natural...

christ
Christ is one of the names of the Lord. It derives from Greek, and means "the anointed one," a King or Messiah. Christ as King...

Son of God
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

son
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

written
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

messenger
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

prepare
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

make
'Make mention' denotes communication.

paths
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

john
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

ghost
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

galilee
Galilee was the northernmost province of Biblical Judea, a hilly area relatively remote from the center of Jewish culture in Jerusalem and bordered by foreigners...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

heavens
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

spirit
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

satan
In the Word, 'Satan' signifies people who are caught up in the pride of self-derived intelligence. Similarly, from Apocalypse Revealed 841, "they are in untruths...

angels
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

Fulfilled
When the Lord said that all things which were written concerning him were fulfilled, he meant that all things were fulfilled in their inmost sense.

believe
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

sea of galilee
A large percentage of Jesus's ministry was performed around and occasionally actually on the Sea of Galilee, a large freshwater lake in northern Judea, also...

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

Simon
'Simon, son of Jonah,' as in John 21:15, signifies faith from charity. 'Simon' signifies worship and obedience, and 'Jonah,' a dove, which also signifies charity.

casting
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

fishers
Fishers from Engedi unto Eneglaim, as in Ezekiel 47:10, signifies those who shall instruct the natural man in the truths of faith.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

to
'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

james
James' denotes faith, charity, and the goods of charity.

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

entered
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

authority
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

Scribes
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:18, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

torn
'Torn,' as in Genesis 31:38, signifies death caused by another, so evil without blame. 'Torn' relates to good, which falsity is injected into, which means...

Loud
In Revelation 5:2, 'a loud' or 'great voice' signifies divine truth from the Lord, in its power or virtue.

spirits
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

mother
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

sick
'The sick,' as in Matthew 25:35, signify people in evil, and those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil.

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

door
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

healed
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

rising up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rising
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

touched
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Baptism and the Dove
Color the pictures and assemble to show the dove that appeared—and the words that were heard—when the Lord was baptized.
Project | Ages 8 - 11

 Be Made Clean
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Destructive Nature of Evil
Sketch a fierce animal in a way that pictures the ferocity of evil OR use the lion provided. Add your reflections about what the Lord accomplished for us by taking on the forces of hell.
Project | Ages over 15

 For Reflection: Hell Is Like a Huge Lion
How does the Lord help us fight against evil?
Activity | Ages over 15

 Preparing for the Lord
Compare John the Baptist with Elijah. Elijah prepared the way for Elisha, and John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord.
Activity | Ages 12 - 14

 The Baptism of Jesus
Color the pictures. Then hold the picture of the angels behind the picture of the Lord being baptized to show them rejoicing as the Lord begins His public ministry
Project | Ages 4 - 7

 The First Steps of Change
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Lord’s Baptism
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Lord’s Baptism
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord’s Baptism and the Dove
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's Baptism: Mark
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Meaning of Baptism
Look at an illustration of the Lord’s baptism by Julius von Carolsfeld and reflect on the spiritual meaning of various elements in the story.
Activity | Ages over 13

 The Parable of the Ewe Lamb
The story of Nathan and David shows us how the Lord gently leads us back into order when we stray. Nathan does not accuse David or threaten him. He simply presents the truth to David, and then lets him judge himself in comparison to the truth.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Who Obeyed or Disobeyed the Lord?
Use names from a word bank to identify people in the Word who obeyed or who disobeyed the Lord. Story references are provided to help you.
Activity | All Ages

 You Are My Beloved Son (sheet music)
Sheet music for a beautiful song about the Lord’s baptism.
Song | Ages over 11

Commentary

 

Explanation of Mark 1      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Explaining the Inner Meaning of Mark 1

Verses 3, 4. That the Jewish Church was in a state of vastation at that time, so that there remained in it no longer any good or any truth, and in this state was instructed from the Word to shun all evils as sins against God, and to believe in the Lord's Divine Human principle, since otherwise the evil of sin can never be removed.

Verse 5. That this instruction was received by the humble and the penitent, who were thus admitted into the Church, being made sensible that of themselves they are nothing but evil.

Verse 6. The ultimates of the Word, which are natural, are figuratively described.

Verses 7, 8. Which ultimates testify that they can only effect external purification, whereas the Word itself, by and through its internal sense, is effective of internal purification, which is regeneration, by Divine Truth and Good.

Verse 9. That the LORD as to His Human essence, submits to be initiated into the external truths of the Word, because He thus became the Word in its ultimates, as He was the Word in its first principles, and because also He glorified His Humanity, or made it Divine, as He regenerates man, and makes him spiritual.

Verses 10, 11. Yet ascending rapidly out of external truths. He enters into the interior truths and goods of the Word, even to the Divine Truth and Good in Himself.

Verses 12, 13. And is thus admitted, as to His Humanity, into temptations, which are nothing else but the assaults of infernal spirits, seeking to destroy what is true by what is false, and what is good by what is evil.

Verse 13, latter part. But these assaults are succeeded by victory, attended with divine peace and consolation.

Verses 14, 15. Whence a greater measure of Divine power was communicated to the LORD'S Humanity to announce the descent and nearness of Divine Truth and Good, calling man to forsake all evil as sin against God, and to believe in the manifestation of GOD in the flesh.

Verses 16-20. Which annunciation was first received by those who were in the investigation of scientific and rational truth, and who were thus led to the pursuit and acquirement of spiritual and celestial truth.

Verses 18-20. Renouncing the cravings of self-love, and adoring the LORD as the Divine source of all that is good and wise and blessed.

Verses 21, 22. Who teaches Truth from the Divine Good of the Divine Love, in which all Truth originates, and not from any end of worldly reputation and gain.

Verses 23-27. And who by that truth cleanses man from his natural evils, and thus casteth out the infernal spirits who are in connection with those evils, and who yet are principled in heavenly knowledge, but not in the life of such knowledge.

Verses 27, 28. So that inquiry is hence excited respecting the LORD'S Humanity, which thus proves its Divinity by the subjugation of the powers of darkness, and by the brightness of the Divine Truth which it teaches.

Verses 29-32. And also by its omnipotence in delivering the affection of truth in the Church from the infestation of the love of evil.

Verses 32-35. And in likewise liberating those who were infested with evil and false persuasions, and who, in consequence of such liberation, became receptive of Truth and Good.

Verses 35-40. But the Humanity of the LORD can of itself do nothing but through union with its Divinity, and therefore it is occasionally let into temptation, that by the labour of combat it may attain a fuller union, and thus a greater measure of power to impart instruction, and to deliver mankind from infernal influence.

Verses 40-43. And especially to check the profanation of truth in all those who, through prayer and humiliation, and the acknowledgement of the LORD'S DIVINITY, sought to be cleansed from their sins.

Verses 43, 44. To whom instruction is given, that truth, when rescued from profanation, ought to open itself to the reception of the heavenly good of love and charity, by acknowledging that it thence derives its life and quality.

Verse 45. In which case truth acquires a greater power of making itself known, yet not in connection with its Divine Good, which is still in a state of persecution.


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