times identified themselves as such by having the mark of their deity on their forehead. However, Jehovah’s law to Israel prohibited disfiguring humans with marks. This served to counteract an idolatrous practices and taught due regard for God’s creation.—Lev. 19:28.
The Scriptures allude to marks made on humans and refer to these in a figurative sense. In Ezekiel’s vision a man with a recorder’s inkhorn was commissioned to go through Jerusalem and to ‘put a mark on those who were sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that were being done in the midst of it.’ This action on their part showed that they were righteous persons, servants belonging to God, and therefore worthy of preservation at the time for the execution of Jehovah’s judgment. The conspicuous mark upon their forehead testified to that fact.—Ezek. chap. 9; compare 2 Peter 2:6-8.
On the other hand, in John’s vision persons receiving the mark of the wild beast on their forehead and/or upon their hand were in line for destruction. The mark in the forehead publicly identified them as worshipers of the wild beast and therefore as slaves to it. They were thus shown to be opposers of God, for the wild beast received its authority from the dragon, Satan the Devil. The mark in the hand would logically signify active support of the wild beast, the hand being used to accomplish work.—Rev. 13:1, 2, 16-18; 14:9, 10; 16:1, 2; 20:4.
MARK, GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO
The divinely inspired record of the ministry of Jesus Christ written by John Mark. This account of the “good news about Jesus Christ” begins with the work of Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist, and concludes with a report of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ resurrection. Hence, it covers the time from the spring of 29 to the spring of 33 C.E.—Mark 1:1.
This Gospel, the shortest of all four, is a rapid-moving and descriptive record of the ministry of Jesus Christ as the miracle-working Son of God. Frequent is the use of “immediately” or “at once.” (Mark 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 29) The account is almost evenly divided between conversation and action.
SOURCE OF INFORMATION
Ancient tradition indicates that Peter provided the basic information for Mark’s Gospel, and this would agree with the fact that Mark was associated with Peter in Babylon. (1 Pet. 5:13) According to Origen, Mark composed his Gospel “as Peter explained to him.” (The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, Book VI, chap. 25) Tertullian’s testimony is: “The Gospel of Mark is maintained to be Peter’s, whose interpreter he was, . . . for it is possible that that which scholars publish should be regarded as their master’s work.” Eusebius (The Ecclesiastical History, Book III, chap. 39) gives the statement of John “the presbyter” as quoted by Papias (c. 140 C.E.): “And John the presbyter also said this, Mark being the interpreter of Peter, whatsoever he recorded he wrote with great accuracy, but not, however, in the order in which it was spoken or done by our Lord, . . . Mark has not erred in any thing, by writing some things as he has recorded them; for he was carefully attentive to one thing, not to pass by any thing that he heard, or to state any thing falsely in these accounts.”
John Mark evidently also had other sources of information. Since Jesus’ early disciples met in the home of his mother (Acts 12:12), Mark must have been acquainted with persons other than Peter who had known Jesus Christ well, individuals who had seen him doing his work, and had heard him preach and teach. Probably being the “certain young man” whom those arresting Christ tried to seize but who “got away naked,” Mark himself was apparently not totally without personal contact with Jesus.—Mark 14:51, 52.
EVIDENTLY WRITTEN WITH NON-JEWS IN MIND
While the “good news” according to Mark would interest and benefit Jewish readers, apparently it was not written specifically for them. It seems to have been composed primarily for non-Jewish readers, especially the Romans. Its conciseness and abrupt character have been viewed as particularly suitable for the intellect of Roman readers. Latin terms are sometimes transliterated into Greek, as when the Greek word prai·toʹri·on is used for the Latin term praetorium. (Mark 15:16, Kingdom Interlinear Translation) Also, the Greek word ken·ty·riʹon is employed for the Latin word centurio, an officer in command of a hundred soldiers.—Mark 15:39, Kingdom Interlinear Translation.
The account contains explanations that would not have been necessary for Jewish readers. It indicates that the Jordan was a river and shows that the temple could be seen from the Mount of Olives. (Mark 1:5; 13:3) It mentions that the Pharisees practiced “fasting” and that the Sadducees “say there is no resurrection.” (Mark 2:18; 12:18) This Gospel also explains that the passover victim was sacrificed on “the first day of unfermented cakes” and that “preparation” was “the day before the sabbath.”—Mark 14:12; 15:42.
Whereas it would not normally have been necessary to explain Semitic terms for Palestinian readers in general, Mark’s Gospel provides many of such explanations. Interpretations are given for “Boanerges” (“Sons of Thunder”), Talʹi·tha cuʹmi (“Maiden, I say to you, Get up!”), “corban” (“a gift dedicated to God”), and “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).—Mark 3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 15:34.
TIME AND PLACE OF COMPOSITION
According to ancient tradition, Mark’s Gospel was first made public in Rome, this being the testimony of such early writers as Clement, Eusebius and Jerome. Mark was in Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment there. (Col. 4:10; Philem. 1, 23, 24) Thereafter he was with Peter in Babylon. (1 Pet. 5:13) Then, during Paul’s second Imprisonment in Rome, he asked that Timothy come soon and bring Mark with him. (2 Tim. 4:11) Probably Mark did then return to Rome. Since no mention is made of Jerusalem’s destruction in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, Mark must have compiled his account before that event in 70 C.E. His presence in Rome at least once, and likely twice, during the years 60-65 C.E. suggests that Mark may have completed his Gospel there sometime during those years.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF MARK’S ACCOUNT
Though largely covering material similar to that of Matthew and Luke, Mark also provides supplementary details. Some of these illuminate how Jesus felt about certain things. He was ‘grieved at the insensibility of the hearts’ of persons who objected to his healing a man’s withered hand on the sabbath. (Mark 3:5) When Jesus received a poor reception from people in his home territory, “he wondered at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:6) And he “felt love” for the rich young man who asked about the requirements for gaining everlasting life.—Mark 10:21.
Also unique with Mark’s account are certain points regarding the end of Jesus’ earthly life. He reports that at Jesus’ trial the false witnesses were not in agreement. (Mark 14:59) The passerby impressed into service to carry Jesus’ torture stake was Simon of Cyrene, “the father of Alexander and Rufus.” (Mark 15:21) And Mark relates that Pilate made sure that Jesus was dead before granting permission for Joseph of Arimathea to take the body for burial.—Mark 15:43-45.
One of the four illustrations of Jesus found in