“Go throughout the world and preach ..." (Mark 16:15-18)

“Go throughout the world and preach the gospel to all of creation. Whoever believes and becomes immersed will be saved – but those who disbelieve will be condemned. These signs will proceed from those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes, and should they drink poison it will not hurt them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be cured.” (Mark 16:15-19)


Did Jesus say this?

No. This is the last quoted statement attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark among most Bible versions. However, Jesus did not say this.

This is because all of the verses past Mark 16:8 - through to the end of Mark 16 (Mark 16:20) - were added to the Gospel of Mark long after the original manuscript was completed.

We know this because early manuscripts do not contain the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark. This means they were added later. Centuries later.

Evidencing this, the world's oldest known Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, has Mark ending in Mark 16:8.

The Codex Vaticanus, another early completed Bible, also has Mark ending in 16:8.

Both of these Bibles were completed in the Fourth Century, following Eusebius' compilation of the Bible on behalf of the Roman Empire. This means that up until that time, it was accepted that the Gospel of Mark ended at 16:8.

Indeed, Eusebius' writings, and Jerome's writings, also accept that Mark ended at 16:8.

The Syriac Sinaiticus from the late Fourth Century - another compiled Bible - also ends at Mark 16:8. And the Papyrus P75, another Fourth Century Bible manuscript, also ends at Mark 16:8. So does Minuscule 304 from the Twelve Century.

Other manuscripts that include the added 12 verses of Mark have notations and footnotes that these verses were not in early manuscripts.

Since these verses were added later, we cannot accept that this last statement by Jesus was actually spoken by Jesus. We must accept that because they were added some 500 years later more or less, that words are being attributed to Jesus by someone who was not present with Jesus and therefore has no right to quote Jesus.

Neither can these 12 verses be accepted as the true Gospel, because again, they were added some 500 years later.

Who added these verses?

We know that these verses were included in the eventual Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible. Most of the later translations and Bible versions assumed this Vulgate version, so they also contain the added 12 verses of Mark. 

After all, the Catholic Bible was the only Bible permitted to be read - but only by ordained priests - for many centuries before there was even an English or Protestant Bible available. For nearly 1,000 years, the Roman Catholic Latin Bible was the standard Bible. If anyone had any issues with it they were persecuted. 

The Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible was controlled by the Roman Catholic Church and wasn't released by the Church to the common citizens of the world until sometime between the 13th the 16th Centuries.

The earliest full translations of the Bible into languages outside of Latin and Greek were a French Bible in the 13th Century and a Czech Bible in 1360.

These, as well as Wycliffe's English Bible of 1383, were based upon the Vulgate. Only later were Bibles translated from the Greek. Yet even many of these Greek versions were made consistent with the Vulgate, even when they utilized Byzantine sources. This is the result of institutional pressure.

Why? Because the Roman Catholic Church enforced the singular version of the Vulgate as the only acceptable version of the Bible. Doing otherwise would bring upon such a person or entity the wrath of the Roman government and its eventual heir, the Roman Catholic institution. Such "heretical" acts would condemn the person to be hanged or burned at the stake.

As a result, the English Bibles such as King James and others, all contain the added 12 verses, without comment, as they utilized either the Vulgate or the Vulgate-consistent Greek versions.

Therefore, the responsible party for the additional 12 verses appears to be the Roman Catholic Church.

The earliest Bible manuscripts (such as Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) were not in public circulation at the time. They were hidden away from public view. The Roman Catholic Church had outlawed the distribution of any Bible outside of the Latin Vulgate version. And the only people allowed to legally own these Bibles were Priests or Church officials.

Is this the only modification in modern Bibles?

If you believe that this is the only modification of the Bible then you are in for a surprise. As documented in the Lost Gospels of Jesus, there are a number of additions, deletions, and changes that were made centuries later by those who thought they knew better what the Bible should say.

As in this issue with Mark 16, most of these changes were assumed in the early versions such as the King James and those after that. This is also consistent with the Latin Vulgate Bible.

This means we find the Latin Vulgate Bible at the crossroads of most of these additions or modifications. This points to scribes and leaders in the Roman Catholic Church who thought they could add and subtract things from the Bible as they saw fit.

Does the end of Mark mirror Luke?

The additions of Mark 16:9-19 mirror the events portrayed in the Gospel of Luke. They detail that Jesus did appear to his disciples, similar to Luke. 

The only problem is that the original Mark texts did not detail this. The "youthful man" who sat in the tomb told the women that Jesus had risen from his body. But then the women ran off and were afraid to tell the disciples - and that's how it ended. Here are the 8 verses of Mark 16:
16:1 When the Sabbath had passed, Mark Magdalene and Mary – the mother of James and Salome – brought spices in order to go there and anoint him.
16:2 Very early on the first day of the week, they arrived at the tomb at sunrise.
16:3 They were discussing between themselves: “Who can roll the stone away from the door of the tomb?”
16:4 They looked up and saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was huge.
16:5 Upon going into the tomb, they were astonished when they saw a youthful man sitting on the right in long, brilliant garments.
16:6 He told them, “Don’t be afraid. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been raised from the body;P he isn’t here – just look at the place where they laid his body.
16:7 Now go and tell his disciples and Peter. He is going to meet you in Galilee – there you will see him, just as he told you.”
16:8 Thus they left quickly and ran from the tomb, because they were trembling and astonished. They were afraid to say anything to anyone.

Why do the portrayals differ?

This means that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each tell a different story with regard to the events that took place surrounding the tomb and Jesus' rise. 

Because the additional 12 verses mirror events portrayed in Luke, one could claim there were three stories. But with the understanding that these last verses of Mark were added later to closely mirror Luke, combined with Mark 16:8 portrayal that the women were afraid to tell the disciples about what they saw in the tomb.

This makes Mark's version of events different from the other three Gospels, just as the other Gospels differ from each other.

Let's say that you had four children and they were supposed to have gone together to a school event. Then each of the children comes home and separately tells you a different story about the school event. Like a completely different event happened. They each describe the event completely differently from each other.

What does this tell you?

It tells you that at least three out of the four children did not go to the event.

Why? Because if they all went to the event together, they would have seen the same thing and described the same event. They wouldn't tell you four completely different stories about what happened.

So we can safely assume that at least three of the Gospels - or parts thereof - were not written completely by someone who witnessed the life and teachings of Jesus.

The scenario put forth by many Biblical scholars is that Matthew, Luke and Mark - which are very similar to each other in many ways - were all compiled separately but drawn from a single source manuscript. This manuscript is typically called the Q Gospel - Q stands for Quelle, German for "source."

More recently, some scholars have proposed that Matthew and Luke were derived from a combination of the Q Gospel and the Gospel of Mark. That is called the two-source hypothesis. This hypothesis has a major problem, however. If this were true, then Matthew and Luke would both be consistent with Mark. Unfortunately, they are not. All three describe many of the events and narrations differently.

Some scholars have suggested that the Gospel of Thomas may well have been the Q Gospel. This is because Thomas portrays all the major teachings of Jesus without much of the narrative and background events.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all portray mostly the same teachings that are documented in Thomas. But the primary differences between Matthew, Mark, and Luke lie within the narrative and background events rather than the core teachings. This points to the potential that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all derived from the Gospel of Thomas, with many of the events and narrates being added by different authors.

Here is the Gospel of Thomas from the Lost Gospels of Jesus.

The bottom line is that it is clear that the texts of the Bible are not wholly the original texts written. There have been significant changes and modifications made in the centuries after Jesus' departure.

It is also clear that much of this lands in the responsibility of the institution that committed itself responsible for carrying forth the Bible for over 1,000 years - the Roman Catholic Church.

What does changing the text indicate?

Changing or modifying the contents of scripture is quite simply an act of fanaticism. It is an act whereby an institution or group wants to control the narrative when it comes to worshiping the Supreme Being. This is how fanatical sectarian institutions often see their parishioners: as people to control in order to maintain their power and authority.

The Roman Catholic institution has been responsible for committing various acts of fanaticism over the centuries. These include murdering those who don't agree with them (calling them "heretics"). They include the bloodshed of untold numbers of people who simply wanted to worship the Supreme Being in a different manner. They include raping and abusing young children, even into modern times.

The question now presented to this institution is whether fanatical and abusive behavior in the past should be utilized to make judgments against the current institution and its leaders?

Certainly, Jesus taught that we should be willing to forgive those who have committed wrongdoing. And followers of Jesus should be prepared to do that.

But forgiveness is a separate question from being a follower of such an institution. We know that Jesus criticized the Temple institution and its leaders for misleading their followers. He sternly advised his followers not to become followers of the Temple high priests and Pharisees.

We know that Jesus was not a fanatic. Jesus simply loved God and loved each of us. From the Gospel of Thomas, we can see how Jesus approached the issue of honesty:
“Don’t be dishonest – and whatever you abhor, don’t do. Because all these things are seen from the spiritual realm. For nothing hidden will not be revealed – and nothing covered will remain undiscovered.” (Gospel of Thomas Verse 6:2-6:6)