Jonathan's eighth volume in a series of

New Testament commentaries:

A Sample Passage from Mark:

Chapter 1


1. A beginning of the Good News, which is Jesus Christ, God’s Son (or: [The] beginning of the message of goodness, ease and well-being which pertains to Jesus Christ – Son of God; or: A starting point from the evangel of [the] Anointed Jesus [= Messiah Yahshua], a son from, and which is, God).


Lacking the beginning preposition “in” (en), as in Jn. 1:1, Mark’s first sentence is almost a summation of the entire Prologue of the Gospel of John – just seven words, in the Greek text. The subject and the main character of the story are laid out with no fanfare. But there is more, here, than meets the eye. So let’s slow down and unpack what is on offer for us.


Jesus Christ is a beginning of the Good News for humanity. But more than that, Jesus Christ IS the Good News. That two-word phrase, Good News, is commonly called “Gospel” (an Anglo-Saxon word), and represents the Greek eu-angelion, which is frequently transliterated “evangel.” The noun without the prefix, angelion, means: a message; an announcement; a proclamation (i.e., that which a “messenger” brings). The particle eu- means “goodness, ease and wellbeing.” Now a message (etc.) is normally composed of WORDS. Can we see how this beginning proclamation is related to the Logos, in John’s Prologue (Jn. 1:1)? What is written in this Greek text is more than a theological treatise, or a doctrinal monologue. It, like the prophecies of the OT, is God’s Word – which is Jesus Christ, and He is God’s Son.


The last six words are three genitive phrases, so let us examine the optional renderings of this verse:

             a) [The] beginning of the message of goodness, ease and well-being which

             pertains to Jesus Christ – Son of God;

             b) A starting point from the evangel of [the] Anointed Jesus [= Messiah Yahshua],

             a son from, and which is, God.

Notice that the definite article, “the,” is absent from the final phrase, “Son of God; a son from, and which is God.” Some witnesses omit this phrase, but it has good MS attestation. In my first two renderings, the Greek phrase does not need the definite article for good English. The final rendering employs the indefinite English article (Greek does not have an indefinite article) before the word “son” (which I offer not capitalized), and I conflated an ablative rendering, “from God,” with an appositional rendering, “which is God.” May the Spirit breathe Life from all that is on offer in this verse. As we read, let us look for the Good. Israel’s Messiah came to be,

             “presently making all things new (or: habitually creating everything [to be] new

             and fresh; progressively forming [the] whole anew; or, reading panta as masculine:

             I am periodically making all humanity new, and progressively, one after another,

             producing and creating every person anew, while constantly constructing all

             people fresh and new, i.e., continuously renewing everyone)!” (Rev. 21:5)


Dan Kaplan called to mind what God saw, and planned, in the beginning:

             “Then God saw the whole (all things) – as much as He had produced (created;

             made; formed; constructed) – and consider this (or: look [at it]), [all was]

             exceedingly fine, extremely ideal and very beautiful!” (Gen. 1:31a; LXX, JM).


2. In accord with what has been written in Isaiah the prophet [other MSS: in the prophets]:

             “Look and consider! I, Myself, am periodically sending forth My agent

             (messenger) on a mission – before Your face – who will progressively construct

             Your road (or: make ready, furnish and equip the Way from You; build the Path

             which is You) in front of (ahead of) You. [Mal. 3:1]


As with the Gospel of John, Mark skips over birth and youth narratives and opens with the ministry of John the immerser. This verse corresponds to Jn. 1:23. In the quote (this first part seems to be of Malachi, but he continues with Isaiah, in vs. 3), Yahweh says that He is sending His “agent (messenger),” the noun being the Greek word, angelos. Now why do you suppose that the common translations do not render this word “angel” – as they do elsewhere? Well, of course, it is because John was a man. But why transliterate this word into “angel” in Lu. 2:9-15? That person came with a message from Yahweh, in that passage (vs. 9). Well, it is because vs. 13 informs us:

             Then unexpectedly and suddenly [the] fullness of a throng (or: multitude) of a

             heavenly host (or: a full number of an army which inhabits, and can be compared

             to, the atmosphere; [cf Heb. 12:1a, 22-23]) – of folks continuously praising God

             – came to be with the agent (or: came to exist and happened with the


And then Lu. 2:15 continues that episode:

             “And so it happened, as the agents (messengers; folks with the message; [A, D,

             TR & others add: – even (or: that is,) the humans]) went away from them into the

             atmosphere (or: the heaven)…”

Notice that some MSS add “the humans” as describing those “agents” that went off into “the atmosphere (or: heaven).” In Mat. 17:4, Moses and Elijah were seen talking with Jesus (the Mount of Transfiguration episode). In Lu. 1:26, someone named Gabriel was sent as a messenger/agent from God to Mary. We point these things out in order to offer a catalyst for thought about the atmosphere that environs us (Heb. 12:1a). Question Christian tradition – much of it is merely human imagination and carnal thinking of the first Adam (1 Cor. 15:45).


Observe that the prophecy speaks of “Your road… the Way from You… the Path which is You.” We find Jesus saying that He IS the Way (etc.), in Jn. 14:6. We also suggest that He was the “stairway” of which Jesus spoke, in Jn. 1:51. Christ’s Way was prepared by John the immerser, as you will see by what he both said, and did, below. A road is something that is under a person’s feet, something upon which travel is accomplished. Kaplan points us to the time where Moses, Aaron and a select group of Israel “saw Israel’s God.” There we read, in Ex. 24:10, 

             “and beneath His feet, as it were, a work of sapphire tiling, as the very heavens for

             purity” (CVOT);

             “and, under His feet, like a pavement of sapphire, and like the very heavens (= the

             sky itself), for brightness” (Rotherham; addition, his footnote);

             “and under His feet [is] as the white work of the sapphire, and as the substance of

             the heavens, for purity” (Young);

             “something like a sapphire pavement under His feet, as clear as the sky itself”

             (J.M. Powis Smith).

We suggest that this “tiled pavement” corresponds to the symbolic picture of the New Jerusalem,

             “And the broad place (street; plaza; square) of the City [is] pure (clean, clear;

             cleansed) gold, as a translucent crystal (or: transparent glass)” (Rev. 21:21b).

This is the road, street, path, and Way that we walk with Him.

Consider the renderings of the last clause:

             a) “progressively construct Your road” – what John was to do was to construct

             something that would then belong to Jesus; he was a construction worker on the

             Lord’s road;

             b) “make ready, furnish and equip the Way from You” – this reading

             (understanding “You” as an ablative) means that John’s work (of making ready,

             furnishing and equipping the Way) came from Christ;

             c) “build the Path which is You” – this reading (understanding “You” as

             apposition) means that John (representing the old covenant, and its final prophet)

             was building (via his words, acts and spirit) the first part of the ministry that Jesus

             came to be.

Let us review Lu.1:76-80, which was a prophecy about John and his assigned work:

76. "Now you also, little boy, will proceed being called a prophet of [the] Most High, for you will continue to ‘go your way before and in the sight and presence of [the] Lord [= Yahweh], to prepare and make ready His paths and roads (or: ways, from Him)’: [Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3]

77. "to give intimate, experiential knowledge and insight of deliverance (pertaining to salvation, safety, rescue, and a return to the original state; or: from health and wholeness) to and for His people, in conjunction with a sending away (in union with a divorcing, an abandoning flowing away and forgiveness) of their mistakes, failures, shortcomings, deviations and sins,

78. "through our God's inner organs which are composed of mercy (or: because of His tender compassions which have the character and quality of mercy), in union with and amidst which an upward performance and a rising (or: a dawning and a daybreak) from out of the midst of an exaltation (or: from on high) will progressively visit and caringly look upon us

79. "to at once ‘shine upon the people continuously sitting within the midst of darkness (the realm of the shadow and obscurity; dimness and gloom)’ [Isa. 9:1] – even within death's shadow; to cause our feet to be fully straight and to [walk] in correspondence to straightness, into the path (way; road) of peace (or: from, and which is, a joining)."

80. Now the little boy was continuing to progressively grow and increase, and was being progressively made stronger in Breath-effect (or: by [the] Spirit; in spirit; with an attitude), and later he continued existing within the midst of desolate places (deserts; uninhabited areas; wildernesses) until the day of his upward exhibit (the raising aloft to show him) to Israel.


3. "A voice! One repeatedly crying out (shouting; exulting; exclaiming; imploring aid): 'Within the midst of the wilderness (desert; desolate place; abandoned and uninhabited region) you folks at once prepare and make ready the road of [the] Lord (the path whose source is [Yahweh]; the Way whose character is that of, and which pertains to, [the] Owner [= Yahweh])! Be progressively constructing (or: Make it a habit of making and creating; Continue forming and producing) His highways (thoroughfares) well-placed and straight.'"

             (or: "A sound of a person constantly calling out within the midst of the desert: 0

             Prepare... ")

[Isa. 40:3; cf Ex. 23:20


As can be seen, by the alternate parenthetical rendering at the end of the verse, the first clause of this quote, of Isa. 40, can be read in two different ways. In the first rendering, the call is to prepare “the road of the Lord within the midst of the wilderness – i.e., make ready the path within the desert, in a desolate place of an uninhabited region. Well, literally speaking, this is what John was doing. The Road, the Way which is Christ, was being prepared in the midst of a desert setting, at the banks of the Jordan River. It was not happening in the capital of Judea (Jerusalem), but in an obscure area. Folks had to come out of their towns and cities to participate in this move of Yahweh. It was an early call of the Spirit, which would be called again, in Rev. 18:4-5,

             “Come out of her (or: Go forth from out of her midst) My people, so that you may not jointly participate with (be a partner with; fellowship together with) her sins (failures; occasions of missing the mark), and so that you may not receive from out of her plagues (blows; impacts), because her sins (failures) are glued together (joined; adhered so as to be heaped, built or piled) as far as the atmosphere (or: sky; heaven). And God remembers (called to mind) her unjust effects (injuries done; misdeeds; unjust acts; ill-gotten gains; things contrary to the way pointed out).”

This new “move of God” would happen outside the established religious system and structure:

             “Now then, we can keep on coming out (or: should be progressively going out)  

             toward Him – outside of the Camp – habitually bearing His reproach

             (Heb. 12:13).


The second, equally valid and traditional reading, speaks another aspect of this same event. It informs us of the location of the “sound of a person constantly calling out.” It was, “within the midst of the desert.”

This setting was a living parable that described the inner condition of the People of Judea, and the surrounding districts, at that time. It speaks to many religious environments of our own day. But in John’s day, it can be seen as an allusion to the situation of Ezekiel’s vision, in chapter 37, which was a valley of dry bones – which, in turn, represented “the whole house of Israel.” John, and later Jesus, walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23)


What John began, and then Jesus carried on, was fulfilling Yahweh’s directive to “Continue forming and producing His highways (thoroughfares) well-placed and straight.” This is an allusion to Isa. 45:2,

             “I, Myself, will go before you, and I will make crooked places straight and shall

             level mountains and swelling hills…”

In Isa. 43:19 we read:

             “Behold, I am doing a NEW thing; Now it is sprouting; Do you not know it?

             Indeed, I am placing a WAY in the wilderness, tracks [Qumran reading; Heb.

             streams] in the desolation” (CVOT).

4. John – the one habitually immersing (baptizing; dipping) – came into the scene within the wilderness (or: came to be in the uninhabited area of the desert), repeatedly heralding the proclamation of an immersion (a baptism) which signifies, is connected to, and has the characteristics of, a change of thinking [= recognition of being headed in the wrong direction]

             (or: from a change of perception, frame of mind and mode of thought; which is a

             change of understanding and a new attitude; which is a new state of

             consciousness), and thus, a turning

[to Yahweh, which leads] into a letting-flow-away of, and divorcing from, failures

             (a sending-away of errors; a letting-go of sins; a release from deviations; a

             dismissal of mistakes; an abandoning of situations where the target was missed).


You probably notice that I did not use the traditional word, “repentance,” to render the Greek word meta- (change) noia (thinking; frame of mind; mode of thought; perception; understanding; attitude; state of consciousness). This is due to the fact that the normal rendering is too loaded with baggage with regard to one’s emotions and feelings – which are not the core ideas of this word. This word has to do with the area of one’s mind, and thus, understanding. I did conflate with the core meanings of the word the traditional sense from the Jewish culture of that day, which had reference to Israel “turning back” to Yahweh, under the old covenant.


The main reason for a person of 1st century Palestine “changing [their] thinking” was due to the fact that their long-awaited Messiah was at that time arriving on the scene. As they would see, and learn in the coming years, the advent of the Christ (Messiah) brought in the new, long-awaited, Age, with the ensuing eonian Life in the Messiah. This would bring about the new arrangement (as Jesus told the Samaritan woman in Jn. 4:21-24) – otherwise known as “the new covenant.” The new age would require a new way of thinking (from being given the mind of Christ – 1 Cor. 2:16b; Phil. 2:5).


The immersion was a figure of dying to the old age, with its flesh-oriented temple cultus, and being born-again into the new age, and into the realm of spirit – which Paul would later describe as being seated together with Christ in the heavenly sphere (Eph. 2:6). But the physical immersion did nothing of itself. Take note: it was “a change of thinking [which would lead] into a letting-flow-away of, and divorcing from, failures.” It was that “change of perception, frame of mind and mode of thought” which God used to effect “a sending-away of errors; a letting-go of sins; a release from deviations; a dismissal of mistakes; an abandoning of situations where the target was missed.” Observe the wide semantic range of the Greek word which has traditionally been rendered “forgiveness” – which has become loaded with religious baggage and which misrepresents the idea of what Mark was saying. This “new state of consciousness” allows “a letting-flow-away” of the past, and a “divorcing from” prior deviations and mistakes. We are no longer held in bondage to “situations where we missed the target,” or, to “sins” that we may have committed.


Can you see how this sets the stage for the Good News which would immediately follow?


The ritual that John performed was a sign that pointed forward, to Jesus, of whom Matthew wrote, in Mat. 3:11b, “He, Himself, will proceed immersing (baptizing) you folks within the midst of a set-apart Breath-effect and Fire.” You see, the reality is done by God – as we saw prophesied in Ezk. 36:25,

             “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean from all your

             uncleannesses, and from all your idol clods I shall cleanse you” (CVOT).


5. And all the Judean territory (province; region; country) – even all the people of Jerusalem – kept on traveling out to him in a steady stream, [to be] face to face with him, and were one by one being immersed (baptized) by him within the midst of the Jordan River, while they were continuing in openly confessing-out and acknowledging their failures (mistakes; errors; sins; deviations; times of being out of line and falling short of the goal).


Israel had an annual Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles (also called Ingathering, a harvest time feast in the seventh month of the Jewish religious calendar, where Israel would dwell in booths for seven days – Lev. 23:34, 42), and part of that Feast was the Day of Atonement, which was a day of ritual sacrifices and other cultic activities, “to cleanse you [i.e., Israel, corporately] that you folks may be clean from all your sins, before Yahweh. It [shall be] a sabbath of rest, unto you…” (Lev. 16:30-31; 23:27ff).


Was John establishing a new ritual of symbolic cleansing for the People, and in so doing, establishing an alternate means of participating in “atonement (cleansing)” that was apart from the Jerusalem temple? Does this echo Jn. 4:21, “neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem”? Was this a symbolic, prophetic act that signaled that a new arrangement was at hand? We suggest that the fact that Mark uses the phrases, “all the Judean territory” as well as “all the people,” suggests that what John was doing was (like the Day of Atonement) an act the pertained to, and was for the benefit of, all of Israel. Judea and Jerusalem stood in the place of the entire ethnic group – including the Diaspora (Jews living in other countries).


Joshua 3:15-4:11 narrates the time when Israel ends its wilderness journeys and passes through the Jordan River (in a similar manner as passing through the Red Sea, on their exodus from Egypt) and then enters into the Promised Land. John’s immersion of the People may be an allusion to that time of transition – from one state of existence into a new state of existence; from that of wandering in a wilderness (a state of more meager existence) to that of settling in a Land flowing with milk and honey (figures of opulence and supply). It meant being transferred from a condition of insecurity and constant flux to a condition of security and permanence. It would also signal an end of exile (the condition of living as a conquered people under a foreign empire). It meant deliverance from what was before and into that for which they had been waiting. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:17, it was proclaiming a “new creation,” and a passing away of the “old things.”


6. Now John was by habit being one who had dressed himself in a garment woven of camel's hair with a leather belt (or: a girdle made of an animal skin) around his waist and loins, and was customarily eating locusts (or: [dried] grasshoppers) and wild honey [as his food].

7. And he had kept on making a loud public proclamation, as a herald, repeatedly saying, "Behind me the One (or: the Man) stronger than me is progressively approaching (steadily coming) – of Whom I am not (do not exist being) of adequate size or sufficient strength to be competent to, while stooping down, loose and unfasten the strap (thong; lace) of His sandals.


John represented the wilderness – both in his attire, and his food. He represented Israel in its wilderness wandering. His ministry was also in the mode of the OT prophets, and his message was in line with theirs: he spoke of the One who was to come, and in fact was steadily “approaching” – close enough for John to remove His sandals, were he worthy enough to do so. But why the details of what he wore? Well, in the first place, it would distinguish him from the “elites” of Jerusalem (cf Mat. 11:8), such as the scribes, Pharisees and priests. He was an outsider; someone beyond the reach of institutional control. But more than this, it was most likely intended to make an association between John and Elijah, whose clothes were similarly described (2 Ki. 1:8). Furthermore, Mal. 4:5 spoke of the coming of Elijah:

             “And so, look and consider: I, Myself, will be sending off Elijah the Thesbite

             [Heb. reads: prophet] to (or: for; among) you folks, before the great and fully

             apparent (manifested from having clear Light upon it; notable) Day of the LORD

             is to come” (LXX, JM).


8. "I myself, indeed, immerse (or: baptized) you folks within water, yet He Himself will proceed immersing and saturating (or: baptizing) you in a set-apart spirit (or: in union with Holy Spirit; [with other MSS: by an Uncommon Wind; for a consecrated Breath-effect; with a sacred attitude])."


Here, John contrasts his own actions to those of the coming One, whose actions would be of a completely different order – in fact, Heb. 5:6 instructs us that He is a priest “according to the order of Melchisedec” (cf Ps. 110:4). This new arrangement (covenant) has a new priesthood, and it deals in the sphere of “Spirit and Truth” (Jn. 4:24), so it would be natural for Him to “proceed immersing and saturating (or: baptizing) you people in a set-apart spirit (or: in union with Holy Spirit; [with other MSS: by an Uncommon Wind; for a consecrated Breath-effect; with a sacred attitude]).” John’s speaking of the “set-apart spirit (consecrated Breath-effect)” brings to mind a passage where Paul spoke of one Spirit. In Eph. 4, we read:

             2. with all lowliness of attitude (or: humility in frame of mind) and gentle

             kindness and friendliness, with longsuffering (even-tempered, forbearing

             patience; a long wait before rushing in passion; putting anger far away; passionate

             perseverance unto the goal), continuously holding one another up (or: bearing

             with each other with tolerance) within the sphere of, and in union with, Love

             (unqualified acceptance and the urge toward union),

             3. repeatedly hurrying to make every effort to constantly keep (watch over to

             guard and protect; maintain) the Spirit's oneness (or: the unity from the Breath-

             effect, and of spirit; the oneness which is the Spirit; = agreement of [your] attitude)

             within the Bond (the link, tie and connection that joins two things; the binding

             conjunction which results in union) of the Peace (or: which is from THE


             4. [making] ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT (attitude and effect of the Breath),

             according as you folks were (or: are) also called (summoned) within the midst

             of ONE expectation (or: in union with one expectant hope) of your calling (or:

             from your summons; which is your invitation),

             5. [with] ONE LORD (or: Master; Owner), ONE FAITH (or: faithfulness,

             fidelity, loyalty, reliability, confidence, conviction, assurance, and trust), ONE

             effect of SUBMERSION and envelopment which brings absorption and

             permeation to the point of saturation (or: one baptism),

             6. ONE God and Father of all humans – the One upon all people and [moving]

             through all people, and within the midst of all humanity and in union with all

             people and all things.

Matthew’s version of what John said adds to the picture:

             “He, Himself, will proceed immersing (baptizing) you folks within the midst of

             a set-apart Breath-effect and Fire (or: will repeatedly submerge you to the point

             of saturation, in union with [the] Holy Spirit, even to the permeation of a Sacred

             Attitude, as well as with [the] Fire) – Whose winnowing fork (or: shovel) [is]

             within His hand, and He will proceed thoroughly cleaning up (clearing,

             scouring and cleansing) His threshing floor…” (Mat. 3:11b-12a).

Once again, the Spirit immersion (baptism) is for cleansing, among other things. We see another picture of this same thing, via an apocalyptic vision given to John, in Rev. 20:

             14. Next the Death and the Unseen (or: = the grave) are cast (or: were thrown)

             into the lake (or: basin; artificial pool) of the Fire (or: the marshy area where

             there is fire). This is the second death: the lake of the Fire (or: the basin which is


             15. So if anyone is not found (or: was not found) written within the scroll of (or:

             which is) The Life, he is cast (or: was thrown) into the lake of the Fire (or: the

             artificial pool having the character and quality of the Fire; the marshy area from the

             Fire; the shallow basin, where there is fire).


The Life,” spoken of in vs. 15, is the Christ Life and equates to being joined to the Vine (Jn. 15:1ff), which means being a part of the corporate Christ that will minister His purifying Fire as a means of purification for others (cf Mal. 3:1-4). And we remember that Fire is a symbol of God (Heb. 12:29; cf Ex. 3:1-5 – and there, God’s presence made the “ground” to be “holy”). In Rev. 20:10, “the lake” of vss. 14-15 is called, “the lake (or: basin; artificial pool; marshy area) of the Fire and Deity (or: which is Fire, even Divine Nature).” In 9:49, below, we are instructed:

             “Indeed, everyone (or: It follows that all humanity) will be salted (seasoned and

             preserved) in (with; by) fire!

Cf 1 Cor. 3:12-17; 1 Pet. 4:12-19.


9. And within the course of those days it occurred [that] Jesus came from Nazareth, of the Galilee [district], and was immersed into (baptized in) the Jordan, by (or: under) John.


Jesus’ namesake, Joshua, crossed the Jordan River with all of Israel (Joshua, chapters 3 and 4). Following the pattern and the foreshadowing, Jesus participates in this symbolic act before entering into His public ministry of bringing the kingdom of God to the People. In vs. 4, above, we saw that this act was “an immersion (a baptism) which signifies, is connected to, and has the characteristics of, a change of thinking.” Did Jesus need to change His thinking and perspectives? We suggest that yes, He did. He was moving from being simply an Israelite to being Israel’s Messiah. He was inaugurating the manifestation of God’s reign and sovereign influences in a new Age that had new arrangements (the new covenant), and which was a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Upon His anointing by the Breath-effect (vs. 10, below) He would enter into the realm of the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and would become “the Firstborn among, within the center of, and in union with many brothers” (Rom. 8:29b; cf Gal. 4:26). He had emptied Himself (Phil. 2:7) in order to become one of us, so that we would become One in Him (1 Cor. 6:17; Jn. 15:1ff; 17:21). He had to have “a change of perception, frame of mind and mode of thought – which is a change of understanding and a new attitude, as well as a new state of consciousness” (vs. 4, above). In walking out this new Mind, He would lead all humanity into this same Mind and place in God.


Paul would put the situation this way, in Gal. 4:

             4. Yet when the effect of the filling of the time came (or: that which was filled up

             by time reached full term), forth from out of a mission (or: from out of the midst

             of [Himself]), God sent-off His Son, being Himself come to be born from out of

             a woman, being Himself come to be born under [the rules, authority and

             influence of] Law, [cf Ex. 19:17, LXX: “under {Sinai}”]

             5. to the end that He could (or: would) buy out (release by purchase; redeem;

             reclaim [from slavery]) those under [the] Law – so that WE could and would

             receive and take away into possession the placing in the condition of a son (or:

             the deposit of the Son; the setting in place which is the Son; the constituting as a

             son; the placing in the Son). [cf Rom. 8:3-4; Jn. 3:16]

We read in Heb. 6:20 that He was the,

Forerunner entered over us (or: on our behalf; over our [situation]), down from (or: in accord with; in the line of [succession of]) the station (order; placement) of Melchizedek, being born (or: coming to be) a Chief (or: Ranking) Priest on into the midst of the Age (or: [proceeding] unto the Age [of Messiah]).”


10. Then immediately, while stepping back up straight from out of the water, He saw (perceived and became aware of) the atmosphere and sky (or: the heavens) being progressively split and torn apart, so as to be divided, and the Breath-effect (the Spirit; the Wind; the Attitude) – as a dove (or: pigeon) – progressively descending into the midst of Him! [with other MSS: progressively stepping down and continuously remaining upon Him.]


This was the moment of Jesus becoming Israel’s Messiah, the Anointed One. He had just completed an act of the Way pointed-out, as we see recorded in Mat. 3:15,

             “Let this situation flow its course and send [Me] off, right now (at present), for

             it is in this way proper and fitting for us to fulfill all that accords with

             eschatological deliverance in the Way pointed out, making full ‘being turned

             in the right direction,’ righting covenantal relationship.

Here, Mark records that Jesus “saw (perceived and became aware of) the atmosphere and sky (or: the heavens) being progressively split and torn apart, so as to be divided.” Mat. 3:16 terms it this way: “the heavens at once opened back up again! [or, with other MSS: the atmospheres were opened up to Him!].” Luke’s record is like Matthew’s, but Mark seems to describe the manner in which this event happened for Jesus, and this reminds us of what happened upon Jesus’ death, in Mat. 27:51,

             “And then – look and consider! – the curtain of the inner sanctuary of the

             Temple [veil of the holy of holies] was torn and split from above unto below (=

             from top to bottom): into two.

This latter event was when the heavens were opened back up to, and for, US. You see, the Temple was a symbol for the heavens (the holy place and the holy of holies), where God lived.


The next thing that happened was, “the Breath-effect (the Spirit; the Wind; the Attitude) – as a dove (or: pigeon) – progressively descending into the midst of Him! [with other MSS: progressively stepping down and continuously remaining upon Him].” Already, we have two different pictures: the first simply describing the descent of the Breath-effect as being like a dove that was perhaps flying in the atmosphere, and then descended INTO the midst of a tree, to land on one of its branches (cf Mat. 13:32). The second picture is of a dove, as if, perhaps, perched on a branch near His head (This, of course would mean that there was a tree at the river bank!), and simply stepping down, or descending, UPON Him, and then remaining there – using Him as its new perch, or nesting place. Recall Isa. 11:1-2a,

             “And there will come forth a rod of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch will grow out

             of his roots, and the Spirit of Yahweh will rest upon Him…”

Mat. 3:16b describes it, “as if it were a dove steadily descending – progressively coming UPON Him.” Then Lu. 3:22 offers: “to descend (step down) – in bodily perceptual appearance as a dove (or: pigeon) – UPON Him.” Luke just described the event and does not mention anyone seeing the Breath-effect, or a dove. In Jn. 1:32, John gives this witness:

             “I have viewed and continued gazing at, so that I can now visualize, the Spirit

             progressively stepping down (or: the Breath-effect continuously descending), as a

             dove, forth from out of [the] atmosphere (or: as a pigeon out of the sky, or from

             heaven), and It remains and dwells UPON Him.

Now we do not want to strain at a pigeon and wind up swallowing a camel. In translating this verse I followed the reading (“into Him”) in the texts of Nestle-Aland and of Westcott and Hort, giving the literal meaning of the preposition (eis), and then offered the alternate MS readings (epi) in brackets. The result of the actual event would not change, in following either reading, but our perception of WHAT happened may be different, in each picture, and so we have labored the point so that our readers can contemplate these two descriptions, and listen to see if the Breath-effect speaks in favor of one over the other, or whether both readings yield rich insights, and that the ambiguity was intentional. Details can be important. In speaking of the Spirit of the Truth, Jesus instructs His disciples:

             “Yet YOU folks are progressively knowing It (or: Him) by intimate experience,

             because It (or: He) is continuously dwelling (remaining; abiding) alongside you

             folks – in your presence – and It (or: He) continuously exists (or: is; [other MSS:

             will continue being]) within, in union with, and among you people” (Jn. 14:17).

Much theological ink has been spilled over the contrast between the first clause and the last clause, when following the “other MS” reading of the future tense in the last clause, there in John. But we cite this verse, here, to point to the importance of different readings among the MSS. However, with this example from John, if the future tense is rendered as durative (“will continue being”), it implies a continuation from an already existing situation (“continuously exists {or: is}”). In conclusion, we suggest reading vs. 10, here, in a conflated manner: “into Him and upon Him.” Some interpreters suggest that there was an

appearance of a dove on the scene, but it was merely a symbol, or a sign, of what actually, and invisibly, happened to Jesus. We will see that this brought a very significant change upon His life. As Kaplan observes, it was empowerment!1


11. Then a Voice was birthed (or: a sound occurred) from out of the midst of the heavens (or: [torn] atmospheres; or: = the sky and outer space; or = the realms of God's presence; or = the holy places of the realms of spirit): "You Yourself are (or: continue being; habitually exist being) My Son – the Beloved and Accepted One! I seem at ease and appear well and prosperous in union with, and within the midst of, You (or: I delight in You; I think and imagine ease and wellness centered within You; I am well-pleased and approve in You)!"


First there was, “A voice! One repeatedly crying out (shouting; exulting; exclaiming; imploring aid) within the midst of the wilderness” (vs. 3, above). We have concluded that this was John the immerser, for we read him saying, “I am a voice (or: [the] sound) of one repeatedly calling out loudly (crying out; exclaiming; imploring) within the desolate place…” (Jn. 1:23). Furthermore, immediately following vs. 3, above, is the record of John, in the wilderness, “repeatedly heralding the proclamation,” (vs. 4, above). He was a voice from the earth – in the wilderness. But now we have “a Voice birthed from out of the midst of the heavens.” And this event moves our story into the realm above the earth – in the atmospheres (the heavens). We see in Jn. 1:51 that Jesus is the means of accessing this upper realm, and is the One who joins the two together, bringing Peace (meaning: the Joining). The story of the Messiah, the Anointed One, is the story of the Last (eschatos) Adam dwelling and operating within the atmospheres (the realm of God’s kingdom). Paul instructs us, in 1 Cor. 15:45-48,

             “The first human (or: man), Adam, came for existence (or: was birthed) into

             [being] a living soul" [Gen. 2:7]; the Last Adam into [being] a continuously

             life-making (life-producing; life- creating; life-forming) Spirit…. the Second

             Human (Person; Humanity; [other MSS add: {is} the Lord]) [is made] out of

             heaven (or: [is] from atmosphere and sky). As [is] the person made of and having

             the character and quality of moist soil or dust (mounded or poured dirt), of such

             sort also [are] the people [who are] made of and have the character and

             quality of moist soil or dust (soil-ish folks); and likewise, as [is] the Added,

             Imposed, Heavenly Person (or: the one made of and having the quality and

             character of the added-heaven), of such sort also [are] the added, imposed,

             heavenly people – those made of and having the quality and character of the

             added, imposed, heaven (or: the finished and perfected atmosphere, or the added


Jesus contrasted John’s voice to that of His own, as we read in Lu. 7:28,

             “For truly, I now say to you folks, among the people born of women, no one

             exists being greater than John. Yet the smaller (= less significant) person

             within the midst of God's reign (or: centered in union with the sovereign

             kingdom and activities of God) exists being greater (= more important) than he.”

John’s was a voice of the old arrangement (the old covenant, and the Law of Moses), and in contrast, Jesus’ Voice proclaimed the new arrangement (the new covenant, new creation, and God’s reign). In this verse, the Voice from the atmosphere was a witness to the Son, and His voice. The writer of the book of Hebrews opens with this explanation, in Heb. 1:

             1. Long ago (or: In the old days), in many parts (or: with fragments; by divided

             portions; = bit by bit) and in (or: with; by) much-traveled ways consisting of

             many turns and directions, God, having spoken to (or: in talking with; when

             discoursing by; making vocal utterances for) the fathers – in (in union with;

             centered in; = through; in [the words of]) the prophets –

             2. upon [the] last of these days spoke to (or: speaks for and concerning;

             discourses in; makes conversation with) us in a Son whom He placed (or: sets)

             [as; to be] Heir of all (or: One who receives all humanity as an allotment; or: One

             who received everything as His allotted inheritance) through Whom He also

             made the ages

                         (or: forms and constructs the various designated periods of time [which

                         compose existence, as well as God's influence and activities]; produces the

                         life- times);

             3. Who, continuously being an effect of the radiance from

                         (or: a result from a dawning and breaking forth of the bright light of the     

                         Day which is; a result of the outshining which is; an effulgence from; an

                         effect of an off-shining [light]- beam belonging to; or: a result of a

                         reflection of) the Glory and Splendor as well as an exact impress (or:

                         exact likeness as from a stamp or a die; or: a carving) of His substructure

                         (or: of His substance [that is] standing under as a foundation; which is the

                         underlying support of His outward form and properties; from His sub-

                         placing; or: from His assumed groundwork of the full expression [of His

                         idea]) – besides continuously bearing (or: and while progressively

             carrying; and then repeatedly bringing) the whole (all things; everything and all

             existence) by the gush-effect which is His power

                         (or: in the result of the flow from the power which is Him; or: with the

                         saying pertaining to His ability; in the spoken declaration of, and which has

                         the character of and its source in, His power and ability) through and by

              means of Himself – in producing a cleansing of (or: after making a ritual

              purification in regard to) the failures (the misses of the target; the mistakes and

              errors; or: a clearing by pruning which pertains to the sins) He at once seated

              Himself within [the] right part (or: hand; = in union with the receiving aspect,

              honored position and place of power) of the Greatness centered and resident

              within high places . . . 


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