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Mark Chapter Nine


I. Content of the Chapter


The Example and Teachings of the Bondman the Savior to the Disciples

A.   His climbing up to the high mountain signified the glory of the kingdom of God (v.1-8);

B.   To explain Elijah by John the Baptist (v.9-13);

C.   He showed and taught the disciples how to cast off the demons (v.14-29);

D.   He prophesied again that He would be suffered (v.30-32);

E.   He took the opportunity to teach the disciples to serve one another humbly (v.33-37);

F.    He took the opportunity to teach the disciples to have peace with one another (v.38-50);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 9:1 And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

YLT: “And he said to them, `Verily I say to you, That there are certain of those standing here, who may not taste of death till they see the reign of God having come in power.'”

Literal Meaning: “who will not taste death”, before one’s departure from the world;

  “They see the kingdom of God present with power”, literally speaking, it was fulfilled in this chapter, verse 2 to verse 8 ---- the experience in the mountain (see Matt.17:1-8).

Enlightenment in the Word: though he that overcomes will abundantly experience the glory of the kingdom of God in the coming age, he can also foretaste the glory in this age.


Mark. 9:2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.

YLT: “And after six days doth Jesus take Peter, and James, and John, and bringeth them up to a high mount by themselves, alone, and he was transfigured before them,”

Literal Meaning: “after six days”, it was counted from the day on which Peter confessed Jesus as Christ (see 8:29) to this day when they climbed up to the mountain, and there were six days between them. In the Gospel of Luke, the first day and the last day were counted, and there were “about eight days” (see Luke. 9:28).

  “Led them up on a high mountain”, at that time, they were in the region of Caesarea Philippi (see 8:27), so the high mountain might be “the Mount Hermon” (see Deut. 3:8-9, Ps. 133:3).

  “He was transfigured before them.” ---- They saw the Lord was transfigured before them with their physical eyes and in their sober condition, and it was not an illusion (see 2Pet.1:16; 1John1:1).

Spiritual Meaning: “after six days,” the old creation was created in six days (see Gen. 1). Therefore “after six days” symbolized in the new creation.

  “Peter, James, and John his brother,” they represented overcomers among the believers in the New Testament.

“Led them up on a high mountain by themselves”, “by themselves”, it symbolize that only overcomers are able to see the glory of the kingdom. “A high mountain” symbolizes the heavenly realm.

“He was transfigured before them.” ---- It foreshows the glorious image when the Lord comes again (see 2Cor. 3:18). He will no longer be neither hidden nor humble in humanity but manifest imperfectly.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We have to live in the new creation (“after six days”) and in the heavenly realm (“up on a high mountain”) so that we can see the manifestation of the Lord’s glory.

2)    Only a few people who love the Lord with pure heart (Peter, James and John) and enter into the “chamber” to live before the Father who is in secret (see Matt. 6:6) will be led by Him secretly (“led…up on a high mountain by themselves”) and thus they can partake in the glory of the kingdom.

3)    One day, we will be transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by Lord Spirit (2Cor. 3:18).

4)    When the Lord shall come to be gloried in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (2Thess. 1:10).


Mark. 9:3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

YLT: “and his garments became glittering, white exceedingly, as snow, so as a fuller upon the earth is not able to whiten.”

Spiritual Meaning: “his clothes became shining, exceedingly white”, “clothes” refer to walking; It indicates that what the Lord does in the kingdom of God is bright, white and exceeding glorious.


Mark. 9:4 And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.

YLT: “And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.”

The Background: Elijah went up into heaven without passing through death (see 2Kings. 2:11). Though Moses died in the land of Moab, nobody knew where his tomb was (see Deut. 34:5-6). Moreover, Michael the archangel disputed the body of Moses with the devil (see Jude. 9), implying that God kept his body and would make him rise with the original appearance. Therefore these two persons were probably “the two witnesses” used by God before the coming of the kingdom of a thousand years (see Rev. 11:3-12).

Literal Meaning: “talking with Him”, they were talking about that He was about to be killed in Jerusalem (see Luke. 9:31).

Spiritual Meaning: “Moses and Elijah,” “Elijah” here is the type of prophets who speak for God. “Moses” here represents the law, namely, the words written by God. The prophets and the law both bear witness of Christ.

  Since “Elijah” had not died and therefore he might represent overcomers who were caught up when they live. “Moses” had died, so he might represent overcomers who die and has been raised again.


Mark. 9:5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--

YLT: “And Peter answering saith to Jesus, `Rabbi, it is good to us to be here; and we may make three booths, for thee one, and for Moses one, and for Elijah one:'”

Literal Meaning: “it is good for us to be here”, “Rabbi” means teacher in the original; “good”, the degree of goodness can only be understood by those who are personally on the scene.

    “Let us make three tabernacles”, it showed that Peter deeply expected to stay in the vision and the realm of the kingdom for long, but forgot the Lord had just said “the Son of man must suffer many things” (see 8:31).

  “One for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”, Peter’s words showed that he took the Lord Jesus as well as Moses and Elijah as equal.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “It is good for us to be here”, yes, the best thing for those who have believed the Lord is the manifestation of the Lord’s glory in their deep spirit. When He reveals to us, we will find “it is good”.

2)    “Let us make here three tabernacles”, it showed that Peter not only wanted to keep “Christ” but also kept all the persons and things concerning Christ. He had held them high even to the same position with Christ. This is a mistake that Christians usually make.

3)    “Let us make here three tabernacles”, it also shows that someone only wants to stay in the state of glory and blessing on the mountain and does not want to go down the mountain to face sufferings and take up his cross. However, through many tribulations, we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts. 14:22).

4)    The law and prophets existed in order to guide men to know Christ. Though they were very important, they could not be treated equal with Christ because they were only a shadow and the body is Christ (see Col. 2:17).

5)    In the kingdom of God, any ceremony, regulation (the law) and spiritual giant (the prophet) is unworthy of being put on an equal position with Christ.

6)    Though Moses and Elijah were the most respected characters by Israel, they could still not be comparable with the Lord. Any spiritual giant or religious leader is unworthy of sharing the honor of Christ. Our Lord is the lord of lords, the king of kings. Only He is worthy of being solely glorified. 

7)    Works and labor (what Moses stands for), and faith and power (what Elijah stands for) cannot be compared with the Lord Himself. We should let Him have the first place in all things (Col. 1:18).


Mark. 9:6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid.

YLT: “for he was not knowing what he might say, for they were greatly afraid.”

Literal Meaning: “Peter did not know what to say”, the vision on the mountain impressed Peter very much and produced great effect on the service in his life time (see 2Pet.1:16-18). But his spiritual knowledge was still not very mature, so he said wrong words and could express his feeling properly.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should be careful in our speech, but not speak at a venture.

2)    Only spiritual revelation is able to overthrow the silly fervency and make men truly fear God (“they were greatly afraid”).


Mark. 9:7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"

YLT: “And there came a cloud overshadowing them, and there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, `This is My Son -- the Beloved, hear ye him;'”

Literal Meaning: “a voice came out of the cloud”, “voice” refers to the voice of God. “Cloud” usually brings about the protection and guidance of God (see Ex. 16:10; 19:9; 24:15-18; 33:9-10). God here broke the words of Peter with a voice and corrected his wrong concept.

  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ---- This was the Father’s praise to Jesus (see Ps.2:7; Gen.22:2). When Jesus was baptized, the Father said the same word (see Matt. 3:17) and praised the life of Jesus in the past thirty years that satisfied the will of the Father. Here He praised His “works” in the past three years that also satisfied the will of the Father.

  “Hear Him!” ---- Only those who “hear His words” are worthy of receiving the honorable status. Any words of men can not be comparable with His words.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Sometimes, our life on the earth is unavoidably be covered by black clouds. However, in the heavenly kingdom in the future, every cloud is bright.

2)    Only the Lord is the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father (John. 1:18). Only He deeply knows the will of the Father and therefore we should “hear Him”. God likes us to honor and love Him only instead of hearing others.

3)    Only those who “have heard” the voice of God will have true knowledge of the Lord.

4)    In the times of the New Testament, we should neither hear outward regulations and traditions (the law) nor spiritual giants (the prophets), but hear the Lord who dwells in us.

5)    Believers always like to “talk about” Him and seldom “hear” Him.

6)    He who really “hears” the Lord must obey His words. Only hearing the Lord’s word submissively is hearing it really (see James 1:22-25).


Mark. 9:8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.

YLT: “and suddenly, having looked around, they saw no one any more, but Jesus only with themselves.”

Literal Meaning: this verse referred to the whole circumstance the disciples had seen in silence after the voice came out of the cloud ceased

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Every spiritual person and thing help us to find Christ only, and they themselves do not have everlasting value.

2)    Those who truly have spiritual sights “see no one but Jesus only”.

3)    Spiritual progress will be received by shifting our eyes from persons and things outside of the Lord to the Lord Himself only.


Mark. 9:9 Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

YLT: “And as they are coming down from the mount, he charged them that they may declare to no one the things that they saw, except when the Son of Man may rise out of the dead;”

Literal Meaning: after the Lord’s resurrection, the disciples would tell their experience in the mountain to others in order to witness the Lord’s Person. However, it had no good to tell it to others before His resurrection.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should not tell the vision on the mountain to others as ourselves please at the foot of the mountain (i.e. this time), because: (a) the time has not come. (b) Only those who have received the Lord’s living life are able to understand, talk about and enter into the reality of the vision (see 1Cor. 2:10-15).

2)    We should not tell to the public what we have seen in secret without any control until the right time.

3)    Believers should learn from the example of the Lord Jesus to speak and walk ------if the time has not come, we should say and do nothing (see John. 7:6).


Mark. 9:10 So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.

YLT: “and the thing they kept to themselves, questioning together what the rising out of the dead is.”

Literal Meaning: the disciples did not really know what the rising from the dead meant. What they were confused was why the powerful Messiah had to firstly be suffered and dead and rise later.


Mark. 9:11 And they asked Him, saying, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

YLT: “And they were questioning him, saying, that the scribes say that Elijah it behoveth to come first.”

Literal Meaning: “why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” ---- “Scribes” were familiar with the Old Testament. They, according to the Bible, concluded that in the end of the world, Elijah will come before the Messiah comes (see Mal. 4:5).

    That the disciples asked this question probably might because: (a) they had just seen Elijah on the mountain. (2) They had seen that Jesus was transfigured before them and firmly believed that He is the Messiah that shall come. Then they asked Him why Elijah did not come before Jesus.


Mark. 9:12 Then He answered and told them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

YLT: “And he answering said to them, `Elijah indeed, having come first, doth restore all things; and how hath it been written concerning the Son of Man, that many things he may suffer, and be set at nought?”

Literal Meaning: “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things.” ---- “Elijah is coming first”, it meant that the scribes’ words that that Elijah would come first before the last day was right. “Restores all things”, it referred to paving the way for the coming of the Messiah (see Mal. 4:5-6; Rev. 11:3-4).

  The Lord’s meant that John the Baptist typified Elijah, coming to the world and paving the way for the Lord (see Luke 1:17), but no one knew him.

  “And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?” ---- The Lord indicated that the Scriptures not only mentioned Elijah would come again but also the matter of “the Son of men” the Messiah (see Dan.7:13). Even that how men would treat Him was also prophesied in the Scriptures. Just as John the Baptist came, the Jews did to him whatever they wished for not knowing him (see v.13). The Jews also despised, rejected and persecuted Him and made Him suffer much because of not knowing Him (see Is.53).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The more we know Christ, the more will we honor Him and enjoy the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (see Phil. 3:8).

2)    All those who do not have sufficient knowledge about spiritual things will be persecutors of the Lord and the Lord’s witnesses.

3)    The way of the Lord’s servant is “suffering many things and being treated with contempt”. The way of the Lord’s forerunner was “being done whatever men wished” (see v.13). None of those who walk in the way of the Lord can make any exception.


Mark. 9:13 But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him."

YLT: “But I say to you, That also Elijah hath come, and they did to him what they willed, as it hath been written of him.'”

Literal Meaning: “Elijah has come already.” ---- The Lord here meant that the prophecy of Elijah’s coming in the Old Testament had been partially fulfilled in John the Baptist before being fully fulfilled. Therefore the spirit and power of John the Baptist is identical with what Elijah will do in the future (see Matt. 11:14, Luke. 1:17).

  “As it is written of him”, it referred to the history recorded in the Scriptures that how Elijah was randomly treated by Ahab and Jezebel (see 1Kin. 19:1-10), typifying that John the Baptist would also be randomly done by Herod and Herodias (see 6:14-28).


Mark. 9:14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.

YLT: “And having come unto the disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and scribes questioning with them,”

Literal Meaning: “Jesus came to the disciples”, “the disciples” referred to other nine disciples except for Peter, James and John (see v.2).

  “Scribes disputing with them”, the scribes might be questioning the disciples about the power of casting off the demons (see 3:22).


Mark. 9:15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.

YLT: “and immediately, all the multitude having seen him, were amazed, and running near, were saluting him.”

Literal Meaning: “all the people” referred to all the disciples and people who had believed (see v.16-17).

  “Were greatly amazed”, they might be amazed that He came just when they mentioned Him.


Mark. 9:16And He asked the scribes, "What are you discussing with them?"

YLT: “And he questioned the scribes, `What dispute ye with them?'”

Literal Meaning: “What are you discussing with them?” ---- “You” referred to the disciples. “Them” related to the scribes (see v.14).


Mark. 9:17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.

YLT: “and one out of the multitude answering said, `Teacher, I brought my son unto thee, having a dumb spirit;”

Literal Meaning: “who has a mute spirit”, probably after the son was prossessed by the demon, he could no longer speak. Therefore, they judged that they demon was a mute spirit.

Enlightenment in the Word: the control of the demon usually robbed believers’ power of speaking for the Lord.


Mark. 9:18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not."

YLT: “and wherever it doth seize him, it doth tear him, and he foameth, and gnasheth his teeth, and pineth away; and I spake to thy disciples that they may cast it out, and they were not able.'”

Literal Meaning: “but they could not”, note that the Lord had ever given power to the disciple to cast off the demons (see 3:15).

Spiritual Meaning: “I spoke to Your disciples”, “disciples” stood for we believers.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The demon always attacks men to make them unable to control themselves and lack strength (“becomes rigid”).

2)    The reason why the disciples could not cast out the devil was not the ineffectiveness of power given by the Lord but their powerlessness of using the power properly. If the spiritual state of believers falls behind, the effect of the spiritual power will be restrained.

3)    Many times, when men encounter difficulties, they do not ask the Lord for help but spiritual men (“disciples”) and consequently the difficulties still exist.

4)    “But they could not”, believers have heavenly power to cast off the demons (see 16:17). However, in our life, we actually often have failing experience.


Mark. 9:19 He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."

YLT: “And he answering him, said, `O generation unbelieving, till when shall I be with you? till when shall I suffer you? bring him unto me;'”

Meaning of Words: “faithless”: no faith.

Literal Meaning: “O faithless generation”, “faithless”, it showed that men had no faith toward the power of the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    What mostly hurts the Lord (“how long shall I bear with you?”) is the evil heart of unbelief (see Heb. 3:12).

2)    The Lord’s signing words showed that the reason why the disciples could not cure him was that when the Lord was not with them in the flesh, they forgot to draw the Lord’s presence in spirit (see 1Cor. 5:3) but tried to cast out the demon through themselves. And consequently it resulted in failure.


Mark. 9:20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

YLT: “and they brought him unto him, and he having seen him, immediately the spirit tare him, and he, having fallen upon the earth, was wallowing -- foaming.”

Literal Meaning: “immediately the spirit convulsed him”, “convulsed”, it referred to the jerk and cramp of one’s body without control.


Mark. 9:21 So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.

YLT: “And he questioned his father, `How long time is it since this came to him?' and he said, `From childhood,”

Literal Meaning: the Lord here even put aside the child who was suffered by the demon and talked with the father, intending to bring him into the state of having faith (see v.23-24).


Mark. 9:22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."

YLT: “and many times also it cast him into fire, and into water, that it might destroy him; but if thou art able to do anything, help us, having compassion on us.'”

Literal Meaning: “if You can do anything”, it indicated that he suspected whether the Lord “could do or not”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him.” ---- The demon often makes men in an unstable condition and hurt them.

2)    All the opinions and actions of self-satisfaction and self-conceit (“cast off the fire”) as well as self-reproach and self- dejection (water) come from the devil.

3)    The son’s father doubted the Lord and also asked the Lord, representing the attitude of many believers when they asked the Lord. Often we seem to believe Him but are not sure He must do something for us.


Mark. 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

YLT: “And Jesus said to him, `If thou art able to believe! all things are possible to the one that is believing;'”

Literal Meaning: “if you can believe”, there was not the word “believe” in many ole scriptures, but only the three words “if you can”, which was gramatically incomplete. Therefore, the Lord seemed to quote the father’s words in the previous verse (v.22) and contained a reproving tone, reproching him that how could you say the words “if you can” to Him ---- which meant that “the problem did not lie in my power, but your faith”.

  “All things are possible to him who believes”, “believe” means believing God and letting God work, for there is nothing too wonderful to Him (Gen. 18:14).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The full Christ has infinite power. The problem does not lie in His “power” but our “faith” ---- the knowledge about the Lord.

2)    The signs do not only build upon the almightiness of God, but also the faith of men. Men should believe Him with whole heart so that His works cannot be restricted.

3)    “All things are possible to him who believes”, true faith, even as small as a grain of mustard, is great enough to accomplish great things (Matt. 17:20).

4)    Believers can neither be united with the Lord unto one nor appropriate His power because of unbelief.

5)    Though our faith is small, it is able to draw the power of kingdom. Therefore, there is nothing we cannot do, and there is no difficulity that we cannot overcome.


Mark. 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

YLT: “and immediately the father of the child, having cried out, with tears said, `I believe, sir; be helping mine unbelief.'”

Literal Meaning: “my unbelief”, the problem of faith does not lie in the measure of it, but that whether one has it or not (see Matt.17:20). Therefore, there are two meanings of “unbelief”: (a) one seems to believe but does not believe actually, and one does not seem to believe but believes actually; (b) one believes sometimes, and sometimes doubts

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Help my unbelief!” ---- It indicated that He was willing to believe but such faith was not out of him, so he needed the Lord’s help. Because faith does not out of ourselves, but is gifted by God (see Eph. 2:8).

2)    We shall look steadfastly on Jesus, the leader and completer of faith (Heb. 12:2).

3)    That many prayers of us have not been answered is because of our unbelief. Therefore, we shall ask the Lord to increase our faith firstly, and then we can ask the Lord to help us to solve our problems.

4)    The fullness of Christ can be enjoyed according to our knowledge of Him ---- “faith”, but such knowledge about the revelation of Christ is not out of natural men, but is due to the mercy and gift of God.


Mark. 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"

YLT: “Jesus having seen that a multitude doth run together, rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, `Spirit -- dumb and deaf -- I charge thee, come forth out of him, and no more thou mayest enter into him;'”

Meaning of Words: “rebuke”: reproach, blame;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When the Lord Jesus and His disciples were on the mountain, everything is bright and pure (see v.3). However, as they came down from the mountain, in the practical life circumstance, there was the problem of dark power (the unclean spirit).

2)    One shall not be too gentle when dealing with the devil, but apply the heavenly authority it rebuke it and it will escape.

3)    The sickness of that child was resulted from the devil. When the devil was cast off, the child was recovered. When we pray for being healed, we shall have spiritual judgment to discern whether the disease id natural or supernatural.


Mark. 9:26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead."

YLT: “and having cried, and rent him much, it came forth, and he became as dead, so that many said that he was dead,”


Mark. 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

YLT: “but Jesus, having taken him by the hand, lifted him up, and he arose.”

Enlightenment in the Word: we shall life up those who have just believed the Lord, so that they can stand firmly in the faith they have believed.


Mark. 9:28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"

YLT: “And he having come into the house, his disciples were questioning him by himself -- `Why were we not able to cast it forth?'”

Literal Meaning: “His disciples asked Him privately”, “privately” refers to inquiring “in secret”.

“"Why could we not cast it out?"” ---- The word “we” was emphatic in the original.


Mark. 9:29 So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

YLT: “And he said to them, `This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer and fasting.'”

Literal Meaning: “but prayer”, it indicated that the disciples had not prayed when they cast off the demon. The disciples might believe they have already had the power of casting off the demon (see 3:15), so they thought they could cast off the demon at any time through themselves, but forgot the power of casting off the demon was out of God.

Spiritual Meaning: “but prayer and fasting”, “prayer” means trusting in God. “Fasting” is to show one’s complete resolution of confidence in God by giving up one’s lawful right and exacting the price. The effect of “fasting” is not due to the act of fasting, but the determination and attitude of “fasting” (see Matt. 6:16-18)

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Prayer and fasting are works of faith (James. 2:26), through which believers usually gain the effectiveness of faith.

2)    The secret of the power of dealing with the enemy is our faith (“prayer”) and self-denying (“fasting”).

3)    It needs to pay the price of being the Lord’s disciples (see 8:34). Only those, who are willing to pay the cost of prayer and rely on and wait for God with whole heart, can overcome the demon.


Mark. 9:30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it.

YLT: “And having gone forth thence, they were passing through Galilee, and he did not wish that any may know,”

Literal Meaning: “passed through Galilee”, it referred to the period just before they followed the Lord to go to the Lord’s last stage of journey to Jerusalem (see v.10:1, 32).


Mark. 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."

YLT: “for he was teaching his disciples, and he said to them, `The Son of Man is being delivered to the hands of men, and they shall kill him, and having been killed the third day he shall rise,'”

Literal Meaning: the Lord Jesus again foretold that He would be killed and would rise, but the disciples still could not understand His words at all.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The one who is manifested as the incomparably glorious king in vision even “is about to be betrayed into the hands of men”, showing that one has to suffer before gaining in the glory (see 1Pet. 5:1). 

2)    If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be gloried together (Rom. 8:17).

3)    Before the complete fulfillment of the glorious vision, one has to first go through the way of the cross. Only those who have experienced the cross will partake in the reality of the glorious vision.

4)    The cross referred to the Lord’s being put in dead place, but not being kept in dead place, and rising in the third day. It is a faithful saying ---- for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him (2Tim. 2:11; see 2Cor. 4:10-14).

5)    The reason why the disciples were sorrowful was that they only remembered that the Lord would be killed and forgot that He would be raised up. Those who lack the revelation of resurrection have hope in this life only (see 1Cor. 15:19). They have no heavenly hope and therefore he is mortally afraid of death. 

6)    All those who have no hope of resurrection are unable to receive the cross with joy.


Mark. 9:32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

YLT: “but they were not understanding the saying, and they were afraid to question him.”


Mark. 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?"

YLT: “And he came to Capernaum, and being in the house, he was questioning them, `What were ye reasoning in the way among yourselves?'”


Mark. 9:34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.

YLT: “and they were silent, for with one another they did reason in the way who is greater;”

Literal Meaning: “they kept silent”, it was sure that what they disputed could not be known by Him, so they felt so embarrassed they could only keep silent.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is not only men in the world dispute who is the greatest but also believers in the church also have this trouble.

2)    The inclination of desiring to be first comes from the old life of Adam. The problem can only be solved by living in the new spiritual life.


Mark. 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

YLT: “and having sat down he called the twelve, and he saith to them, `If any doth will to be first, he shall be last of all, and minister of all.'”

Enlightenment in the Word: in the church, only those who are willing to humble themselves to serve others are real spiritual leaders.


Mark. 9:36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them,

YLT: “And having taken a child, he set him in the midst of them, and having taken him in his arms, said to them,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A child thinks that he has nothing to boast and therefore his humbleness is sincere and true. All those who admit that they are nothing and have nothing and live by relying on God’s mercy and grace are the first in the kingdom of heaven.

2)    The Lord humbled Himself and therefore He was highly exalted by God (Pill. 2:8-9). The principle in spiritual realm is that he who humbles himself shall be exalted (see Luke. 18:14).

3)    The humbler a man is, the more he is able to be reigned by God and the greater he is in the kingdom of heaven.

4)    A child is easy to be satisfied with the status before his eyes without any sense of laboring or suffering loss.


Mark. 9:37 "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me."

YLT: “`Whoever may receive one of such children in my name, doth receive me, and whoever may receive me, doth not receive me, but Him who sent me.'”

Literal Meaning: “receives…in My name”, there are three meanings of “in My name”: a) for the sale of glorifying the name of the Lord; b) for the sake of the Lord Himself; c) according to the fact that the counterpart is of the Lord. “Receive”: welcome, be concerned about, accept willingly.

  “Whoever receives one little child like this receives Me.” ---- “Little child” relates to believers who are spiritually naive and weak. Grown-ups always dislike the childishness, ignorance and troubles of children. Only those who turn themselves to little children are glad to receive those who are children in mind (see 1Cor. 13:11, 14:20). This kind of reception shall be remembered by the Lord (see Matt. 10:42, 25:40).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should love not only Christ and all the saints as well.

2)    In the sight of the Lord, our attitudes towards men show also that towards the Lord Himself (see Matt. 10:40).


Mark. 9:38 Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us."

YLT: “And John did answer him, saying, `Teacher, we saw a certain one in thy name casting out demons, who doth not follow us, and we forbade him, because he doth not follow us.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    In the service of the Lord, we shall not care about whether others “follow us” or not ---- according to our methods, being the same with our tones, in compliance with our customs … and etc.

2)    “We forbade him because he does not follow us”. ---- Such narrow concept and practice often came up in the history of the church. In many organizations in the church, provided that there is someone who is unwilling to follow the leaders’ idea or view, they will forbid him, thus causing divisions.


Mark. 9:39 But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.

YLT: “And Jesus said, `Forbid him not, for there is no one who shall do a mighty work in my name, and shall be able readily to speak evil of me:”

Literal Meaning: apparently, the bosom of the Lord Jesus was not as narrow as the disciples. What the Lord really cared for was whether men had really glorified Him, not following Him apparently.

Enlightenment in the Word: what the multitudes focus on is whether it is identical in appearance or in form ---- “follow us” (v.38). However, what the Lord really emphasizes is whether there is the reality of Christ inside ---- “in My name”.


Mark. 9:40 For he who is not against us is on our side.

YLT: “for he who is not against us is for us;”

Literal Meaning: he who shares hatred against the enemy with us is profitable unto us.

Controversial Clarification: the Lord’s question in this verse seems to be contradictory to the verse in the Book of Matthew ---- He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad (Matt. 12:30). But actually this is not so. The Lord’s meaning in the Book of Matthew is that we believers are the same “in faith” and hold the same attitude towards “our enemy”. However, here, the Lord means that we believers may have different ways in “practice” and all “the fellow-workers” may have their own features, who shall accept each other.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We believers shall not form our own groups to refuse those who are not the same with us.

2)    Admittedly, we shall be strong to the enemy, but shall be gentle to believers.


Mark. 9:41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

YLT: “for whoever may give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because ye are Christ's, verily I say to you, he may not lose his reward;”

Literal Meaning: men’s only a little good works to believers shall be remembered by the Lord. It indicates the oneness relation of believers with the Lord, and also that all that we have devoted to the Lord will be rewarded.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    God is not unrighteous that even forgets what we have done. Since God is righteous, He must punish the evil of sinners, and also reward the righteousness of saints.

2)    The Lord does not see the amount and measure of what we have done. As long as what man has done is due to the fact that we “are of Christ”, he will be heavenly rewarded.

3)    The great Lord does not despise petty things. So we shall pay attention to be faithful in trivial matters to the Lord instead of ignoring them.


Mark. 9:42 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

YLT: “and whoever may cause to stumble one of the little ones believing in me, better is it for him if a millstone is hanged about his neck, and he hath been cast into the sea.”

Literal Meaning: “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble,” “Little ones who believe in Me” indicate anyone of the believers. “To stumble”, it indicates that one’s faith in the Lord is shaken so that he departs from the righteous way and even commits sins.

  “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” ---- “A millstone”, literally translated as “the millstone for the donkey to push”, is much bigger than the common mill for house application (see Matt. 24:41), so it must be very heavy. If it were hung around one’s neck, he would not only be drowned in the depth of the sea, but also be hard to emerge from the surface of the sea.

Spiritual Meaning: “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”, it indicates that this man causes others to stumble because of his pride and hardened neck. The Lord here meant that this kind of man who causes others to stumble is totally useless in the assembly. It would be better to treat them as Gentiles (“he were thrown into the sea”) and have no company with them (See 2Thess. 3:14), lest they may continually harm others.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers, in the assembly, should be men who are able to supply spiritual bread (“a millstone”). However, if one may cause others to stumble, even though he is spiritually talented, he is useless.

2)    A millstone is able to help men grind grain for men’s existence. It is also able to drown men into the depth of the sea and deprive the meaning of men’s existence. Whether something is positive or negative depends on one’s own spiritual state.

3)    The Lord treated the matter of offending others very seriously. Though believers who offend others shall not lose the eternal life, they must suffer great losses in the kingdom.

4)    The matter of offending others, whether it is on purpose or not, is unavoidable in the assembly. However if it is possible, we have to be careful and try to avoid such matters.

5)    The main reason for offending others or being offended by others lies in pride. A proud man either offends others or is offended by others.


Mark. 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched--

YLT:`And if thy hand may cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is better for thee maimed to enter into the life, than having the two hands, to go away to the gehenna, to the fire -- the unquenchable --”

The Background: “hell”, a word comes from the Hebrew word Gehenna, was the name of a ravine outside of the city of Jerusalem. In the old days, it was also named “the son of Hinnom” (Josh. 18:16), which was the place that the Gentiles burnt their children when worshipping Moloch (Jer. 7:31). Then the Jews changed it into another place to burn bodies of sinners and unclean rubbish. Therefore, the fire burnt all the time there. The Bible takes this background to describe the punishment of the hell in future ---- the punishment of unquenchable fire.

Literal Meaning: “cut it off”, it uses the rhetorical devices of hyperbole, which shows that violent actions should be adopted in order to solve the problems. The Lord did not mean we had to cut off a hand.

  “Into the fire that shall never be quenched”, it referred to the eternal fire in hell (see Matt. 25:41).

Spiritual Meaning: “If your hand causes you to sin”, “hand” was the main tool for man to sin. The Lord meant that we shall have the determination of deal with the sin and pay all the cost to do with the motivation and reason of sin. “Cut off the hand” means not yielding our members instruments of unrighteousness to sin (Rom. 6:13).

  “Hand” symbolizes walking and works.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Many times, man can overcome the sin through only the thorough “spiritual resection operation”.

2)    Even though the one who is as close as brothers seduce us into committing sins, we shall immediately cut off the fellowship with him.

3)    A man who makes others stumble may firstly stumble himself. If one does not cause others to stumble, he must firstly not stumble himself.

4)    One shall remove any element that may be stumbled at any cost rather than stick to one’s own works and status with hardened heart (see Rom. 14:13, 21).

5)    We should take heed of doing with any matter that may make us stumble. It is better to be done with and be deprived of the transient, physical and apparent perfection by the Lord in this age, rather than suffer the eternal spiritual loss of life.  


Mark. 9:44 where "Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'

YLT: “where there worm is not dying, and the fire is not being quenched.”


Mark. 9:45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched--

YLT:`And if thy foot may cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into the life lame, than having the two feet to be cast to the gehenna, to the fire -- the unquenchable --”

Spiritual Meaning: “foot” symbolizes status and way.


Mark. 9:46 where "Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'

YLT: “where there worm is not dying, and the fire is not being quenched.”


Mark. 9:47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire--

YLT: “And if thine eye may cause thee to stumble, cast it out; it is better for thee one-eyed to enter into the reign of God, than having two eyes, to be cast to the gehenna of the fire --”

Literal Meaning: “and if your eye causes you to sin”, many sins of men are out of the lust of eyes (1John 2:16).

  “Pluck it out”, the Lord means that we shall diligently deal with the factor causing us to sin, not pluck an eye really. Because even though one pluck an eye out of him, he may still commit sins. We shall not keep the Lord’s words from verse 43 to 47 literally.

  “Be cast into hell fire”, “hell” is the place where the evil men are punished forever.

Spiritual Meaning: “eye” symbolizes sight, view, the lust of the eyes, desire;

  “Pluck an eye out”, it refers to putting to death the deeds of the body by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13), namely, members that are upon the earth (Col. 3:5).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If one holds on his own idea, he shall offend himself and others. If he does not deal with it, he will suffer spiritual losses (see 1Cor. 3:15).

2)    Pride and contempt are the main reasons for stumbling others.

3)    Contempt for others is the spirit of the world. But the spirit of the heavenly kingdom is receiving the children (see v.37) and not making a little one stumble (see v.42).

4)    If our eyes despise others (see v.10), we have to pluck them out (i.e. dealing with them). The reason why men despise others is that they have not thought soberly and have regarded of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Rom. 12:3). Believers should be in lowliness of mind and each esteems the others as more excellent than themselves (Pill. 2:3).


Mark. 9:48 where "Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'

YLT: “where their worm is not dying, and the fire is not being quenched;”

Literal Meaning: this verse was quoted from the Book of Isaiah (66:24), where mentioned the punishment for those who rebel against God, and it was a kind of endless pain. This was also a picture of the eternal torment for those who go to hell.


Mark. 9:49 "For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.

YLT: “for every one with fire shall be salted, and every sacrifice with salt shall be salted.”

Spiritual Meaning: “for everyone will be seasoned with fire”, salt has the function of preservation. “Be seasoned with fire”, it indicates that the fire of hell, like the salt, will preserve those who go to hell there to be suffered forever.

  “And every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.” ---- It quotes the offerings in the Old Testament that the meat-offering should be seasoned with salt (see Lev.2:13), showing that salt has the function of preservation for long term.

  This verse can also be comprehended from a positive view. Every true believer is a “sacrifice” offered to God, and shall be seasoned with salt (see Col. 4:6) so that the flavor of salt will be manifested through us. For this sake, God “must make us be seasoned with fire” and let us experience suffering, like the refining fire, removing the natural part in us so that Christ will be manifested through us.  


Mark. 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another."

YLT: “The salt good, but if the salt may become saltless, in what will ye season ? Have in yourselves salt, and have peace in one another.'”

The Background: in the old days, most of the salt used in the land of Judaea and the Middle East was “rock salt” or “well salt”. The salt was like stones as big as a fist when it was just dug out from rock land or well. The stones were surrounded by salt. When the Jews had dinners, they held food in their right hands and licked the salt in their left hands to get a taste. Each of the family members had a piece of salt in the kitchen. Everyone used his own salt when having dinners. When the salty taste of the salt was reduced and finally lost, the piece of salt would become a stone. These stones without salt would be abandoned and be trampled underfoot by men.

  In the ancient traditions, if a Jew had betrayed his faith and then repented, before he was accepted and allowed to return to the synagogue, he had to lay down at the gate of the synagogue and ask those who entered into the synagogue to trample over him with their feet. Some Christian groups also carried on this tradition. All those who had been driven out according to the regulations of the assembly, before they were accepted and allowed to return, are forced to lie down at the gate of the church, saying, “Trample on me for I am the salt having lost its flavor.”

Literal Meaning: “you are the salt of the earth”, the functions of salt are to flavor and to sterilize. We have dual functions on earth:

  1) To make peace;

    2) To prevent and eliminate the elements of sins and corruptions.

    “If the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” “The salt loses its flavor”, it symbolizes that Christians have lost their function and act the same as the world. They are not separated from the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Salt has the function of flavoring and preservation. Christians, having the nature of salt, are able to make men refreshing and prevent them sinning. The normal Christians can reduce the improper things that would happen all around.

2)    Salt can flavor but it only performs its function after being dissolved. In like manner, we shall also firstly dissolve ourselves, sacrifice ourselves and loss ourselves and then become blessings for others.

3)    The aim of Christians of living in the world is not to gain from others, but to dedicate something to others.

4)    Salt can sterilize. Christians should be separated from the world and do not join in the evil-doings of the world. Only by this way Christians could perform their function of preventing morality from being ruined.

5)    It is not enough for the children of God to possess the life of God only. This life shall become our dispositions. To be “the salt” is not enough, and the salt must be “salty” and that will be useful.

6)    Christians are those who like Christ. The flavor of him is not of nature, but of Christ just like the flavor of pickles comes from sauce. Wherever a Christian is, he should manifest the life of Christ, sending out the flavor of Christ’s righteousness, love, light and holiness.

7)    Pure salt can never lose its flavor. Therefore if Christians walk in this world through the holy life inside them, they will naturally perform the functions of “salt”.

8)    If salt is mixed with dust, the salty flavor will not be manifested. If believers love the world, get along with the world and are infected with sins, they will surely lose their flavors and can not perform their functions to the world.

9)    Believers “are” the salt on the earth rather than “become” the salt of earth. Our functions in the world are manifested naturally instead of done reluctantly.

10)  Believers who have manifested the function of salt concentrate their attention to manifest Christ on the earth, rather than seek their own profits. Therefore, they do not struggle with others and will surely “be at peace with one another”.

11)  If we have lost Christ ---- the flavor of “salt”, we shall only “be seasoned with fire as with salt” (v.49) so that we will be salty again. Therefore, God usually uses terrible circumstance to do the work of judgment by the cross so that the measure of Christ in us will be enlarged.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Vision and Application of the Kingdom of God

A.  The Vision of the Kingdom of God:

1. The microcosm of the Kingdom of God:

a.    Overcomers in the New Testament shall be manifested with the Lord in glory (v.2).

b.    All of the Lord is bright and white (v.3).

c.Overcomers in the Old Testament shall also have part in the kingdom (v.4).

2. In the Kingdom of God, only the Lord should be exalted:

a.    Peter made the mistake of putting the Lord’s law and prophet as an equal position (v.5).

b.    God the Father interrupted in Peter’s utterance and instructed him to “hear the Lord” (v.7).

c.They saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves (v.8).

B.  The Testimony and Way of the Vision of the Kingdom of God:

1. The testimony of the vision:

a.    One shall not tell the vision to others (v.9).

b.    Since they did not know the testifier of the vision (John the Baptist) and the central character (Christ), they did to them whatever they wished (v.12-13).

2. The way of the vision:

a.    One shall first experience the cross before the fulfillment of the glorious vision (v.30-31).

b.    Those who are of the flesh do not know the cross (v.32).

C.  The Application of the Vision of the Kingdom of God:

1. One shall appropriate the power of the kingdom of God by faith:

a.    In the practical life at the foot of the mountain, there is the power of darkness (v.14-17).

b.    The disciples failed in casting off the demon because of relying themselves (v.18).

c.The Lord said that the reason why they failed was their “unbelief” (v.19-27).

d.    They cannot cast off the demon without prayer or fasting (v.28-29).

2. One shall be at peace with one another:

a.    One shall accept each other humbly (v.33-37).

b.    One shall accept those who are different from him (v.38-40).

c.One shall treat those who are of Christ well (v.41).

d.    One shall not cause others to stumble (v.42).

e.    One shall deal with the factors that may cause him to stumble or sin (v.43-48).

f.  One shall perform the function of salt (v.49-50).


The Revelation of the Kingdom of A Thousand Years

A.  Christ reigns in glory (see Rev.11:15).

B.  Peter, James and John typify the house of Israel (see Rom. 11:16).

C.  Morse typifies the risen believers (see 1Cor. 15:52; 1Thess. 4:16).

D.  Elijah typifies the believers who are caught up when they are alive (see 1Thess. 4:17).

E.  Those who are at the foot of the mountain typify the nations (see Is. 11:10-12).


The Guidance of the Lord Jesus

A.  The Lord led the disciples go to the mountain to enjoy the spiritual fellowship:

1. To see the heavenly vision on the mountain (v.1-2);

2. To know the heavenly glory on the mountain (v.3);

3. To know the heavenly mystery on the mountain (v.4);

4. To enjoy the heavenly joy on the mountain (v.5-6);

5. To obtain the heavenly revelation on the mountain (v.7-8);


B.  The Lord led the disciples come down from the mountain to practice:

1. To the world ---- one shall not tell what he has seen to men on the earth, lest they should do to him whatever they wish (v.9-13).

2. To the devil ---- one shall draw the heavenly power by the actions of faith, namely, prayer and fasting (v.14-29).

3. To Himself ---- one shall know the way of the cross (v.30-32).

4. To believers ----- one shall accept one another and be at peace with one another (v.33-35).


How Shall Believers Treat One Another?

A.  They shall be the servants of all (v.33-35).

B.  They shall receive anyone of the little children in the Lord’s name (v.36-37).

C.  They shall accept those who are different from them, and treat the one who is of Christ well (v.38-41).

D.  They shall not cause others to stumble but pay all the cost of removing the factors that may make them stumble (v.42-48).

E.  They shall be at peace if they are seasoned with the eternal elements (v.49-50).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou