Mark 16:17 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
17. Follow them that believe This promise is general, but not universal. It does not affirm that all in all ages who believe shall be followed by these signs. In fact, if each sign is once, twice, or thrice fulfilled in the case of any who believe, it is completely fulfilled. All over that is surplus fulfilment. So that those are very foolish who cavil that, according to this text, all believers must perform signs, and that none that work not miracles can be true believers.
The signs here mentioned do not include the raising of the dead. That great miracle, by which the soul is recalled from its departed state, has perhaps never been unequivocally and completely performed since the resurrection of our Lord.
In my name… cast out devils As Jesus cast out devils in his own original power, so the apostles must perform the same miracles in his, and not in their own name. Their first miracle should be that signal work which typified the great work of Christ in expelling evil and its author from the soul of man, and from the world, namely, the casting out of devils. This phenomenon of possession existed through the apostolic age; and the fathers of the early Church bear ample testimony that the true believer expelled demons through faith in Jesus’s name.
Speak with new tongues Tongues by them not hitherto possessed. Here is an intimation of the Pentecostal miracle. This miracle remained with the early Church (1Co 12:10) as a symbol of the power of Christianity to pervade all the tribes and languages of the babbling earth, and as a means of arresting the attention of the unchristian and unheeding world.
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Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel D. Whedon (1808-1885) was a prominent university professor, theologian, and author. He served as Professor of Ancient Languages at Wesleyan University in Connecticut; as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Michigan; and as editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review from 1856 to1884. He authored numerous books including Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Carlton & Porter, 1860); Commentary on the Old Testament (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1873); What is Arminianism? (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1879); and Essays, Reviews, and Discourses (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1887).