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Mark 10:45 | Session 41 | Mark Rightly Divided

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by Randy White Ministries Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

For a downloadable outline, go here: https://humble-sidecar-837.notion.site/Mark-10-44-45-Session-41-Mark-Rightly-Divided-c71ca7ec62c44dcfa18553dbff4541eb?pvs=4

The Gospel of Mark, rightly Divided
Mark 10:45 | Session 41 | Mark Rightly Divided


James And John Seek A Position | Mark 10:34-45 (Continued)



Verses 34-44 - see session 40



Verse 45 -



In the light of the instruction away from being chief, Jesus states, "even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" This statement aligns with the Jewish value of leaders as shepherds. The prophets in the Old Testament were consistently critical of self-serving shepherds. Therefore, Jesus' emphasis on service over self-importance would not have been a surprise to a faithful Jew. It reinforces the idea that true greatness is found in serving others.

But there are two things in this verse that are surprising. First, the word “ransom,” and then the word, “many.”

The term "ransom" is intriguing in this context. It is used only twice in the Bible to refer to Jesus. The Greek word for "ransom" is λύτρον (lutron), which, as the English equivalent suggests, denotes the price or payment made for release. The outcome of a "ransom" is being "redeemed" - λύτρωσις (lutrosis). What might surprise the reader is that "redeemed" is predominantly an Old Testament term, appearing 55 out of its total 62 occurrences in the Old Testament. The term is, thus, inherently Jewish. It is used only once by Paul in Galatians 3:13, and even then, it refers to Israel. The remaining six New Testament occurrences of "redeemed" all pertain to Israel.

Crucially, it is worth noting the distinction in the Greek language when referring to those beyond Israel. The term ἀντίλυτρον (antilutron) is employed, as seen in 1 Timothy 2:6. The Greek prefix "anti" translates as "in place of" or "against," illustrated in words such as Christ and Antichrist.

In the context of salvation, Israel gains "redemption" through a "ransom," complying with the requirements of the Law. This ransom serves to "atone" or cover for sins. However, for the body of Christ, sins are not held against us, as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:19. Consequently, a "ransom" would not be fitting.

Instead, the body of Christ receives an "antilutron," a "non-ransom”. This unique gift permits the "non-accounting" of sin against us, highlighting the distinct salvation paths for Israel under its covenants and the body of Christ today.

In classical Greek literature, while the components ἀντί and λύτρον are individually common, their specific combination as ἀντίλυτρον is not well-attested. This suggests that the term may have been coined or specifically utilized within the Pauline context to convey a particular theological nuance.

My distinction between what Jesus has done for Israel (lutron) and what he has done for the body of Christ (antilutron) is nuanced. It might be seen as some as problematic to draw such a sharp distinction based on the rare usage of the Greek term "antilutron," especially considering the flexibility of language and the potential for different authors to use terms in various contexts. However, even a skeptic would have to concede that the term "lutron" and the prefix "anti" are clear, and there is not a single instance where something "anti" is considered the same as that without "anti." Furthermore, the association of "lutron" with Israel and the Law is so strong that it's nearly undeniable, as is its lack of association with the Body of Christ in the New Testament. All instances where it is used are non-Pauline, except Galatians 3:13, which we have previously addressed. While my argument is nuanced, it is based on the assumption of a precision in language, especially in the Greek New Testament. This assumption, I believe, is valid.

Before proceeding, it's crucial to emphasize that while verse 45 portrays Christ as a "ransom" for Israel but an "anti-ransom" for all (as stated in 1 Timothy 2:6), this does not in any way contradict the various verses asserting that Christ "died for all," including 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. The argument that Christ served as a "ransom" specifically for Israel does not and should not be construed to negate the broader truth that He died for "all." Rather, it underscores that the specific message of this verse pertains to what God has done for Israel.

Calvinists tend to argue for limited atonement and interpret "all" as "some." They often use verse 45 to support their argument. A case in point is the widely read ministry, Got Questions? In one of their worst articles, they argue for limited atonement, stating:

"Other verses that seem to indicate an unlimited view of the atonement include 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: 'He died for all' and 1 Timothy 2:6: 'He gave Himself a ransom for all' (although Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 say Christ came to 'give His life a ransom for many'). Those who believe in unlimited atonement use such verses to make the point that, if Christ died for all and takes away the sins of the world, then His atonement cannot be limited to only the elect. However, these verses are easily reconciled with the many other verses that support the doctrine of limited atonement simply by recognizing that often the Bible uses the words 'world' or 'all' in a limited sense." [[1]](#_ftn1)

Got Questions? errs by assuming that verse 45 is about the world, which then allows them to limit the atonement. Then they take the “ransom” of 1 Timothy 2:6 to be the same as Mark 10:45 (failing to do any basic language study). A more accurate approach would be to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), understanding the nuanced differences in lutron and antilutron.

Before we move on, we should examine the term "to many" used in this verse. This verse is frequently quoted as evidence for Calvinism's "limited atonement" concept, which is the third link in the Calvinist chain. If the term "many" is interpreted in this context, it seems to back the idea of limited atonement. However, I propose the following: whenever the Bible mentions "the many" (with a definite article) or "many" (without any specific context), it always refers to Israel. In this verse, there is no definite article or clear contextual clarification, meaning "many" could reference many people, sins, nations, and so on. Therefore, if our proposition is accurate, this "many" is referring to Israel and should not be universally applied to all people.

Let’s call our thesis the “Definite Many Doctrine” and state it thus: “The word “many” implicitly refers to Israel unless explicitly stated otherwise.”

Isaiah 53:12 states: "Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." This verse is part of the "Suffering Servant" oracle, and the term "many" would be interpreted to refer to Israel, as it's the subject of the prophecy.

Daniel 9:27 reads: "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…" Here, the "many" is certainly Daniel’s own people, Israel, and the prophecy pertains to the nation's future.

Hebrews 9:28 says: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." In the context of the entire book of Hebrews, which is directed to a Jewish audience, "many" is in the context of Israel, reinforcing the proposition that "many" implicitly refers to Israel unless explicitly stated otherwise.

But what about passages like Romans 5:19, which states, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous"? In the previous verse, verse 18, it is stated that "by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men." Why is there a narrowing from "all" in verse 18 to "many" in verse 19? Could it be that while "all" came under judgment (as stated in verse 18), it was Israel (represented by "many") who were "made sinners," and it is this same group, Israel, who will be "made righteous"? This would seem to be a reasonable and valid conclusion. However, the scope of this series does not allow us to delve further into this proof, It should be noted, however, that the Greek text allows several divergent interpretations of this verse.

If this rule is taken, then some great clarity is given to some problematic verses, like:
  • Matthew 7:22 - "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"

  • Matthew 22:14 - "For many are called, but few are chosen."

One important aspect to note with the "Definite Many" rule is that it's crucial to examine the broader context to discern whether or not there is a definition of "many," even if it might not be stated outright. For example, consider John 4:41 which states, "And many more believed because of his own word." In this case, you would need to ask "more of what?" to understand the meaning of "many more." Upon closer examination, you'll discover that it is not implicitly a reference to Israel because it is explicitly referring to the individuals in that specific crowd.



[1]](#_ftnref1) [GotQuestions.org](http://GotQuestions.org). "What Is Limited Atonement? [www.gotquestions.org/limited-atonement.html. Accessed 19 June 2024.

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