Mark 16

Mark 16:2 very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came

Earl C. Tingey

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognize Sunday as the Sabbath in commemoration of the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on Sunday, and the Apostles commenced meeting thereafter on the first day of the week. ("The Sabbath Day and Sunday Shopping," Ensign, May 1996, 10)

Mark 16:2 they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun

Harold B. Lee (1958)

There was yet another place we had to visit and feel ourselves on holy ground. It was called the Garden Tomb. It is owned by the Church of the United Brethren. Here our guide took us . . . and as the woman guide with her little son led us through the garden there was the hill outside the "gate" of the walled city of Jerusalem. It was just a short way from where the hall of judgment had been inside the city walls. The garden was right close by or "in the hill" as John had said, and in it was a sepulchre hewn out of a rock evidently done by someone who could afford the expense of excellent workmanship. There was something that seemed to impress us as we stood there that this was the holiest place of all, and we fancied we could have witnessed the dramatic scene which took place there. That tomb has a mouth which could be sealed by a rolling stone and there is the stone track they built to guide the stone as it was rolled across the mouth of the tomb. The stone has now been removed but the stone track is still there. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 506.)

Harold B. Lee (1970)

My wife and I were in the Holy Land. We have spent some glorious days visiting those places. . . .

But a strange thing happened after we had gone to the garden tomb, and there we felt it was definitely the place. It was in the hill, it was a garden, and here was a tomb. . . . But the strange thing was that when we moved it seemed as though we had seen all this before. We had seen it before somewhere. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 506.)

Harold B. Lee (1971)

The most thrilling of all places where we knew, was out at the garden tomb. Here according to the description of John, there was a hill and into the hill was a garden, and in the garden was a cave in which never had man laid. Here they hurriedly buried Jesus because the preparation of the Jews was nigh at hand. That is how John described it. And as the Apostle Paul explained, they didn't bury him inside the walls but outside the walls. And when they took us up the road to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it didn't have any meaning at all, and we even wondered what in the world this place was. But, out there as we stood at that spot-the most sacred spot on earth, for here was the way by which the resurrected Lord had opened the doors of resurrection and was going shortly to open the doors of salvation to those who were in the spirit world-with all our souls we knew. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 507.)

Gordon B. Hinckley (1972)

Moonlight filtered through the olive trees. We stood, as we believe, at the place where the body of the Lord was laid in a new tomb hewn from rock.

It was easy to believe that this was indeed the place, and that it was here that the tomb was emptied that first Easter morning, and the stone was rolled away. We felt that we were standing where the risen Lord had talked with Mary.

Here, where occurred the greatest event in human history, we sang hymns of praise, and bore testimony to one another and organized the Jerusalem branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Elder Galbraith as president. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 507.)

Spencer W. Kimball (1979)

We accept this as the burial place of the Savior. We realize people have different ideas about these places, but this seems to be the logical place.

I feel quite sure that this is the place where His body was laid. It gives me such a sacred feeling just to be here.

I've preached quite a few sermons about this spot. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 507-508.)

Mark 16:5 they saw a young man... clothed in a long white garment

"In each of the four Gospels of the KJV, mention is made of the appearance of an angel, or angels, at Jesus' tomb on the morning of his resurrection. Luke (Luke 24:4-6) and John (John 20:11-13) specify that two angels were present, whereas Matthew (Matt. 28:1-7) and Mark (Mark 16:5-6) indicate there was but one.

"The JST is so worded as to make Matthew (JST, Matt. 28:2-4) and Mark (JST, Mark 16:3-4) agree with the other Gospels that there were indeed two angels at the tomb.

"It may seem to be relatively unimportant whether there were two angels or one angel at the tomb, since the important event was that Jesus Christ had risen from the grave. However, it is probable that these angels were there for more reasons than to roll the stone away. They were very likely official witnesses of the greatest event that has occurred on this earth, and according to the law of the scriptures, 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.' (2 Cor. 13:1; see also Deut. 19:15.) Their presence at the tomb as witnesses may account for the Prophet's care in causing all of the accounts to agree that two angels were present at the time of Jesus' resurrection." (Robert J. Matthews, "A Greater Portrayal of the Master," Ensign, Mar. 1983, 13)

Neal A. Maxwell

Granted, there is not full correlation among the four Gospels about the events and participants at the empty garden tomb. (See Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-9; John 20:1-10.) Yet the important thing is that the tomb was empty, because Jesus had been resurrected! ("Out of Obscurity," Ensign, Nov. 1984, 11)

Mark 16:6 He is risen; he is not here

Marion G. Romney

"He is risen; he is not here." (Mark 16:6.) These words, eloquent in their simplicity, announced the most significant event of recorded history, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus-an event so extraordinary that even the Apostles, who had been most intimately associated with Jesus in his earthly ministry and who had been carefully taught of the coming event, had difficulty grasping the reality of its full significance. The first accounts which reached their ears "seemed to them as idle tales" (Luke 24:11), as well they might, for millions of men had lived and died before that day. In every hill and dale men's bodies mouldered in the dust, but until that first Easter morning not one had risen from the grave. ("The Resurrection of Jesus," Ensign, Apr. 1985, 3)

Mark 16:7 he goeth before you into Galilee

Only a few days earlier, the disciples had been sitting at the Last Supper. The Savior then told them, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee." (Matt. 26:31-32) They didn't understand what he meant. Now the angel is going to remind them of the promise that He would meet with them in Galilee. (see also Matt. 28:10) The promised meeting in Galilee occurred but the disciples were still in Jerusalem when the Master first appeared to them after his resurrection (Luke 24:33-43).

Notably, the Masters' first message to the brethren after the Resurrection was about an important meeting which would take place in Galilee. A careful reading indicates that this Galilean meeting was truly something special. It took place on a "mountain where Jesus had appointed them" (Matt. 28:16). The group was large, for this is thought to be the occasion when over 500 of the brethren saw him at one time. The savior also appeared to the disciples at the sea of Galilee as recorded by John (John 21). From these passages we may conclude that Galilee was probably the location of the Lord's 40-day ministry after his resurrection (Acts 1:3).

James E. Faust

During the forty days that the Savior spent with the apostles and others, they heard and saw many unspeakable things. This special ministry changed the apostles from an uncertain, confused, divided, and weak group into powerful witnesses of the Lord. (Reach Up for the Light [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 135.)

Mark 16:9 he appeared first to Mary

Bruce R. McConkie

How much there is incident to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord which ennobles and exalts faithful women. They wept at the cross, sought to care for his wounded and lifeless body, and came to his tomb to weep and worship for their friend and Master. And so it is not strange that we find a woman, Mary of Magdala, chosen and singled out from all the disciples, even including the apostles, to be the first mortal to see and bow in the presence of a resurrected being. Mary, who had been healed of much and who loved much, saw the risen Christ!...

Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to other women. To Mary the mother of Joses, to Joanna, to Salome the mother of James and John, and to other unnamed women, the two angels announced the resurrection, and sent them to tell Peter and the other disciples. As they went, Jesus appeared and greeted them with the familiar "All hail." And so again it was women who were honored with a visitation from their friend the resurrected Lord. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 843-846.)

Mark 16:9 Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils

"Mary Magdalene is described, both in the canonical New Testament and in the New Testament apocrypha, as a devoted disciple of Jesus. She is considered by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. She is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church with a festival on the same day. The Orthodox Church also commemorates her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, which is the second Sunday after Pascha (Easter).

"Mary Magdalene's name identifies her as being 'of Magdala' - the town she came from, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee - and thus distinguishes her from the other Marys referred to throughout the New Testament." (

The tradition that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute is completely unfounded by scripture. The tradition developed centuries after her death. Neither do we find non-biblical sources giving any indication that she was of ill repute. The scriptures describe Mary as one who, with the other faithful women, "ministered unto him of their substance" during the Galilean ministry (Lu. 8:3).

Others have imagined that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife. This, they claim, would explain the intimate conversation between the two at the garden tomb (John 20:11-18). However, this romantic notion is equally unsupported by scripture. Whether Jesus was married or not is unknown. While Latter-day Saints understand that exaltation includes the principle of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, the scriptural record has Christ married to the church not a woman. The New Jerusalem and its inhabitants are described "as a bride adorned for her husband." John is invited, "Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." (Rev. 21: 2,9) The parable of the ten virgins depends on this doctrine and is reinforced by the D&C, "prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom." (D&C 65:3) It seems inconsistent with scripture for the Master to be married to a woman who could potentially draw his attention away from his true bride, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, and the church. Certainly, all his devotion and loyalty-indeed his literal blood, sweat, and tears-have been shed on behalf of this elect group.

See Ryan's dissenting opinion here: Was Jesus Married?

Mark 16:11 they, when they had heard that he was alive... believed not

"On that Sunday, the disciples were downhearted, frightened men. It seems it would have been easier for them to believe that Jesus had died and stayed dead. Yet their conversion to the reality of Christ's resurrection strengthens their witness for those who otherwise might disbelieve that vital truth. Each Gospel writer makes it clear that the disciples were not swept into belief because they wanted to be. Rather, they believed in spite of their own inclinations to the contrary. The evidence of the truth eventually became overwhelming when the Lord appeared to them in person." (Richard D. Draper, "The Reality of the Resurrection," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 39)

James E. Faust

Perhaps the Apostles should not be unduly criticized for not believing that Jesus, having been crucified and buried in a tomb, had come back to earth as a glorified being. In all human experience, this had never happened before. It was completely unprecedented. This was a different experience than the raising of Jairus' daughter (see Mark 5:22, 24, 35-43), the young man of Nain (see Luke 7:11-15), or Lazarus (see John 11:1-44). They all died again. Jesus, however, became a resurrected being. He would never die again. So it was that to the Apostles the story of Mary Magdalene and the other women who witnessed the Resurrection "seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." (Luke 24:11.)

Said President David O. McKay of this experience: "The world would never have been stirred by men with such wavering, doubting, despairing minds as the apostles possessed on the day of the crucifixion.

"What was it that suddenly changed these disciples to confident, fearless, heroic preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ? It was the revelation that Christ had risen from the grave. His promises had been kept, his Messianic mission fulfilled. In the words of an eminent writer, 'The final and absolute seal of genuineness has been put on all his claims and the indelible stamp of divine authority upon all his teachings. The gloom of death had been banished by the glorious light of the presence of their Risen, Glorified Lord and Savior.'

"On the evidence of these unprejudiced, unexpectant, incredulous witnesses, faith in the resurrection has its impregnable foundation." (Treasures of Life, comp. Clare Middlemiss, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1962, pp. 15-16.) ("The Supernal Gift of the Atonement," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 14)

Mark 16:12 he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked

This reference to the disciples walking to Emmaus is interesting because it says that Christ appeared "in another form." In what form did he appear? The scriptures don't tell us exactly how it was that these two faithful disciples didn't immediately recognize Jesus as the resurrected Lord. Luke's version says their "eyes were holden" at least until their "eyes were opened... and he vanished out of their sight" (Lu. 24:16, 31). Mark insinuates it was because he appeared to them "in another form," which gives the impression that His appearance was altered. Perhaps this was how their "eyes were holden."

Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature

Gordon B. Hinckley

Question [from Mike Wallace during TV interview]: "Why is your Church so aggressive about spreading the word, having missionaries knock on doors where they may not be welcome and where they're obviously not invited?"

Answer: "We believe that the Lord meant what He said when He said, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature'. We believe in that mandate. We think it rests upon us to try to fulfill it. We are doing that with all of the energy and resources that we have." ("This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 51)

Gordon B. Hinckley

It is now 1997, and the future is ahead... We have so much more, with an overwhelming challenge to go on and build the kingdom of God. There is so much to do. We have a divine mandate to carry the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We have a charge to teach and baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Said the resurrected Savior, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

We are engaged in a great and consuming crusade for truth and goodness. Fortunately, we live in a season of goodwill. There has come down to us an inheritance of respect and honor to our people. We must grasp the torch and run the race. ("True to the Faith," Ensign, May 1997, 66-67)

Joe J. Christensen

Modern prophets have taught that every young man who is physically and mentally able should prepare himself to serve an honorable mission. The Lord did not say, "Go on a mission if it fits your schedule, or if you happen to feel like it, or if it doesn't interfere with your scholarship, your romance, or your educational plans." Preaching the gospel is a commandment and not merely a suggestion. It is a blessing and a privilege and not a sacrifice. Remember, even though for some of you there may be very tempting reasons for you not to serve a full-time mission, the Lord and his prophets are counting on you. ("The Savior Is Counting on You," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 41)

Richard C. Edgley

Some outside our Church may feel that a mission is a great and unreasonable sacrifice. Our missionaries do not view it as a sacrifice. They view it as an opportunity to manifest their love to the Savior, who charged, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). They see it as an opportunity to express their love to all mankind. They see it as an opportunity to testify of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer of the world. They see it as an opportunity to build faith in Christ and to teach His saving and comforting doctrine. I see it as truly one of the distinguishing characteristics of true Christianity. I see these young missionaries as true Christian servants exemplifying the highest Christian principles by testifying of and serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

They just keep coming-today more than 50,000, tomorrow more than 60,000, and then 70,000 young men, young women, and couples serving all over the world. At a time when so many young men and women of this age are searching, wandering aimlessly, and struggling with the meaning and purpose of life, tens of thousands are fully devoted to this great cause of serving the Lord. They prepare, they sacrifice, and they come. They come because they believe in God, and they believe in the brotherhood of all mankind. ("We Care Enough to Send Our Very Best," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 62-63)

Mark 16:16 he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned

Hamlet is famous for asking one question, "To be, or not to be?" However, poor Hamlet was too self-absorbed to ask the right question. To believe, or not to believe? That is the question! The answer to that question is an individual one which represents the first question of discipleship and most important exercise of one's agency.

Some may say that it is not fair to punish someone for the way they believe. Like Corianton, these would question "the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner" (Alma 42:1). Others may define belief systems as a passive product of culture, upbringing, environment, education, and even genetic predisposition. But the scriptures speak of it more as a choice, an act of volition, a decision on the part of every individual. Will I seek out my maker? Will I exercise faith in Jesus Christ? Will I be religious? Will I covenant by baptism to take upon me the name of Jesus Christ? These are the greatest and most fundamental questions an individual can consider. To be, or not to be is of little import compared to the question-to believe, or not to believe.

Sterling W. Sill

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16). To some, that may sound like a very narrow way, but it is the law and we should not forget it; nor should we count too heavily on the possibility of God's changing his mind.

And so we come back again to the statement of the Master, saying: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13-14). And that's how it is because that is how it must be! ("The Strait Gate," Ensign, July 1980, 8)

Mark 16:17 these signs shall follow them that believe

Orson F. Whitney

I am a living witness to the fulfilment of this divine promise. These miraculous "signs" follow belief now, the same as in days of old. I have seen devils cast out by the power of the Priesthood. I have seen and heard manifested the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. I have seen the sick healed with a touch, and have been healed myself by the laying on of hands, accompanied by the prayer and power of faith. (Conference Report, April 1930, Afternoon Meeting 134.)

Joseph F. Smith

These are the promises made anciently, and there are thousands in this territory and in this congregation who can bear testimony that they have realized the fulfilment of these promises in this day. The healing of the sick among us has become so common that it is apparently but little thought of. We have also seen the lame made to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. These things we have seen done by the power of God and not by the cunning or wisdom of men; we know that these signs do follow the preaching of the gospel. Yet these testimonies of its truth are but poor and weak when compared with the whisperings of the still small voice of the Spirit of God. The latter is a testimony that none who enjoy it can deny; it cannot be overcome, for it brings conviction to the heart that cannot be reasoned away or disproved, whether it can be accounted for on philosophical principles or not. This testimony comes from God and convinces all to whom it is given in spite of themselves, and is worth more to men than any sign or gift beside, because it gives peace and happiness, contentment and quiet to my soul. It assures me that God lives, and if I am faithful I shall obtain the blessings of the celestial kingdom.

Boyd K. Packer

Such miracles have always been a witness of His church on the earth, and they are known among us-I could even say they are common among us-but they are not often talked about. We regard them with humility and with unmeasured reverence. (Things of the Soul [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 18.)

Mark 16:18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them

Orson Pratt

"They shall take up serpents, or if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them." This promise of our Great Redeemer was also made to every creature in all the world who should believe the gospel. The use of this miraculous gift was to preserve life, in case any believer should accidentally be bitten by a poisonous serpent as Paul was (see Acts 28); or should unintentionally swallow a deadly poison, as the sons of the prophets did (see 2 Kings 4). Jesus promised that it should not hurt them. When the Israelites were bitten by poisonous serpents, they were healed by simply looking at a brazen serpent which the Lord commanded Moses to raise up in the wilderness; so the believers in Christ can prevail against deadly poisons by simply looking to Him in faith; for Jesus cannot fail to fulfill His promise to the believer. (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 85.)

Mark 16:20 they went forth... confirming the word with signs following

Harold B. Lee

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."

President McKay, I have been a personal witness in these last six months that, as the apostles of old found, we are finding today that the servants of the Living God are going forth, the Lord is working with them confirming the work, with the same signs following.

I bear personal witness that the gift of tongues to a whole congregation, which I witnessed, as in the day of Pentecost, was observed down in one of the Latin American Missions, by which this congregation understood what was said, although what was being spoken to them was in a strange tongue. I have witnessed the healing of an impotent and crippled child from birth in the Brazilian Mission. I have witnessed the healing of a blind child in the Central American Mission.

And so, enumerating all of these, more important than any of these signs, I have witnessed the reformation in the personal lives of individuals who accept the gospel and are true to its principles, which results from a true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Conference Report, April 1960, Afternoon Meeting 109.)