Should every Christian cast out demons, speak in tongues, pick up serpents, drink poison, and heal the sick?
You might have noticed what I talked about there is found at the end of Mark chapter 16. And in this blog post, I’m going to talk about three dangers that are commonly found in looking at the scripture at the end of Mark chapter 16.
In Mark 16:17, it says
“These signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; pick up serpents; drink anything deadly, and it will by no means harm them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.”
Usually, there are two camps of people who read the scripture. Those that say “No, these things are not to be done.” And another group that says “Yes, these things should be done by every Christian.” And usually, those who say “these should not be done” are those who have not seen these things in their lives. On the other hand, those who say that “these things should be done” are those who have seen these things happen in their lives.
And this kind of makes sense because why would you go to your mechanic when you need your teeth fixed? You go to the dentist. And why would you go to your dentist when you want your car fixed? You go to a mechanic. Generally speaking, you want to go to people who have experienced what you want — like your teeth fixed, your car fixed. If they’ve done it, they have experience. When you ask them for their advice, it’s much better than asking someone who has never done something with the teeth or never fixed a car before. You probably won’t get very good advice from them.
And this leads us to the first danger which is..
People say that we should not practice what it says here at the end of Mark chapter 16. They usually say that all the bible translations you see say that many early manuscripts say this part is actually omitted from the bible. And the fact that they were later added, maybe we should not do what it says here.
But even if we give that position the benefit of the doubt that it really is not in the original canon, you have to look at the scripture that these things have been shown in the bible. We have to use scripture to interpret scripture.
“Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Where do we find that? Matthew 28: The great commission. That’s what Jesus said,
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved, and he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
We can find it in the Gospel of John, in Acts, the disciples preach the same thing – repent and believe the Gospel, receive the Holy Spirit. That is found somewhere else.
“These signs will follow all who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons.” (Mark 16:17)
Jesus sent out his 12 disciples and the 70 and the other disciples also cast out demons. We find it all from the gospels and early believers in the book of Acts.
“They will speak with new tongues.” We see that in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and people were filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke with tongues. And we see later in the Book of Acts, even the gentiles start speaking in tongues. So this is in the bible.
Mark 16:18, “They will take up serpents.” We see this at the end of the Book of Acts when Paul was traveling on a ship and he was shipwrecked and he came to an island. He was starting a fire and there was a snake that bit him. And people who are around him say, surely this guy is an evildoer. Even though he survived the shipwreck, now he’s going to die because of this poisonous snake that bit him. Of course, we know that Paul did not die.
And then later, these people thought, “Hey, this guy must be a god.” And of course, Paul preached the gospel, healed them, and delivered to them the Gospel of the Kingdom.
And so this verse 18 found the bible taking up serpents, Paul shrugged it off. It’s found in the bible.
The second verse of verse 18 says “If they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them.” This part about drinking poison, I can’t recall from my head a direct reference in scripture. But we can make an inference when Jesus sent out the disciples. When they go out to many different places, He says, “Oh, don’t take anything with you because when you go and enter a house, go and eat what is set before you.”
And you have to understand that back in the day, not everyone actually loves Jesus. Many people hated Him. Is it too hard to fathom that some of these disciples went to homes and were preaching the gospel and people gave them poisonous food? And yet God has protected them.
You may say, “Well Emmanuel, that’s just conjecture. You don’t know whether that happened or not.” You’re right. But I do know of one Christian missionary called Mel Tari. He wrote a book called “Like a Mighty Wind.” When he first started preaching the gospel in Indonesia, God gave him so many miracles. And one of them is that they went into the village and they ate their food. And the people after a while looked at them and were really surprised and said,
“We need to know your God.”
And when Mel Tari asked these people, “Why is that?”
They said, “Because we have put poison in your food and we expected you to die, and you did not die.”
Exactly in Mark 16:18 here saying, “If they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them.”
And lastly, “They’ll lay hands on the sick and they’ll recover.” (Mark 16:18) We know all over in the New Testament, and even in the Old Testament. Healing from God is a common practice. It’s unfortunate that we don’t see that even more today.
Now somebody might say, “Okay, I can see that these things are written in other places of the scripture. So even if it says these are admitted in the early manuscripts, I know it’s biblical.”
Some would say the two most controversial things are taking up serpents and snakes and drinking poison. Now you don’t have to understand that there are churches, there are “believers” today who actually do this, drink poison on purpose and pick up snakes and they have been binned.
And the question is why have they been binned and why have they been poisoned? And to answer the question, we have to go back to Matthew 4 when Jesus fasted for 40 days and the devil afterward came and tempted Him.
One of those temptations was that the devil took Jesus onto the high mountain says, “If you’re the Son of God go and throw yourself down here.” Because he quotes Psalm 91 “He will give His angels charge over you lest you dash your foot against a stone.” And it’s an amazing song saying that “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Because I will say of the Lord, He is my fortress and my refuge; My God, in Him I will trust.” And it goes on and on and on and on.
And you need to know that song because it is a protection, a prayer for you and your family. Did you know that the statement and in that song everything is factual?
It’s not saying “you may.” It is saying that God will protect you the same way that Mark 16 says here, these signs will follow those who believe. Well then, people will ask, “Well, how come we don’t pick up snakes today and why don’t we drink poison?” Because I will answer the way that Jesus answered to the devil. He says, “It is written, you shall not test the Lord your God.” (Matthew 4:7)
Do we see the early disciples of Paul picking up snakes and drinking anything deadly? No. But when they’re on their journey, when they’re doing the mission of God, yes, Paul was bitten by the snake but he didn’t go out and purposely look for snakes to handle them because they want to fulfill this verse. All this is saying is that Jesus says, “Go preach the gospel. Don’t worry about what you eat, what you drink, whether someone will protect you because I’m with you even if you drink some poison Hey listen, I’ll protect you.”
This is the danger of idolatry. To look at Mark 16 and say “Oh we shouldn’t do this today because it doesn’t fit the doctrine and because I have not experienced it. And so I have to explain it away to suit my lifestyle.”
The same way that many “Christians” today will explain away the lifestyle of lust and greed and of disobedience because they don’t want to live a life that is holy and consecrated to God. And so they’ll heap up for themselves teachers saying that “Once saved, always saved. That God has chosen you and unconditionally elected you before the foundation of the world. And no matter what you do, how you live, what you think, what you say, you are safe because God has selected you. It doesn’t matter what you do. God has selected you and God has selected that child, four years old, born in Africa, to die with leukemia and nobody loves them because God chose to do that.”
What kind of twisted and foul logic is that? And yet that is what the devil wants to have some of the believers believe today. When our experience does not line up with the scripture, we say. “God, change me, change my lifestyle.” I changed my lifestyle so that I can line up with the word of God, not I’m going to go and change when I think about the scripture says to line up with how I live. And this danger of ideology can even be found in early believers.
The very famous Martin Luther propelled the protestant reformation. Did you know that he actually wants to take out seven books in the bible? Some of these books were Hebrews, James, Revelation, and so on. And the reason is because it did not fit his theology. And do you know what the end of the Book of Revelation says? It says,
“If anyone takes away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, the Book of Revelation, God will also add to him the plagues that are in his book and take away his portion from the Book of Life.” (Revelation 22:19)
The very person Martin Luther that many people looked into as “the theologian.” He wanted to take away the Book of James because it had a lot to talk about works and faith. If you have your faith, you should have works. But to Martin Luther, he’s trying to come against the catholic church at that time, which talks a lot about the sacraments and works. And so he’s trying to swing it to the other side of the pendulum.
But as you know either side is bad, all grace, no works, and all works, no grace is just as bad because we need the middle ground, which is what the bible teaches us if you truly believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Then you will live a lifestyle of repentance, holiness because this is what you’re supposed to do.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
And so Jesus said at the end of Mark 16 that we will lay hands on the sick and they’ll recover. We will heal the sick. We’ll do that. And so if there comes the time and we go preach the Gospel and snakes bite us, or we eat certain things from people that are poisonous, God will protect us! And of course, we should cast out demons, and of course, we should speak in new tongues.
We see that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and I don’t have time to talk about the gifts of tongues and the ability to pray in tongues here, because you have to read 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, the two different types of tongues.
A lot of Christians today don’t understand this. The gift of tongues is talking about being publicly spoken in the church. But in 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul says, “I thank God that I pray with tongues more than you all.” He’s talking about personal prayer language where every single believer can do that, they can build themselves out in the most holy faith by praying in tongues in a private language.
If we don’t obey what is taught here at the end of Mark 16, the number two danger will be disobedience. It is simply saying that God, I’m not going to do this because it does not suit my theology.
We certainly don’t want that kind of disobedience and idolatry in our lives. Because if we value our theology over what God says, then we’re saying we are better. We’re worshiping ourselves. And no idolater will enter the kingdom of heaven.
May we repent and come back to God and say “God, whatever You say, I say yes and this is my prayer.” I tell my kids to pray the same way. “God, whatever You say, I don’t even know what it is, I believe it is good. I believe Your plan is good for me and for my family.” I say yes before I even know what it is. Is that your prayer today?
Is that your prayer in Mark 16 today and say, “God, even though I haven’t experienced these things, if this is from You, help me to live it out so that I can give glory to Your name.”
Not Fulfilling Our Calling
And last. Number three, the third danger is if we walk in idolatry and disobedience and not doing what it says here at the end of Mark 16. The number three danger will be us not fulfilling the calling in our lives.
Every single one of us, we have books written in heaven that God wants us to fulfill in our life. Just like Jesus says, “Father, thank you that I’ve completed all that You called me to do. I have finished the work.” Jesus says.
Many times, I have to repent and say that I walked away from what You planned for me. But help me to come back to your plan, help me to come back to what you called me to do so that I can walk on that path, fulfill all the books that You have written for me. Because I want to walk in the narrow path that leads to life. I want to strive to enter through that narrow gate.
Because I know that wide and broad is the way that leads to destruction. There are many and many and many who will go in by it, especially those who call themselves Christians not recognizing them that they are on the broad path leading to hell.
How do I know that? Because I was once that Christian who was on that broad path to hell not knowing and practicing all the sins that the bible says we can’t do. Because the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. And yet I was doing them.
And no one was there telling me that I was on that broad path until I started reading the scriptures and say, “God, if this is what You say, then I will do it in my life because Your word is better and Your word is more important than my opinion. I will change my life more so than what I want Your word to change to suit my lifestyle.
And so today I encourage you. If you speak in tongues, you cast out demons and you’re preaching the gospel. Go and continue to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. I pray the fire of the Holy Spirit to be upon you that you continue to do the work that God has laid in your life.
And if you’re not experienced preaching the gospel and have God protect you supernaturally, casting out demons, healing the sick, then I pray today that God release them, your anointing, and your power through the understanding of Your word. Because faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.
May every spirit of religion be broken off in your life so that you can see the goodness of God in your life that He wants to set free. He wants to heal, He wants to deliver and He wants to protect you as you do the work of God in Jesus’ name. Let that flow in your life and in my life also. And if you feel like right now that you can do some of these things because you feel you’re walking in the lukewarm life.
Share this with people who need to hear it because the time is at hand.
God bless you!