Mark’s Gospel stole Jesus plot from the Elijah Elisha Old Testament stories. Compare Mark to the First Book of Kings.  Mark does show a marked interest in Elijah which gives him away.

Remarkably, the length of Mark is not far from the length of their stories. 

Mark starts off with episodic material.

Scholar Thomas Brodie found that the data follows the plot of 1 Kings 17:

• God’s prophetic word comes to Elijah
• Elijah goes to brook Cherith, fed by ravens
• Then goes to Zarephath
• Encounter and miracle with the woman of Zarephath
• Elijah raises the child from the dead

In brief Jesus gets his call and goes like Elijah into isolation.  Jesus goes to the desert.  Then after preparation the miracles start.  Both raise dead children.

• The Beginning (Mark 1) Call of the Disciple(s) — 1 Kings 19:19-21; Mark 1:16-20

Mark’s account of Jesus calling the disciples is modeled partly on Elijah’s call of Elisha. “Mark both simplifies and doubles the older account”:

• the action begins with the caller (Elijah/Jesus) and with motion towards those to be called;
• those called are working (plowing/fishing);
• the call, whether by gesture (Elijah) or word (Jesus), is brief;
• those called are to leave their means of livelihood (plow/nets);
• later, the means of livelihood are variously destroyed or mended: the plow is destroyed, but the nets are mended — a typical inversion of images (showing the other side of the coin);
• after further movement, there is a leave-taking of home;
• there is also a leave-taking of other workers;
• finally, those called follow the caller.

The healing of the leper – 2 Kings 5; Mark 1:40-45
“Within the respective testaments the two healings are unique.”

Despite the differences in length and complexity, distinctive similarities between the two accounts:

• the action begins with the leper, and with motion towards Elisha/Jesus;
• the healer should/does extend his hand;
• the leprosy is cleansed immediately;
• there is aftermath concerning worship (a Temple, the priest).

Mark’s two accounts of the multiplication of loaves (6:30-44; 8:1-10) dominate these chapters. The Gospel’s account blends several influences and factors, but its single closest OT precedent is, of course, the multiplication of the loaves by Elisha: 2 Kings 4:42-44.

And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first-fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.

And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.  So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.

Brodie remarks that “to some degree, the figure of Elijah — and the seven-fold use of his name — runs through the entire central section of Mark (6:14-9:13). Three elements stand out:”

1. Herod and the opinion that John is Elijah (6:15);
2. the miracles of the loaves (6:30-44); 8:1-10);
3. the opinion that Jesus is Elijah and the five references during and after the Transfiguration (9:4-5, 12-13)

Take the transfiguration where Jesus burns or glows like the sun.

• heavenly fire comes down on the mountain-top (2 Kings 1)
• fire carries Elijah to heaven (2 Kings 2)

At the dramatic centre of Mark:
• the mountain-top drama of the Transfiguration (unearthly light)
This Transfiguration is followed by a discussion that invokes Elijah’s name 5 times.

The Purging/Cleansing of the Temple

Both the Elijah-Elisha and Mark narratives focus especially on the Temple(s) at their ends.
• Jehu’s actions climax when he purges and destroys the temple of Baal (2 Kgs 10:18-27)
• The aftermath in Judah centres on the takeover and renewal of the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 11-12)

Compare the centrality of the Temple in Mark in the concluding narrative:
• Jesus’ first act on reaching Jerusalem is to cleanse the Temple (Mark 11)
• Jesus preaches in the Temple (Mark 12:35-40)
• Jesus predicts the Temple’s destruction (Mark 13:1-4)
• The Temple is an issue at his trial (Mark 14:57-58)
• The first effect of his death is the tearing of the Temple veil (Mark 15:38)

My observation on that is that the cleansing of the Temple is regarded as gold dust among New Testament scholars.  They say that it must be true for it was too embarrassing to have been made up.  For it to be just a reworked stolen plot would be fatal to their supposition.

• The End (Mark 11-15)
As noted above, both E-E and Mark “conclude with long sequences of virtually unbroken narrative (2 Kings 9-13; Mark 11-16).” (p.93) But the content is also distinctively connecting the two narratives, not just their form or shape.

Hurtado has also noted the “midrashic” allusion to the destruction of the Temple in the tomb carved out of the rock for Jesus — cf. Isaiah 22:16.

Further broad similarities

1. Anointing and conspiracy (2 Kgs 9:1-11; Mark 14:1-14)
2. Accession — with cheering, cloaks on ground (2 Kgs 9:12-13; Mark 11:7-10)
3. An apparent wait before taking over (2 Kgs 9:14-21; Mark 11:11)
4. Challenging the authorities (2 Kgs 9:22-10:27; Mark 11:12-12:12)
5. Giving money for the Temple (2 Kgs 12:5-17; Mark 12:41-44)

The following to me is where the notion of Jesus ascending to Heaven and the witnesses receiving the holy spirit may have come from.  Now think on this.  Elijah ascends up to Heaven on a chariot of fire.  Like Jesus, his body now has magical properties.  This could have suggested the core doctrine from Paul that the resurrection body is a saved body and cannot be hurt.  Elijah should burn to death but does not.

2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
2 Kings 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: [nevertheless], if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
“2 Kings 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof! And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
2 Kings 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
2 Kings 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is Jehovah, the God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither; and Elisha went over.
2 Kings 2:15 And when the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho over against him saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”

Mark's ending (16:8) is abrupt and enigmatic with the women fleeing in fear.  It looks like a piece was lost.  Christianity hopes that is the reason for it is embarrassing to have a gospel where a man is said to have risen and does not appear.  It does not want people to think that the original story was that personages supposedly from Heaven said Jesus rose and there were no appearances.

Brodie suggests that this corresponds in part to “the abrupt and enigmatic account of Elisha’s death and burial, including the dead man’s rising to life (2 Kgs 13:21). (Is it coincidence that Mark’s picture of the women fleeing frightened from the tomb is partly matched by the apparent fright of the pall-bearers and by their implied flight from the tomb of Elisha?)” (p. 90).

The story in 2 Kings 13 is that Elisha died and was buried.  Moabite raiders came in during the spring.  A man was being buried and the raiders came so the funeral party threw him into Elisha's tomb.  The body touches Elisha's bones and the man came to life and stood on his feet.  This huge story just ends.

And the the fact that this story made an impression on everyone in Jesus' day would make you wonder if his tomb was broken into in an attempt to raise somebody from the dead?  What if the burglars had a relic supposedly of Elisha and were trying to raise Jesus?  If so they failed so they just took the body away.  They may even have said it worked.  Nothing bans you from saying God sent angels to the tomb with Elisha's bones to raise Jesus.  Nothing says how the resurrection happened or what was going on when Jesus rose.

If Mark did not abruptly end his gospel and was relating something like that it is no wonder the ending was hacked out.


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