144) Mark 16:17-18 Serpents and Poison?

The controversy around this set of scriptures, in fact all of Mark 16:9-20, is one that must be resolved if those of us who truly believe in the validity of operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the power of God want to lean on its legitimacy. Yes, there are a multiplicity of alternative scriptures to support the position of praying for the sick, but there is something profound about Mark 16 verses 17 and 18. It is so crucial in fact that it became the target of organised conspirators, disguised as Theologians, to try and discredit its authenticity and so cast doubt upon the average believer. Mark 16:17-18 became heaven’s authority for the ambassadors of Christ’s Kingdom in the Earth in that first century to set people free from the combined affliction of both body and mind. The sufferers abounded in the numbers because they had become entangled in the vicious influence of what was then a hardened pagan Roman empire combined with their own religious and superstitious beliefs whether it be Judaism or some other pagan practice. Either way all citizens of the day were enslaved to the domestic systems around them to some degree or another. People found ways to cope and learned to lead an acceptable lifestyle and although bound to uphold and adhere to the requirements and limitations of these imposed pressures they were slowly conditioned to accept their situation as normalized reality. People were not free to operate in their own sovereignty. They were being governed. Be it by their Roman masters, or their own religious lords. The Jews in Judea and the Northern Kingdom reluctantly accepted the Roman occupation. Of course, the zealots who were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism sought to incite the people of Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, which ultimately escalated the Jewish–Roman War 67-70 A.D.   
If you think that perhaps having a few Roman soldiers in your town wouldn’t make much of a difference to your everyday existence, think again. The Romans enforced a census upon the occupants of Israel. Everyone had to be registered, for the purpose of taxation and control of the population.   

Luke 2 King James Version
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.

The Romans instituted their Judiciaries in the land, and even though the Jews had their Sanhedrin with the obligation to adhere to the Law of Moses, the Talmud and Oral Law, those that conspired against Him could not even execute Jesus themselves. They had to resort to manipulating Pontius Pilate to order the execution.
Within this environment of Roman oppression, the imposing of pagan beliefs such as the worship of Diana the queen of heaven, and many other pagan deities, the rottenness of what had become a decaying religious system of the Jews, left many to buckle under the pressure.
Those people who felt trapped with no hope of escape often became ill in one way or another.
You think not? What makes people ill? Is it the germs, or the viruses as today’s medical and health cartel proposes?

What about the toxic emotions of chronic fear and despair? What about undernourishment? Add to that the repetitive ideologies and ideas that generate the social consciousness of the day. Irrespective of whether these ideas reflect reality, what’s important is that they are perceived to be the reality by the populace even if it is all a “Big Lie”.

The definition of the “Big lie,” although, some doubt the evidence that this statement was first coined by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, it is often attributed to him.

 “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

You see propaganda is a type of “mind control”. In this context it is all about controlling what information the population is exposed to. Therefore, the trick is to communicate a narrative that is simple and seems logical even when it is untrue. Repeat the narrative, use slogans, and visual stimuli. Aim to encourage an emotional response and the message gets lodged in the subconscious mind. In the case of propaganda, the underlying message is one of threats of some external enemy or danger out there with an addition that those who present the propaganda have the solution to create dependency upon those in charge. Fear of a perceived threat allows suggestions to bypass the critical thinking mind by going into the freeze, fight or flight mode so that the hypnotic embedded commands of the propaganda integrate with the mental constitution of whole societies.  

The use of these language technologies and repetition to affect the neurology and physiology as outlined in the science of NLP for the purpose of hypnotising the public into adherence to their evil agenda is nothing other than witchcraft. (NLP is not evil. It is an ever-growing collection and study of practical human psychology. It is meant to be used to help people but could be used to manipulate people as well)

The days when Jesus and the Apostles walked the face of the Earth the common people were subjects of the Roman empire, but for the Jews in Judea and northern Israel and the diaspora across the empire it was different. They inherently knew that they were Yahweh’s selected people since Abraham. Their sense of identity and faith in Yahweh made it very difficult to control them. But the Jews had their own problems. For many Jews, their understanding of the Sinaitic Covenant meant that they were chosen by God to be under His theocracy and not so much an emperor or king of this world. Yet, the Levitical Priesthood, the Pharisees, Sadducee’s, and Elders and Scribes were the leadership within the Hebraic communities. They to had become compromised by the mindset of the world around them. Historically the people of Israel had always gone after strange gods and their devotion to Yahweh was often replaced to the satanic pagan gods of the other nations. Apart from those who remain blameless it has always been human tendency for both Jew and Gentile to pursue their lust for control over the people and not shy away from whatever means they had available to achieve that goal.   

Matthew 20:25
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

In those days such evil humans used political and military force and let’s not ignore even occult powers to exercise influence over their people. Make no mistake in our modern time we have not really moved on from such tactics. In fact, 2000 years later we progressed into a much more sinister and deeper degression of intense manipulation behind the façade of humanitarian, benevolent looking government agendas, corporations, institutions, NGO’s and local organisations.    

As for the people Jesus and the first generation of Christians ministered to and prayed for, they needed more than physical healing, they needed a renewal of their beliefs of about almost everything they were conditioned to accept as true.

Romans 12
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Whatever illnesses existed in those days, the fundamental principle that most chronic illnesses are psycho-genic diseases, remains true throughout all ages. If there is no structural damage whether genetically inherited or obtained through physical trauma and leaving the germ and virus theory to one side, then the sufferers from ancient time and today are afflicted from within. When I say within, I mean stress inducers like fear-based ideas causing toxicity in the body, and toxicity generating the pathogen and ill condition.   
Jesus and the believers also cast demons out of people. Those people were set free and where they suffered illness because of the presence of a demon(s) those people were healed. Usually, it was not the demon that caused the illness. The victim was already in a state of mental stress, or emotional pain, causing havoc with the normal biological functions of the body. In extreme cases often due to involvement with occult practices in pagan rituals, sometimes physical or sexual abuse, the emotional and psychological pain causing a physical pathogen was enough of an open door to demonic influence. True deliverance means the whole man; mind, soul and body is in need of healing.
(In biology, a pathogen is understood to be a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can produce disease, according to Louis Pasteur and the contagion Theory. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a germ. The term pathogen came into use in the 1880s. However, here I introduce the idea that “bacteria are the clean up crew tasked with digesting and and getting rid of dead and deceased tissues. Viruses are the exosomes of cells. Poorly nourished organism becomes exposed to environmental toxin. The tissue and cells that are affected begin to produce, package and secrete exosomes, which are poisonous. This is a way of ridding the cells and tissues of substances that would do it great harm. The greater the exposure to toxic assault, the more exosomes will be produced. – Quoted from “The truth about contagion”, Author Thomas S. Cowan MD. – Chronic painful emotions also affect the cells in a similar way as being exposed to environmental toxins. John E. Sarno MD, The Mindbody Prescription)

This is where Mark 16:17-18 comes in

Mark 16
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 

Some of the following materials are extracts from research published by other sources/authors who have done their due diligence and provided the evidence and solid arguments needed to prove authenticity of these verses.




There is usually a footnote or sidebar note at the end of the book of Mark chapter 16 like this: “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.”

In the Appendix of his extremely detailed study book “The Case for Mark 16:9-20”: 2016 Edition, the Author James Snapp Jr states, “A review of scholarly descriptions of the external evidence pertaining to Mark 16:9-20 reveals that most commentators (including the authors of some of the most influential commentaries in print), if they discuss the external evidence at all, do so in an incomplete manner characterized by pathetic sloppiness. They are responsible for spreading all kinds of false statements and false impressions about the pertinent manuscript evidence, patristic evidence, versional evidence, and lectionary evidence. That is the foundation of the current academic consensus against Mark 16:9-20.”

For years I would just be in a state of cognitive dissonance about this issue, because as far as I was concerned, I wanted to believe this exciting bit of scripture was truly authentic. I assumed that playing ignorant could keep my act going on forever. Of course, only for so long, because I knew that one day, I would have to get to the bottom of this. Let me first of state that I now truly believe this set of scriptures is God inspired and as authentic as all the rest of scripture. However, after no longer being able to suppress my curiosity, I decided to conduct the required research with the intention to discover what the facts are, whether I would like them or not. Asking the questions such as why are some theologians throughout history challenging the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20? What’s the basis for their argument? What are the counter arguments? What Biblical evidence and extra Biblical evidence do we have to support either claim?

I believe these are important questions to answer, because of the intense times we are currently facing. What our world needs more than anything right now is believers who know how to operate in the supernatural power of God. That’s what the end of Mark 16 is all about.      

When we look at the manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel that survive today, more than 99 percent contain Mark 16:9–20. This includes not only 1,600-plus Greek manuscripts, but most manuscripts of early translations of Mark as well.

Evidence Against Mark 16:9–20 is fundamentally based on just two Greek manuscripts that lack Mark 16:9–20. These are codices Sinaiticus (ℵ01) and Vaticanus (B03), which are two important manuscripts from the fourth century. We don’t know if the copyists who made them would have been unaware of Mark 16:9–20, although that would be unlikely, nevertheless, they left it out of their manuscripts.

In addition to ℵ01 and B03 against the other 1,600-plus Greek manuscripts of Mark, the whole situation becomes more complex. At least 23 Greek manuscripts that include Mark 16:9–20 also have anomalies like extra endings or notes that express doubts concerning the authenticity of these verses. One important fourth-century Old Latin manuscript has a short addition after verse 8 and then ends without verses 9 to 20. A further valuable Old Syriac manuscript from the fourth century also ends Mark at 16:8. A Sahidic Coptic manuscript ends Mark’s Gospel at 16:8 as well. In 1937, a Greek scholar named E. C. Colwell identified 99 Armenian manuscripts of Mark ending at 16:8, and a further 33 containing 16:9–20 but with notes expressing doubt about the verses’ authenticity.

However, it remains that more than 99 percent of manuscripts available to us now contain Mark 16:9–20. The verses have been considered part of Scripture throughout the church since at least the second century. Because Mark 16:9–20 is undeniably from early manuscripts and is present in 99 percent of manuscripts and has traditionally been considered canonical I consider this satisfying the burden of proof that beyond reasonable doubt the text is authentic.

Extracts from The Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 – Author James Edward Snapp, Jr.

For centuries, the Christian church has regarded Mark 16:9-20, the “Long Ending” of Mark (a.k.a. the “Longer Ending”) as part of the New Testament. However, in 1881 B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, reinforcing the conclusions of some scholars who preceded them, presented evidence which has convinced many people that the Gospel of Mark originally did not contain these verses. Today most commentators deny, often almost casually, that Mark 16:9-20 was an original part of the Gospel of Mark.

The modern consensus is largely the result of a pandemic of commentators’ exaggerations and inaccuracies, and that the external and internal evidence build a strong cumulative case that Mark 16:9-20 was originally present in the Gospel of Mark when it was first published for church use.

The question of authorship of verses 9 through 20 of the last chapter of Mark cannot be decided on the basis of textual evidence, since they are omitted by some good manuscripts and included by other good ones. Rather it must determined, if possible, on the basis of style: if these last twelve verses are in Mark’s style, then the view that they were written by Mark is preferable; if they are in a different style, then the view that they were written by someone else is preferable.

Textual critics usually object to Mark’s authorship of these verses on the basis of supposed differences of style between them and the rest of the Gospel of Mark. However, an in-depth study of the stylistic features in question reveals that almost all of them can be found elsewhere in Mark.

The science of textual criticism is a field of inquiry that has been invaluable to ascertaining the original state of the New Testament text. Textual criticism involves “the ascertainment of the true form of a literary work, as originally composed and written down by its author” (Kenyon, 1951, p. 1). The fact that the original autographs of the New Testament do not exist (Comfort, 1990, p. 4), and that only copies of copies of copies of the original documents have survived, has led some falsely to conclude that the original reading of the New Testament documents cannot be determined. For example, Mormons frequently attempt to establish the superiority of the Book of Mormon over the Bible by insisting that the Bible has been corrupted through the centuries in the process of translation, a contention shared with Islam in its attempt to explain the Bible’s frequent contradiction of the Quran.

However, it can be argued that the Quran is in contradiction with the Bible. The Quran does commend those who upheld their integrity amongst the people of “the book” referring to the people of Israel, but strongly condemns those of the Jews who went after false gods. The Al-Baqara, (Arabic: البقرة, “The Heifer” or “The Cow”), is the second and longest chapter (surah) of the Quran. It is dedicated to describing the rebellion and idolatrous behaviour of the Jews at the time when Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the (written Law) Torah. But as I read this chapter and further into the Quran it gets many of the points of reference about Abraham, the Biblical Covenants, the distinctions between ancient Judaism and Christianity, the Torah verses the Gospel very much wrong. Consequently, the conclusions drawn within the Quran on the basis of said references are therefore also wrong. To say that because the Quran was written significantly later in history after Christ (approximately the 7th Century) and is the last written revelation of God and therefore the only valid canon of scripture because it is the most current instruction from God is problematic.

The Quran is said to confirm the Bible but it does not in the slightest sense acknowledge the spiritual mysteries of the Gospel. With this I mean the death of the old creation in Adam in the crucifixion and death of Jesus, the last Adam. It does not come close to describe or refer to the birth of the new creation by the resurrection of Christ. The doctrine of the Quran emphasizes that right living according to its stipulations will earn the right to enter paradise, but equally so wrong living will be punished with eternal flames. Therefore, the burden of eternal salvation lies on the practitioner of the said religion without the need for faith in the Messiah who died to redeem us from our sin.
You, like me, learned that even the scriptures in the Bible speak of the realm of the dead (Hebrew – Sheol, and Greek – Hades) and not even once do they refer to an eternal place of punishment for the unbeliever. Tartarus from the correct Greek is the word Tartaroo and means, to cast down, and Gehenna was the place outside of the walls of ancient Jerusalem where the Idolatrous Jews made sacrifices unto Baal until it became the cities refuge dump. Brimstone was poured upon the putrefying rotten left-over corpses of animals and all the other decaying rubbish, to keep the heap burning to achieve the best possible sanitation. Pre-Roman civilizations used burned brimstone as a medicine and used “bricks” of Sulfur as fumigants, bleaching agents, and incense in religious rites. Brimstone is an ancient name for Sulfur and means: “burning stone.” It does indeed burn in air with a blue flame, producing Sulfur dioxide: Sulfur itself has no odor at all, but it has a bad reputation because it makes many smelly compounds. Biblical scripture clearly talks about the wrath of God and punishment upon the wicked. But this punishment was always executed here on earth in the physical realm. Never do we see any references in the Bible about a place called “Hell” notwithstanding that our modern-day translations wrongly use the word “Hell” to translate, Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna. With regards to the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, Jesus was talking about the change of Covenants, not a literal eternal place of punishment for the wicked dead.

So then if we take the Biblical scriptures as God inspired and can accept that there is no “hell” or eternal place of punishment, then that further puts the Quran at odds with the Bible. The Quran frequently refers to the dreaded eternal flames of fire, Jahannam. To say that the Quran confirms the authenticity of the Bible but has now become the latest current message from God and there will be no further revelations is utterly incorrect. The Quran is in fact in direct contradiction to the fundemental spiritual doctrines of both the Old and New Testament.

Once the people of Israel were under the Law of Moses obligated to perform the instructions of the Torah to maintain their covenant with Yahweh. When that Age came to a complete end, (70 A.D.) we, the world, Humanity entered the Age of grace and have eternal redemption through what Christ accomplished, not because of what we do or not do. We who can believe this Good News now learn to express our new identity in Christ by faith and love. Should we now go back again to the latest revelation, in submission to a legalistic system demanding obedience to earn paradise based upon our ability to perform right? Why would Yahweh introduce the Law to Israel for the purpose bringing the Messiah and a Kingdom, which operates on grace to the world only to turn us back to a system of law again? Then Christ came in vain, and we have fallen from grace. No, my friends, I love all my precious Muslim friends, but the Quran is in contradiction with the Bible.          

It is sometimes claimed that 16:17-18 shows the author’s familiarity with the contents of the book of Acts. For instance, the taking up of serpents is associated with Acts 28:3-6. However, not only is the term for “serpent” different in Acts (εχιδνα) than in 16:18 (οφεις), but a much closer Old Testament parallel exists: Moses’ picking up of a serpent in Exodus 4 (where, in the Septuagint, the word οφις is used). While a detailed comparison of the signs listed in 16:17-18 to the signs manifested by Moses (and Elisha) would be somewhat tangential to the present study, it is pertinent that while the author of the Long Edition was probably aware of many events which are related in the book of Acts, nothing in the LE indicates that he had ever read Acts. Except for speaking in new tongue not unusual in the first-century church), the signs listed in 16:17-18 resemble signs which accompanied Old Testament prophets, especially Moses (Exodus 4:2-5) and Elisha (II Kings 2:19-22, 4:38-41). The parallels with Elisha seem particularly apt since they accompanied Elisha after Elijah went up to heaven (και ανελημφ θη Ηλειου εν συνσεισμω ωσ εις τον ουρανον – II Kings 2:11 LXX) and similar signs likewise accompany the apostles after Jesus’ ascension (ανελημφθη εις τον ουρανον – Mark 16:19). (Septuagint quotations from The Old Testament in Greek According to the Septuagint, edited by Henry Barclay Swete, © 1925 Cambridge University Press.)

In recent decades, quite a few Evangelical scholars have advocated that the Gospel of Mark originally and intentionally ended at 16:8. This new approach rejects the view that the original ending of Mark has been lost. It is a departure from the traditional view that Mark 16:9-20 is canonical. The Westminster Confession, a Reformation creed still used in Presbyterian churches, states, “The Old Testament in Hebrew … and the New Testament in Greek … being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.”
It is difficult to see how any individual can affirm that the Gospel of Mark has been kept pure in all ages while simultaneously affirming that the LE, which is in over 99% of the Greek copies of Mark and which has consistently been used by the church (including the leading figures of the Reformation), is not authentic. At first glance, this view may appear theologically convenient because it avoids the position that a portion of inspired Scripture has been lost. Just as cooks might hesitate to trust a recipe which is known to have a few lines missing, readers of the Gospel of Mark might not readily trust it if they are told that a few verses are missing. For Evangelicals who do not want to defend the position that the last part of Mark has been lost, this alternative may seem attractive. It also removes the need to integrate the contents of Mark 16:9-20 into Evangelical theology. The statements about baptism, snakes, poisons, and tongues-speaking may all be dismissed by one uncomplicated step.

Second, if the Gospel of Mark originally ended at 16:8, this implies (again, if one assumes Markan Priority) that Matthew closed his Gospel-account without mentioning the Ascension, while knowing that his primary source for narrative material also did not mention it. This would leave us with only one narrative account of the Ascension in the four Gospels: Luke’s account. In addition, an unintended consequence of the rejection of Mark 16:9-20 may be the thinning of the Biblical testimony for the Ascension.

Conspiracy Facts

It is here that I remind the reader once again that intentional organised efforts of attacks against the truth and attempts to suppress the truth were made throughout history. As the Bible shows a cabal made up of a group of people who were united in the close design, to manipulate the Jews and then Pontius Pilate to ultimately crucify Jesus. After His resurrection they paid the soldiers who were standing guard over the tomb to keep silent about what they saw. This same group made efforts to infiltrate the Church and turn Christian-Jews back to the Law of Moses. They were the predecessors of those conspirators who used their evil brilliant genius to introduce alternative translations in strategic places in scripture with the goal to obscure the truth of the power of the Gospel so that it would no longer be the Good News.

The Long Ending is recognized as canonical by the Roman Catholic Church (it was affirmed as canonical at the Council of Trent in 1546) and is used in the Orthodox Church also. During the Reformation, Protestant leaders such as Martin Luther appealed to the Long Ending as Scripture. So did later leaders, such as John Wesley, Alexander Campbell and Charles Spurgeon. To some theologians, the church’s longstanding acceptance of the Long Ending is a sufficient reason to regard it as canonical. To others, the original text must be determined on purely scientific grounds. With that scientific outlook in mind (and without fully resolving the question of the authorship of the Long Ending) I believe that the empirical evidence supports the view that the Long Ending was contained in the Gospel of Mark in the form in which it was first produced for distribution in the church, and that it was accepted as Scripture everywhere except in one Egyptian locale (perhaps Alexandria), where “due to an accident or a copyist’s error“ it was temporarily lost. Mark 16:9-20 deserves its status as a canonical text. It should be included in the text of the Gospel of Mark in translations of the New Testament. The Short Ending, however, has no right to be in the New Testament.

Quick but most necessary word study of Mark 16:17-18

Mark 16
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 

The word “devils” is a wrong translation. There is only one devil. Here the Greek word daimonion should be rendered as the word “demon(s)”.

The speaking of tongues here is truly significant and deserves to be treated separately. But for now, in 1 Corinthians 14:2 the Apostle Paul explains that when we speak in unknown tongues no man understands us, we are communicating mysteries “to” God. (I would say that it is likely if we study this out it would be us expressing the mysteries “of” God) But not only do people not understand, the devil and evil spirits and demons can not understand it either. You speaking in tongues is a means by which the Lord can reveal things that will give you a strategic advantage over a situation where there was some kind of dark spiritual influence.   

Later in verse 13 we are told that when we pray in tongues we must do so for the purpose of/or until we may interpret those mysteries. When Paul talks about our “understanding” being fruitful, his context is for the congregation of believers and that the interpretation of tongues for the benefit of those believers that their “understanding” will be fruitful. What he means is that a spiritual mystery spoken in a message of unknown tongues will be interpreted, and therefore understood by all those present. This principle overlaps over into your personal prayer life. What about praying in tongues on your own when you are alone? You can pray in tongues, and though you may not then seek to interpret into intelligible words, you may get a real sense what you are praying about. This insight can rise from your innermost being, for example internal visuals, such as symbolic images, or even specific detailed visuals. The interpretations can follow as the day plays out, let’s say in conversations with others, or specific situations. You will know and recognise when the Lord is speaking to you confirming what you have already been praying about in tongues. The praying in tongues is the doorway into the supernatural of God and will improve your ability to discern the spirits, whether it is discerning something the Holy Spirit is doing or the discerning of a demonic activity.

The words “Take up” come from the Greek having meaning such as: to raise up, elevate, lift up, to raise from the ground, take up: stones, to raise upwards, elevate, lift up: the hand, to draw up: a fish, to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear, to bear away what has been raised, carry off to move from its place, to take off or away what is attached to anything, to remove to carry off, carry away with one, to appropriate what is taken, to take away from another what is his or what is committed to him, to take by force, to take and apply to any use, to take from among the living, either by a natural death, or by violence, cause to cease.

The word “serpent” can be used literally and symbolically meaning: a snake, figuratively (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan: – serpent.

The word drink means: to imbibe (literally or figuratively), figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it unto life eternal. Note: this is not an inference to the person doing the praying and drinking a deadly poison as has historically been wrongly assumed. The grammar and sentence structure, especially looking at the Greek, could be referring to the person, who is being prayed for, because they had become victim by ingesting a poisonous substance, whether this is meant literally or figuratively. In other words, if they were poisoned, whether it be literally of figuratively, we can lay hands on them and pray for them, for the poison in their body to be neutralized, for them to be delivered from the evil effects of toxic believe systems they are now willing to leave behind, and to be healed, physically, and or mentally.

Lets now look at the sentences again with the knowledge of our word study as I paraphrase and elaborate the relevant words

Mark 16
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues to receive wisdom and strategy of how deal with the situation; 18 They shall take off, or remove the serpent, the influence of those sly, cunning and artful malicious persons attached to them; and if they drank any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them (anymore); they shall lay hands on these sick and afflicted people, and they shall recover. 

Before the Industrial Age

Before the industrial age sickness, and physical injury was commonly caused by deficiency of the appropriate nutrients in peoples diet, insect bites, old or rotten foods, or maybe trauma to the body, and psychologically induced chronic illnesses.

In our modern day

In our modern day we have the added problems of toxic pollutants in the air, water and food and would you believe in many of our cosmetics, toiletries and medicines promoted by a profit aimed health industry and medical fraternity. If people believed a serpent or snake style enchanting sales pitch and consented or conceded to coercion from “so called experts and authorities” to allow a medical treatment to be administered to them, but now have regrets due to severe side affects; should the individual seek help from the Lord, He is there for the truly repentant person. Repentant meaning one who is willing to believe the truth of God’s love for them in Christ over the indoctrination of this world.

It can be argued that the Lord warns us encouraging us to avoid certain products, foods, or medication, but then each person is on their own journey to discover truth. This is not an excuse to condone foolish stubbornness. But people’s unique mental constitution, their fears and insecurities, their beliefs about relevant issues had them choose blindness over accepting truth. Or if they were convinced of their own opinions being right but arrived at a dead end faced with the reality of a potentially life-changing or life-threatening situation hanging over their heads, and they are crying out for the Lord to help. Do you think the Lord does not want to help them? He has compassion on all, especially to the person coming to Him with brokenness, admitting their need for His saving intervention.

Mark 9
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

We may not have all the answers, we may not know all the scriptures, or even comprehend deep spiritual truth. We may still struggle with letting go of old conditioned beliefs we assimilated through the indoctrination’s of this world. We may intellectually know that Jesus can save, heal and deliver, but struggle because of all the un-belief. Un-belief is not, “not believing the truth”, it’s the believe in ideas contrary to the truth of God. When we come to realize that our struggle with fears arising from past trauma, fears of letting go of the familiar and the comfortable are hard to shake of and we need help, this is where Jesus truly want to set us free.           

Jesus gave the disciples a way to administer God’s supernatural power to victims, to set them free from the hypnotic hold of the virtual reality of the worlds systems and its VIP’s who were nothing more than evil snake charmers peddling their toxic venom. By the laying on of hands, with the praying in tongues, addressing the issues by revelation from the Holy Spirit, their bodies could be healed, and if there was a demon present, they would have to leave that person.
The conditions being that the individual would want to be set free. That person will quickly learn to believe the new truth (Gospel truth) they learned and experience an instant download of the renewal of the mind in the relevant crucial areas of their life’s. This would then be accompanied by physical healing and deliverance from un-belief and any demonic entity.