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Parable of a Man on a Far Journey Mark 13

Posted by hystar on June 19, 2009

KJV Mark 13:34-37
34. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

This parable of Mark 13 tells us a story about the Son of man, Jesus, going on a long journey. Jesus leaves his servants in charge. Mark uses the word authority. In modern times the word authority is defined as having the right and power to enforce laws and exact obedience. Examining the original definition we find; (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: The original definition is much more passive in nature.

Every man was given his work assignment and the porter was told to watch, because they will not know when the master will return. Jesus warns them not to be sleeping when He returns.

This parable raises a number of questions. Why did Jesus warn the servants not to be sleeping when He returned? It seems strange for a person in charge to give such a warning, unless this has been a problem in the past.

To understand this parable the key words will be identified and compared with other scripture to find the spiritual meaning. The key words are: house, servant and work.


KJV Amos 9:8-9

8. Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. 9. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.

KJV Haggai 2:6-9
6. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. 8. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. 9. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

House = a kingdom or nation.

KJV Micah 4:1-2
1. But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

KJV 2 Corinthians 5:1
1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

KJV Ephesians 2:19-22
19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

KJV Hebrews 3:6
6. But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

KJV 1 Peter 2:5
5. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

KJV Colossians 4:15
15. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

KJV 1 Timothy 3:15
15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

House = God’s government, where God lives, His followers, His church.


KJV 2 Kings 21:10. And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

KJV Jeremiah 25:4. And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.

KJV Ezekiel 38:17. Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?

KJV Daniel 9:6. Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

KJV Daniel 9:10. Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

KJV Amos 3:7. Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

KJV Zechariah 1:6. But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

KJV Revelation 10:7. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Servants = prophets.


KJV Genesis 2:2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

KJV Exodus 14:31. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

KJV Psalms 78:7. That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

KJV Psalms 119:27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Work = God’s ability.

KJV Romans 9:28. For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

KJV Ecclesiastes 8:17. Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

KJV Ephesians 1:17. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

KJV Ephesians 3:6. That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

KJV Ephesians 3:19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Work = the ability God gives to us.

It is much easier to supply an accurate paraphrase if a list of key words is compiled.

House = a kingdom or nation. God’s government, where God lives, His followers, His church.

Servants = prophets.

Work = God’s ability and the ability God gives to us.

The Son of Man leaves His church to take a long journey. He left the church under the authority of His prophets, giving every man the ability required to complete the work and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

The key element in this parable is the interpretation of the words, authority and work. Church leaders misinterpreting their authority can never properly execute the work given to them. If they rely upon man’s interpretation, they will never understand Christ and His ways. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. KJV Isaiah 55:8-9.

There is no need to supply a list of abuses committed by church leaders. I am certain the imagination of the reader will provide sufficient details. This parable not only supplies a warning, it also offers a remedy to the situation.

In this parable Jesus used a word translated as authority, which has a meaning quite different than perceived today. The word Jesus chose relates directly to His method of teaching. Consider the words defining the type of authority Jesus gave to His church; ability, privilege, competency, freedom, mastery, delegated influence. This list of words describe the affectionate and competent manner Jesus taught His followers. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. KJV Matthew 7:29.

Consider the spiritual definition of work, God’s ability and the ability God gives to us. This ability will never be granted when the authority is abused.

Never think you have obtained the complete understanding of a parable. When you do, something will come along providing more information. In this case a deeper look at the word servant has been provided by http://www.BibleMeanings.info which is a site containing the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Following is a sample of the information found on Bible Meanings.

“The reason is that by a prophet in the spiritual sense is meant the truth of doctrine, as explained below. And because the Lord was the Divine truth itself, which also is the Word, and from this was Himself called the Prophet; and served in the world, and serves all to eternity by teaching, therefore, He also, in many places, is called the servant of Jehovah; as in the following passages:–“

He shall see of the labor of His soul, and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many (Isa. 53:11).

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, He shall be extolled and exalted and be lifted up greatly (Isa. 52:13).

Behold, my servant, on whom I lean, mine elect, In whom my soul hath good pleasure, I have put my Spirit upon Him (Isa. 42:1, 19);

The complete page can be viewed on the following link: http://www.biblemeanings.info/Bible/revelation.html

After viewing the information on this site I had to consider how I had completed a number of studies containing the word servant, without seeing the connection between the prophets and the method in which they had received the word of God. The biggest surprise for me was the fact this study was written over 240 years ago. This shows how much theologians of today have forgotten, or ignored.


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