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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Robert J Hutton, Dec 2, 2005.
Could someone enlighten me on what Mark 9 v 49 means?
Kind regards to all.
Albert Barnes commentary:
Mar 9:49 -
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt — A difficult verse, on which much has been written - some of it to little purpose. “Every one” probably means “Every follower of mine”; and the “fire” with which he “must be salted” probably means “a fiery trial” to season him. (Compare Mal_3:2, etc.). The reference to salting the sacrifice is of course to that maxim of the Levitical law, that every acceptable sacrifice must be sprinkled with salt, to express symbolically its soundness, sweetness, wholesomeness, acceptability. But as it had to be roasted first, we have here the further idea of a salting with fire. In this case, “every sacrifice,” in the next clause, will mean, “Every one who would be found an acceptable offering to God”; and thus the whole verse may perhaps be paraphrased as follows: “Every disciple of Mine shall have a fiery trial to undergo, and everyone who would be found an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable and well-pleasing to God, must have such a salting, like the Levitical sacrifices.” Another, but, as it seems to us, farfetched as well as harsh, interpretation - suggested first, we believe, by Michaelis, and adopted by Alexander - takes the “every sacrifice which must be salted with fire” to mean those who are “cast into hell,” and the preservative effect of this salting to refer to the preservation of the lost not only in but by means of the fire of hell. Their reason for this is that the other interpretation changes the meaning of the “fire,” and the characters too, from the lost to the saved, in these verses. But as our Lord confessedly ends His discourse with the case of His own true disciples, the transition to them in Mar_9:48 is perfectly natural; whereas to apply the preservative salt of the sacrifice to the preserving quality of hell-fire, is equally contrary to the symbolical sense of salt and the Scripture representations of future torment. Our Lord has still in His eye the unseemly jarrings which had arisen among the Twelve, the peril to themselves of allowing any indulgence to such passions, and the severe self-sacrifice which salvation would cost them.
Unusual verse that only appears in Mark. Several different interpretations are given by the experts; here's my two cents worth:
Salt is basically used for two purposes, to season or preserve food.
As believers in Christ we are told to have "salt in yourselves" so that others may see the gospel of Jesus Christ in us (v.50). The seasoning aspect of salt here should also be applied to verse 49, not the preserving aspect of salt.
Sinners spoken of in verses 42-48 will be cast into the Lake of fire (v.44) at the Great White Throne, which is the final judgment.
Believers are not exempted from God's judgment by fire, at the judgment seat of Christ our works will be tested by fire (1 Cor. 3:12-15).
Unbeliever's works are judged by fire at the Great White throne, believer's works are judged by fire at the bema seat of Christ - "everyone will be salted with fire."
It's possible that "salted by fire" may also mean that every Christian in this life can expect to undergo the fire of suffering and purification, but considering the context of verses 42-48 as the final judgement of the wicked, the fire of verse 49, pertaining to believers, whould be the final judgment of the Church at the judgment seat of Christ.
I disagree with both, based on something else in the Bible.
If you look up the term 'lose saltiness' you will find it is used four times in the New Testament. The first two times are commonly known: You are the salt of the earth, etc.
But there are two other times when this Greek phrase is used that are NOT translated in terms of salt: Romans 1:22 and 1 Corinthians 1:20. In both cases the reference is to 'become fools' or 'made foolish.' This tells us that salt was a euphemism for wisdom that was understood by the people of that day and overlooked by commentators today.
If you reference that use of salt with the use of fire for testing in 1 Corinthians 3, the very real possibility for the meaning in the verse in Mark is that we will all gain wisdom through testing and the purifying that God does in our lives.
Am posting the verse here to make it easily accessible.