as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—

Mark 1:2
  • Narrator: Flavius Josephus
  • Author: Flavius Josephus
  • Created: Flavian Imperial Cult

Verses 2 and 3 are a strange little bombastic introduction. It’s strange because it specifically invokes the prophet Isaiah, and then doesn’t really do a very good job of representing what it purports to show. Not in Isaiah, but in Malichai 3, there is this:

1 “Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of armies.

2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap.

3 “And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.

4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old, and as in former years.

Malachai 3 : 1-4

The voice of the speaker in Mark 1:2, is shown in Malachai 3:1 as the Lord of Armies – the God of War. He is reminding us of the words the prophets had spoken of him, that a messenger would be sent, the voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Again, the God of War here is Caesar. He is shown making arrangements to inform the Judeans about their fate. The wilderness is anywhere outside of the Roman empire, equating anyone who wouldn’t want to be a Roman as like a wild animal.

The specific Hebrew name used in Malachai 3:1, יְהוָה צְבאוֹת, is a reference to the name as it was used by David in the famous confrontation against Goliath in First Samuel 17:45.

45⌄ But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a saber, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Samuel I 17:45

Here the same phrase is translated as “Lord of armies”. But the reference to a passage with a reference to a passage should be considered standard practice throughout the reading of the Gospels. Josephus was well versed in Jewish and Greek writers, and knew how the traditional Hebrew myths were constructed.

The attribution of this Gospel to Mark is traditional, but it probably comes from this reference to the God of War being one speaking. For Romans, the God of War was Mars, where common names given to boys referencing Mars was Marcus, which has been Anglicanized to Mark. Mark is a specific reference to Mars, the God of War. This book, then, is the Good News of the God of War.