I couldn’t stop thinking about how many times at the end of the year we start seeing many different evangelists talking about what God has shown them for a word or direction for the year to come. I began to come up with a word for the corporate body to end this year and a direction to bring for the year to come. I had some ideas of what I felt the Lord was showing me about a corporate word but every time I would try to put it together I would get sidetracked. I had an idea that there was a message about moving forward and pressing on, not looking back, not getting defeated in things we weren’t able to accomplish but staying positive and pressing on no matter what. Trying to put this into words, I somehow found myself thinking about a passage of scripture where Jesus said, “and these things shall follow them”. The words “shall follow” stuck out to me like a sore thumb. Even though I heard this scripture so many times, I felt like there was a deeper message that I had not seen before, a message for me and maybe even for the Body of Christ.

Mark 16:17-18
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.

Notice that in these two passages of scripture the word “shall” is used seven times. I thought to myself “Ok, this is a pretty important word. After all, the things that are being talked about are pretty important”. I immediately began to focus on the phrase “these signs shall follow” or in other words “shall happen”. However, many times they don’t happen. How many times have you seen somebody lay hands on the sick and they did not recover? Haven’t you heard of people casting out demons and they refuse to leave? What about people who drink deadly things and then they die? What is the problem?

This brought me to seek out the true definition of the word “shall”. What exactly does it mean? The first two things found in Webster’s on the word shall are:

a: will have to : MUST
b: will be able to : CAN

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shall

What Does “Shall” Follow Mean?

Instead of clarifying things, these definitions made my understanding of the word that much worse. By these two definitions, one promise “must” happen and “can” happen at the same time. This word now becomes an oxymoron. For example, what if I said: “I must go to work today”? Is that the same as me saying, “I can go to work today”? I could go through digging for the Hebrew and Greek definitions of “shall”, but instead of doing all of that, what if we just focus on who is actually speaking these words in scripture. This might be the clearest way to understand the true definition and intention of the word shall as it is being spoken.

This passage in Mark, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. I would like to point out that these are the last words Jesus gives to them before ascending to Heaven. This fact certainly adds importance to what is being said. So going back to the passage, notice again to what he promises:

17 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.

Returning back to Webster’s definition of the word “shall” we see that it can mean both “must” and “can”. So either Jesus is telling us that we absolutely will see these things happen or we could see them happen. What if He is telling us both definitions are correct? You see Jesus doesn’t simply say these things shall happen. He sets up some ground rules that must be done in order for these things to come to pass. Jesus says these things will “follow those that believe”. So the first thing that must occur in order to see these things happen is belief. Jesus goes on to say “In my name shall they” do the works. Once the belief is present, these things must be done in His Name. After taking a look at these verses more clearly, I can see how these promises with “shall” can have the possibility of going two ways. The signs will possibly follow if we choose to do it as Jesus instructs or they will most definitely follow if done as Jesus instructs.

Other Uses Of “Shall”

Another way that we can understand more clearly what “shall” means is by looking at other times this word is used in scripture.

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

These words, spoken by the Angel on behalf of God, are a direct order of things to come. There was no possibility of failure here. He certainly wasn’t telling us He might come to save His people. This event was already His plan before the foundation of the world. These are things that God is telling us are going to happen, or in other words, must happen.

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

John here is confirming the events to come once the Messiah comes on the scene. He was certain that the exact same way he was baptizing with water, the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. There was no question about it.

The Word for 2019

Understanding more clearly what the word shall means, especially when being used by Jesus, let’s go back to Mark 16:17 to summarize. It is clear now that with the use of the words “shall follow” here, Jesus is telling us these things must happen. There is no way that they cannot happen if we do them as he has taught us. We must believe and we must use the authority in the name of Jesus Christ to see the sick recover and see demons cast out. As I mentioned, I was looking for a direction for the new year and a word for the corporate body. I believe through this message God has given, He has also given a direction for the church for the upcoming year.

These words spoken by Jesus in Mark 16 were the last words that He spoke to his disciples before ascending to Heaven. More specifically, the last sentence was “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”. I believe this statement has much more meaning and importance to it than some of us may understand. We are clearly in the last days and the time to reach the lost is nearing its end. This message Jesus was giving to his disciples started out by saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” and it ended with “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”. These two phrases go hand in hand. As we seek to reach the lost and to preach the gospel to them, the proof that God is exactly who He says he is will be the sick recovering by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ.

I believe God provided exactly what I was hoping for. He opened my eyes to a more clear understanding of His word and has given a clear vision of His direction for this new year. We must rely on His promise, act on faith and on the authority of His name. Not only in the new year to come, but until the day He returns for his church.


Get excited for the new year with the latest episodes from the One Way Podcast’s “Get Ready” series.

Author

Lucas Palso was born and raised in Upstate New York. Ministry has become a big part of his life and he enjoys singing with the praise team at his church. He currently resides in Louisburg NC and is one of the hosts of the One Way Podcast.

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