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29 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields, all with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life

The tense of verse 29 is the present perfect tense. This means it is referring to the people which already left home, brothers, sisters, etc. for the sake of the gospel(following Jesus). It doesn't seem to be talking about the future generations of people who will be Christians in the next 2,000+ years.

Verse 30 says that these people(who already had followed Jesus) will get in "this age" (implying the time they are living in) hundred times of rewards in terms of what they had already left.

I think it is fair and logical for us to NOT interpret these passages from our point of view (2,000 years later). These words were told to the disciples/people of the time of speaking.

If you imagine that you are there and listening to these words:

  1. Do you understand them as I described above?
  2. If you understand them as me, do you see the controversy of adding the persecutions to the list? What is the point of me receiving a hundred homes and brothers and sisters and children, if I will be persecuted and very probably killed?

Now from today's point of view:

The passage literally says that everyone who did that will receive these rewards in their earthly lifetime, which we know for sure that didn't happen because many Christians were persecuted and executed. Is it logical to conclude that these words were not true?

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    The P.S. (final paragraph) is not in line with hermeneutic analysis. Therefore it should be edited out or the question could be considered off-topic. The question hangs on the meaning of 'this time' καιρῷ Strong 2540 ('time' as in harvest-time) and 'this age' αἰών Strong 165 ('age' as in 'the end of the age'). The question also does not consider what the passage does mean (in its assumption that it is generally - supposedly - 'misunderstod').
    – Nigel J
    Apr 4, 2023 at 23:41

5 Answers 5

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The question hangs on the meaning of 'this time' καιρῷ Strong 2540 ('time' as in harvest-time) and 'this age' αἰών Strong 165 ('age' as in 'the end of the age').

who may not receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields, with persecutions, and in the age that is coming, life age-during; [Mark 10:30 Young's Literal Translation]

The passage is clearly stating the words of Jesus that his promise to his followers, who are often persecuted, is that those who leave a home, or are separated from family due to their faithfulness in following Christ and his words, or else due to the consequences of being rejected by that family - none shall be bereft.

The original states that an hundredfold shall be added to them in 'this time' and in the 'age' that is coming - eternal life.

In this time of homes and families and possessions, those who leave natural families shall join with other Christians and shall find brethren and sisters and mothers and fathers a-plenty. They shall not be bereft.

And in the age that is coming - the aion after the return of the Lord, they shall have an eternal existence that is characterised by life, not the death of this present nature, due to sin, and the prospect of aging and corruption and natural death also due to sin ; but an endless condition of life, eternally.

What an encouragement to those who are persecuted, who face isolation, deprivation, poverty and distress !

They have everything to hope for and nothing to fear, for the promise is sure, since it comes from Jesus Christ himself.

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  • What about the fields - did they receive them hundredfold as well(or are the Christians today receiving them)?
    – CuriousGuy
    Apr 4, 2023 at 23:58
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    @CuriousGuy Ffrom my own personal experience I would say yes. I used to be quite constricted in regard to landscape, but now, in providence, I have access (without chargey) to a huge body of land not far from my home which measures a mile by half a mile on which I walk freely and healthily, often. Yes, an hundredfold, literally.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 5, 2023 at 0:12
  • Do I understand you correctly - you attribute that increase to the fact that you are a Christian, i.e. you wouldn't had have it, if you weren't a Christian?
    – CuriousGuy
    Apr 5, 2023 at 0:15
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    @CuriousGuy I would not have had the previous deprivation had I not followed Christ. And I would not have had the later increase had I not been faithful to Christ. Yes, you understand correctly.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 5, 2023 at 1:40
  • thank you for you answers!
    – CuriousGuy
    Apr 5, 2023 at 7:21
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Mark 10:29 uses the Greek verb "ἀφῆκεν" which is in the aorist indicative active tense--a verb tense that does not exist in English and for which there is no direct translation. When aorist verbs occur in Greek, they may be translated, depending on their context, in one of several ways in English, but they do not align perfectly with any of those.

Merriam-Webster defines "aorist" as follows:

aorist: [noun] an inflectional form of a verb typically denoting simple occurrence of an action without reference to its completeness, duration, or repetition.

Notice especially that "without reference to its completeness, duration, or repetition." In other words, Jesus is definitely not speaking only of those in his time. The Greek grammar here does not support limiting the application to any one specific time period.

While the KJV translates it as "hath left," a better translation would probably be "having left." Like the Greek, "having left" could be applied to a past, present, or future time period, being simply a present participle.

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  • Okay, even if we understand it as "of all time", what are your thoughts on the _truthfulness of the claim - did ALL(or even 50%) of the followers receive the rewards listed in the earthly time of their lives?
    – CuriousGuy
    Apr 4, 2023 at 23:52
  • I think the problem you will have is knowing how much more they had received as compared to what they would have had had they not followed Jesus. It is impossible to know the full measure of results of something they did not do; hence the measure of improvement over that unfollowed action is rather incalculable.
    – Biblasia
    Apr 4, 2023 at 23:58
  • I agree that we cannot do the math. But it is not about doing exact calculations. Well, technically if they had 0 of the things, they would still have 0 at the end. But thats not my point. I just want to hear your opinion if this was realistic and truthful promise.
    – CuriousGuy
    Apr 5, 2023 at 0:03
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The verse refers to a rich young man who, because of attachment to riches, could not leave his possessions and follow Lord in order to embrace His promise of making him perfect.

Now, this is a universal thing, for in all epochs of mankind there is a phenomenon of attachment to riches which prevents man to follow the perfect path in the Lord.

Now, if the above is universal, then also universal is that whoever loves the Lord to such an extent as to leave everything for Him, will have the same state of soul as Peter, Paul and other apostles, and all humans with the same state of soul will be their brethren, sistern, mothren and fathren, both those who live historically and those souls who live Supra-historically in the triumphant Church, the likes of st Peter, st Sebastian or st Nicholas and billions of other saints, martyrs, ascetics etc etc.

Like the latter they will be also persecuted, for those who love world hate Christ (James 4:4) and, naturally, persecute those who love Christ (for instance, ban a Christian teacher refusing to obey transgenderism idolatry and not complying to call boys “she” and girls “he”, or so called “binaries” “bi”-s or “they”-s), as He predicts and warrants (Matthew 10:22).

Therefore - UNIVERSAL! - not limited only to those who had left everything for Christ at the moment Him saying this.

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The verb is in aorist tense form, which shows rather, a perfective aspect, without expressing time factor. You cannot reject the passage, because the parallel passage exists in Matthew 19:29 without the phrase "now in this time". The Bezae text is very helpful to draw some textual critical conclusions to make better sense of the jumbled text of Mark 10:29-30. But there is another option, we can change the word order, as Greek allows it.

Instead of hundredfold (more) now in this time, we can translate it, "hundredfold in the afterlife (as much as) now in this time", as International Standard Version ISV has done.

Jesus said, “I tell all of you with certainty, there is no one who has left his home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or fields because of me and the gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much here in this world—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, along with persecution—as well as eternal life in the age to come.

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To answer the questions it is necessary to acknowledge there are three main problems that make this verse incomprehensible as it currently stands.

The source text is corrupt, the better text can be found in the Codex Bezae available at the University of Cambridge Digital Library.

Translation suffers because of the first point, i will explain that.

One should read the whole sequence from Mark 10:17-31 to understand it better.

  1. In Codex Bezae we read a different text:

αποκριθεις δε ο ιης αμην λεγω ϋμειν ουδεις εστιν ος αφηκεν η αδελφους η αδελφας η μητερα η τεκνα η αγρους ενεκεν εμου η ενεκα του ευαγγελιου · ος αν μη λαβη εκατονταπλασιονα εν τω καιρω τουτω ος δε αφηκεν οικειαν και αδελφας και αδελφους και μητερα και τεκνα και αγρους μετα διωγμου · εν τω αιωνι τω ερχομενω ζωην αιωνιον λημψεται

By traditional translation it would render something like this:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or children or fields for my sake or for the gospel who will fail to receive a hundredfold in the appropriate time, but who has left houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields along with persecution, will receive in the age to come eternal life.

Here Jesus differentiates two categories of followers, those who leave everything for the sake of him and the gospel and those that do so with persecution. That seems to make even less sense than in our traditional translated story.

  1. Well, the solution to that problem is in the translation, to begin with that of διωγμου. The noun comes from the verb διώκω and while that can also be translated as physically pursue, it is quite often used in Greek to convey eager pursuit of a desired result. You can use it as in pursuit of love, happiness, or wealth. The LSJ Greek-English lexicon even mentions τὰ πλούτου δίωγμα, eager pursuit of wealth, as an example and i think that is meant here too. The corruption of the text caused later translators to miss the context completely so they resorted to a default of physical persecution.
    Another word that needs reappraisal is ζωή which is not biological life as such but more the way or means of living, it can even mean the property one needs to make a living.
    Furthermore we should take note that λαμβάνω, here often translated as receive can also have the more active meaning of take, grasp or hold on to.
    Next we have αἰών and αἰῶνος habitually translated as age and eternal but that translation falls short here too and is even a bit silly, there is no such thing as eternal human life. The translation of αἰών is in fact a natural lifetime and within such a lifetime αἰῶνος would be just always, or all your remaining life. In the same light one can translate the question of the rich man in Mark 10:17 as

"What should I do in order to inherit the means to live for the rest of my life?"

The answer Jesus provides is in fact pragmatic, the command to honour your mother and father is the real clincher here because in order to let the natural order of things play out it would be unwise to antagonize your own father if one wants to inherit. That it has nothing to do with eternal life is confirmed in Deuteronomy 5:16 where this paraphrase originates and there is just a promise of a long life to enjoy the land that your Lord and God is giving you, and He is only doing so by the natural order of things that a father dies before the son so he can inherit. God gave the land to the fathers and the sons will inherit if they keep the commandments their fathers taught them.

  1. One should read the whole preceding chapter and observe that the kingdom of God is not about receiving wealth, on the contrary, one should renounce wealth as a precondition to be able to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:23-25 even emphatically says:

23Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”…

In that context we can translate the fate of the second category Jesus mentioned in verse 10:30 as follows:

but who has left houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields in order to pursue gain, will always hold on to property for the rest of his life.

So in the light of the mentioned difficulty to enter the kingdom of God for those that trust in riches, this category will never enter the kingdom of God.

The whole talk about a hundredfold reception of houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields is an ironic hyperbole and should not be taken as a literal promise or prophecy of a reward, it is addressed at Peter who showed his impatient greed in his question in Mark 10:28:

Peter began to say to Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.”

and it ridicules him, he didn't even leave behind his house, nor his brothers or sisters within, and while he has no children we know of, even if he had left a child, does one even want a hundred children, or even more ridiculous a hundred mothers? He is a poor fisherman, he didn't even own fields so how could he have left those behind?
To top it of there is also the juxtaposition of ἀκολουθέω(verse 28) and διώκω(verse 30) applied. Peter says we followed you loyally, Jesus says he did it only for personal gain. It is all irony.

And the following verse Mark 10:31 can now be adequately explained as another ironic remark about those two categories of followers Jesus mentioned.

"But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

It should be read as the number of people in the first category will be few/insignificant, and those in the last will be many/prominent.
Jesus holds no illusions about the proper motivation of his disciples, as we have seen all through the gospel of Mark. He might be right, they are shown to be greedy, envious, self-serving dimwits.

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  • One can find the original and transcription of the complete text of Codex Bezae online right here: cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-NN-00002-00041/623 Apr 7, 2023 at 7:48
  • Use this link for quote reference for Bezae, it contains all the major Greek text. app.biblelinguistics.co.uk But your exegesis is completely off and ungrammatical, with some misguided remarks. You are confusing the words in the "in the age to come- eternal life", One is age to come (afterlife) the second is an adjective eternal. Bezae quote is very helpful, as it makes perfect sense.
    – Michael16
    Apr 8, 2023 at 17:47
  • Please try to avoid making lots of edits in a row, by carefully reading your posts and bundling your changes together. This will be less disruptive for the site community. Thank you.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 10, 2023 at 12:05

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