- Irenaeus (202 AD) cites Mark 16:19 in Against Heresies (3.10.5):-
Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: "So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;" confirming what had been spoken by the prophet.
- Ambrose (397 AD) cites Mark 16:17-18 in The Prayer of Job and David (4.1.4):-
Therefore, it was with good reason that the Lord became a stage, so that the word of the Lord might prepare such stages for Himself; of these He says, "In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak in new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them."
Indeed they took up serpents, when His holy Apostle cast out the spiritual forces of wickedness from their hiding places in the body by breathing on them and did not feel deadly poisons. When the viper came forth from the bundle of sticks and bit Paul, the natives, seeing the viper hanging from his hand, thought he would suddenly die. But he stood unafraid; he was unaffected by the wound, and the poison was not infused into him.
- Augustine (430 AD) cites Mark 16:15 and then refers to verses 17-18 in Homilies On The Epistle of John To The Parthians (IV:2):-
Ye heard while the Gospel was read, Go preach the Gospel to the whole creation which is under heaven. Consequently the disciples were sent everywhere with signs and wonders to attest that what they spake, they had seen.
- Internal evidence supports the long ending. In Luke 10:19, Jesus says:
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
These words were spoken to the seventy disciples, who were sent out after the twelve had received the Great Commission. (See Luke 9.) It makes sense for Jesus to repeat these words to the original disciples just before his ascension. Having first granted this blessing to the seventy, he now extends it to the eleven.
- The parallel references to Christ's ascension (those which we find in the other Gospels and the book of Acts) confirm that the ascension took place. This gives further credence to the record of Mark 16:9-20.
- Additional support for the long ending of Mark is found in Acts 14:3:
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
We see, therefore, that other the Gospels (and the book of Acts) all confirm that (a) Jesus spoke these words, and (b) Jesus did indeed ascend into heaven. This confirms the authenticity of the events and instructions found in the long ending of Mark.
Compelling arguments in support of the long ending have been advanced from the following authorities, on the basis of literary style:
- Bruce Terry (Ph.D.), Professor of Bible and Humanities at Ohio Valley College (See here.)
- Warren Gage (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary. (See here.)
- Robert Nguyen Cramer (See here.) Cramer personally concludes that the long ending is a secondary addition, but in weighing the evidence he presents a list of comparisons between Mark's Gospel and those of Matthew and Luke, which reveal their obvious dependence on verses 9-20. This dependence (particularly in Luke's use of the Emmaeus account) is not easily explained unless we accept (a) an early dating for the longer gloss, and (b) the veracity of same.
Finally, if we deny the veracity of the long ending, we must somehow account for the fact that it was known to (and cited by) the early church fathers.