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Matthew 16:28 - Time Statement for What?

By Bill Grimes
2000

All That Are in the Graves Shall Hear the Sound of His Voice, and Shall Come Forth" | A Letter to a Full Preterist | Jots, Tittles, and the Kingdom of God

 

Matthew 16:28 AV

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. 

Mark 9:1 

And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. (AV)


 Matthew 16:28 is the showcase time statement for many full Preterists. They look at this verse and see in it a time statement for the second parousia.  In this article, I submit for your consideration that Matthew 16:28 is not a time statement for the second parousia.  It is not even a time statement for AD 70.

Preterists make the mistake of lumping Matthew 16:28 in with the previous paragraph, Matthew 16:24-27. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, divided the Bible into the chapters that we now have around 1227AD.  He placed the verse known as Matthew 16:28 in the discussion of the cost of discipleship (Matthew 16:24-27).  However, in the Gospel of Mark, he grouped the parallel verse now known as Mark 9:1 with the Mount of Transfiguration narrative (Mark 9:1).  Matthew 16:28 serves as a transition to the Mount of Transfiguration narrative in Matthew 17:1-13.  Mark 9:1 serves as an introduction to the narrative.  Allow me to demonstrate.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.   For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.   For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?   For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:24-27 AV)


Jesus tells His disciples that to follow him will cost them their very lives.  If they lose their lives for Jesus, they will find them; if they try to save their lives they will lose them.  It profits a man nothing to gain the world but lose his soul.  Jesus then makes a promise.  He will come in glory at an unknown future time and reward every man according to whether he tried to save his life or lose it.  The subject then changes.
 

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.   And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,   And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.   And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.   Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.   While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.   And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.   And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.   And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.   And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.   And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?   And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.   But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.   Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 16:28-17:13 AV)


 Jesus prophesied that some of the disciples would live to see Him coming in His kingdom.  Six days later, He took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain.  What did they see?  They saw Jesus with face shining as the sun and His clothes white as light (See Revelation 1:13-15).  They also saw Jesus speaking with two of the kingdomís prominent members:  Moses and Elijah. And then a cloud appeared, a bright cloud and the voice of God declared His approval of His Son.  Jesus then told Peter, James, and John to keep what they had seen a secret until after His resurrection.

You might object that verse 27 speaks of a coming and that verse 28 elaborates on that coming. If these verses were the only Scripture we had, I  would agree that it is a toss-up as to whether it belongs with Matthew 16:24-27 or Matthew 17:1-13. Matthew 16:28-17:13, however, is not the only Scripture that we have.  Simon Peter and the others kept their secret until after Jesus rose from the dead.  Peter then wrote about it in His second letter.
 

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.   For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.   And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.   We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:   Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.   For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:16-21 AV)


 This is Peterís narrative of what he saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. In verse 16 he affirms to his audience that he was not telling them a tale when he told  them about the power and coming of Jesus. He was an eyewitness of His majesty.  It is noteworthy that the Greek word translated "coming" in verse 16 is our favorite word, parousia.  Peter associates the term parousia with the Mount of Transfiguration event. Matthew 16:28 states that some of the disciples would not taste death until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.  Mark 9:1 states that some of the disciples would not taste death until they saw the kingdom come with great power.  Peter writes that he was not telling a tale when he made known to his audience the power and coming of Jesus.  There you have it.  If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 are time statements which were fulfilled at the Mount of Transfiguration.
 

 These verses were also fulfilled in a broader sense in the Gospel preaching of the Kingdom by Jesus and His disciples.  Consider the following verses:
 

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17 AV)

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,   And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15 AV)

And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:9 AV)

  Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:11 AV)


 If we believe these verses as they are written, then I think it is safe to say that Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 were fulfilled also in the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom.  This preaching was authenticated with miracles of great power:
 

Luke 4:36  Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." (emphasis mine)

 Luke 5:17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. (emphasis mine)

Since Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 are parallel passages which are two different accounts of the same event, we would have to say that Jesus must have been (1) seen coming by His disciples in (2) a display of power for these two verses taken together to be literally fulfilled. That fits the first parousia, because both of these requirements were fulfilled in it. However, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD does not meet both of these criteria, because history does not record that Jesus was at any time literally seen during that event.

Here is the conclusion of the matter.  Is Matthew 16:28 a time statement?  The answer is yes.  Is  it a time statement for the second parousia? The answer is no.  Is it a time statement for AD 70?  The answer is no. The answer is that it is a time statement for events that happened during the first parousia, most notably the Mount of Transfiguration event.

What do YOU think ?

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Date:
25 Oct 2002
Time:
21:08:43

Comments

Mr. Grimes resorts to the old Mt. of Transfiguration argument? I thought that one was long gone.

 1. Jesus never went anywhere (he was still standing on the mountain), so there was nowhere for him to come from.

2. Was Jesus expecting the imminent demise of some of his apostles? Why was it necessary to tell them that some of them would not die for a few days? If I announced that I was going to "come into my kingdom," I would be saying that I was about to be crowned king of said kingdom. That is what the phrase means.

3. There was no crowning of the Messiah as king on the Mt. of Transfiguration.

4. The apostles saw a vision on the mountain. It was symbolic and not real.


Date:
25 Oct 2002
Time:
21:26:04

Comments

Matt 16:27 mentions angels. Bill Grime's conclusion doesn't mention anything about angels, which were said to appear at Christ's second coming (matt 24:31, Jude 14-15) Maybe he 'conveniently' avoided it altogether. And Matt 16:27 also mentioned rewards, which I guess Bill probably avoided as well, because Matt 16:27 is a direct parallel with Rev 22:12. Furthermore, Matt 16:28 implies some will die, otherwise Jesus wouldn't have said, "Some of you will not taste death". It's true, that the kingdom would come upon a believer when demons were casted out (Matt 12:28, but the kingdom was still future (Heb 12:28). This obviously has to do with 'already/not yet'. So the kingdom wasn't present in full. At the time Christ spoke, much like how salvation was available with the resurrection of Jesus, yet it was still future (Rom 13:11, Phil 2:12, 1 Pet 1:5, Heb 9:17).


Date:
25 Oct 2002
Time:
21:39:23

Comments

Standard misunderstanding of those who can't see that Christ's parousia (not in AD 70 but on the last day of the true first century) and the resurrection of the dead in Christ at that time were spiritual events. Christ's statements in Mark 8:34-9:1 were for the disciples AND for the people, some of whom he said would live to see the coming of his kingdom, but the subsequent events of Mark 9:2-10 were for Peter, James and John alone. If Christ's comments about the coming of his kingdom in Mt. 16:27,28 and Mk. 8:38, 9:1 referred to the events on the mount a week later, why would he have said that some standing there (Peter, James and John, as it turned out) would live long to see those events? Live another week! How remarkable! Did the others all die during the six days?


Date:
26 Oct 2002
Time:
13:08:10

Comments

It's interesting to note that Luke 4:36 and Luke 5:17 doesn't refute the preterist position, but rather it strengthens the 'charismatic' preterist argument, that the kingdom came in *power* in 70 AD (Mark 9:1), and that ministry of the Spirit is indeed glorious (2 Cor 3:8). I like other charismatic preterists do not believe the kingdom came in power 70AD and suddenly left immediately afterwards. Preterism seems to defend the charismata, not refute it.


Date:
26 Oct 2002
Time:
15:10:08

Comments

It was always undertood from the OT prophecies that Israel's king would also become the king of the world. Christ became the King of Israel through his spiritual triumph over the false, satanic shepherds of Jerusalem (spiritual Egypt, Rev. 11:8), who had usurped the seat of Moses (Mt.23:2), and he ruled over Israel for 40 1/2 years (spring of AD 30 to autumn of AD 70) in fulfillment of David's 40 1/2-year reign (2 Sam. 5:5). Then, on the last day of the true first century, Christ became the King of the world through the Spirit-empowered church's spiritual triumph over the false, satanic kings of first-century Rome (spiritual Babylon), who, through the worldwide enforcement of the blasphemous practice of emperor worship, had usurped the seat of God (2 Thes. 2:3,4). The kingdom (spiritual reign) of God could not come on earth as in heaven (Mt. 6:10) until the usurping, worldwide spiritual dominion of Rome (Dan. 7:26) was overcome in the day and hour (Mt. 24:36) of the death of Domitian, the 11th first-century emperor and 11th horn of Dan. 7.


Date:
27 Oct 2002
Time:
16:00:14

Comments

Mr. Grimes has apparantly believed he has a broader understanding as to how to separate the Bible verses and chapters! By separating Matt.16:27,28 as he has done implies more than one furure coming of Christ as he has informed His apostles. Also, by the method applied by Mr. Grimes, one could also separate 1 Pet.1:16-21 as follows: In verse 1 Peter was only stating that Jesus had made known to them of the parousia, His future coming after His death and resurrection, and that they had been "eyewitnesses of his majesty" through their association with Jesus and his miracles. Then Peter goes on to tell the story of the glorious transfiguration when the Father affirms Jesus' glory. If it works for Mr. Grimes there, it can work here also! Naturally I believe his exegesis is weak, but this is the same tactics applied by many.


Date:
30 Oct 2002
Time:
10:35:13

Comments

What I find interesting is that none of the writers of the comments above, except the one dated 27 October, dealt with Peter's interpretation of this event in his second letter. I guess that they don't like where it takes them. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming(parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. I think the Apostle Peter has a better understanding of what he saw than those who have commented below. After all, he witnessed the events. The notion that it was all a dream is just plain silly. The writer of the 27 October comment apparently thinks that every time parousia is used in Scripture that it refers to the Second Advent. Not so. See 1 Corinthians 16:17; 2Corinthians 7:6-7;and Philippians 1:26. It plain to anyone who reads the passage that Peter uses parousia to refer to the Mount of Transfiguration event. If my exegesis is week then so is the Apostle's. You guys that wrote the comments abouve need to go back and read it again and let Scripture interpret Scripture, and may the Holy Spirit give you light.


Date:
30 Oct 2002
Time:
10:35:50

Comments

What I find interesting is that none of the writers of the comments above, except the one dated 27 October, dealt with Peter's interpretation of this event in his second letter. I guess that they don't like where it takes them. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming(parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. I think the Apostle Peter has a better understanding of what he saw than those who have commented below. After all, he witnessed the events. The notion that it was all a dream is just plain silly. The writer of the 27 October comment apparently thinks that every time parousia is used in Scripture that it refers to the Second Advent. Not so. See 1 Corinthians 16:17; 2Corinthians 7:6-7;and Philippians 1:26. It plain to anyone who reads the passage that Peter uses parousia to refer to the Mount of Transfiguration event. If my exegesis is week then so is the Apostle's. You guys that wrote the comments abouve need to go back and read it again and let Scripture interpret Scripture, and may the Holy Spirit give you light.


Date:
01 Nov 2002
Time:
10:09:09

Comments

And it looks like the Oct 30 completely overlooked the direct parallels like Matt 16:27 with Rev 22:12 and other related passages like the references to angels. In anycase, the word 'parousia' can also mean 'presence', which makes those other passages easier to understand. This doesn't tear apart the fact that Jesus was said to come with angels (Mark 8:38, Jude 14-15) and that Jesus would come with his 'reward' (Matt 16:27, Rev 22:12). some may object that Mark 8:38 is different from Matt 16:27-28, but it's clear that it's a parallel passage. The same is true with Luke 9:26.


Date:
21 Dec 2002
Time:
10:13:54

Comments

Mr. Grimes should look for his own spiritual flashlight, I think. Jesus warned his disiples not to tell anyone about *the vision* they had seen. Also, the spectral appearance of Moses and Elijah must indicate the insubstantial nature of what was taking place.


Date:
30 Dec 2002
Time:
06:55:55

Comments

Here's a few comments: Although I don't agree with Mr. Grimes, it still makes sense for Jesus to say "some of you standing here will not taste death until you see...". Remember He (and others) don't believe Jesus came in 70ad or anytime since then, so Peter, James, and John were the only ones to see Jesus coming in His Kingdom before they tasted death (according to his view); the rest didn't witness this event so they tasted death (and many people since then) before they saw the coming of the son of man. I don't think the coming in Power has much to do with the Charismata. If Jesus came in His Kingdom with Power in 70ad, then the gifts should have started at that point or at least increased; but what we see is that the gifts were very prevalent from 30ad to 70ad, but after that we don't see any (except many, many, years later we see a few isolated pockets of people claiming they have certain gifts which may or may not be true). Finally, I think Peter is saying (to paraphrase) we're not making up stories when we talk to you about the coming of the Lord (still a few years future); you can trust us because we've seen his majesty and heard the Father's voice from Heaven, so when we tell you he's coming- HE'S COMING!


Date:
11 Dec 2004
Time:
14:32:34

Comments

Michael Fenemore has authored an excellent rebuttal... http://www3.telus.net/f/preterism/articles/transfiguration/frameset_main.htm


Date: 01 Feb 2006
Time: 15:38:19

Comments0:

The conclusion makes sense. At first reading, Matthew 1628 seems to be a plain sense false statement (i.e., the Coming of the Lord was not fulfilled in the sense that He came back). But as pointed out, one simply has to keep reading to see that the 3 apostles did see the glory and the kingdom in the Transfiguration. Very helpful analysis.


 

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