What did Jesus mean when he said “many here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom?”

Reference: Matthew 16:28 “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Question:

What is this talking about? Is Jesus talking about his resurrection or about the 2nd coming?

Answer:

This question calls for me to use my favorite pseudo academic phrase.  Here it comes….are you ready?… “scholars have been debating this question for ages.”  There I said it, and it actually made me feel a little smarter, though it probably didn’t change the reality of my condition.  All that to say, I can tell you what I think, but there are other people who are way smarter than me who have come down on every side of this debate.

Let me cut to the chase, I don’t think that Jesus is talking about his resurrection here, nor do I think he is talking about his 2nd coming.  It seems unlikely that Jesus would say to his disciples and the others gathered there that “some” of them would be alive at his resurrection, especially since it only happened about a year or less following this event.  Similarly, it is unlikely that Jesus would be talking about the second coming because that hasn’t happened yet, and all the men and women who he was talking to are now dead.  Thus, Jesus must have been referring to some other significant event.  But what?

The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem 70 AD.

The statement is an eschatological one.  Thus it has to do with the coming of God’s kingdom, and the end times.  But note that Jesus does not say that, “they will see the Son of Man coming INTO his kingdom”, it says “they will see the Son of Man coming IN his kingdom.”  That little preposition is important.  It means that Jesus’ presence will be here IN his kingdom as it is made manifest here on earth, it does not mean that his kingdom is here and Jesus is coming INTO it.

So what significant event could Jesus be talking about here.  Clearly Jesus is referring to something that some of the people listening to Jesus will experience, but others will not.  It is toward this that I submit the 3rd interpretive option, the view that Jesus is referring to the distraction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD  This was an historically and escheat logically significant event that occurred about 40 years after Jesus spoke these words to the disciples.  Thus, many of those who were there would have lived to see the day that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.  Jesus himself predicted this very event in Matthew 24.  This event was significant in that it closed the chapter on Temple worship which was no longer necessary.  Jesus had become the temple, and his Holy Spirit had now been given to us, thus the temple was present with us and in the church.

Therefore, when the Temple was destroyed it was a powerful, eschatological, signifier that the kingdom of God was coming into the world, and Jesus is “IN his kingdom.”


Advertisements

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “What did Jesus mean when he said “many here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom?””

  1. What in the world is Jesus talking about in Mark Chapter 13? « Metro Bible Blog Says:

    […] about something much closer to his contemporaries. Namely, the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. See Post on Matthew 16:28. This entire passage of Mark 13:1-31 is based around Jesus’ statement to his disciples about […]

  2. Patrick Says:

    Ok from what i can see objectively I have to take some strong points in account.
    #1 Jesus said scripture is not open to interpretation….at all.The words are to be taken just as they are said,not one letter taken out of context.
    #2 Jesus explicitly said that many would not taste death till the see the son of man coming into his reign or kingdom. In hebrew reign concretely in his kingdom would actually be a better description. This was no parable that Jesus was telling. He was simply telling his followers what he thought was about to happen.
    #3 He also said that this generation shall not pass until these things come to pass. Once again not a parable.
    *It appears from an objective point of view, with Jesus presenting his own facts from his own words written down by his followers in their original language,that Jesus thought he would be coming back to save the Jewish people within the short time frame that some of them would still be living.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: