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Until You See the Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom

Posted by Matt Postiff December 17, 2010 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Interpretation 

This post is about the sometimes puzzling texts Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 "... there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

One important rule of Bible study to keep in mind is this: don't let the chapter divisions fool you. They are not inspired.

Matthew 16 ends abruptly with this announcement. Chapter 17 would initially seem to leave the reader dangling as to what Jesus means with those words. But actually we should read 16:28 and continue into chapter 17 as if there is no chapter division at all.

As with many Bible difficulties, the answer to the question about who and when this "not taste of death" will be fulfilled is right in the text. In this case, chapter 17 gives the fulfillment of 16:28. Peter, James, and John were the "some standing here" who did not die before they saw a glimpse, albeit very brief, of the glorified Jesus with Moses and Elijah. What they saw is how Jesus will be in His kingdom, with dazzlingly white clothing and shining face, and interacting with resurrected saints of past ages.

The idea that we should not let chapter divisions fool us is backed up by the Mark and Luke passages, where there is no chapter division between the "not taste death" and transfiguration passages.

By the way, in 2 Peter 1:16-17 the apostle reflects on this transfiguration experience. He uses some "kingdom" language when he refers to Christ's power and coming, His majesty, honor, and glory.

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