Applying the Touchstone and Lodestar of Scripture
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.
“Verily I say unto you, There are some of those standing here that shall not taste of death at all until they shall have seen the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28)
“And He said to them, Verily I say unto you, There are some of those standing here that shall not taste death until they shall have seen the kingdom of God come in power.” (Mark 9:1)
“But I say unto you of a truth, There are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until they shall have seen the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27)
The Lord here promised that some of His disciples standing there with Him would not die till they had “seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
“Seeing the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom” (as recorded in Matthew) is equivalent to “seeing the kingdom of God come in power” (as recorded in Mark), or simply “seeing the kingdom of God” (as recorded in Luke). This is true because the kingdom is bound up with the Person of its King . . . the King embodies the kingdom.
The promise of some of His disciples not tasting “death” just yet—not till they had seen the Son of man coming in His kingdom—is made in connection with what He had just been emphasizing in the preceding verses on His disciples taking up their cross daily and following the rejected Christ on the path to His Cross (Matt. 16:21-26; Mark 8:31-37; Luke 9:22-25).
Now Preterists hold that the Lord was here promising that some of His disciples would live to see Him coming to actually establish His kingdom on earth . . . that they would not taste of death until He did so. Therefore (they say), the coming of the Son of Man to actually establish His kingdom must have been fulfilled in their lifetime—specifically in, or immediately after, the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, in 70AD.
Recall, “partial” Preterists hold to a non-literal, non-personal, non-physical, providential Second Coming of Christ in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD; whereas “full” Preterists claim to hold to a literal (!), personal, physical Second Coming of Christ in, or immediately after, the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. But, in either brand of Preterism, the kingdom inaugurated at His 70AD Second Coming is mysticalized/spiritualized. [Of course, the “partial” Preterist notion is also contradicted entirely, e.g., by Matt. 24:29-31. The Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD cannot be the providential Second Coming; nor can it be the result of the providential Second Coming. For the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory is declared by Scripture to take place after—immediately after—”the tribulation of those days,” which, in the spiritual alchemy of Preterism, is the very destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. To thus teach that the destruction of Jerusalem takes place after the destruction of Jerusalem is utter nonsense!]
It has already been demonstrated at some length that the Preterist approach or methodology is a selective, isolated, pseudo-literal one (2 Pet. 1:20), which reads into their select texts that which cannot be found there or anywhere else in God’s Word, and which mysticalizes the kingdom, and overthrows the genuinely plain, normal, literal sense of all other prophetic scriptures—including, e.g., the myriad of OT prophecies, and the very Olivet Discourse itself and the book of Revelation as a whole—bearing on the future of Israel, the promised kingdom, the coming of Christ, etc, etc. As such, the Preterist take on Matt. 16:28, e.g., is completely illegitimate and cannot possibly be true.
Another point to note is this: Preterists mysticalize Daniel's 70th week/the Tribulation Period/Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, based on their selective, isolated, pseudo-literal eisegesis of Matt. 16:28 (24:34, 10:23, and 26:64), which they imagine requires the Lord to have returned specifically in 70AD (which has been, and will further be shown to be absolutely false and unsupportable). Further, this is a blatant case of circular reasoning. For Preterists mysticalize Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse based on their view of Matt. 16:28 (along with 24:34, 10:23, and 26:64); but they justify their 70AD view of Matt. 16:28 (24:34, 10:23, and 26:64) based on their mysticalizing of Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse!
"Seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom . . . seeing the kingdom of God come in power . . . seeing the kingdom of God"—there are, of course, only two options in understanding this text: a false one (of which there could be many) and the true one.
(A) False Option: The Preterist view has been shown, and will further be shown, to represent a false option, which entails an eisegetical interpretation in isolation from all other scripture revelation on the subject (including the Olivet Discourse itself), and particularly as to the nature of the kingdom (i.e., each and every single OT covenant, prophecy, promise to His earthly people Israel concerning a literal earthly kingdom is mysticalized or alchemized into a mere “spiritual” kingdom). The Preterist view, therefore, in no way follows a genuinely literal interpretation. It is an eisegetical, isolated, and thus a gravely erroneous and pseudo-literal interpretation.
(B) The True Option: The Lord's promise refers to literally seeing—in a picture . . . in a foreview—the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (a preview of Christ in the glory of His kingdom), which is in perfect accord with all other scripture revelation on the subject, and particularly as to the nature of the kingdom. It is in perfect harmony with all other scripture (2 Pet. 1:20), including the immediate context, and thus the correct and genuine literal interpretation.
Before expounding on the true interpretation of Matt. 16:28, further proof of the speciousness and hollowness of the Preterist theory will be set forth.
“Seventy weeks [Or, “Seventy sevens” of years] are apportioned out upon thy people [Daniel’s people, Israel] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem], to close the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make expiation for iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal the vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. Know therefore and understand: From the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, are seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks [for a total of 69 weeks of years]. The street and the moat shall be built again, even in troublous times. And after the sixty-two weeks [which follow the first 7 weeks, for a total of 69 weeks of years; thus, not after 69½ weeks . . . not during the 70th week, but after 69 weeks] shall Messiah be cut off [in the death of the cross], and shall have nothing [of His earthly kingdom glory]; and [again, sometime “after” the 69 weeks of years] the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary [not the coming prince himself, but “the people” of this prince that shall come; and not the people of the Messiah-Prince who was cut off, but the people of this prince that is yet to come (the prophetic figure spoken of earlier in 7:8, 20-21, 24-26), as seen in the next verse (v. 27); it is this “people” that “shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”—as was fulfilled in the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman “people” (the Roman Empire-people), after an almost 40-year gap from the expiration of the 69 weeks of years and the “cutting off” of the Messiah]; and the end thereof shall be with an overflow, and unto the end, war, -- the desolations determined. And he [“the (Roman) prince that shall come,” just mentioned in the latter half of the preceding verse] shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week [for the seven years of the final/70th week, at some unrevealed time subsequent to the (70AD) destruction of “the city and the sanctuary”; and, of course, Christ, the Messiah-Prince, has never confirmed any covenant with anyone for a seven-year period after 70AD (or at any other time for that matter); nor did Titus Vespasianus]; and in the midst of the week [at the mid-point of the 70th week, 3½ years into this final seven-year period] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [having thus previously been restored], and because of the protection of abominations there shall be a desolator, even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:24-27) [The final 3½ years (of the 70th week) are also spoken of in 7:25 (in connection with the coming Roman prince), and again in 12:7.]
“And from the time that the continual sacrifice is taken away, and the
abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand, two hundred,
and ninety days [3½ years plus 30 more days].” (Dan.12:11)
According to Dan. 9:26, the destruction of Jerusalem takes place after the end of the 69th week of years (9:26, after the Messiah-Prince is cut off in death) and before the start of the 70th week (Dan. 9:27)—not during the 70th week. Therefore, the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem could not have been the fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week. The 70th week must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem.
Further, it is likewise true that Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse could not have been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. For our Lord, in Matt. 24:15, refers to the 70th week of Dan. 9:27, saying: “When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet [Dan. 9:27 & 12:11], standing in what is a holy place [in the middle of the 70th Week] . . .” That is, the events of Matt. 24 coincide with the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week. The Lord Jesus thus provides indisputable “timing” for the fulfillment of Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse—in that it is fulfilled whenever the 70th Week is fulfilled. And as Dan. 9:26 explains that the destruction of Jerusalem takes place after the end of the 69th week (9:26, after the Messiah-Prince is cut off in death) and before the start of the 70th week (Dan. 9:27), then Matt. 24 could not have been fulfilled in the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem, but must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to 70AD.
“The King becomes very specific concerning the end time by referring to the abomination of desolation [standing in the holy place]. The Greek particle translated "therefore" [24:15] . . . links this section very closely to the preceding. Both passages speak of the end of the age, but Matthew 24:15-22 particularizes one great event in that time. That event is the standing of the prophesied abomination of desolation in the holy place [in the middle of 70th week].”
“Since the Lord's statement concerning the abomination of desolation is based on Daniel's prophecy of seventy weeks, it is well to note the chronology of Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel prophesies that from the decree of Artaxerxes—given to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem—until the coming of Israel's King [the Messiah-Prince] is the period of sixty-nine weeks of years. This period of time was culminated when Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. [‘Sir Robert Anderson has shown that the entry of Christ into Jerusalem occurred on the very day that the sixty-ninth week of Daniel's prophecy had run out. This is the exact time in which the Messiah was to come (Daniel 9:25).’]”
[The death of Christ, according to God’s eternal purpose (1 Pet. 1:19-20), was the divinely appointed way (the only way) to make propitiation for sin, and thereby provide for the redemption and blessing of both His earthly people (Israel) and His heavenly people (the Church). But consequent upon Israel’s rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah-Prince (cf. Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28), God has presently, and temporarily, rejected Israel (Rom. 11:11-12, 15), and has, according to His eternal purpose, introduced/intercalated an entirely new and distinct heavenly purpose in Christ, a mystery involving the Church, Christ’s Body and Bride. It is the accomplishment of this mystery, this heavenly purpose which has required a break in God’s dealings with His earthly people Israel, and the postponement of the 70th week, with the establishment of Israel’s glorious, everlasting earthly kingdom at the end thereof.]
“Consequently, the great time of tribulation spoken of in connection with that period of time (Daniel 12:1) has been put off into the future. This future period of time will be inaugurated with the signing [or confirming] of the [7-year] covenant by the nation Israel [i.e., the unbelieving mass of Jews, not the godly Jewish remnant, living in Palestine during the 70th week] with the wicked prince that shall come. In the middle of the week, or after three and a half years, that wicked prince will cause the [restored] temple worship at Jerusalem to cease. At that time, the abomination of desolation will be introduced in the temple [cf. 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 13:11-18].”—Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold the King: A Study of Matthew, pp. 272-275. Multnomah Press, 1981. [All bracketed comments mine; except for the one on Sir Robert Anderson, which are the author’s, from p. 242.]
At any rate, our Lord makes clear that Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse and Daniel's 70th week are indissolubly linked, and thus must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to 70AD. Of course, according to literal interpretation with its recognition of dispensational truth, the fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week is still future, and will not be fulfilled till after the imminent rapture of the heavenly people of God. But for now it is sufficient to show, based on Dan. 9:26-27 and Matt. 24:15, that Matt. 24 of the Olivet Discourse and Daniel's 70th week must be fulfilled sometime after the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem.
(This, of course, has devastating repercussions for the other Preterist “time” texts as well, which will be dealt with in due course.)
Preterists identify Matt. 16:28 and “seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28) with the actual coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory in Matt. 24:29-31:
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days [of Daniel’s 70th week, cf. 24:15] the sun shall be darkened, and the moon not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land lament, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the one extremity of the heavens to the other extremity of them.”
Again, Matt. 24 and Daniel's 70th week are indissolubly linked, and must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to 70AD. As such, the coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 24:29-31 must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to 70AD . . . and after the accomplishment of the 70th week of Daniel. Likewise, even the selective, isolated, pseudo-literal Preterist view of Matt. 16:28 must be fulfilled sometime subsequent to 70AD . . . and after the accomplishment of the 70th week of Daniel, whenever that might be.
[Note: in addition to the conclusive scriptural evidence presented above, see the discussion under Matt. 24:34 for another true key—i.e., Luke 21:12, “before all these things”—which fixes the timing of the fulfillment of Matt. 24 (and Mark 13) and Luke 21:8-11, 25-36 of the Olivet Discourse.]
This leads to the next point . . .
“Verily I say unto you, There are some of those standing here that shall not taste of death at all until they shall have seen the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28)
Assuming for the sake of argument that the absurd Preterist view of Matt. 16:28 is correct—insofar as, some of the Jewish disciples standing there with the Lord would not die till they see Him coming to actually establish His kingdom on earth—it still in no way entails Preterism; i.e., the coming of the Son of Man and establishment of His kingdom in 70AD. For the Matt. 16:28 says not one word as to when He would actually do so; though it has just been shown that it would have to be sometime subsequent to 70AD . . . and after the accomplishment of the 70th week of Daniel, whenever that might be. Preterism/”70ADism” is thus absolutely ruled out.
Further, there is absolutely no promise of the Lord in Matt. 16:28, or anywhere else for that matter, that some of His Jewish disciples would be kept from death only “until 70AD.” Nor is there one word in Matt. 16:28, or anywhere else, which declares that the coming of the Son of Man and the establishment of His kingdom would “take place in 70AD”. (All such preterizing notions have been assumed and read into the text without any scriptural basis whatsoever.)
Rather (still assuming for the sake of argument the basic correctness of the Preterist view), the Lord’s promise in Matt. 16:28 simply requires that some of His Jewish disciples not die till they see Him actually coming to establish His kingdom. But He gives not the slightest suggestion as to when that would be (certainly not 70AD).
As such, this yet leaves one possibility . . . actually the only tenable position (though there can be a slight variation of a detail or two within the scenario of this only tenable position) . . . that Preterists may, and must, adopt under their absurd, isolated, pseudo-literal view of Matt. 16:28 (i.e., insofar as, some of the Jewish disciples standing there with the Lord would not die till they see Him coming to actually establish His kingdom on earth):
That is, the Lord's promise entails that He would, and has, miraculously kept some of His Jewish disciples alive for the past 2,000 years and will continue to do so until He finally comes and establishes His kingdom; whereupon they will “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Where are they being kept alive? The text does not say, but they are presumably in Paradise/the third heaven. Thus, the Lord, in making good on His promise of some disciples not seeing death till they see the Son of Man coming to actually establish His kingdom on earth, had these Jewish disciples taken up to heaven at some point (perhaps prior to, or upon, His ascension), and has been miraculously keeping them alive as such for the past 2,000 years—until He returns with them to establish His literal kingdom on earth; and as these disciples return with Him, they will thus be able to “see,” and fulfill the Lord’s promise of seeing, “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (or perhaps they return shortly before the coming of the Son of Man—i.e., they return sometime during the future Tribulation Period/70th week of Daniel; see the discussion of Matt. 10:23). (And after seeing “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom,” these Jewish disciples would be allowed to finally taste of death, so as to then be immediately resurrected to enter the earthly kingdom in their glorified bodies.)
This position is the only tenable one that Preterists may, and must, adopt under their absurd, isolated, pseudo-literal view of Matt. 16:28. But such is a self-defeating position! For Preterism/70ADism is thus absolutely ruled out by the very Preterist view of Matt. 16:28!
Therefore, either this position represents the true fulfillment of Matt. 16:28—in which case Preterism/70ADism disproves itself . . . collapses of its own weight . . . perishes in the ash heap; or the Transfiguration (a preview of Christ in the glory of His kingdom) is the true fulfillment of Matt. 16:28 (as set forth below)—in which case, again, Preterism/70ADism is sent packing to return to never never land. Either way, Futurism is the end result!
It should be noted that, given the Preterist mysticalizing methodology in approaching the scriptures, it is impossible for that system to conclusively disprove, either logically or biblically, the self-defeating position outlined above. It would be interesting and instructive to behold the manner of their attempt!
One further observation . . .
"Seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom . . . seeing the kingdom of God come in power . . . seeing the kingdom of God," in Matt.16:28, Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27, no more signifies seeing the actual establishment of the kingdom than the “coming” of the kingdom of God in Matt. 12:28 entailed its actual establishment during the days of His flesh (which Preterists would concede as to Matt. 12:28).
“But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then indeed the kingdom of God is come upon you." (Matt. 12:28)
Aside from the obvious fact that Israel's prophesied, promised, covenanted glorious earthly kingdom, as depicted in the OT, was not established during His earthly ministry, notice the following passages from the Synoptic Gospels themselves, as well as from Acts and Revelation, to the same effect:
Matt. 6:10—"Let thy kingdom come, let thy will be done as in heaven so upon the earth.”
Matt. 11:11—“Verily I say to you, that there is not arisen among the born of women a greater than John the baptist. But he who is a little one in the kingdom of the heavens [at its establishment] is greater than he [greater than he, John the Baptist, is right now, prior to the establishment of the kingdom; otherwise he would be in the kingdom as well]."
Matt. 19:28—“And Jesus said to them, Verily I say unto you, That ye who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit down upon His throne of [kingdom] glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Matt. 25:31—“But when the Son of man comes in His [kingdom] glory, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit down upon His throne of [kingdom] glory.”
Mark 15:43—“Joseph of Arimathæa, an honourable councillor, who also himself was awaiting the kingdom of God, coming, emboldened himself and went in to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus.”
Luke 19:11-12—“But as they were listening to these things, He added and spake a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was about to be immediately manifested. He said therefore, A certain high-born man went to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and return.”
Luke 21:31—“So also ye, when ye see these things take place, know that the kingdom of God is near.”
Luke 22:18—“For I say unto you, that I will not drink at all of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God come.”
Luke 23:42—“And he said to Jesus, Remember me, Lord, when thou comest in Thy kingdom.”
Luke 23:51—"(This man had not assented to their counsel and deed), of Arimathæa, a city of the Jews, who also waited, himself also, for the kingdom of God.”
Acts 1:6—“They therefore, being come together, asked Him saying, Lord, is it at this time that Thou restorest the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not yours to know times or seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority.”
Acts 3:19-21—“Repent therefore and be converted, for the blotting out of your sins, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus Christ, who was foreordained for you, whom heaven indeed must receive till the times of the restoring of all of things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since time began.”
Rev. 3:21—"He that overcomes, to him will I give to sit with Me in My throne [of kingdom glory]; as I also have overcome, and have sat down with My Father in His throne."
Rev. 5:9-10—And they sing a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open its seals; because Thou hast been slain, and hast redeemed to God, by Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them to our God kings and priests; and they shall reign over the earth.”
Rev. 11:15—“And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet: and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world [or, world-kingdom] of our Lord and of His Christ is come, and He shall reign to the ages of ages.”
Rev. 19:11-16; 20:1-6—“And I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and one sitting on it, called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head many diadems, having a name written which no one knows but Himself; and He is clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in the heaven followed Him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen. And out of His mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the wine-press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He has upon His garment, and upon His thigh, a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. . . . And I saw an angel descending from the heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him that he should not any more deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be loosed for a little time. And I saw thrones; and they sat upon them, and judgment [rule] was given to them; and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the word of God; and those who had not done homage to the beast nor to his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and hand; and they lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years: the rest of the dead did not live till the thousand years had been completed. [Now follows the divinely inspired interpretation of the vision he just “saw” in 20:4-5a:] This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” [Note: All of these glorified saints are said to reign with Christ, upon His return to this earth, all throughout that same period of “a thousand years" between the first and second (kind or order of) resurrections. They do not begin to reign with Christ each at different points in time and for only part of (or for anything less than) that same thousand year period. All of the glorified saints start reigning together with Christ at the same point in time and for the same length of time. Also, as F.W. Grant remarks (Leaves From The Book, p.126), Rev. 20:4-5a “gives the vision; the rest is interpretation; and this latter is not symbolic, or it would not be interpretation. It shows indeed how clear the vision itself is, that it does represent a real resurrection, and that the ‘thousand years’ is literally this.”]
Matt.12:28 simply means, not that the kingdom was established when our Lord temporarily bound Satan for the purpose of casting out demons, but that it was really "come upon them" in the sense that the King was come—and could offer the kingdom (authenticated by His miracles) . . . could offer the kingdom to Israel upon her repentance. The kingdom of God was come upon them in the Person and power of the King. As the kingdom is bound up with the Person of its King . . . as the King embodies the kingdom, it can, in a very real and true sense, be said that His kingdom was come upon them—without the least suggestion that He, then and there, had established His kingdom (besides, there are too many scriptures to refute that isolated interpretation). And now that He has gone (into the heavens, seated at the right hand of God), the kingdom is likewise gone, no longer "come upon them," awaiting His return for its actual establishment, when Israel is brought to repentance, according to God's purpose and sovereign grace.
Our Lord's miracles, with His power over Satan and his demons, proved, among other things, that He was indeed the King of the Jews, the embodiment of the kingdom in His Person. And the kingdom was offered or presented as embodied in the Person of the meek and lowly Lord Jesus.
"The presentation of the kingdom was bound up with the acceptance of Christ and with repentance. Thus the presentation of the kingdom, as bound up with His Person, constituted a moral test of the state of the Jews, the result of which was to bring into relief the total ruin of man [as such, and not simply Israel]. It was part of God's sovereign way to glorify Himself in Christ, utilizing the very ruin of man, to unfold His purpose in the cross [which, among other things, is the ground upon which His kingdom will be established in sovereign grace after Daniel's 70th Week, upon the repentance of the future Jewish remnant]."—R.A. Huebner
This understanding of Matt. 12:28 is in seamless agreement with the observation made earlier, that “seeing the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom” (as recorded in Matthew 16:28) is equivalent to “seeing the kingdom of God come in power” (as recorded in Mark 9:1), or simply “seeing the kingdom of God” (as recorded in Luke 9:27): for the kingdom is bound up with the Person of its King . . . the King embodies the kingdom.
And this, in turn, is in seamless agreement with, and supports the Transfiguration fulfillment of Matt.16:28 . . .
As indicated at the beginning of this section, the Lord's promise refers to literally seeing—in a picture . . . in a foreview—the Son of Man coming in His kingdom . . . the kingdom of God come in power, which is in perfect accord with all other scripture revelation on the subject, and particularly as to the nature of the kingdom. It is in perfect harmony with all other scripture (2 Pet. 1:20), including the immediate context, and thus the correct and genuine literal interpretation. The literal witnessing, by three of His disciples (Peter, James and John) of a picture, of a foreview of the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (a preview of Christ in the glory of His kingdom), was literally fulfilled in His Transfiguration about a week after our Lord made that promise.
And this is precisely the way in which Scripture itself explains Matt. 16:28, via the apostle Peter (2 Pet. 1:16-21), one of the three eyewitnesses of His Transfiguration (and isn't it interesting to observe that this explanation and confirmation is found in the very same Epistle . . . in the very same chapter . . . in which the apostle Peter declares that the scope of no prophecy of scripture is had from its own isolated interpretation!). The apostle Peter declares, by the Holy Spirit, that he made known the glorious truth of “the power [Mark 9:1] and coming [Matt. 16:28] of our Lord Jesus Christ” to this remnant according to the election of grace by having been an actual eyewitness of “His majesty”—of His glory as it will be displayed in “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” to establish His earthly kingdom—thus confirming their OT prophetic Word (and thus refuting all preterizing/mysticalizing reasonings, questionings and objections).
“For we have not made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly imagined fables, but having been eyewitnesses of His majesty. For [in Matt. 17] He received from God the Father honour and glory, such a voice being uttered to Him by the excellent glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight; and this voice we heard uttered from heaven, being with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the [Old Testament] prophetic word made surer, to which ye do well taking heed (as to a lamp shining in an obscure place) until the day dawn and the morning star arise in your hearts; knowing this first, that the scope of no prophecy of scripture is had from its own particular [isolated] interpretation, for prophecy was not ever uttered by the will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. 1:16-21)
As was stated earlier, the promise of some of His disciples not tasting “death” just yet—not till they had seen the Son of man coming in His kingdom—is made in connection with what He had just been emphasizing in the preceding verses on His disciples taking up their cross daily and following the rejected Christ on the path to His Cross (Matt. 16:21-26; Mark 8:31-37; Luke 9:22-25). And the Transfiguration follows as a confirmation of the OT prophetic word (making it “surer”) concerning the future glorious earthly kingdom (as the apostle Peter relates in 2 Pet. 1:19)—in light of His rejection and approaching crucifixion (Matt. 16:21). His death marks not the loss of all hope of the establishment of that glorious earthly kingdom; rather, His atoning death, His precious blood, is the very ground, the only ground upon which it will literally be established, according to the sovereign grace of God, precisely as promised in the OT prophetic word, by the risen King at His second coming to the earth with power and great glory.
“Jesus promises in Matthew 16:28 that some of the disciples who were standing there should not die until they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. This verse has caused much difficulty. It can hardly refer to the coming of the Son of Man to establish His kingdom as prophesied in the Old Testament simply because the Old Testament kingdom prophecies were not fulfilled in the lifetime of the disciples”
“It seems fairly evident that Matthew 16:28 is an anticipation of the transfiguration, which immediately follows this prediction. It must be noted that verse twenty-seven is to be separated from verse twenty-eight in this connection. Verse twenty-seven looks at the establishment of the kingdom in the future, while a promise of seeing the Messiah in His glory is the thought of verse twenty-eight. They are two separate predictions separated by the words "truly I say to you" . . .”
“Matthew 16:28 is attested as a prediction of the transfiguration by several facts. Peter, one of the three who witnessed the transfiguration, interprets it in this manner [2 Pet. 1:16-18].”
“A second testimony of the fact that the Lord was anticipating His transfiguration is found in the arrangement of the events in the gospels [i.e., contextual evidence]. All three Synoptics (John omits the account of the transfiguration) place the transfiguration immediately after this prediction of the King. Matthew and Mark link the transfiguration to the promise with the conjunction ‘and’ . . . while Luke uses the words ‘and it came about’ . . . . A third evidence is seen in that only some of the apostles saw the transfiguration. Finally, this explanation fits the meaning. The three disciples saw a foreview of the coming of the kingdom.”
“The purpose of the transfiguration was primarily confirmation. It confirmed several vital facts. One of these was the reality of a future kingdom. The very fact that the transfiguration took place attests this. The presence of Old Testament saints on earth with Christ in a glorified state is the greatest possible verification of the kingdom promises in the Old Testament. The reality of this kingdom is also evident from the connection of the transfiguration with the promise of Matthew 16:27-28. The Son of Man was going to come one day to judge the world and establish His kingdom (Matthew 16:27). As an earnest of the coming of the kingdom three disciples were permitted to see the Son of Man in His kingdom (Matthew 16:28). This is exactly the manner in which Peter uses the transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-21).”
“The transfiguration, being a fulfillment of the promise contained in Matthew 16:28, is a confirmation of the kingdom program, the person of the Messiah, and the necessity of Christ's sufferings.”—Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold the King: A Study of Matthew, pp. 209-212. Multnomah Press, 1981. [Emphasis and bracketed comments mine.]
“At the close of His discourse [in Matt. 16], Jesus adds—‘There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom’ (ver. 28). Another evangelist says—‘Till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power’ (Mark 9:1); and another, ‘Till they see the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:27). Now in each case these remarkable words are immediately followed by the story of the transfiguration. Surely this suggests, that the transfiguration was a prophetic display of the kingdom in power made to chosen witnesses, at the moment when it was for a time to be set aside by the mysterious form in which the kingdom now appears [cf. Matt. 13]. But what the Gospels suggest, Peter expressly states. ‘We have not,’ he says, ‘followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses 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’ (2 Peter 1:16-18). The transfiguration, therefore, was God's witness to the ‘power and coming’ of Christ, the proof furnished that, notwithstanding the postponement of the Jewish hope, the prophetic kingdom was still as sure in His purposes as ever, and that Jesus, now rejected in His grace, would return in power and glory to revive the kingdom in all its outward display.” —T.B. Baines (The Lord's Coming, Israel, and the Church). [Bracketed comments mine.]
“In the transfiguration on the mount we have a very beautiful and sublime picture of a millennial scene. The Lord had said to His disciples, ‘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’ (Matt xvi. 28; Mark ix. 1; Luke ix. 27). In the verses that immediately follow the above passages we read: ‘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' (Matt. xvii. 1-5). Thus the above prophecy, that there were some who should not taste death till they had seen the Son of man coming in His kingdom, was fulfilled six or eight days afterwards, when the Lord took three of His disciples (those who should not die till they had seen His glory) up into the high mountain, and they beheld Him in all the majesty of His kingly character, when 'His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light,' and as He will appear in the millennium.
"Though this wonderful scene may have lasted but a very short time, it was a striking representation of that glorious day which is coming. The two classes of saints of the first resurrection who shall then reign with Christ are represented by Moses and Elias,—the former typifying the saints that will have died as he had died; the latter those who shall not die, but be changed at the Rapture, as Elijah had been changed and caught up into heaven; while the three disciples represent the [natural/non-glorified] inhabitants of the earth in the millennium, who will be delighted with the presence of the Lord and of the risen saints.
"Peter, who could never forget this transcendent scene, pointedly alludes to it in his second Epistle, chap. i. 16-18, '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 eye-witnesses 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.'
"Evidently Peter had in view the King coming in His millennial kingdom, a representation of which he had seen in the mount.”—J.A. Savage (The Scroll of Time, pp. 143-144). [Bracketed comments mine.]