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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.

Mark 9:1

And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.

Luke 9:27

I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God

Obviously everyone that heard Jesus say this is no longer living, so it seems this prediction by Jesus did not take place. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what the 'Kingdom of God' is. Or maybe Jesus is saying that salvation brings life, and physical death is not important. I think that is was the pervading belief among early Christians that they would live to see the second coming of Christ, as evidenced by some of the letters of Paul. How am I misinterpreting this?

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It's notable, perhaps, that He says they will see The Kingdom, rather than they will enter it! –  svidgen Dec 28 '12 at 1:16
    
I think the major complaints atheism raise toward religion are prophecy like this. No body knows what it really means it can't really be falsifiable. –  Jim Thio Mar 31 '13 at 5:00
    
I recall Jesus also saying to the pharisees "the Kingdom of God is among you"... already. But that's not exactly the same as "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" –  khaverim Apr 30 at 20:56

9 Answers 9

The very next story in each of those passages is the transfiguration. My interpretation: The kingdom is here! Jesus is alive and reigning through his church and in the hearts of the saints. Because the Kingdom has an already/not-yet character, it has not yet come in its fullness, but it is here. And Peter/James/John saw in the transfiguration a preview of the fullness which is to come, Christ in his power and glory.

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That is my understanding as well. But, it seems strange to say, "some of you won't die until it happens - because it will be happening next week". –  Wikis Mar 29 '12 at 7:43
    
@Wikis Why? The disciples at the time had no clue what the kingdom was. To OP: Unless you admit Jesus falsely predicted, the Kingdom must be viewed as something that came during these persons' lives. –  fredsbend Feb 26 '13 at 4:31
    
@fredsbend Or they're still alive! :P –  Ben Apr 11 '13 at 20:28
    
@fredsbend: because otherwise Jesus would have said "none of you will die" or at least "most of you won't". –  Wikis Aug 5 '13 at 11:30

When talking with Peter at the last supper Peter asks a question about John (John:21 v20-22). The Lord responds by saying "What is it to you [peter] if I will that he tarry till I come,...?" (I paraphrased see verses for exact wording). Anyways people assume that after going to the island of Patmos that John wrote several letters and died there. But as far as I am aware there is no documented proof that John died there he just disappeared from the historical record. Now if you believe that Christ has all power and that he made this prediction then is it so hard to believe that He can't keep John the beloved disciple alive until he comes again?

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If John is still alive I hope that he finds this site to answer a few questions :-) –  aceinthehole Sep 2 '11 at 23:09
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I hope he finds this site just so I can ask him some specific questions about his Gospel and letters! –  Lawrence Dol Sep 3 '11 at 5:25
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This gets props for reminding me of the book of Revelation, in which John describes the kingdom of God as he "saw" it. Could this have been an allusion to the vision that Jesus knew John was going to receive? –  Steven Oct 6 '11 at 18:34
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Of course, John himself went on to explain the misunderstanding that arose from Jesus' words: So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” –  Lawrence Dol Dec 30 '12 at 23:30
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that John is still alive, and so I personally accept the interpretation in this answer. –  user3681 Dec 31 '12 at 15:36

I think a possible explanation would be that some of the disciples did see the heavenly Kingdom of God through visions they received during their lifetimes. John's account in Revelation is probably the best example, as he vividly describes a kingdom - including Jesus' ascension to the throne.

The "some" here would suggest that more than one disciple would see this kingdom during their lifetimes, though, and the only thing that comes to my mind is Peter's vision of the heavens opening up and the sheet of animals being lowered down. I'm not sure that this was directly a view of the Kingdom of God, per se, as the records focus mainly on the animals and not the vivid description of heaven that John seems to offer, but I would think such vision would satisfy what Jesus was saying would happen.

Another explanation may be one that kind of cuts it kind of close, so to speak, but along the same vein. I've been taught that through their martyrdom the countenance of early Christians was remarkable. It might be that before they "tasted death," these Christians were shown the kingdom that awaited them. Stephen's last words in Acts don't show this definitively (they could have been a "simple" prayer), but they do seem to imply a certain immediate intimacy (accompanied with a certain, remarkable peace in the midst of such pain and hostility) that could suggest he was seeing heaven prior to experiencing death.

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If one doesn't think about these scriptures as indicating the second coming, but perhaps events directly following His crucifixion one possible interpretation of “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” could be the appearance of Christ at resurrection.

And “see the kingdom of God come with power” could be the awesome power of God tearing the veil of the temple, causing the earth to quake, rocks to split, and graves to open when His son died on the cross.

And "see the kingdom of God"; the kingdom being made accessible to us through Jesus' sacrifice.

These scriptures make sense if you think of them as directly following the crucifixion. These events having taken place while many who were with Jesus when he said “some who are standing here” were still living.

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I'm doing a study of the book of Mark, and this question came up. The general consensus of the group was that this is referring to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Holy Spirit was poured out on a crowd including many (all?) of the remaining apostles. At this point, many did experience the power of the kingdom of God in a remarkable way.

I don't necessarily disagree, but a different parsing of the words ("they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom;" "see the kingdom of God come with power;" see the kingdom of God") might be pointing more towards the ascension of Christ shortly before Pentecost (emphasis mine):

Acts 1:6-11 (ESV)
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11  and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

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Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you and:

Matthew 12:27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

I do not think Jesus meant "when I come again", but rather He was describing what happens to someone when Jesus becomes their Savior, or as in the scripture above, He was saying the Kingdom of God had already come because the Messiah was on earth. Those that accept Jesus as Savior will see the Kingdom of God before they die.

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Its a complex one I must say. But I think we must look at the resurrection. It's quite possible that 'until' is inadequate for the conveying the meaning, as there is apparently no english equivalent for the word. However, it must be possible to understand what it means - otherwise God would not have allowed it to enter our translations.

I would suggest the resurrection, that some will not taste death BUT they will see the coming of the Kingdom of God. Thats my feeling of it. It just feels right to me. I tend to think of death as being the destruction that comes in the Lake of Fire. Even Jesus referred to physical death - the first death - as nothing but sleep. So death here does seem to me to signify more than the run of the mill sort of thing that happens daily. After all Jesus isn't a liar. And I don't see him sitting on his throne in Jerusalem yet!

Others have said that people may have seen visions and that was the coming of the kingdom that they would see before they died. It's a good possibility that John was standing there when he said that, and his Revelation IS his witnessing of the Kingdom coming, and that is what he meant. After all, John was the beloved disciple.

All in all, its nothing to worry about, one day you may understand this verse. Just trust that it is true, and that the whole word of God is totally true.

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Welcome to the site! I personally agree with everything you've said here. However, there's not a lot of doctrinal support. Might I suggest reading meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/692/… and meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1379/… for an idea of how to improve the answer? –  David Stratton Dec 28 '12 at 4:01

This is Prof NT Wright's take on the Kingdom of God in a Huffington Post article

Quote

First-century Jews who believed Jesus was Messiah also believed he inaugurated the Kingdom of God and were convinced the world would be transformed in their own lifetimes, Wright said. This inauguration, however, was far from complete and required the active participation of God's people practicing social justice, nonviolence and forgiveness to become fulfilled.

Once the Kingdom is complete, he said, the bodily resurrection will follow with a fully restored creation here on earth. "What we are doing at the moment is building for the Kingdom," Wright explained. Indeed, doing God's Kingdom work has come to be known in Judaism as tikkun olam, or "repairing the world." This Hebrew phrase is a "close cousin" to the ancient beliefs embraced by Jesus and his followers, Wright said.

Where I differ with the article is on the works part. We know that God gave works to Christ to confirm the truth of His message, just as Moses was to convince Israel and Pharoah by doing miracles through the finger of God.

John 5:36 NET “But I have a testimony greater than that from John. For the deeds that the Father has assigned me to complete – the deeds I am now doing – testify about me that the Father has sent me.

Luke 11:20 NET But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you.

Exodus 8:19 NET The magicians said to Pharaoh, “It is the finger of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

1 Corinthians 2:2-5 NET For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.

1 Corinthians 4:20 NET For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power.

So my take on the coming of the Kingdom of God in Jerusalem and its surroundings is represented by the bold preaching of God's message accompanied by signs:

Acts 2:17-22 NET ‘And in the last daysit will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants,both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the skyabove and miraculous signson the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and gloriousday of the Lord comes. And theneveryone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know –

Acts 19:20 NET In this way the word of the Lord continued to grow in power and to prevail.

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Yes, everything occured by 70 AD. It must be noted that Jesus Christ said Kingdom of God will not come with observables (Luke 17). Kingdom of God is spiritual.

But in terms of Second Coming, Jesus said that the sign of Son of Man will appear in the sky (Matthew 24). It must be noted that everything must be fulfilled within the generation of Jesus' disciples - ""This generation shall not pass until all these things happened." (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).

A Generation is 40 years in Bible. Here are some examples.

Numbers 32:13 (ESV) - And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.

Deuteronomy 1:34-36 (ESV) - And the Lord heard your words and was angered, and he swore, ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the Lord!"

Psalms 95:10 (ESV) - For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.”

Hebrews 3:9-10 (ESV) - Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways."

The Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness (Ex. 16:35; Deut. 2:7), in which time an entire generation died out (Num. 14:33; 32:13).

Acts 13:36 (ESV) - For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption.

In 2 Samuel 5:4 (ESV)- "David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years."

We also know that Jerusalem was destroyed within the generation Jesus taught (AD 30-70).

So all of the prophecies were fulfilled in that generation. Although this may look like a little off topic, still it is related to the fulfillment of all prophecies mentioned by Jesus which also answers the above question.

Jesus said that the sign of Son of Man will appear in the sky (Matthew 24). This was supposed to happen in the generation of his disciples (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).

During the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. This extraordinary incident was recorded by Josephus and Tacitus who lived during that period. This is also recorded in Jewish History Document "Sepher Yosippon", Fourth century Latin Document "Pseudo Hegesippus", and Historian Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History.

Here are the details.

Josephus (Jewish Wars)

Jewish War 6:289 (6.5.3.289) Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year.

Jewish War 6:290 (6.5.3.290) Thus also, before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan], and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which light lasted for half an hour.

Jewish War 6:291 (6.5.3.291) This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.

Jewish War 6:296 (6.5.3.296) So these publicly declared, that this signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the twenty-first day of the month Artemisius [Jyar],

Jewish War 6:297 (6.5.3.297) a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it,

Jewish War 6:298 (6.5.3.298) and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen

Jewish War 6:299 (6.5.3.299) running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise,

Jewish War 6:300 (6.5.3.300) and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”

Tacitus, Histories, Book 5

"Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire."

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter 8, Section 4-6

And the eastern gate of the inner temple, which was of bronze and very massive, and which at evening was closed with difficulty by twenty men, and rested upon iron-bound beams, and had bars sunk deep in the ground, was seen at the sixth hour of the night to open of itself.

And not many days after the feast, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, (97) a certain marvelous vision was seen which passes belief. The prodigy might seem fabulous were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the calamities which followed deserving of such signs. For before the setting of the sun, chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities.

And at the feast which is called Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night, as was their custom, to perform the services, they said that at first they perceived a movement and a noise, and afterward a voice as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us go hence.’

Sepher Yosippon" is a 10th century historical Jewish document written in Hebrew that mentions about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Sefer Josippon also mentions about the vision of soldiers and chariots in the sky which we read in Josephus' Jewish Wars, Tacitus's Histories, and Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.

Sepher Yosippon (A Medieval History of Ancient Israel) translated from the Hebrew by Steven B. Bowman. Excerpts from Chapter 87 "Burning of the Temple"

"Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire. When the holiday of Shavu'oth came in those days, during the night the priests heard within the Temple something like the sound of men going and the sound of men marching in a multitude going into the Temple, and a terrible and mighty voice was heard speaking: "Let's go and leave this House."

This vision of the chariots and soldiers in the sky happened during fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

You may ask what does chariots and the soldiers in the sky have to do with the sign of Son of Man and Bible. Here are some examples.

Jeremiah 4:13 (KJV) – "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled."

Isaiah 66:15 (KJV) – "For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire."

2 Kings 2:11 (KJV) - And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

2 Kings 6:17 (KJV) - And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Zachariah 6:1-6 (KJV) - "And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country."

There are other verses in the Bible that involve God and his chariots.

This vision in the sky and the fall of Jerusalem (which includes the destruction of temple) happened between 30 AD - 70 AD (40 years) period.

Let's also take a look at Latin Document "Pseudo Hegesippus" about Chariots and Soldiers in the sky which happened right before Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Pseudo-Hegesippus, Chapter 44. (Translated from the Latin by Wade Blocker. This excerpt taken from the Latin edited by Vincente Ussani):

Also after many days a certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw, just as the books of the Jews have disclosed, and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots and armed battle arrays, by which cities of all Judaea and its territories were invaded. Moreover in the celebration itself of the Pentecost the priests entering the interior of the temple at night time, that they might celebrate the usual sacrifices, assered themselves at first to have a felt a certain movement and a sound given forth, afterwards even to have heard shouted in a sudden voice "we cross over from here."

More informations are available here.

http://secondcomingofjesuschrist70ad.blogspot.com/

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It would really help if you could edit this answer to use the quote formatting to clearly identify the different quotes from your own voice. So are you claiming that the second coming occurred at 70AD? –  curiousdannii Jun 1 at 6:27
    
Yes, the second coming of Jesus christ was in 70 AD. It is very hard for me to edit this, because all of the information are important information. For further evidences, then check this link (under preterism) - en.metapedia.org/wiki/Second_Coming_of_Jesus_Christ –  konwayk Jun 2 at 17:38
    
I'm not sure if you're serious or not, but thank you for admitting that for the record. Do your beliefs align with any denomination or other kind of Christian group? –  curiousdannii Jun 2 at 21:25
    
Its not my fault that you go after the denominations. But I go after the truth. Check this link (under preterism) - en.metapedia.org/wiki/Second_Coming_of_Jesus_Christ –  konwayk Jun 2 at 21:33
    
Christians use the wisdom of other Christians to help them judge whether an idea is scriptural or not. If someone has a unique idea it's far more likely to be wrong than right. So I was just curious whether you were the only person who believed this, or whether there were others who agree with you. Preterists believe that most prophecy was fulfilled in the first century but not the second coming, so I'm not sure why you linked to a page about them. –  curiousdannii Jun 2 at 21:37

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