Did Jesus make a mistake about His disciples seeing the kingdom come in their lifetimes? MATTHEW 16:28

MATTHEW 16:28—Did Jesus make a mistake about His disciples seeing the kingdom come in their lifetimes?

PROBLEM: Jesus told His disciples that some of them would not see death until saw Him coming in His kingdom. Yet during the life of the , Jesus never returned to set up His kingdom.

SOLUTION: is a of when was going to take place, not whether it would. There are three possible solutions.

First, some suggested that this may be a reference to the of Pentecost where Christ’s Helper, the Holy Spirit, came to descend upon the . In John’s Gospel (14:26), Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, and, in the beginning of Acts (1:4–8), He tells them not to leave Jerusalem until received the Holy Spirit. But this hardly seems to fit the description of seeing Christ coming in His kingdom (Matt. 16:28).

Second, others this might be a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in a.d. 70. This would mean that He would return to bring judgment upon the city that rejected Him and crucified Him. While this is a possible explanation, it does not seem to account for the fact that Jesus appears to be coming for believers (those “standing there” with Him), not simply coming in judgment on unbelievers. Nor does the judgment on Jerusalem in a.d. 70 adequately express seeing the “Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (v. 28), a phrase reminiscent of His second coming (cf. 26:64). Nor does it explain why Jesus never appeared in a.d. 70.

A third and more plausible explanation is that this is a reference to the appearance of Christ in His on the Mount of Transfiguration which begins in the very next verse (17:1). Here Christ does appear in a glorified form, and some of His apostles are there to witness the occasion, namely Peter, James, and John. This transfiguration experience, of course, was only a foretaste of His Second Coming when all believers see Him come in power and great (cf. Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7).



[1]Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (349). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

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