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Thread: Is Matthew 16:27-28 about the Transfiguration?

  1. #1
    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Is Matthew 16:27-28 about the Transfiguration?

    Could many Christians be getting this one wrong?



    Is this passage about the Transfiguration? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Often times, critics will bring up this passage to dismiss the Bible. See here? Jesus was wrong about the time of His own return! What passage is it? Let’s take a look. It’s Matthew 16:27-28.

    For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

    “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

    There are parallels in Luke 9:26-27

    “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

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

    and Mark 8:38

    “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

    Let’s start with something. Nowhere does this mention a return. It talks about a coming, but it says nothing about a return. This is being read into the text. A skeptic would need to show that the idea of the return of Jesus is identical to the coming of Jesus.

    On the other hand, a lot of Christians think that this is about the Transfiguration. It’s not necessarily a horrible inference. After all, in each case, the Transfiguration takes place right after Jesus says this. However, the words in Matthew and Luke do indicate a prediction that if referring to the Transfiguration is not impressive.

    As I write this, our world is in quarantine. Imagine if I went to a grocery store and got on an intercom system and said “Attention shoppers! I predict some of you will be alive eight days from now!” First, I would probably be escorted out of the store, but second, even with a virus being spread, it would not be a shock to most people that they would be alive about eight days from then.

    What is going on with the Transfiguration I think is instead a hint at what is coming. Jesus made a glorious statement about Himself and who He is. The disciples are getting a foretaste of the Kingdom. Keep in mind also Jesus said some and while technically, three is some, talking to a crowd and saying some will see X and three see X is not that impressive.

    Now what if Preterism is right? Then Jesus is talking about 70 AD and indeed, some people there likely did live to see 70 AD. This gives the prediction some weight and some credence to be taken more seriously. It’s easy to predict some people will see a major event in eight days. It’s another to say it will happen within a generation.

    I plan to cover other such references in the Gospels before moving on to the epistles, but this is another one that seen through a Preterist lens just makes more sense.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  2. #2
    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Jesus was not wrong about the time of His “Return” - I dislike the word, because IMO it prejudges the issue; which IMO, in the study of Scripture especially, should be avoided like the plague. IMHO, we should emphasise His Coming as His παρουσια, *Parousia* - one of the nuances of which is, a royal visit. *Adventus* can have that nuance, but it is (too) easily overlooked. How often His “Coming” *not* called His *Parousia* ? It would be well worth knowing.

    I think those two verses may refer to the Crucifixion. In St Matthew, these verses directly follow the two “Petrine” passages. The latter of these is a rebuke to Peter precisely because it is a prediction of the Passion. Peter speaks for himself, for the 12, and for all the followers of Christ, of all time, in being “scandalised” by this prediction.

    The previous passage is of course famous. IMHO, for the wrong reasons. It is not primarily about Peter and the Ekklesia; it is above all about the Identity of Jesus as the Messiah - and therefore, by implication, as the Messianic King chosen by God. St Matthew never stops talking about kingship - it is the main theme of his Gospel, around which all the others gather like stars in a constellation. IMHO, when St Matthew uses the verb προσκυνεω, *proskuneō* - which can be used of rendering

    (1) adoration to a deity
    (2) homage to a king
    (3) civil respect from an inferior to a superior

    - he is concerned, secondarily with (1), and primarily with (2). By proskuneō-ing Jesus, those who do so are - knowingly or unknowingly - paying Him homage as the Universal Davidic Messiah-King & “son of man” Whom the Father has chosen. In 1 Enoch, the SOM is a Heavenly figure - given the emphasis on the mysterious/transcendent Origin of Jesus in the Gospels, it seems likely that 1 Enoch may have played a part in the interpretation of the SOM in Daniel 7.

    This, if correct, means that Jesus is giving Simon a royal (as well as scribal !) commission in His household. If the passage is primarily about the revelation of Jesus’ Identity as God’s Messianic King, then the Eliakim-imagery for Simon Peter makes good sense.

    I think the Transfiguration emphasises the Matthean interest in the “fulfilment” by Jesus of the OT. I think 16.27-28 has at least a partial fulfilment in the Passion, mainly because the Passion exhibits Christ as King. That His Reign is not recognised, is of no importance - what matters is, that His Heavenly Father has made Him King. That He is sentenced by Pilate, after being rejected by His own People, is reminiscent of 2 passages: Psalm 2 (compare Acts 4, which quotes it); & 1 Samuel 8.7: “6But when they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” their demand was displeasing in the sight of Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7And the LORD said toSamuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all thatthey say to you, for it is not you they have rejected,but they have rejected Me as their king. 8Just as they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.…”

    Jesus is therefore not only the Davidic King of Psalm 72; He is also the rejected Divine King Who, unlike any man, is the true and rightful King of Israel. Jesus of Nazareth is King JHWH. That He is JHWH is heavily hinted elsewhere, by the passages that show Him doing what JHWH does - and this is another such passage.

    IMO, the Kingdom of God is present, if JHWH is present. This has nothing to do with outwardly-visible wonders. “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation”: - where Jesus is, there is the Kingdom. So where Jesus is Crucified, there the Kingdom is present, and effective. If the signs of the Kingdom had not been acts of Jesus, they would be of interest, but of slight significance. What makes them significant, is that they are done by the King, so they show both Who He is, and also, Who His Father is. Because they are His, they are signs of His Kingdom when those whom He sends out with His (Royal) Authority-Power do them.

    St Matthew 27.51-53 echoes which is virtually a prediction of the life in the Spirit that Jesus “the Lord” brings about by the “two sticks” of the Cross.

    I think Preterism is part of the truth, but not all of it.
    Last edited by Rushing Jaws; 05-01-2020 at 04:36 PM.

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