What would you think if someone told you
that you would live for the next 1900 years?
Would you get excited? Would you wonder
whether your retirement funds would last?
Would you think someone were out of their
mind for suggesting it? Eschatology, Where are They Standing Now?, is an attempt to figure out where the people are that the Lord promised would
yet be a live when he returned. No, I’m not talking about people who were born any time in the last century. I’m speaking of people who were born generations ago and who lived in the times of Christ, who ate, spoke and talked and walked with him.
I’ve been looking for these people for sometime now, hoping they would turn up on Oprah, David Letterman or Nightline. But, so far nothing. Now if the above seems strange listen to the words of Christ.
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then he will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom,” (Matt. 16:27–28).
In Mark’s parallel account, we learn that these words were not only spoken to the Lord’s disciples but to the people as well. (Mark. 9:34) So, we ask, where are they now?
The Lord said they would not taste death until he returned in the glory of his Father with the holy angels in his kingdom. If Christ’ coming has not occurred where are these people? How can they hide for so long?
Where is John?
It would be great for us to speak with John. Then we could ask him to tell us when he wrote the Book of Revelation. Why John, the Apostle? It is because Christ specifically told him that he would remain alive until he returned. He is the only apostle that received specific information regarding his future.
Peter asked of Jesus after supper saying, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.(John 21:21–22).
Now some misunderstood Jesus’ words to say that John would never die. However that is not what the Lord said. He said, John would not die before he returned.
So, again, if Christ has not returned where is John? Should he not yet be standing today? Futurist eschatology has no adequate response for these verses.
They try, for example in the case of Matt. 16:28, and Mark 9:1, to force fit the text into a Pentecost AD 30, time frame. But what is so remarkable about telling the people they would live for another 6 months?
None reportedly were terminally ill. Several were in their 30’s, and thus generally healthy. Further, to force it the text into Pentecost requires that one sever verse 27, which speaks of the Lord coming in judgment to reward every man.
That text is also quoted in Revelation 22:12. No contextual justification for a division exists in the text. No subject change is warranted. Others, mostly Amillennialists argue that the “power” in the text is that of the Holy Spirit.
While we agree that the Holy Spirit did come in power on Pentecost, that is not the power associated with the coming of the Lord to judge in his kingdom. To argue that Christ only comes in power on Pentecost (per the Mark 9:1, parallel text), fails to honorably present the facts of the text.
The verses in both Matt. 16:27, and Lk. 9:26, state that this is when Christ comes in His glory. To do justice to the text, we must have both the power and the glory. That means it is the time of Christ’s second coming for that is when he comes in “power and glory,” (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26; Lk. 21:27).
Thus, the focus of the text is eschatology, not pneumatology, i.e. relating to the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s end time ministry ended at the Parousia, whereas Christ’s power and glory is revealed and continues forever at his coming.
Where are the Corinthians and the Thessalonicans?
Concerning the resurrection at Christ’s coming, both churches were promised they would yet remain alive until Christ returned. In the Corinthian letter, Paul writes:
“For we shall not all sleep…” meaning they would not all die before the Lord return. Then to the Thessalonians, he said twice, “Then we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:15, 17).
Later, in chapter 5, he prayed that their whole soul, spirit and body be preserved until Christ’s coming. Is this not a strange prayer for an apostle to pray if they were all going to be dead almost 200 centuries and yet waiting for Christ to come?
Paul merely repeated the words of Christ that his generation would not pass away till all things related to eschatology, i.e. the end times took place. There are more texts we could cite, but these should suffice and or provoke more individual study on the subject.
Eschatology: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together, Part 1