(See original Post for Part 1)
Is it easier to believe that God a liar than it is to
believe these words are true? So, either way it goes,
you’re going to believe one or the other. You will believe
that God is a liar, or you will believe that these words are
true. Please understand that your belief will not change the
facts of the case.
For example, you are reading words on your computer screen.
You may deny their existence and say there are no words to
read but will that change the fact that you are reading these
words? It doesn’t change that at all, now does it?
Likewise, if anyone chooses not to believe Jesus’ words, it
does not change the fact that he fulfilled them as he said
he would. This brings us to another fact to consider. All the
people who were living at the time Jesus spoke those words are
now deceased. That means if Jesus did not fulfill his promise
to return in their lifetime, i.e., before they died, it is
impossible for him to do so today.
In other words, he cannot come back during the lifetime of
people who already are dead. Both my parents are dead. I
cannot with rationality say that I will come and visit them
before they die. They’re already deceased. Now, I did have
occasions to visit them before they died and that I did. That’s
what Jesus promised, that he would come before some of his
Here’s where faith comes in. Is it easier to believe that
Jesus came when and as he said he would (before some disciples
then living died) or is it easier to believe that some of them
are alive today, after almost two thousand years? They would be
pretty old wouldn’t you say? No doubt they’d be the guest on just
about every talk show not to mention the “Discovery” channel.
Now I could believe that my parents are yet alive on earth,
even though I went to both of their funerals. They died at
ages that it would yet be reasonable to believe they could
still be alive for it was in this generation, just a few years
ago. One died in the 70’s, the other in the 90’s. Were they
alive today they’d both be under 80 years of age. That’s not
impossible for I have relatives today who are older than
Yet, even if I chose to believe they were alive, would that
change the facts? No, it wouldn’t. They would yet be deceased.
How much more irrational would it be about 40 generations
later for some of my descendants, or (anyone) to believe that
my parents would yet be alive? Impossible.
So, if anyone living in the year 3605 A.D., 1600 years from now,
who read that I would visit my parents before they died, would not
understand that to mean that I was going to do that in the
“their” future or that my parents were yet alive. It would
be absurd don’t you think?
Likewise, for anyone today to believe after almost 2000 years
that disciples in the first century are yet alive or that Jesus
would come before some died would have an even greater absurdity
to contend with. His promise was that he would come “before”
they all died, an event which he fulfilled within about 40
years of making that
Finally, some seek to avoid this by claiming that a 2000
year gap exists between verses 27 and 28. In other words they
reason that verse 27 which speaks of Jesus’ coming describes a
yet future event and contains no imminent time statement.
Secondly, they reason that the promise to come before some died
refers to Jesus’ coming either at the transfiguration, just six
days later (Matt. 17:1-5) or on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2)
First, the word “assuredly” in the text is never used to introduce
a new subject. In every other occurrence in which it is used in
the New Testament, it always serves to add emphasis to the subject
already mentioned. Jesus does not introduce a new subject but rather
adds emphasis to his statement in verse 27 by asserting a time
element that only a Divine Being could fulfill.
Secondly, we have no evidence that any of Jesus’ disciples had
died within the six days between the utterances of Matt. 16:27, 28
and the transfiguration scene of Matt. 17:1-5.
Only one of those disciples, Judas, died before Pentecost of Acts 2,
after Jesus’resurrection and ascension. Jesus’ prediction was that
“some” who stood here. “Some” is plural and means more than one,
so Pentecost of Acts 2 would not qualify based on the death of Judas,
a single person.
Third, the coming of the kingdom was future to the transfiguration
and the day of Pentecost. See Luke 21:31. We must rule out a coming
of the kingdom on Pentecost for the same reason that the transfiguration
is ruled out.
“The death of a single person does not meet the demands of the text.
Again, it is “some” of the disciples would not die until Jesus returned.
Only one had died by Pentecost of Acts 2, thus that time frame does not
fulfill the coming of the kingdom.
Only one event in scripture satisfies all the demands of the text.
That event is the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as taught
in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. See particularly Lk. 21:20-22).
Jesus came in the glory before that generation passed, Matt. 24:30, 34.
That was also the time of the coming of the kingdom, Luke. 21:31-32.
In the time between the day of Pentecost and the destruction of
Jerusalem, many of Jesus’ apostles and disciples had died. James
had been killed by Herod, (Acts 12).Tradition has it that Peter
was crucified upside down and that Paul was also executed. According
to Jesus’ words it appears that only one apostle, John survived
until he returned, John 21:22, 23. Thus, some of the disciples
had in fact died before Jesus returned in judgment on the nation.
His words are true. He promised to return in the lifetime of some
of his discipleswho were present with him in the first century.
He kept his promise. He returned.It’s all about time. Isn’t it
time that we understood the imminent time element of Bible prophecy?