Friday, February 08, 2008

I don't have any idea what it means...

...and I don't think you do either. However, for the sake of congeniality, I'll pretend that I think you might know. But only for a little while.

I am, or course, referring to Matthew 16:28 where Jesus says to His disciples:

"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."

And, except for The Guy in the middle, I don't think anybody in this picture knew what He meant at the time He said it either:
Yeah, I've read what some of those guys that write those big Bible commentaries say. I don't think they know either. I'm pretty sure there are some bloggers out there who think they know. Uh-huh, sure they do.

I'm okay with it, though. I don't know all there is to know about how my car works, either, but I don't let that keep me from driving into town when I need groceries and such.

Yet, I mean....

I don't understand it yet.

And I can wait.


jeff said...

Well, I know I"m no doubt setting myself up for heaps of ridicule for making the pompous suggestion taht I might understand it, but, I can't resist. I think the two verses immediately following this verse explains it perfectly. But then again, it's not cool to know things so you know, whatever.

Barry Pike said...

No ridicule from me. Your understanding that this verse refers to The Transfiguration coming in the next few verses of Chapter 17 is one of several acknowledged historical interpretations. And it may well be the correct one, but it is not without it's difficulties, which is really, ultimately my point. The various interpretations are interesting to read, though, because even the most ardent literalists, of which I am one, stumble around this verse. The parallel passages in Mark 9 and Luke 9 are so close in their expression that it is difficult to glean any different insight from those, too.

My problem with your theory is that, first, from the standpoint of formal analysis, it is just as reasonable to couple 16:28 with the verse immediately before it as it is with the half-dozen or so that come afterwards. Maybe more so, even, since it was quite possibly uttered in the same breath as 16:28, whereas the events of 17:1-6 took place 6 days later. And if you look at verses 27 & 28 together, then it is very difficult to see The Transfiguration as the subject of Jesus' statement.

Secondly, I agree with D.A. Carson, who thinks the phrase "there are some who stand here who will never taste death..." is an "extraordinary" way to refer to the event witnessed by Peter, James, and John, as extraordinary as it was. And, it is really not clear how through this event the "Son of Man is (now) coming in His Kingdom" or (from Mark) how "the Kingdom is coming in power."

I'm not saying you are wrong. I'm saying I don't think it is abundantly clear.

Some people think this refers to the fall of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews and Christians. Others say it is about the Resurrection, or Pentecost, or, of course, the Second Coming.

Maybe John the Revelator is holded up in a high-tech subterranean fortress underneath the Isle of Patmos.

My opinion is that we're going to have to wait and find out.

jeff said...

I know, I was just poking.

To me the transfiguration angle is the only one that makes sense of all the theories. However, I will agree that we won't know for sure.

I spoke on Job this morning. One of my points was that we don't know what God is doing all the time, we just trust the parts we do know. God enjoys throwing stuff in there to keep us on our toes. That's what makes the Bible so fascinating to me.

Barry Pike said...

I have a soft spot for Job. The first adult Sunday school class I ever taught was over the book of Job and, boy, did I feel like I had been thrown into the deep end.

I was asked to substitute teach this class for 3 weeks while their regular teacher, the senior elder of the church, recovered from some surgery. Almost everyone in the class was old enough to be one of my grandparents.

But it went so well and we all found Job so interesting that when it was time for Al to come back, he just asked me to take over until we finished the book.

I really learned so much in that season and I always think about that experience when I read Job.