Please explain Matthew 16:27 and 28. It seems that Jesus was talking about the Second Coming. Is this right? If so, how could He accurately say that some standing there with Him that day would not taste death until He came again? That event is still to come, and those disciples are long dead.

To understand this passage, one must realize that people inserted the chapter divisions of Scripture. Occasionally these divisions were not the best places to divide the writing. This is one instance. The very next chapter tells us about an event several days after Jesus made the statement to His disciples, which you refer to. It was the event where Peter, James, and John (three disciples who had especially close relationships with the Lord) went up a mountain, probably Hermon, and our Lord was transfigured (changed in form).

This unspeakably marvelous event in which Jesus’ face and clothing became brilliant and dazzling as the sun had the purpose of visibly demonstrating and previewing to the three chosen disciples the resurrected Christ in His deity and humanity and in the splendor of His coming Kingdom.

So Jesus’ words in chapter 16 were in reference to this event. Indeed those three disciples didn’t experience death before seeing Christ as He will appear at His coming. We know that Jesus was telling His disciples about His transfiguration, as Peter later wrote in his second letter:

For we did nor follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain (2 Peter 1:16–18).

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (April 2007).
© 2007 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.