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Jesus prophesies his return

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In Matthew 16:28, Jesus says, "Some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Obviously, this didn't happen. Some Christians say he was referring to the Transfiguration, but that seems contrary to the plain meaning of the text - that some people in Jesus' era would live to see his return to earth.


So how do Christians understand the passage? One could say Jesus never said this, but then the Bible would be wrong and not inerrant.


Apparently, either the Bible was wrong or Jesus himself was mistaken. It's one or the other.

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The knee-jerk weasely answer is that the kingdom is the church, the new testament era that was established after Jesus rose from the dead.

But christians pay surprisingly little attention to what Jesus really meant by the son of man, the earthly messiah in Daniel 7 who comes with the clouds of heaven, probably because he never came:

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

If you keep reading in Matthew following the prophecy in Matthew 16, the transfiguration occurs in Matthew 17, but afterward Jesus keeps talking about the son of man:

Matthew 24:
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 25:
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

Matthew 26:
And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.

I am sorry but no son of man has come on the clouds in glory, and no angels have come with the sound of a trumpet and gathered the elect.  This is surprisingly important because the “son of man” is the way that Jesus referred to himself more often than any other!  Jesus’ message was an apocalyptic one that the son of man referred to in Daniel was about to show up and usher in the kingdom of heaven over all the nations; the church then morphed the message into a theologic one about salvation from sins.  Go figure . . . .

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Oh, I remember catching that one early on! The standard "Church of Christ" interpretation is that he is referring to the establishment of his church, but that never rang true for me.

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