Did the Transfiguration Fulfill Matthew 16:28?
Copyright © 2004-2008 by Michael A. FenemoreRevised: 2008 Aug 05
not already come ―
in His kingdom
‖ to ―
REPAY EVERYMAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS
Only those who believe that all Bible prophecyhas been fulfilled can take verse 28 at face value.They believe that most of those standing there died,
‖ were still alive when Jesus returned to
inaugurate the Kingdom of God at the destruction of Jerusalem in
. 70. The literal interpretation of verse 28 is supported by numerous other passagesincluding these clear statements from Luke 21:
…when these things begin to take place, straighten up
and lift up
your redemption isdrawing near.
see these thingshappening, recognize that
the kingdom of God is near.
Truly I say to you,
this generation will not pass awayuntil all things take place.
Those still waiting for the Second Coming face aseemingly insurmountable difficulty: no one alive inthe time of Jesus could be alive today. However,most expositors think they have found a way out of this predicament. They claim that when Jesusmention
coming in His kingdom
,‖ he was actually
referring to his Transfiguration described in thefollowing chapter. Radmacher
In theTransfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw apreview of the kingdom.
The present article willtest that interpretation.For the Transfiguration to qualify as thefulfillment of Matt. 16:26-28, it must include severalkey elements:1.
Jesus coming ―
in the glory of His Father withHis angels
People being rewarded for what they havedone, i.e., the Judgment (v. 27). This wouldinclude people Christ was ashamed of (v. 26;Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). MacArthur says,
the Lord was concerned with thereward of the ungodly
final and eternal judgment
kingdom of God
1. Earl D. Radmacher,
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible
electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas NelsonPublishers, 1999), Matt. 16:28.2. John F. MacArthur, Jr.,
The MacArthur Study Bible
(NASB)(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Matt. 16:27.
Not one of the vital components listed above wasapparent at the Transfiguration. The following is asynopsis of Matt. 17:1-9:1.
Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a highmountain;2.
Jesus is transfigured (his face shines and hisclothes appear white);3.
Moses and Elijah appear;4.
A bright cloud overshadows the disciples;5.
A voice says, ―
This is My beloved Son, withwhom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!
Moses and Elijah disappear;7.
Jesus says, ―
Tell the vision to no one until theSon of Man has risen from the dead.
Immediately, we notice glaring inconsistenciesbetween the prediction and the suggested fulfillment.At the Transfiguration, the Son of Man
changed to a certain glorified state (Matt.17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29); however, there were noangels present, nor was there any sign of theJudgment taking place. There was certainly no onethere Christ was ashamed of. In fact, very little at the
Transfiguration resembled Christ‘s description of ―
coming in His kingdom.
If Jesus was referring tothe upcoming Transfiguration when he made hisprediction, we must wonder why he mentioned theJudgment. It was
from all threeTransfiguration accounts. What was the point of verses 26 and 27? It would be as though Jesus hadsaid this:1.
how the event will look;2.
Some standing here will live to see it;3.
When they do, it won‘t look
anything like I just said it will look.
What a ridiculous interpretation! Yet that‘s
exactly what the popular teaching amounts to, andmillions of Christians have accepted it withoutquestion. Consider some of the details associatedwith the Judgment:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven witha shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the