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Bibliano and Amigo: Discussions on Eschatology (Lesson #8, Coming in His Kingdom)

“For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father, with his messengers, and then he will reward each, according to his work. Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in his reign [kingdom].” – Matthew 16:27-28, Young’s Literal Translation

AMIGO: I can hardly wait till Jesus comes in his kingdom. What a glorious day it will be!

BIBLIANO: Houston, we have a problem. Jesus clearly taught in Matthew 16:27-28 that SOME OF HIS DISCIPLES WOULD LIVE TO SEE HIM COMING IN HIS KINGDOM.

AMIGO: Hmmm. Must be some BIG misunderstanding. That’s not what I’ve been taught by the TV rapture preachers. I watch ‘em all the time. Maybe that passage is about the Transfiguration or Pentecost.

BIBLIANO: Matthew 16:27-28 really cannot be the Transfiguration or Pentecost. This passage is about JUDGMENT and there was no judgment at the Transfiguration or Pentecost. The only judgment that fits is AD 70—when Jesus “came” in judgment against the apostate Jewish nation.

AMIGO: I am confused. The Great Judgment, we all know, is at the end of time.

BIBLIANO: Actually, the Bible never speaks about the end of time—only the end of the AGE (Matthew 24:3). The age in view was the Old Covenant Age, and Jesus’ promises of judgment upon Old Covenant Israel. Thus, with Old Covenant Israel demolished and pushed aside, the New Covenant (initiated at the first advent) came into dominance at AD 70.

AMIGO: No, No. I mean the real judgment.

BIBLIANO: We will all be judged when we die (Hebrews 9:27). But THE GREAT JUDGMENT of which Jesus spoke repeatedly points to AD 70. Here It is, my friend, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT:

  • Matthew 10:15, 23 (before some of the disciples had finished going through the cities of Israel) Matthew 16:27-28 (while some of the disciples were still alive)
  • Matthew 21:33-45 (the Son to take away the kingdom from the chief priests and Pharisees, who “perceived that He was speaking about them”)
  • Matthew 22:1-14 (the Jews were invited but they refused, so the king would destroy their city—JUST WHAT HAPPENED IN AD 70)
  • Matthew 23:29-39 (THEIR GENERATION, in judgment against the Jews, clearly the generation of Jesus’ contemporaries)
  • Matthew 24:29-34 (again, THEIR GENERATION, not some future generation)
  • Matthew 26:64 (while the Jewish leadership was still in authority, in judgment against THEM)

AMIGO: OK. Back to Matthew 16. Let’s just separate verse 27 from verse 28. Then verse 28 is not about judgment after all. Problem solved!

BIBLIANO: That doesn’t work either, brother. That would be an arbitrary distortion of God’s Word. But also, verse 27 has the Greek work “mello” in it. This word means “about to,” and is how literal translations (such as Young’s Literal Translation) render it. So, the force of both verses is the same—imminent fulfillment.

AMIGO: Don’t confuse me with the facts. I want a KINGDOM!

BIBLIANO: We are already in the kingdom. You are making the same mistake the first-century Jews made. They wanted a physical, political Messianic kingdom. But Jesus said his kingdom was NOT OF THIS WORLD (John 18:36), nor with signs to be observed (Luke 17:20), but indeed was even in their midst (Luke 17:21).

AMIGO: Wait. Wait. What about the MILLENNIAL kingdom?

BIBLIANO: Amigo, the Bible taught that Jesus’ kingdom was being instituted in the first century. Just look up such passages as Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:6-7; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 10:8- 9; 11:20; 17:21; Hebrews 12:28; 2 Peter 1:11. In Revelation we see that the kingdom was about to be finalized (“MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE,” “NEAR,” “SOON” per Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-20). Jesus is reigning NOW and FOREVER from heaven (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:33; Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Timothy 6:15; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1-4; Revelation 11:15; 12:10; etc.)—not just some limited period of time. The kingdom is the Christian age which never ends.

AMIGO: I’ve got one more objection. The “kingdom of heaven” is different from the “kingdom of God.” GOTCHA!

BIBLIANO: These terms are used interchangeably in the New Testament. For example: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). Then, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

AMIGO: Maybe I should pay more attention to the Bible and less to opinions in the echo chamber.

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