Is Matthew 16:27-28 about the Transfiguration?

Is this passage about the Transfiguration? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often times, critics will bring up this passage to dismiss the Bible. See here? Jesus was wrong about the time of His own return! What passage is it? Let’s take a look. It’s Matthew 16:27-28.

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

There are parallels in Luke 9:26-27

“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” “

and Mark 8:38

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Let’s start with something. Nowhere does this mention a return. It talks about a coming, but it says nothing about a return. This is being read into the text. A skeptic would need to show that the idea of the return of Jesus is identical to the coming of Jesus.

On the other hand, a lot of Christians think that this is about the Transfiguration. It’s not necessarily a horrible inference. After all, in each case, the Transfiguration takes place right after Jesus says this. However, the words in Matthew and Luke do indicate a prediction that if referring to the Transfiguration is not impressive.

As I write this, our world is in quarantine. Imagine if I went to a grocery store and got on an intercom system and said “Attention shoppers! I predict some of you will be alive eight days from now!” First, I would probably be escorted out of the store, but second, even with a virus being spread, it would not be a shock to most people that they would be alive about eight days from then.

What is going on with the Transfiguration I think is instead a hint at what is coming. Jesus made a glorious statement about Himself and who He is. The disciples are getting a foretaste of the Kingdom. Keep in mind also Jesus said some and while technically, three is some, talking to a crowd and saying some will see X and three see X is not that impressive.

Now what if Preterism is right? Then Jesus is talking about 70 AD and indeed, some people there likely did live to see 70 AD. This gives the prediction some weight and some credence to be taken more seriously. It’s easy to predict some people will see a major event in eight days. It’s another to say it will happen within a generation.

I plan to cover other such references in the Gospels before moving on to the epistles, but this is another one that seen through a Preterist lens just makes more sense.

In Christ,
Nick Peters