Sunday, March 31, 2013

You can't wish away Matt 16:27-28!


The moment you mention Matthew 16:27-28 to any preacher or theology expert, the age old tactics of explaining away scriptures starts. The moment you insist that this passage cannot be wished away, you will be called a Preterist (in their parlance a heretic!)
Mat 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 
Mat 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Explaining away, Method #1

This is the most common one, chiefly used by the followers of Charles Taze Russell, like International Bible Students Association, Laymen's Home Missionary Movement and Jehovah's Witnesses

They claim that this passage is a forward allusion to the transfiguration scene in Matthew 17, which appears immediately after this passage and occurred 6 (Matt 17:1) or 8 (Luk 9:28) days after Jesus uttering these words.

If their claims were true, 3 things should have happened in the transfiguration scene, according to Mat 16:27.
  1. Son of man had to come in the glory of his Father.
  2. With his angels.
  3. Every man should be rewarded according to his works.
Let us agree (for the sake of argument) that:
  1. Jesus' face shining as sun (Mat 17:2, Luk 9:29) or His raiment becoming white as the light (Mat 17:2, Mar 9:3, Luk 9:29) is the glory of the Father.
  2. Add the voice from the clouds: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Mat 17:5) to #1 as the glory of the Father.
  3. Let us accommodate the presence of Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration scene as the angels. (Mat 17:3,  Mar 9:4, Luk 9:30).
Can anyone show an unambiguous statement that every man was rewarded according to his works in the transfiguration scene?

The only other reference to the transfiguration scene is in: 

2Pe 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2Pe 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Apostle Peter also doesn't tell us that any reward was given to anyone in the transfiguration scene.

Moreover, in Matt 17:9 Jesus himself clarifies that the transfiguration was a vision.
Mat 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
Moreover, does it take the Son of God to say that some of those who were standing with him then (30± AD) won't taste death within 6 to 8 days, if the allusion was about the transfiguration scene?

Frankly, my friend, this theory does not add up! The coming of the Son of Man is not just a vision, whereas transfiguration was a vision.

Explaining away, Method #2

The second method of explaining away is to claim that there is a wide separation between Mat 16:27 and Mat 16:28. The proponents of this view get into the mumbo jumbo of Greek grammar to prove their point. (Does God expect all the believers to be experts in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic grammar?)

  1. The passage from Matt 16:24-28 is a single utterance. In the Bible, every utterance of Jesus is invariably preceded by "Jesus said", "He said", "He told", "He asked" ... etc. There are hundreds and hundreds of examples to prove this. Please check a red letter Bible to see for yourself. If verses 27 and 28 are unrelated there should have been a "Jesus said". "He said" ... prelude to verse 28, which is not there.
  2. If verse 28 is not associated with verse 27, what purpose does the verse serve in isolation? NONE.
The attempt to divorce Mat 16:28 from Mat 16:27 is just an exegetical acrobatics that does not serve any purpose!

The implication of Matt 16:27, 28 does not go away by explaining away!

There is nothing to be spiritualized here, it is a plain statement and Jesus had to come back while some of the disciples who were standing with him then (around 30 AD) were still alive!
Mat 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Jesus is the Son of God and He doesn't require the assistance of your exegetical acrobatics! We will do good to understand His ways rather than bending the scriptures to match our presuppositions!

Yours in Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal


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