Matthew 16:28 (NASB)
Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

Is Jesus Christ referring to

a) the Transfiguration


b) pouring of The Holy Spirit on the worshipers on the Day of Pentecost and the general period of time associated with the establishment of Christ's church?

The reason I'm asking is because Transfiguration seems too minor in terms of significance compared to other events in the New Testament Bible. However, in the synoptic gospels the Transfiguration was the next reported event after Jesus Christ made said statement

3 Answers 3


Three gospels contain that statement, and all three are immediently​ followed by the transfiguration, and all three use language that connects the two events.

Matthew 16:28-17:1: ""Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves."

Mark 9:1-2: "And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves..."

Luke 9:27-28: "But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray."

This language connects the two events as part of one train of thought. Remember: The authors, while recording real historic events, weren't writing history books, but theology books, to communicate points (in the big picture, each of the four gospels communicates and underlines different aspects of Jesus' nature). History books say "x, then y, and later z", but if a theological book says "X then later Y", they are explicitly tying the two together, in the same way a Chemistry book saying "put a drip of acid into the beaker, then it foamed over" is implying a connection between the two, not unrelated events mindlessly recorded.

John 1:14 possibly references the same event: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

2nd Peter 1:16-18 for sure talks about it: "For we [...] were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain."

A popular alternative view is that Jesus was talking about John, because John "saw" in a vision Jesus coming with His kingdom and angels a few decades later when he wrote the book of Revelation. I think my explanation about is much more straightforward and the likelier explanation, though.


Matthew 16:24-28 is a single teaching from Jesus and therefore should be taken in context of its entirety. Jesus covers discipleship, everlasting life, judgment, and death. So, what happens after the judgment? Would it make sense that Jesus would prophesy concerning the outcome of the judgment, that some people standing there will at that time taste everlasting death?

  • Do you mean everlasting death at the return of Christ/coming of His kingdom?
    – Cork88
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 6:53
  • Yes. But that doesn't necessarily exclude other interpretations as hints. There are several places in scripture prophecy where there was both a short term application and a long-term one. For example, in Ezekiel 28:11–19, the description of the king of Tyre seems to go beyond the king and also apply to satan, who was indeed in Eden.
    – Dieter
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 14:57
  • @ Dieter That makes sense. It sounds similar to Typology if not typology itself.
    – Cork88
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 0:25

It was a literal statement that some of that generation in which Christ was manifested on earth would live to see His second appearance promised to that generation. This is a new concept to many, and requires recognition of the time in which His second appearance was promised. (Heb. 9:28) It requires the proper perspective to recognize things which have been deliberately hidden from us for over 150 years.

Heb. 1:1-3,

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:" (KJV)

Hebrews was written approx. 63-66 A.D. (Source: [Hebrews])1 So, the author was telling those Hebrew Christians in the first century A.D. that Christ had spoken with them "in these last days". The author said that in days past, times past, that God had spoken to the people through the prophets, but in the first century He spoke to the people through His son, and the author identified their days as "these last days." A = B = C.

If Christ spoke with the people directly in the first century A.D., and He spoke with them in "these last days" then the last days were in the first century A.D.

This present tense verbs of the New Testament books were all written almost 2,000 years ago to people who lived in the first century A.D. That makes the New Testament history for us, just as the Old Testament is history.

The last days were always the last days, the latter days of the tribes of Israel. See Gen. 49:1-27, where Jacob/Israel was giving the blessings to his sons at his death bed, and told them what would happen to each in their latter days.

The last tribe, the remnant still existing when Christ appeared on earth was Judah, the law giver, in verse 10.

" The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (KJV) Bold emphasis mine.

The scepter was removed from Judah and given to Christ at His death on the cross in 31 - 33 A.D. So, the latter days spoken of by Jacob were those days of Christ's crucifixion.

And, the entire book of Hebrews discussed what the latter days were, and what was about to pass away... the old Mosaic sacrificial covenant. The last days were always about the passing away of the old covenant in favor of the new covenant of the gospel of Christ.

Matt. 11:13,

" For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." (KJV)

When did John come? He was born approx. 6 months before Christ was born, and was making the path straight for Christ, preaching that the kingdom was at hand in the first century A.D.! (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15)

So all the prophets and the law was until the first century A.D., when Christ told His disciples that they would not finish going through the cities of Israel before He came in His kingdom (Matt. 10:23); when Christ told Caiaphas that Caiaphas would see Him sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64).

That was judgment language spoken to the High Priest of the Sanhedrin, who recognized it from all OT judgment language of God. That is why they convicted Him of blasphemy, because He spoke judgment against them, and they did not recognize Him as the Son of God.

Christ told them that judgment was going to begin with them, and that the fire had already been kindled (Luke 12:49). John told them that the axe was already laid at the root of the tree (Matt. 3:10). Christ told them that all the blood from Abel to Zacharias would be required of that generation (Matt. 23:35). Christ told them that generation would not pass till all those things were fulfilled (Matt. 24:34).

There are many time texts in the NT that have been ignored in favor of current interpretations of Revelation and Daniel, etc. But, they are easy to recognize once you really look at them.

Christ came back in their generation, bringing with Him the kingdom, judgment, and the glory of victory over His enemies, over all those who had rejected Him as the promised Messiah. It was completed at the destruction of Jerusalem and that temple which He called the synagogue of Satan in Rev. 2:9, 3:9, in A.D. 70.

The only generation which could have a second appearance of Him is the one that saw His first appearance, those that handled Him, walked with Him, witnessed His crucifixion (1 John 1:1-2). We have never seen Him in the flesh. He came back to that very special generation just as He told them He would. He established His kingdom just as He told them He would.

To explore more scripture evidences of the first century appearances of Christ, see the posts "It's Not The End of The World, Parts I - X" at my blog here

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