0

Matthew 26:64:

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven

What's the meaning of the word "hereafter" here? As far as I can see, in various other places it is translated as "now", "until now", "starting from now".

Translating it as "until now" in this verse would make no sense to me as the high priest had never seen the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power.

Translating it as "now" could imply that the high priest was going to see the Son of man on the right hand of power in the nearest future - perhaps, even immediately, which, as we know, did not happen. So the "now" meaning doesn't fit in either.

So, we only have "starting from now" left. However, that seems to imply that the possibility of seeing "the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven" became valid only after the high priest had asked Jesus that question, or, perhaps, only after He had been arrested and brought into the high priest's court. That is, if He had not been arrested, humans might have never then been able to see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven, which is hardly likely.

So, is there any other way of translating that word? And why was it necessary there in the first place? It looks to me like the text would make a lot more sense without that word at all.

  • 1
    Literally, "from now" ἀπʼ ἄρτι. "from now on" ESV, "Henceforth" ASV. – Perry Webb May 5 '18 at 13:24
2

The New International Version renders that verse this way:

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

This verse is cross-referenced to Mark 16:19 which says that after Jesus resurrection and appearance before the eleven,

"he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God."

Jesus' words in Matthew 26:34 point to his second coming, which is prophesied in Revelation 1:7:

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him."

This suggests that the religious leaders who put Jesus to death will witness this earth-shattering event even though they physically died almost 2,000 years ago.

| improve this answer | |
  • So, "in the future" is another possible translation of that verse, right? – brilliant May 5 '18 at 7:30
  • Yes, that is my understanding. – Lesley May 5 '18 at 10:21
  • 2
    (1) Strange, but I haven't found any other place, in which this Greek word would be translated as "in the future". Rather, it is either "now", "until now", or "from now". I wonder if Jesus meant to say that starting from His resurrection and ascension all humans after their physical death will not only see God the Father sitting on the throne but also the Son of God sitting to His right. – brilliant May 5 '18 at 10:53
  • (2) After all, we have many verses telling us that Jesus is right now there ("I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" - Acts 7:56, "He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven" - Heb 1:3, "the Lamb at the center of the throne" - Rev. 7:17). – brilliant May 5 '18 at 10:53
  • @brilliant The New Living Translation also says "in the future" and the English Standard Version says "from now on." – Lesley May 5 '18 at 14:08
1

I believe that Jesus uses the term “hereafter” (lit henceforth) because He wanted to draw attention to the fulfillment of prophecy. Note Jesus’ words and the High Priest’s reaction in Matthew 26 (KJV):

64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

In verse 64, Christ is quoting Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13:

(in the KJV)

1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

By quoting these Old Testament references, Jesus is claiming to in fact be the Messiah. The Sanhedrin then reacts accordingly.

So, I believe the word “hereafter/henceforth” just highlights the fact that the Jews are now witnessing the fulfillment of OT prophecy about the Messiah.

Remember, the Jews by in large had missed the fact that the OT scriptures has predicted that Christ must suffer and die (see below; Acts 17:2-3). Christ was highlighting that beginning right then, ie beginning with the trial with the Sanhedrin, that the OT prophecies concerning the crucifixion and resurrection were being fulfilled.

Acts 17:2-3 (KJV)

2 and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them (ie the Jews), and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead…

| improve this answer | |
1

The key to the entirety of the interchange between the high priest and Jesus is found in the book of Daniel. Before looking at the details of both Daniel and Matthew it is helpful to understand what takes place in the interchange.

  1. The high priest asks two questions in verse 63. Are you the Christ (the Messiah) is the first and are you the Son of God (making Him equal with God) as the second. It is the second question that caused the high priest to exclaim that Jesus was claiming to be God in his accusation of blasphemy.
  2. based on Matthew's gospel alone, one might surmise that Jesus ignored the second question, but in Mark's account (Mark 14:62) Jesus includes the declaration of deity statement like the one that YHWH gave to Moses: I AM. One might explain the absence in Matthew because Matthew's gospel links the concept of the Messiah and His deity together (Matthew 16 for example), just as John's gospel links Jesus as Messiah and God (John 20:31). Luke's account (Luke 22:67-71) splits the two questions entirely and omits the exclamation of Blasphemy on the part of the high priest. John' gospel omits the encounter altogether.
  3. Based on the response of Jesus the high priest has heard enough, Jesus had claimed to be God (so either He is God or He is a liar and a sinner) and so the High Priest exclaimed that Jesus was Blaspheming because of what He said.

Back to the specific question, what is the timing of the events that Jesus is describing:

Jesus quotes Daniel 7:13, which is part of the vision that is contained in Daniel 7:9-28, with Daniel 8:15-27 being the explanation of the two visions (the second in Daniel 8:1-15) that Daniel received at the hands of the angel Gabriel.

In Daniel 7:13-14, the Son of Man declares the events that will occur when He is given power and authority over His kingdom. The events of Daniel 7:13-14 corresponds with the events in Revelation 4-5. Daniel 8:17 declares that the timing of the vision will be "at the time of the end." Therefore the hereafter of Matthew 26:64 will occur as an end time event associated with the giving of the kingdom to Jesus. The "time of the end" is a brought term that is associated with the "Day of the Lord," which is not a single point in time.

This is based on a literal interpretation of both Daniel and the gospels. It also takes into account a literal interpretation of Matthew 24-25, which describes the period known as the tribulation and the Great tribulation.

There are those who have a different look at these events as detailed in the gospels and in Daniel: (1) Ammillenialists, will argue that the second coming will be literal but the kingdom is spiritual, arguing against a literal 1000 year kingdom; and (2) Full preterists argue that the events of Revelation and Matthew 24-25 have already taken place and therefore both of these ideas are spirtualized.

There are a number of issues that are raised by this passage: (1) do all of the uses of the phrase "son of man" refer to the same thing? In the passages associated with Daniel 7:13 they are certainly a title of deity. The question is do the other uses in Luke's and John's gospels also refer to the same thing? Luke seems to be using it in a different way to refer to His humanity but it is an open question. The other is the timing of the resurrection (presuming a resurrection unto judgment) for the high priest, so that he would see the coming of the Son of Man in His glory?

Even among dispensationalists there is some debate as to when the lost of Israel will be resurrected. In Daniel 12 and in Isaiah 26 there is a description of the saved of Israel being resurrected after the tribulation at the time of the second coming. The goats at the sheep and goat judgment (Matthew 25:31-46 in the Olivet discourse declares they will be cast into "everlasting fire" and "everlasting punishment", which would make it possible that the lost of Israel are raised at the same time as the saved of Israel. Yet this last idea is an absence from silence, because there are no passages stating when the lost of Israel will be raised, except the general resurrection of the lost at the Great White throne judgment in Revelation.

Part of the argument in favor of the view that the lost of Israel will be resurrected at the time of he sheep and goat judgment is the fact that the basis of judgment is how they treated their fellow Israelites ("as ye have done to the least of my brethren"), whereas the judgment at the Great white throne will be according to their works. Another help in this argument is it will allow a literal fulfillment of the words of Jesus as it applies to the high priest in Matthew 26:64. Of course this is a debate among dispensationalists that would be rejected altogether by interpreters who employ a hermeneutic that results in covenant theology.

| improve this answer | |
  • "...which is part of the vision that is contained in Daniel 7:9-28, with Daniel 8:15-27 being the explanation of the two visions (the second in Daniel 8:1-15)" - Is Daniel 8:15-27 not the explanation of only the second vision? – brilliant May 8 '18 at 19:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.