Is It Better To View Jesus’ Prediction as Trite or Mistaken?

Today we’ll be tackling the subject of the “kingdom of God” in my historical Jesus class. It is important to survey the breadth of usages to which this terminology is put both in the Judaism of Jesus’ time and in early Christian sources. Obviously one key text is Mark 9:1 and parallels. There Jesus is depicted as predicting that some standing there would not die before seeing the kingdom come with power.

I’ve encountered several translations that attempt to reinterpret the saying in terms of realized eschatology, as though Jesus is predicting that some will not die before they see/perceive that the kingdom of God has already come with power. But that is scarcely a natural way to understand the sentence, and a prediction that some who are present will understand before they die doesn’t seem like much of a prediction, especially when we consider that Jesus was actively involved in trying to get the disciples to understand his teaching.

Another common approach is to interpret the prediction as referring to the transfiguration. This too trivializes the prediction, having Jesus predict that “there are some standing here who will not taste death within the next week.”

The alternatives seem to be to trivialize the prediction, or to take it seriously and acknowledge that Jesus was incorrect about the nearness of the end. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why having Jesus make trite predictions (I too can confidently predict that some reading this will not taste death before next week!) seems preferable to acknowledging that he shared in the fallibility that is inherent to the human condition. What if anything is gained by doing so?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12399706958844399216 terri

    I don't know what to do with this either….except to maybe say he's referring to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and spreadof the Gospel.But that requires harmonizing the text with other texts….which isn't necessarily wrong if we're thinking that Mark was written many years after Jesus was crucified and the general view was that the kingdom of God was actively coming into the world.It's not just the use of the saying….but that Mark included it. What did Mark mean by it? Was it meant as a prediction of the second coming? Was it meant as a "See Jesus said these marvelous things would happen…and they are happening right now."?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Matthew 16:28 is our earliest interpretation of Mark 9:1, and if anything it makes clearer still that this was understood by at least some early readers as a prediction of the coming of the Son of Man.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12399706958844399216 terri

    eh…so much for that idea! :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11335631079939764763 Bob MacDonald

    My understanding is that the gospel author is predicting that Jesus' death and its associated power will inaugurate and proclaim the reign of God for all times and places.

  • http://www.freeoldtestamentaudio.com/Blog/New.php Jeremy

    At the very least, I gain a Jesus that I can better identify with. I've had this discussion in numerous Bible studies with adults in my parish though, and this interpretation is a tough go for them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03089281236217906531 Scott F

    As a former Christian and eternal fundamentalist let me be the one to ask: Once you admit an error-prone Jesus what is left of a Bible-based Christianity? On what does one base their faith? I know Jim is comfortable being "out there" with his exploratory faith but, as Jeremy says, this is a hard sell in the pews.

  • http://www.thegoldenrule1.wordpress.com Mike Koke

    Hey James, I wonder if in Mark's literary context he sees the transfiguration as at least a partial fulfillment of the saying (some standing here [Peter, James, John] did not taste death before seeing a manifestation of the kingdom with power)? What the saying would have meant on the lips of the historical Jesus or some early Christian prophet would probably be another question.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03201490337520769596 Eric Gregory

    I have understood "seeing the Kingdom of God coming with power" to mean "witnessing the inauguration of the Kingdom through the ascension of Jesus and the subsequent descension of the Holy Spirit". I'm not sure how else to interpret this – it doesn't seem mistaken or trite given the preceding verses.Was this simply another way in which Jesus forsees both his own death as well as that of Judas Iscariot (they being the ones who force the "some" not to be "all" in Jesus' statement)?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03089281236217906531 Scott F

    Eric and Mike: If we take the prediction to mean that Jesus ascension was that which "some standing here who will not taste death", that is only saying that they would survive for another month or so. This is what Jim means by "trite". It's not exactly a daring prediction. The actualtext only makes sense if some few would have been expected to be gone by the time the predicted event came to pass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01300256018441903185 Keika

    Perhaps the key to understanding this verse might be the use of the pronoun, "some." Had Jesus uttered, 'all,' 'most,' 'everyone' standing here will not die before seeing the Kingdom of God come, then for sure he would be predicting the event. By excluding the majority of his audience, Jesus displayed some reservation as to how and when his Father's Glory would come forth. So perhaps some doubt did exist in Jesus' mind. Uncertainty but not fallibility.

  • Anonymous

    Jesus predicted that Peter, James, and John would see the Kingdom of God in Him at the Transfiguration. That is what He is talking about. He isn't talking about death. Read the Pope's book "Jesus of Nazareth".

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10828225180668865911 Mystical Seeker

    I think that for some of us, what made Jesus important was his values and the the example he offered by life that his values informed–not any alleged powers of clairvoyance or some supposed inability to make factual errors. I'd rather follow someone who pointed the way to justice and love, who acted accordingly to an amazing degree, and who overturned conventional wisdom in the process, than someone who could perform Kreskin-like parlor tricks by predicting the future. But hey, that's just me.Even conventional Trinitarian doctrine runs smack up against the problem of docetism, and a lot of people who pay lip service to orthodox conceptions of Jesus's nature being both fully human and fully divine get tripped up by their own de facto ignoring of Jesus's human nature–hence the great offense that some people take at the suggestion that Jesus could have been mistaken about matters of fact or that he could not accurately predict the future.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    Michael Bird has blogged the various options for Mark 9.1.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10137491388537194847 Rev. Jeremy Smith

    I think the tell here is that John didn't include it. Why? John's Jesus is full of pronouncements and infallibility and Godlike presuppositions, why not include it? Because it was wrong?Mark's Jesus is very human and fallible (think Jesus' healing in Mark 8 which doesn't go well). It makes sense, then, for Jesus to have an assertion that seems correct to him at his time, but incorrect in the long-term span beyond human knowledge.I think Jesus was mistaken, and my faith is not shaken from it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    It seems to me that Jesus 'came into his kingdom' on the cross. John's mother had asked if they could sit on his left and right sides when he 'came into his kingdom'. His response to them seems to indicate that THIS was the moment when he came into his kingdom.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    If this was a prediction that those standing there would be alive to see 'the Coming of the Son of Man' this presents no problem either. This phrase comes from Daniel seven in which Daniel has a vision of the kingdom established by God following the four empires of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome.Jesus told his disciples that the 'Son of Man' would come within a generation. This was a reference, not to the 'second coming' but to the event prophesied by Daniel. Jesus was indicating that the destruction of the temple would vindicate his claims and the claims of the disciples that he indeed was the Messiah.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, thanks for pointing out Mike's blog post. But his interpretation seems to be, in essence, "There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see…my death!"Is it just me, or is there one very obvious interpretation and a lot of others that no one would ever consider were it not for the fact that, on the obvious interpretation, Jesus was mistaken?Let me mention again Matthew 16:27-28. Presumably if we were discussing that version, there would be less debate about the meaning?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    The problem, as I see it, is that no interpretation of this saying is "obvious."Historically, if you asked people, the "obvious" interpretation was that it referred to the transfiguration. This interpretation was shared by orthodox and non-orthodox alike (including the earliest attested interpretation by the "gnostic" Theodotus in the second century).Reimarus was the first to propose that it referred to the imminent parousia of Christ. How can an "obvious" interpretation be missed for 1700 years?Also, bringing up possible theological or apologetical motivations of interpreters doesn't help. Not only is it a downright ad hominem argument, but it also begs the very question that one interpretation is "obvious" in the first place. Furthermore, one can find theological reasons for every position, including Reimarus.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    Is that farfetched considering Jesus had just spoken of gaining ones life by taking up the cross?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    Russell, I don't think it's far-fetched, but, then, the only interpretation I would truly consider far-fetched is the fall of Jerusalem.Please note that the part about left and right in his kingdom is based the Matthean form of that pericope. Mark 10:37 has "glory" instead of "kingdom."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    James, I might be out of my league in discussing this matter with you. Having acknowledged that, why would you view that as being far fetched? Don't you think Jesus took the phrase 'the Son of Man' from Daniel 7. Daniel certainly sees the coming of the kingdom of the Son of Man as following the fourth kingdom.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04272326070593532463 Pseudonym

    If I'm reading the question of the title correctly, why can't the answer be "both"?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, you've neglected to mention our very earliest interpreter of Mark, the author of Matthew. I don't think we can assume Matthew's meaning was Mark's, but as you rightly indicate, the earliest interpreters need to be taken seriously.Even in Mark, the immediately preceding context is a reference to the Son of Man coming with his angels. I don't know why he would then predict – in language that could be understood to relate to that 'second coming' event – the transfiguration or Pentecost.Meier may be right to suspect that Mark and Matthew here give voice to Christian hopes late in the period in which some of Jesus' contemporaries still lived. But authentic or not, it still seems that the most straightforward understanding of the verse is as a prediction of 'the end' within a certain time frame.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14247799389009268470 James Pate

    I hear Russell's points that "coming with the kingdom in power" often means parousia. But I think there's something significant about the fact that the synoptics, after quoting Jesus saying this, say "six days later" (or, in Luke's case, "eight days later") right before talking about the transfiguration. Some connection is being made between the two.I know this point is commonplace, which is why I'm surprised it's not been made in the comments yet (though Mike Koke seems to have that in mind).

  • Anonymous

    "How can an 'obvious' interpretation be missed for 1700 years?"A good question. But not 1700 years–rather, 1700 minus 200 or so–whenever it was those who clung to the obvious-to-them imminence of the consummation finally died out. My answer to your question would be that McGrath's interpretation, the correct one, didn't sell well in the pews, and didn't seem plausible as time passed, so Christians adjusted by putting side immediacy and keeping the coming.This adjustment was no harder to bring off than was the earlier putting aside of the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus (wherein his own role would be exalted but ancillary) and replacing it with a kingdom coincident with the return of Jesus.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    James, Matthew's form of the saying is hardly any clearer than Mark's, so I can't see how that appeal helps. Your claim is that your interpretation is "obvious."The context doesn't make it "obvious" either. The immediately preceeding verse suggests one thing and the immediately following pericope suggests another. I still don't see the obviousness of one choice over the other. In fact, because of the ambiguity of the context, some scholars argues for both the transfiguration and the parousia (Nardoni, Culpepper, Marcus).As for Meier, he states that Mark (and presumably the other evangelists) intended the saying to be (partially) fulfilled to the transfiguration (vol. 2, p. 342). If he's right, then we can antedate Theodotus by another century to the very evangelists. Of course, this appeal to Meier does not do much for the position that your interpretation is "obvious."Like Bultmann, Meier does identify the original Sitz im Leben of the saying in some later Christian prophet. Norman Perrin thought Mark 9:1 to be the creation of the evangelist. Obviously, if the HJ didn't say it, he was neither trite nor mistaken on the score.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    Anonymous, if you have any evidence of "those who clung to the obvious-to-them imminence of the consummation," I'd happy to look at it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, I don't see how an event that is said to happen several days later and naturally marks a new pericope provides a more appropriate context for interpretation than the material immediately preceding, which is the immediate context.I have found myself wondering whether those who introduced the versification and chapter divisions intentionally wanted to connect this saying with what follows in chapter 9 rather than with its more immediate context in chapter 8. I'm sure that feature of our modern translations makes the connection with the transfiguration seem more plausible.As for early expectation of an imminent return, the classic example outside of the Gospels is Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, who assumed he'd be alive when Jesus returned, writing that "we who are alive" will meet him in the air…

  • Anonymous

    Who I had in mind as "clingers" were the other authors of the documents that made it to the New Testament, and most of the early Fathers–the last of them–you know better than I–I believe to be Tertullian.I want to add to the stew what I call the "sandwich" argument. John (it seems obvious to me) was an apocalypsist, an imminence man. So also–I Thes. 4–was Paul. Then it seems unlikely Jesus, who began his religious career baptized by John, and whose cause was furthest advanced after his death by Paul–it seems unlikely Jesus too was not an imminence man.

  • Ron Price

    The simplest rational explanation is that the prediction is authentic and Jesus was wrong. Writing 40 years later, Mark knew this, and placed the Transfiguration story after the prediction with a hint of a connection ("after six days") so that his readers would think the saying had been fulfilled in the story. Hence Stephen's 1700 years!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Ron, thanks for making that point. You may be right, although I sometimes wonder whether Mark and Matthew do not reflect a time when Jesus' prediction was not yet embarassing, because there were still individuals alive that had been alive when Jesus spoke those words. I suspect that the prediction only became embarassing at a point when it had been emphasized to such an extent that it could not then be made to vanish entirely. (John 21 might be an example of one attempt to deal with such expectations).

  • Anonymous

    I don't see why we cant view the predictions as neither trite nor mistaken. J. Russell's argument for fullfillment in 70AD is pretty solid in his "The Parousia", and thus far is the only option that I see as valid concerning any of the NT prophecy. Granted many are reluctant to let go of the concept of a material kingdom. Yet He stated over and over the intangible nature of said kingdom, telling the pharisees it was "yet already among them". Either way, we either accept the work put forth in "The Parousia" or something similar, or we have to read double and triple meanings into scripture, focing our previous notions and paying small respect to inspired word… or we accept that Christ was completely off base, and we just toss the book for good. Personally, I'm sticking w/ 70AD, as I never bought into clear golden streets in the first place. Also, I think the reason we would not see the Olivet prediction in John, is that he covered it in greater detail in his Revelation. There's good cases on either side now for dating that one, the only reason we initially thought it was post 70 was Iraneus, and that could be off base.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I don't find I can persuade myself that "see the kingdom of God come with power" would have been understood by anyone to mean "see Rome destroy Jerusalem". As for the point about Revelation, I don't think anyone regards that as by the same author as the Gospel and Letters of John. The style (and fluency) of the Greek is noticably different, and even when they use similar terminology, there are differences (e.g. different words for "lamb", different spellings of Jerusalem).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    James, the issue I'm contesting is the claim that the imminent parousia interpretation was "obvious," not whether is merely "more appropriate." That requires careful exegesis, which people tend not to do when they think a particular interpretation is already obvious. Your next point about the chapter divisions and versification indicates to me that you still think your interpretation is obvious. But the interpretation that you consider "obvious" was unknown when Stephen Langton divided the chapters in the 13th century and when Robert Estienne divided the verses in the 16th century. Rather, it was the transfiguration interpretation that was dominant then and it had been so at least since the 2d century. (By the way, I believe some editions of the Vulgate begin chapter 9 after this saying.)I don't deny that many Christians believed in the imminent parousia of Jesus in the mid-first century. But that fact alone doesn't make it "obvious" that Mark 9:1 is about the imminent parousia, which is precisely the issue at hand.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, you seem to me to be assuming that the 'transfiguration interpretation' was widespread because it was obvious. Might it not be that what seemed obvious to Christians down the centuries was that Jesus couldn't have been wrong. The 'transfiguration interpretation' may have simply been the most plausible interpretation compatible with that 'obvious' fact.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    James, if your favored interpretation was "obvious to Christians down through the centuries," then I would expect to see some evidence of it. I don't. According to Martin Künzi's detailed survey, H. S. Reimarus was the first exegete to interpret the saying as referring the imminent parousia. I know of no historical critical method that is capable of plausibly concluding that Christians through the centuries secretly thought one thing and wrote another.

  • Anonymous

    At the close of Mark Chapter 8, Jesus says of those who are ashamed of his words that the son of man will be be ashamed of them when he comes. Then, to quote, crudely but literally translated, Jesus, after an assurance of his veracity, says, “there are some standing here will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”Then comes a narrative of the transfiguration.Is it not as obvious as could be that Jesus here says “folks standing out there in front of me, some of you, before you die, will see the kingdom come”? A fair paraphrase, except that it omits whatever added force and clarity derives from “ou me,’” which I can’t make sense of, but I gather serves to render what Jesus say extraordinarily emphatic–or all the more obvious. I have quoted Jesus in context. “Obvious” derives from the Latin for “in your way”–right there in front of you. The English means “easily perceived or understood, clear, self-evident, apparent.” It seems obvious to me that at Mark 9:1 Jesus says “before some of you die, the kingdom will come.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, my point is not that Christians secretly thought one thing but wrote another. My point is that Christians have down the ages have frequently adopted less obvious readings of Biblical texts because of their overarching assumptions. There are numerous good examples, including "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." And in some instances, there may be no better, more obvious interpretation, but we may still have reason to question the more common Christian interpretation down the ages – e.g. those who find the Trinity in the plurals in Genesis 1, 3 and elsewhere.So my point is not that Christians secretly knew a particular reading was better but refused to acknowledge it in writing. My point was rather something that I think most scholars accept, namely that our historical conclusions about the meaning of texts often differ from the most popular Christian interpretations down the centuries.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    Anonymous, I think the dispute is over the meaning of "Kingdom of God having come."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18239379955876245197 Stephen C. Carlson

    James, I don't dispute that there have been non-obvious interpretations of various verses over the years.I'm still reacting to your declaration that one particular interpretation of Mark 9:1 is "very obvious" and the ensuing implication that anyone who disagrees is some kind of an uncritical apologist. Given the amount of ink that has been spilled on this verse and the unclarity of content and context, I think some exegetical humility is appropriate for this verse.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Stephen, I do apologize if I gave the impression that I think anyone who understands this verse as being something other than a prediction of an imminent end is an "uncritical apologist". I certainly don't think that. Indeed, I hope that my first reaction when an interpretation seems obvious to me is to question that interpretation, since it is frequently the case that what seems obvious to a modern American like myself would not have seemed obvious to a first century individual living in the Greco-Roman world; and vice versa.Perhaps instead of discussing which is the "more obvious" interpretation, which ultimately doesn't prove anything since "obviousness" is a matter of perception, we should be focusing on the relevant contextual and comparative information. Since Christian interpretation from the late first century onward may have had reasons to pursue "less obvious interpretaions," we should see if there is any clear evidence from Jewish sources as to what reference to "the kingdom of God having come with power" might have been understood to mean.To further discussion, let me point to an interesting article I happened across in Biblica about this verse; there is a series of articles by G.E.Ladd on the concept in Judaism; and (admittedly from a slightly later time) 2 Baruch has some interesting material as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10404666980227401390 Mike Beidler

    And then there's those of us who are preterists, who believe they've got the whole thing figured out. ;-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    The kingdom of Jesus is indeed a 'material' kingdom. The idea that His is a 'spiritual' kngdom as opposed to a 'physical' kingdom is born out of a Platonic worldview. Jesus came to redeem physical creation.During the ministry of Jesus, Daniel was a very popular apocalyptic book. The Jews expected the imminent arrival of a Messiah who would lead them in a revolt against Rome. Jesus' critique was that they insisted on using violence to resist the Romans. While in the temple, Jesus stated that it had become a den of 'lestes'. This Greek word should properly be translated as 'brigands' as opposed to 'thieves'.While on Mt. Olives, Jesus acted out the prophecy of Zechariah 14. His disciples, still expecting to be enthroned in Jerusalem, were informed that the event prophesied in Daniel 7 was coming into play. Yes, the buildings were magnificent. But the kingdom of God would not appear as they expected. All would be torn down. But this very act would vindicate the claims of Jesus and would vindicate his disciples in the eyes of everyone else.The Jewish worldview was not that the time-space continuum would be disrupted. They believed that the Kingdom of God would be very 'this worldly'. Their mistake was in their ethnocentricity. They believed that the Jews would be 'justified' while the surrounding Pagan nations would be condemned.In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the word 'parousia' refers not to the second coming. The Greek word 'parousia' means 'presence' as opposed to apousia or 'absence'. It was used in the first century to refer to a royal visit to an outpost of his kingdom.Jesus told them that these things would happen within a generation. Far from being 'trite' or 'mistaken' these things happened just as Jesus had predicted.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    An amendment to my last statement: Actually, I don't think that the word 'parousia' occurs in all of these accounts. The Coming of the Son of Man, however, alludes to the prophecy of Daniel 7 which predicted the eternal kingdom established by Jesus who was vindicated in that claim by the destruction of the temple cult within a generation. Again, just as he had predicted.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    The death and resurrection of Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom. His resurrection was the fulfillment of the new creation prophesied by Isaiah, however, there remains a future aspect to this kingdom. This is called inaugurated eschatology. The ages have, strangely, overlapped.Apparently, Paul understood that the 'end' and the 'resurrection' had been split into two. He seems to have drawn this conclusions (which he expounds in I Corinthians 15) from Psalms 110:1 which predicts that Jesus must reign until all enemies have been placed under his feet. The final enemy to be defeated is death.Paul remained firmly within a Jewish covanental worldview. He understood the resurrection of Jesus as being the renewal of the covenant after the period of exile prophesied by Gabriel to Daniel. Exile would last, not just 70 years, but 7 times 70, 490 years. This is probably why Daniel was so popular at the time of Jesus. The days were nearing for the fulfillment of the return from exile.Far from holding a Hellenistic worldview, Paul expounded the events of the death and resurrection as being a fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham. Through these events, and through the proclamation of the gospel, Abraham was indeed becoming the father of many nations. Those who have faith are the sons of Abraham (Rom. 4).Paul, expounding Deuteronomy 30 in Romans 10, explains this.

  • Anonymous
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07499810705687060086 Valde

    I agree with many comments that Mark 9:1 seems to be connected with the transfiguration story in some way. But there are also very weighty factors pointing toward parousia-interpretation. As James already noticed the connection between Matthew 16:27 and Matthew 16:28 is pointing toward parousia interpretation. However the most important factor is the fact that in the time of the evagelists there was still hope of the imminent parousia of Jesus. According to John's gospel there was a belief about one original disciple surviving to parousia (John 21:23). It's hard to avoid impression that Joh 21:23 is a late version of the eschatological hope presented in Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30: in the parousia of Jesus there had to be some or at least one representative of those who were standing with Jesus and who were members of "this generation". If Mark 9:1 is interpreted exclusively in terms of the transfiguration it has huge implication about Jesus' eschtalogical understanding. Applied to the transfiguration this saying is based on presupposition that all disciples of Jesus' will die before Jesus' second coming. If Jesus excluded even the possibility that any of his disciples would see the final kingdom – except in the transfiguration – it's mystery how earliest christians started to believe in imminent parousia (Paul for instance).Valtter Saarikalle, University of Helsinki

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07499810705687060086 Valde

    Russell said:"In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the word 'parousia' refers not to the second coming." My reply:In other words you are suggesting that the evangelists didn't spoke Jesus' second coming at all? It's complitely implausible to claim that the parallel expressions in Pauline letters are not referring to same things as Matt 24, Mark 13 an Luke 21.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10286885626493541431 Russell Roberts

    Valde,It is plausible indeed. Jesus was predicting the destruction of Jerusalem using apocalyptic language. He actually incorporated language from Isaiah 13 regarding the destruction of Babylon.In effect, Jesus was implying that the Jewish leadership was playing the same role as that of the Babylonians in their opposition to God's plan.Just as Jesus said, these things took place within a generation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17550484658058710506 Andrew Patrick

    Christ's statement was neither trite nor false, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be misunderstood by a less than careful reader. Jesus did not say that there would be some who would not taste death until he *came* into his kingdom in power and glory…He said that there would be some who would not taste death until they *saw* him coming into his kingdom in power and glory…One of the people standing there was named John, whose gospel also records a similar admonition to pay careful attention to exactly what Jesus said and what he did not say (see John 21:22-23).John also wrote a book called the Revelation of Jesus Christ, that records what he saw in a vision, which he was told to record. In this vision, John saw Jesus returning in his kingdom with power and glory. Passages from this book make up part of the famous piece called Handel's Messiah, and should be familiar to any of us.Joh 21:22-23 KJV(22) Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.(23) Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?Doesn't John say that he saw the Son of Man returning in glory and power as King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Wasn't he told to record this permanently so that everyone in the world would know what he saw? It seems to me that Jesus satisfied the prophecy of Mark 9:1 to the letter, even though it may not have been what his audience actually expected. It wouldn't be the first time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Quoting words attributed to Jesus only very late by an author dealing with the delay of the Parousia doesn't seem to me to settle the matter. And your approach seems to me to try to salvage Jesus' accuracy by having him be a poor if not deceptive communicator, saying something that his hearers could not have understood. But it also seems that your interpretation would only work if your rendering of what he said were correct – but the statement was not about seeing Jesus "come into his kingdom" but about seeing the kingdom itself come with power. And so suggest that Jesus said that, knowing full well that his hearers would understand it one way while he meant it another, and without ever correcting the misunderstanding, is to make Jesus a deceiver – which strikes me as worse than merely being mistaken.


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