Not tasting death until Christ comes in His Kingdom

There is that passage in Matthew 16 in which Jesus says that there are among those listening to him at that moment who will not taste death until He comes in His kingdom.  Liberal Bible critics say, “See, Jesus and the early church thought that the Second Coming would be imminent, and of course they were wrong.”   Some more conservative Bible scholars say, “See, Christ’s  Second Coming happened with His resurrection, or was some kind of spiritual event that happened before the Romans destroyed  the Temple,” while others explain it in other ways.

But look what our pastor, Rev. Douthwaite, did with it in his sermon on Sunday (part of the sermon I linked to yesterday):

You are among those who will not taste death until you see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. For the Son of Man and His kingdom is coming not just in the future, on the last day – His kingdom is coming already now, and is here, where His Word and Spirit are working, gathering, forgiving, sanctifying, and strengthening. For as the catechism teaches us to understand the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, Thy kingdom come: How does God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity (Small Catechism: Explanation of the Second Petition).

And so as our heavenly Father gives His Holy Spirit here in baptism, in the preaching of the Word, in absolution, in His Supper, His kingdom is coming. Coming to you. It is His work, the work of the cross, for you. For the cross is how Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God for you. The cross is everything. Or as Luther put it around the start of the Reformation: The cross is our only theology.

Jesus must go to the cross. You must bear your cross. This talk should not surprise us. For it is how your Father in heaven loves you and saves you. Which doesn’t make it easy, but does make it good.

via St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Pentecost 11 Sermon.

Many people treat the Bible as just an assemblage of facts, history, and doctrine.  Of course it includes such things.  But consider another dimension:  It is God’s Word; that is, God’s voice personally addressing those who hear it, with the purpose of bringing them to repentance and faith.

A lot of texts we fight over, perhaps with good reason (the details of creation; the last days), and yet what does it do to them to read them as means of grace?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • James Sarver

    Pr. Douthwaite makes a good point about reading this in the broad context of Christ and His work of salvation. It is how we should treat all of scripture.

    There is also the narrower context of the narrative thread in Matthew in which Jesus talks about some seeing Him coming in His glory before their death and the next thing mentioned is the Transfiguration, which accurately fulfills His prediction.

    Scholars can argue all they like about the eschatological implications of this passage but it seems kind of a stretch.

  • James Sarver

    Pr. Douthwaite makes a good point about reading this in the broad context of Christ and His work of salvation. It is how we should treat all of scripture.

    There is also the narrower context of the narrative thread in Matthew in which Jesus talks about some seeing Him coming in His glory before their death and the next thing mentioned is the Transfiguration, which accurately fulfills His prediction.

    Scholars can argue all they like about the eschatological implications of this passage but it seems kind of a stretch.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Another possibility, as Mr Sarver points out, is that Jesus was referring to his Transfiguration–the very next passage. Seeing as how it begins with “and after 6 days”, it seems that the next chapter is intended to be a contextual followup.

    Secondly, I think it’s important to note that saying that Scripture has both dimensions, while true, does not really do the situation justice. If the Bible does not include true facts, history, and doctrine, then anything we hear when it speaks to us personally is what we ourselves put into it. We can be assured that God’s voice personally addresses us through Scripture only because it accurately tells us about Christ and what he taught, including what he taught about Scripture (see, for example, Matt 22:31, where Jesus explicitly tells the Sadducees that when God said “I am the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob”, He was saying that to them)

    I only point this out because, in general, people seem very ready to believe that the Bible has personal messages for them. They seem quite skeptical, however, that the actual content of the text is one of them.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Another possibility, as Mr Sarver points out, is that Jesus was referring to his Transfiguration–the very next passage. Seeing as how it begins with “and after 6 days”, it seems that the next chapter is intended to be a contextual followup.

    Secondly, I think it’s important to note that saying that Scripture has both dimensions, while true, does not really do the situation justice. If the Bible does not include true facts, history, and doctrine, then anything we hear when it speaks to us personally is what we ourselves put into it. We can be assured that God’s voice personally addresses us through Scripture only because it accurately tells us about Christ and what he taught, including what he taught about Scripture (see, for example, Matt 22:31, where Jesus explicitly tells the Sadducees that when God said “I am the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob”, He was saying that to them)

    I only point this out because, in general, people seem very ready to believe that the Bible has personal messages for them. They seem quite skeptical, however, that the actual content of the text is one of them.

  • Dennis Peskey

    “The cross is our only theology.”
    Our most beloved apostle, St. Peter, agreed with those who viewed the transfiguration as the coming of the kingdom – but the Father was clear this was not what Christ was about. “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well please; listen to Him.”

    Again, St. Peter confesses “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” then upon being told his (our) Christ must suffer upon the cross, die and be raised on the third day rebukes Jesus, saying, Far be it from you, Lord!” Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Then Jesus made it perfectly clear, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

    When Jesus was disputing with the pharisees and spoke of all scripture bears witness to him – he meant all scripture from the protoevangelum of Genesis 3:15 to the maranatha of Revelation 22:20.

    “The cross is our only theology.”

    God’s Law was fulfilled on the Cross for us; it is there alone we look to our salvation. Do not join St. Peter pitching tents on the mountainside; God does not promise to be their for you. Do not seek to anoint Jesus as the promised ruler of Israel who will lead with authority; God’s rule is not limited to Israel. Do not seek to appease God and establish his Son as a bread king for this is not the bread of life He offers. Look to the cross to find your salvation and see God’s Son, dying for you so you may have eternal life with Him. The cross is His will; the cross is His work; this He did for you.
    To God alone be the glory, honor and praise. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest for God’s Word is for you!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    “The cross is our only theology.”
    Our most beloved apostle, St. Peter, agreed with those who viewed the transfiguration as the coming of the kingdom – but the Father was clear this was not what Christ was about. “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well please; listen to Him.”

    Again, St. Peter confesses “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” then upon being told his (our) Christ must suffer upon the cross, die and be raised on the third day rebukes Jesus, saying, Far be it from you, Lord!” Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Then Jesus made it perfectly clear, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

    When Jesus was disputing with the pharisees and spoke of all scripture bears witness to him – he meant all scripture from the protoevangelum of Genesis 3:15 to the maranatha of Revelation 22:20.

    “The cross is our only theology.”

    God’s Law was fulfilled on the Cross for us; it is there alone we look to our salvation. Do not join St. Peter pitching tents on the mountainside; God does not promise to be their for you. Do not seek to anoint Jesus as the promised ruler of Israel who will lead with authority; God’s rule is not limited to Israel. Do not seek to appease God and establish his Son as a bread king for this is not the bread of life He offers. Look to the cross to find your salvation and see God’s Son, dying for you so you may have eternal life with Him. The cross is His will; the cross is His work; this He did for you.
    To God alone be the glory, honor and praise. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest for God’s Word is for you!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • David Churness

    Our Bible Class ast Church considered the Transfiguration,
    but also thought that the Death, Resurrection, Ascension
    and Pentecost with the the Advent of the Holy Spirit and the
    Church was very important.

  • David Churness

    Our Bible Class ast Church considered the Transfiguration,
    but also thought that the Death, Resurrection, Ascension
    and Pentecost with the the Advent of the Holy Spirit and the
    Church was very important.

  • WebMonk

    I’ve never been able to make a solid case to myself for any particular interpretation of that passage. What Rev. Douthwaite mentioned is very true as part of God’s message to us today, but I would disagree with his apparent view that Jesus is referring to the End Times there.

    Jesus referring to the coming Transfiguration (mentioned by Matt) is a contender, but I think that’s an awfully odd way to phrase it if Jesus was talking about the Transfiguration.

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

    If Jesus were referring to the Transfiguration, He would have said something like “you who are standing here…” or something like that. The “some” word is a very odd way to refer to something only 6 days later for which ALL were alive and which only three of the people to which Jesus was talking would see.

    I tend toward the Resurrection being what Jesus is referring to. The immediately preceding part of the chapter is talking about Jesus’ death, so I tend to assume Jesus didn’t suddenly shift topics.

    I’ve also read some solid studies that say Jesus is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. That is a bit shaky to my view, but better supported than the End Times interpretation of Jesus’ foretelling.

    But, like I said, there are some issues with the Resurrection being what Jesus is referring to. I can’t give an airtight explanation of Jesus’ meaning right there, but I don’t feel too bad since neither has anyone else for nearly 2000 years. :-)

  • WebMonk

    I’ve never been able to make a solid case to myself for any particular interpretation of that passage. What Rev. Douthwaite mentioned is very true as part of God’s message to us today, but I would disagree with his apparent view that Jesus is referring to the End Times there.

    Jesus referring to the coming Transfiguration (mentioned by Matt) is a contender, but I think that’s an awfully odd way to phrase it if Jesus was talking about the Transfiguration.

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

    If Jesus were referring to the Transfiguration, He would have said something like “you who are standing here…” or something like that. The “some” word is a very odd way to refer to something only 6 days later for which ALL were alive and which only three of the people to which Jesus was talking would see.

    I tend toward the Resurrection being what Jesus is referring to. The immediately preceding part of the chapter is talking about Jesus’ death, so I tend to assume Jesus didn’t suddenly shift topics.

    I’ve also read some solid studies that say Jesus is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. That is a bit shaky to my view, but better supported than the End Times interpretation of Jesus’ foretelling.

    But, like I said, there are some issues with the Resurrection being what Jesus is referring to. I can’t give an airtight explanation of Jesus’ meaning right there, but I don’t feel too bad since neither has anyone else for nearly 2000 years. :-)

  • Arfies

    Perhaps one key to understanding this passage is the recognition that “kingdom” is ordinarily an acceptable translation of the Greek basilea, in the context of Jesus’ remarks we should consider the use of “kingship” or “ruling power” as a better translation. “Kingdom” almost always stimulates in our minds the thought of a geographic domain, but Jesus himself says that his “kingdom” — in the thought of Pilate and many of Jesus’ enemies — is not of this world. As we know, he rules primarily over the hearts and minds of those who are his, those to whom God gives faith, those who are guided by the Holy Spirit, sanctified by baptism and incorporated into the death and resurrection of the Lord — in other words, those who now see him coming in the glory he has as their Savior and King.

  • Arfies

    Perhaps one key to understanding this passage is the recognition that “kingdom” is ordinarily an acceptable translation of the Greek basilea, in the context of Jesus’ remarks we should consider the use of “kingship” or “ruling power” as a better translation. “Kingdom” almost always stimulates in our minds the thought of a geographic domain, but Jesus himself says that his “kingdom” — in the thought of Pilate and many of Jesus’ enemies — is not of this world. As we know, he rules primarily over the hearts and minds of those who are his, those to whom God gives faith, those who are guided by the Holy Spirit, sanctified by baptism and incorporated into the death and resurrection of the Lord — in other words, those who now see him coming in the glory he has as their Savior and King.

  • WebMonk

    Arfie – so Jesus might be expanded to be saying

    “Some who are standing here will not taste death before I become their savior and king”?

    Just a clarification request.

  • WebMonk

    Arfie – so Jesus might be expanded to be saying

    “Some who are standing here will not taste death before I become their savior and king”?

    Just a clarification request.

  • George A. Marquart

    Rev. Douthwaite is indeed right when he says that we are in the Kingdom of God or, as the Confessions refer to it, the Church. Unfortunately, Sasse was also right when he wrote that “the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran Church.” He wrote this about 60 years ago.

    Luther’s explanation of the Second Petition is simply wrong (no, this is not Sasse, this is me). The Kingdom does not come to us, we come into the Kingdom: (Colossians 1: 13) “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” He indeed gives us His Holy Spirit in Baptism to dwell in us. But He does not give the Holy Spirit “in the preaching of the Word, in absolution, in His Supper, His kingdom is coming.” These are all works which the Holy Spirit performs in His most Holy Church and in every one of His children. But we do not receive “any more” of Him than we receive in Baptism: the Holy Spirit is not some magical elixir Whom God dispenses through various means, and fills us up with when He “leaks out” (I was expelled from one Lutheran blog for using this “disrespectful” expression, only to see it later in a highly respected Lutheran blog as being what happens to the Holy Spirit in us). He is the Most Holy Lord and Giver of Life who comes to us once with all of His power and remains with us to the end.
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Rev. Douthwaite is indeed right when he says that we are in the Kingdom of God or, as the Confessions refer to it, the Church. Unfortunately, Sasse was also right when he wrote that “the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran Church.” He wrote this about 60 years ago.

    Luther’s explanation of the Second Petition is simply wrong (no, this is not Sasse, this is me). The Kingdom does not come to us, we come into the Kingdom: (Colossians 1: 13) “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” He indeed gives us His Holy Spirit in Baptism to dwell in us. But He does not give the Holy Spirit “in the preaching of the Word, in absolution, in His Supper, His kingdom is coming.” These are all works which the Holy Spirit performs in His most Holy Church and in every one of His children. But we do not receive “any more” of Him than we receive in Baptism: the Holy Spirit is not some magical elixir Whom God dispenses through various means, and fills us up with when He “leaks out” (I was expelled from one Lutheran blog for using this “disrespectful” expression, only to see it later in a highly respected Lutheran blog as being what happens to the Holy Spirit in us). He is the Most Holy Lord and Giver of Life who comes to us once with all of His power and remains with us to the end.
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Steve

    After reading the sermon yesterday, I was thinking about this on the commute to work this morning. This bit about “not tasting death” popped into my head whilst daydreaming about all kinds of things. I’m encouraged that you shared it. And that’s what it’s all about :)

  • Steve

    After reading the sermon yesterday, I was thinking about this on the commute to work this morning. This bit about “not tasting death” popped into my head whilst daydreaming about all kinds of things. I’m encouraged that you shared it. And that’s what it’s all about :)

  • Arfies

    Webmonk @ 7 – That’s not precisely what I was thinking about when I wrote my comment, but I don’t think I would say you were incorrect; after all, those who witnessed Jesus’ death and resurrection, and eventually understood the meaning of those events, could surely be considered to have seen Jesus coming in the transcendent glory and power of the royal Redeemer (or whatever other terms suit your own understanding of his person and work). Where is Jesus’ kingdom? — not in Russia, America, or Israel, but in the hearts of his people everywhere. How does Jesus use his glorious power? He uses it when he forgives us, strengthens us in faith, gives us new life, and brings us even now into life eternal (John 5).

  • Arfies

    Webmonk @ 7 – That’s not precisely what I was thinking about when I wrote my comment, but I don’t think I would say you were incorrect; after all, those who witnessed Jesus’ death and resurrection, and eventually understood the meaning of those events, could surely be considered to have seen Jesus coming in the transcendent glory and power of the royal Redeemer (or whatever other terms suit your own understanding of his person and work). Where is Jesus’ kingdom? — not in Russia, America, or Israel, but in the hearts of his people everywhere. How does Jesus use his glorious power? He uses it when he forgives us, strengthens us in faith, gives us new life, and brings us even now into life eternal (John 5).

  • Joanne

    In a previous thread, we discussed Confession/Absolution and the Keys.
    We noted that the resurrected Jesus in his glorified, tactile, athanatos body came to the locked room where his diciples were hiding. He breathed out the Holy Spirit on them and then gave them the power/authority to forgive or not forgive sins on earth and in heaven.
    I would say that Jesus is come at this point in his Kingdom expressing his divinity, proceding his Spirit, and giving this assembly the keys to his Kingdom. And, I would note that at least one of his disciples, the Apostle Judas has died at this point and is not experiencing Jesus coming in his Kingdom.
    When I read this account I see Jesus founding his Kingdom/Church right here where he breaths out his Spirit and hands out the Keys to this assembly of believers. It’s his very 1st act among his assembly.
    But, was Judas the only one who did not live to see this coming? And, if Jesus was not in his Kingdom at this coming in the locked room, then what more did he need to be in his Kingdom?

  • Joanne

    In a previous thread, we discussed Confession/Absolution and the Keys.
    We noted that the resurrected Jesus in his glorified, tactile, athanatos body came to the locked room where his diciples were hiding. He breathed out the Holy Spirit on them and then gave them the power/authority to forgive or not forgive sins on earth and in heaven.
    I would say that Jesus is come at this point in his Kingdom expressing his divinity, proceding his Spirit, and giving this assembly the keys to his Kingdom. And, I would note that at least one of his disciples, the Apostle Judas has died at this point and is not experiencing Jesus coming in his Kingdom.
    When I read this account I see Jesus founding his Kingdom/Church right here where he breaths out his Spirit and hands out the Keys to this assembly of believers. It’s his very 1st act among his assembly.
    But, was Judas the only one who did not live to see this coming? And, if Jesus was not in his Kingdom at this coming in the locked room, then what more did he need to be in his Kingdom?

  • George A. Marquart

    Joanne, flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but our Father in Heaven through the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in His people is what separates the time of Moses and the Prophets from the time of the Kingdom of God. John 7: 37, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

    As to the Kingdom, the ancients knew about it when they sang the Te Deum, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.” Our Lord spent the vast majority of His time preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, as He said in Luke 4: 43 , “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” For some reason many Lutherans think of the Kingdom of being only in heaven. But our Lord was clear on the subject, Mark 14: 24 “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise; therefore these words came true the first time our Lord shared a meal with His Disciples after His resurrection.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Joanne, flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but our Father in Heaven through the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in His people is what separates the time of Moses and the Prophets from the time of the Kingdom of God. John 7: 37, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

    As to the Kingdom, the ancients knew about it when they sang the Te Deum, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.” Our Lord spent the vast majority of His time preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, as He said in Luke 4: 43 , “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” For some reason many Lutherans think of the Kingdom of being only in heaven. But our Lord was clear on the subject, Mark 14: 24 “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise; therefore these words came true the first time our Lord shared a meal with His Disciples after His resurrection.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    George (@12), on what basis do you say, “There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise”?

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    George (@12), on what basis do you say, “There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise”?

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @ 13. Because, as the song goes from the year I graduated from high school: “Dalla vigna vien l’uva, dall’uva il vino, dal vino un sogno d’amore… From the vine came the grape, from the grape came the wine, from the wine came a dream to a lover.” These things are created for us on earth. God says, Psalm 50:12 “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” Our Lord says, Matthew 22: 29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” As I understand it, since we will be like angels, and angels are spirits, there will be no eating or drinking in heaven of the kind that there is on earth. The stories about the great heavenly banquet are allegories or anthropomorphisms.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @ 13. Because, as the song goes from the year I graduated from high school: “Dalla vigna vien l’uva, dall’uva il vino, dal vino un sogno d’amore… From the vine came the grape, from the grape came the wine, from the wine came a dream to a lover.” These things are created for us on earth. God says, Psalm 50:12 “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” Our Lord says, Matthew 22: 29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” As I understand it, since we will be like angels, and angels are spirits, there will be no eating or drinking in heaven of the kind that there is on earth. The stories about the great heavenly banquet are allegories or anthropomorphisms.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • WebMonk

    What?!?! You can’t have allegories or anthropomorphisms in the Bible! It is literally true! If it says there is a feast in heaven then the Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it! There are feasts in heaven!

    (and there had better be deep-fat-fried bacon-wrapped sausage twinkies at that feast since I don’t have to worry about heart attacks!)
    :-D

  • WebMonk

    What?!?! You can’t have allegories or anthropomorphisms in the Bible! It is literally true! If it says there is a feast in heaven then the Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it! There are feasts in heaven!

    (and there had better be deep-fat-fried bacon-wrapped sausage twinkies at that feast since I don’t have to worry about heart attacks!)
    :-D

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. George (@14), seems to me you’re guilty of using those passages out of context there.

    The point of Psalm 50 is not to make clear God’s incorporeal nature. It’s to chastise his people for their wrong understanding of sacrifices and their place in worship.

    Likewise, in Matthew 20, the point is not to express the incorporeal nature of the resurrection, but rather the fact that there will be no marriage or giving into marriage. That is the aspect of the resurrection that Jesus is teaching us about.

    As to the angels, are they corporeal? Your response assumes they are not. On what do you base this?

    Myself, I will point out that, after his Resurrection, Jesus had a body. His disciples touched it, and he ate food with it. And God speaks clearly of bodies rising from graves on the last day. He also talks of a new heaven and a new earth.

    So even if one takes the parable of the wedding feast to be purely metaphorical as to the eating and drinking, one must explain why God isn’t going to actually use the new earth, and why he’s raising up physical bodies (including Jesus’) if the resurrection is incorporeal.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. George (@14), seems to me you’re guilty of using those passages out of context there.

    The point of Psalm 50 is not to make clear God’s incorporeal nature. It’s to chastise his people for their wrong understanding of sacrifices and their place in worship.

    Likewise, in Matthew 20, the point is not to express the incorporeal nature of the resurrection, but rather the fact that there will be no marriage or giving into marriage. That is the aspect of the resurrection that Jesus is teaching us about.

    As to the angels, are they corporeal? Your response assumes they are not. On what do you base this?

    Myself, I will point out that, after his Resurrection, Jesus had a body. His disciples touched it, and he ate food with it. And God speaks clearly of bodies rising from graves on the last day. He also talks of a new heaven and a new earth.

    So even if one takes the parable of the wedding feast to be purely metaphorical as to the eating and drinking, one must explain why God isn’t going to actually use the new earth, and why he’s raising up physical bodies (including Jesus’) if the resurrection is incorporeal.

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @16 you are right, without doubt. I thought I could get away with it because these are the only two verses I could find that somehow relate to eating or being “corporal”. Of course our Lord had a body when He rose and met the Disciples and others. But I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like. Nevertheless, I think we can state the following with some degree of certainty:
    1. The universe was created by God and exists separately from Paradise.
    2. What our Lord called “the Kingdom” had its beginning with His resurrection and its “grand opening” at Pentecost.
    3. Since we need food on this earth to sustain life, we will not need food in the same sense either in Paradise or “the New World”, because we will have eternal life sustained by God Himself.
    Another reason for not having wine in Paradise is that there may be a few Frenchmen there and wine would lead to squabbling about vintages, the proper temperature, and type of glass.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @16 you are right, without doubt. I thought I could get away with it because these are the only two verses I could find that somehow relate to eating or being “corporal”. Of course our Lord had a body when He rose and met the Disciples and others. But I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like. Nevertheless, I think we can state the following with some degree of certainty:
    1. The universe was created by God and exists separately from Paradise.
    2. What our Lord called “the Kingdom” had its beginning with His resurrection and its “grand opening” at Pentecost.
    3. Since we need food on this earth to sustain life, we will not need food in the same sense either in Paradise or “the New World”, because we will have eternal life sustained by God Himself.
    Another reason for not having wine in Paradise is that there may be a few Frenchmen there and wine would lead to squabbling about vintages, the proper temperature, and type of glass.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@17), you said:

    I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like.

    Now, that’s a statement I could agree with. However, I find it to be at odds with your other claims here. Namely:

    There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise. (@12)

    Since we need food on this earth to sustain life, we will not need food in the same sense either in Paradise or “the New World” (@17).

    Keep in mind that you are apparently arguing this so as to wield Mark 14:25 as a kind of proof text suggesting that the Kingdom of God must necessarily have come post-Resurrection but pre-Ascension. All of which helps us to understand Matt. 16:28.

    The thing is, while I find Joanne’s reading of this last verse to be a compelling one, I find your argument for it to be anything but. It depends almost completely on assertions one cannot back up with Scripture. In addition to your assertion that there is necessarily no vine/wine in heaven, you also must prove that Jesus drank wine with his disciples after the Resurrection but before the Ascension. Where would we find evidence of this? John certainly does not mention it in his account of Jesus’ giving the keys to the Kingdom, to which Joanne referred (@11).

    But there’s more than that. Jesus says “until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God”. Note how Jesus’ words do not appear to speak of a status in the heart, but a place. That is, in Mark 14, the “Kingdom of God” appears to be a place “in” which Jesus can drink wine. This makes me unlikely to read it as referring merely to a status with God or condition of the heart or soul. Feel free to enlighten me if you can speak to the Greek here, of which I am ignorant.

    For some reason many Lutherans think of the Kingdom of being only in heaven.

    No doubt. And not just Lutherans. But Jesus’ many parables make clear that the Kingdom of God is something that comes to believers via the Holy Spirit, as we pray (and, indeed, as Luther explains in his catechism). It is the grace in which we now stand.

    But can you drink wine “in” grace?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@17), you said:

    I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like.

    Now, that’s a statement I could agree with. However, I find it to be at odds with your other claims here. Namely:

    There is no fruit of the vine in Paradise. (@12)

    Since we need food on this earth to sustain life, we will not need food in the same sense either in Paradise or “the New World” (@17).

    Keep in mind that you are apparently arguing this so as to wield Mark 14:25 as a kind of proof text suggesting that the Kingdom of God must necessarily have come post-Resurrection but pre-Ascension. All of which helps us to understand Matt. 16:28.

    The thing is, while I find Joanne’s reading of this last verse to be a compelling one, I find your argument for it to be anything but. It depends almost completely on assertions one cannot back up with Scripture. In addition to your assertion that there is necessarily no vine/wine in heaven, you also must prove that Jesus drank wine with his disciples after the Resurrection but before the Ascension. Where would we find evidence of this? John certainly does not mention it in his account of Jesus’ giving the keys to the Kingdom, to which Joanne referred (@11).

    But there’s more than that. Jesus says “until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God”. Note how Jesus’ words do not appear to speak of a status in the heart, but a place. That is, in Mark 14, the “Kingdom of God” appears to be a place “in” which Jesus can drink wine. This makes me unlikely to read it as referring merely to a status with God or condition of the heart or soul. Feel free to enlighten me if you can speak to the Greek here, of which I am ignorant.

    For some reason many Lutherans think of the Kingdom of being only in heaven.

    No doubt. And not just Lutherans. But Jesus’ many parables make clear that the Kingdom of God is something that comes to believers via the Holy Spirit, as we pray (and, indeed, as Luther explains in his catechism). It is the grace in which we now stand.

    But can you drink wine “in” grace?

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @18 “the fruit of the wine” can refer to any combination of fermented and non-fermented grape juice, either in pure form or mixed with water. The latter was what most people in Jerusalem drank to slack their thirst, and at meals. Therefore, since Scripture records that our Lord asked His Disciples for some food, in order to show them that He was not a Spirit, one can assume that He had some “fruit of the wine” with it.

    On the other hand, can you prove that there is wine in Paradise?

    You are absolutely right. Most references to the Kingdom in the New Testament are as an “environment”, as, for instance, my favorite one, Colossians 1: 13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Also, probably the most famous one, where our Lord says in John 3:5, “”I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” But there are some that indicate that it is also a condition of the heart. The most prominent is Luke 17:21, “nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Some modern translators translate the Greek “ἐντὸς” as something other than “within”, like “near you”, but most scholars (and I am not one of them, I am simply repeating what I have read) insist that it can only mean “within” or “inside” you. There is also Romans 14: 17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,…”

    My Greek is very limited, but the Internet makes it possible to research Greek texts knowing little more than the alphabet.

    I think Scripture supports the idea that when we are reborn by water and the Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. So what is “in” us is the Holy Spirit. But we are “in” the Kingdom, as the verse from Colossians above, and many others indicate. There are no passages in Scripture which support the idea that we receive the Holy Spirit again and again. Scripture tells us as the Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives us His gifts, guides us, strengthens us, safeguards us, and intercedes for us, but this is generally known as “sanctification” not the Kingdom somehow “growing in us.” As God’s children, we are always totally in His Kingdom

    Grace is the merciful, benevolent attitude of God towards His children, which caused Him to give His only Son for our salvation. Our status in the Kingdom is often described as “state of grace.” Under this concept (see also Romans 8), whatever we do, when we sin, and when we do good works, when we eat and drink wine, we do so in a “state of grace.”

    Finally, about the beginning of the Kingdom, our Lord said, Luke 16: 16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” You may also want to think of our Lord’s words about “the New Covenant in my blood” as signifying the end of the Old Covenant sealed with the blood of oxen, and the establishment of the new one. Remember, He had not yet shed His blood to make the New Covenant effective, but He had to tell His Disciples and us what it would mean. That is why, as I have written before, the ancients sang, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    tODD @18 “the fruit of the wine” can refer to any combination of fermented and non-fermented grape juice, either in pure form or mixed with water. The latter was what most people in Jerusalem drank to slack their thirst, and at meals. Therefore, since Scripture records that our Lord asked His Disciples for some food, in order to show them that He was not a Spirit, one can assume that He had some “fruit of the wine” with it.

    On the other hand, can you prove that there is wine in Paradise?

    You are absolutely right. Most references to the Kingdom in the New Testament are as an “environment”, as, for instance, my favorite one, Colossians 1: 13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Also, probably the most famous one, where our Lord says in John 3:5, “”I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” But there are some that indicate that it is also a condition of the heart. The most prominent is Luke 17:21, “nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Some modern translators translate the Greek “ἐντὸς” as something other than “within”, like “near you”, but most scholars (and I am not one of them, I am simply repeating what I have read) insist that it can only mean “within” or “inside” you. There is also Romans 14: 17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,…”

    My Greek is very limited, but the Internet makes it possible to research Greek texts knowing little more than the alphabet.

    I think Scripture supports the idea that when we are reborn by water and the Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. So what is “in” us is the Holy Spirit. But we are “in” the Kingdom, as the verse from Colossians above, and many others indicate. There are no passages in Scripture which support the idea that we receive the Holy Spirit again and again. Scripture tells us as the Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives us His gifts, guides us, strengthens us, safeguards us, and intercedes for us, but this is generally known as “sanctification” not the Kingdom somehow “growing in us.” As God’s children, we are always totally in His Kingdom

    Grace is the merciful, benevolent attitude of God towards His children, which caused Him to give His only Son for our salvation. Our status in the Kingdom is often described as “state of grace.” Under this concept (see also Romans 8), whatever we do, when we sin, and when we do good works, when we eat and drink wine, we do so in a “state of grace.”

    Finally, about the beginning of the Kingdom, our Lord said, Luke 16: 16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” You may also want to think of our Lord’s words about “the New Covenant in my blood” as signifying the end of the Old Covenant sealed with the blood of oxen, and the establishment of the new one. Remember, He had not yet shed His blood to make the New Covenant effective, but He had to tell His Disciples and us what it would mean. That is why, as I have written before, the ancients sang, “having overcome the sharpness of death, He opened the Kingdom to all believers.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@19), sorry, but I think you’re deviating from the point I was making.

    One can assume that He had some “fruit of the wine” with it.

    Yes, that might be a reasonable assumption. But remember, you made it not merely an assumption, but a key part of your argument (@12). The basis for your arguing about the nature of the Kingdom of God hangs on your knowing (not assuming) that Jesus had wine with his disciples after the Resurrection. And while that might be a reasonable assumption, again, you simply have no proof. You are arguing from silence. This is poor logic. It is, frankly, nothing but conjecture on your part.

    Conjecture is nice enough, but you appear to have elevated your conjecture to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit (@12). It is to this which I object.

    On the other hand, can you prove that there is wine in Paradise?

    Indeed, I cannot. I’m not the one making firm claims about what is or isn’t in Paradise. You are. (Even though, again, you also said @17 that “I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like.”)

    My Greek is very limited…

    Was I mistaken in thinking you are a pastor? Have you already discussed this and I forgot? For that matter, am I mistaken in thinking you are a Lutheran? You certainly talk about us enough, though now that I think about it, you seem to do so in the third person, not the plural first.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@19), sorry, but I think you’re deviating from the point I was making.

    One can assume that He had some “fruit of the wine” with it.

    Yes, that might be a reasonable assumption. But remember, you made it not merely an assumption, but a key part of your argument (@12). The basis for your arguing about the nature of the Kingdom of God hangs on your knowing (not assuming) that Jesus had wine with his disciples after the Resurrection. And while that might be a reasonable assumption, again, you simply have no proof. You are arguing from silence. This is poor logic. It is, frankly, nothing but conjecture on your part.

    Conjecture is nice enough, but you appear to have elevated your conjecture to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit (@12). It is to this which I object.

    On the other hand, can you prove that there is wine in Paradise?

    Indeed, I cannot. I’m not the one making firm claims about what is or isn’t in Paradise. You are. (Even though, again, you also said @17 that “I simply don’t know that the Bible gives us enough information about the Hereafter to know precisely what it will be like.”)

    My Greek is very limited…

    Was I mistaken in thinking you are a pastor? Have you already discussed this and I forgot? For that matter, am I mistaken in thinking you are a Lutheran? You certainly talk about us enough, though now that I think about it, you seem to do so in the third person, not the plural first.

  • George A. Marquart

    tOOD @20

    You write, “The basis for your arguing about the nature of the Kingdom of God hangs on your knowing (not assuming) that Jesus had wine with his disciples after the Resurrection.” Not true. This is such a minor point that it is not worth the time we spent on it. But if our Lord was not going to drink of the fruit of the vine “until the Kingdom of God comes”, has He drunk it yet? If He has, when? If He has where? By the way, Infant Baptism is based on an assumption not that different from the one I made about the wine. Are you a Baptist?

    You write, “Conjecture is nice enough, but you appear to have elevated your conjecture to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit (@12).” Just because I prefaced my remarks by a reference to the Holy Spirit does not mean that I raise any of my “conjecture” to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit. It was Joanne’s comment that I elevated to that level. But not as a special revelation separate from Scripture. None of us can say anything that is true about our faith without the help of the Holy Spirit. Also, there are a number of other ways to show from Scripture what is the nature of the Kingdom beside this wine business.

    I am not a pastor. I am a Lutheran and have never been anything else since my Baptism.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    tOOD @20

    You write, “The basis for your arguing about the nature of the Kingdom of God hangs on your knowing (not assuming) that Jesus had wine with his disciples after the Resurrection.” Not true. This is such a minor point that it is not worth the time we spent on it. But if our Lord was not going to drink of the fruit of the vine “until the Kingdom of God comes”, has He drunk it yet? If He has, when? If He has where? By the way, Infant Baptism is based on an assumption not that different from the one I made about the wine. Are you a Baptist?

    You write, “Conjecture is nice enough, but you appear to have elevated your conjecture to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit (@12).” Just because I prefaced my remarks by a reference to the Holy Spirit does not mean that I raise any of my “conjecture” to the level of revelation from the Holy Spirit. It was Joanne’s comment that I elevated to that level. But not as a special revelation separate from Scripture. None of us can say anything that is true about our faith without the help of the Holy Spirit. Also, there are a number of other ways to show from Scripture what is the nature of the Kingdom beside this wine business.

    I am not a pastor. I am a Lutheran and have never been anything else since my Baptism.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart


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