You are hereDid the Transfiguration Fulfill Matthew 16:28?

Did the Transfiguration Fulfill Matthew 16:28?


By John - Posted on 09 July 2004

Speaking to a "crowd…along with his disciples" (Mark 8:34, NIV throughout), Jesus said: "..the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matt. 16:27-28)For those Christians who don't believe that Jesus has already come in his kingdom, taking this prediction at face value presents a problem because those who were "standing" there have all died. Many believe the transfiguration account immediately following Matthew 16 provides an adequate solution (Matt. 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36). This article presents a test of that interpretation.

The following is a synopsis of the transfiguration as recounted in Matthew 17:

1. Jesus takes three disciples up a high mountain

2. Jesus is transfigured (his face shines and his clothes appear white)

3. Moses and Elijah appear

4. A bright cloud envelopes the disciples

5. A voice says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

6. Moses and Elijah disappear

How long after Christ's prediction did the transfiguration take place?

"After six days…" (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2); "About eight days after…" (Luke 9:28)

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Is this not a strange way to speak about an event that he knew would occur only about a week later? Probably, few if any of those listening were only one week away from death. The wording of Christ's prediction implies that at least some, but probably many, would be dead by the time he came in his kingdom. Only "some" would still be alive.

Who witnessed the transfiguration?

"Jesus took with him Peter, James and John…" (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28)

These would qualify as "some" out of the "crowd…along with the disciples," but Jesus later said, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead" (Matt. 17:9b). This raises another question: Why would Jesus have "let the cat out of the bag" so to speak before a "crowd" regarding an event he really didn't want anyone else to know about?

What did Jesus specifically mention they would see?

1. "the Son of Man coming in his Father's glory"

2. "angels"

3. Each person being rewarded for what he has done (the judgment)

4. "his kingdom"

At the transfiguration, the Son of Man was there and he was changed to a certain glorified state (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29). However, strictly speaking, he was not "coming" -- he was already there. There were no angels present, nor was there any sign of a judgment taking place. In fact, very little in the account could be reasonably related to "his kingdom."

What else might one have expected to see in connection with "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom?"

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thess. 4:16-17)

During the transfiguration, the Lord did not "come down from heaven." There was a command that came out of the cloud, but not necessarily a "loud" command (Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34-35). There was no trumpet sound, nor any sign of the dead rising or the rapture. The disciples were enveloped by a cloud, but they were not "caught up…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

"...See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones…" (Jude 14b-15a)

"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.'" (Rev. 11:15)

There was no sign of the "thousands upon thousands of his holy ones" and the voice in the cloud said nothing about "the kingdom of the world" becoming "the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ." Also, only Moses and Elijah were present with Jesus, but they are never mentioned as having an especially prominent position when Jesus was to return in his kingdom, so we must wonder why the vision includes only them.
What is the transfiguration all about? Why are just Moses and Elijah present? To answer these questions, it is necessary to begin at Mount Sinai:

"When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "'Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.'" (Exod. 20:18-19)

From that day, God spoke to the Israelites through Moses, and the people said, "we will listen." However, Moses would not live forever and was not even allowed to enter the promised land. Before his life was over, he warned the Israelites about the danger of taking up the ways of the heathen nations they would encounter (Deut. 18:9-14) and then specified how he would be replaced:

"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him." (v. 15)

After Moses died, this prediction met an immediate fulfillment in Joshua:

"Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses." (Deut. 34:9)

Moses and the Prophets spoke for God under the Old Covenant. It's difficult to imagine a more prestigious calling. Israel was to "listen" to them. The Law came through Moses, and for hundreds of years God spoke to his people through prophets. The high regard for "Moses and the Prophets" as the two great authorities in the history of Israel continued right down to the time of Jesus. The New Testament contains numerous references to "Moses and the Prophets" or "the Law and the Prophets." Moses and the Law were synonymous.
Elijah was arguably Israel's greatest prophet after Moses (Deut. 34:10-11), having raised the dead (I Kgs. 17:17-24), and his name was associated with the arrival of the Messiah (Mal. 4:5-6). At the transfiguration, we see Jesus standing with Moses, who is representing the Law, and with Elijah, who is representing the Prophets. The voice from the cloud says "Listen to him!" Then, Moses and Elijah disappear leaving only Jesus. The transfiguration appears to have been a demonstration showing that Jesus was the successor to Moses and the Prophets. This is how the author of Hebrews understood Christ's role:

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." (Heb. 1:1-2)

The command "Listen to him" clearly links Christ to Israel's prophets and the original prediction made by Moses. Peter makes this connection in Acts 3.
The transfiguration appears to have been quite unrelated to Christ's prediction in Matthew 16:28. There is very little evidence to qualify it as a preview of "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademarks Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Copyright © 2004 by Michael A. Fenemore

JL's picture

What did Jesus specifically mention they would see?
1. "the Son of Man coming in his Father's glory"
2. "angels"
3. Each person being rewarded for what he has done (the judgment)
4. "his kingdom"
------------------------------------
He specifically mentioned only #4 (his kingdom, acutally the 'coming' of his kingdom) of which SOME of them would witness.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

mfenemore's picture

Please refer to verse 27 as quoted at the beginning of the article.

Regards,

Michael A. Fenemore

Michael A. Fenemore

Experience a thought-provoking moment at:

http://www.preterism.info

mrfullpreterist's picture

Mr. Fenemore,

What is your take on the relationship between Matthew 16:27,28-17:1-9 and II Peter 1:16-18? It seems that Peter very much regarded the Transfiguration as being a prophetic foretaste of Christ's Parousia.

I like your insight on Christ superseding the Law and the Prophets being signified by the vanishing of Moses and Elijah and Jesus alone remaining.

Robert L. Statzer

mrFOOLpreterist FKA as mrfullpreterist

Still searching to understand the Truth.

mfenemore's picture

RE: 2 Pet. 1:16-18

Nothing in this passage changes the fact that the transfiguration cannot qualify as a picture of the second coming in light of the tremendous dissimilarities between the two events.

The article has been expanded to deal with this issue. Please go to:

http://www.preterism.info

It's easy to find.

Michael A. Fenemore

Michael A. Fenemore

Experience a thought-provoking moment at:

http://www.preterism.info

zerubbabel's picture

Yea, what about 2 Pet.1:16-18? How can this passage be left out of an appraisal of the event on the Mount of Transfiguration? It would seem to demolish the author's whole premise.

If Peter said he and the others were eyewitnesses of his coming and majesty, when else could that have been?

mfenemore's picture

RE: 2 Pet. 1:16-18

Nothing in this passage changes the fact that the transfiguration cannot qualify as a picture of the second coming in light of the tremendous dissimilarities between the two events.

The article has been expanded to deal with this issue. Please go to:

http://www.preterism.info

It's easy to find.

Michael A. Fenemore

Michael A. Fenemore

Experience a thought-provoking moment at:

http://www.preterism.info

zerubbabel's picture

I have read the updated article.

I continue to maintain that the Transfiguration is the fulfillment of Jesus' words in Matthew 16:28, etc. First, it was NOT strange (from a futurist perspective) for Jesus to speak of some not tasting death before seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom, even knowing that the Transfiguration was but a week ahead. He wasn't thinking in terms of how many people would die in a week, nor how many would die by 70 A.D. He was simply refering to the fact that all those people (except the "some") as well as all Christians in future centuries prior to the rapture, would die without seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. It only seems strange when viewed through preterist glasses.

As for the details: Just because not every detail which characterizes the Son of Man coming in His kingdom was manifested (apparently) at the Transfiguration does not disqualify it from being a preview of the kingdom.

Actually, the author's arguments against a Transfiguration fulfillment of Jesus' words sound odd coming from a preterist. He says the following items were not present at the Transfiguration: Angels present...Rewards given...Voice of Archangel...Trumpet...Dead rising...Saints raptured...etc. I don't believe Josephus witnessed any of these things in 70 A.D. either.

2 Peter 1:16-18 is the key to understanding this and the author's handling of it is weak. It seems plain enough that Peter was refering to what he saw and heard on the "holy mountain". He speaks of "power", "coming", "honor ", "glory", "the voice", Majestic glory", etc. He says the Lord "received from God the Father honor and glory" thus describing a preview of His receiving the kingdom. Thus Peter, James, and John saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom about a week after the Lord said that "some" there would see it.

Batman's picture

zerubbabel,

By maintaining your position, you have several other time statements within scripture to overcome. You are forced to harmonize these other passages with Matthew 16:27-28.

1. And the high priest (Caiaphas) answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" 64 Jesus said to him, "It is as YOU said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter YOU will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." -Matthew 26:63-64

2. "When they persecute YOU (disciples) in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to YOU, YOU will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." -Matthew 10:23

The word YOU is a personal pronoun attached to the person or persons to whom he is speaking. You cannot remove these passages from their first century context.

Question: Did Caiaphas or the collective council see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven? Jesus said that he/they would see Him coming on the clouds.

Question: Did the disciples see the Son of Man come before they reached all of the cities of Israel? Jesus said they would.

"Little children, it is the LAST HOUR; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the LAST HOUR." -1 John 2:18

John tells us that not only were they living in "these last days" like Peter had said, but they were in the "LAST HOUR". The last hour of what? The last hour is the culmination of the last day! This sounds pretty imminent to me!

Compare these next two verses.

"So YOU (disciples) also, when YOU see all these things, know that he is near--standing at the door!" -Matthew 24:33

"Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest YOU be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" -James 5:9

Jesus gives his disciples a laundry list of things that they would see before his coming. Then, approximately 35 years later, James claims that the judge is now standing at the door! It sounds to me like he saw the things that Jesus had described in his ministry earlier. I don't know about you, but the judge standing at the door tells me that things were about to get started and James recognized it.

All of these plus many more passages declare that Christ's coming was imminent. Words like, "shortly", "quickly", "at hand", "about to be", "this generation", "soon", "near", etc. must all harmonize with Matthew 16:27-28. The preterist position is the only position that does this consistently. All other positions (like yours) must somehow "explain away" these time statement passages.

I understand that what I am about to say is a bold statement. But, if Jesus did not return in the first century as the prophets, Jesus himself, and the disciples all taught, then Christianity is a lie and Jesus is a false prophet. There is no other option.

--Batman

--Batman

dkpret's picture

I have always appreciated Michael and his work, but I could not disagree more with this article.

I have written extensively on the Transfiguration and the parousia, and am convinced that the Transfiguration was in fact a vision of the parousia. Peter, in defending the doctrine of Christ's coming, gave the eyewitness vision of the Transfiguration of the Lord's advent (2 Peter 1:16), as the definitive defense of the parousia. Peter simply says that the Transfiguration was a vision of the power and parousia of Christ. As Boobyer (and a host of other scholars) stated long ago, if the Transfiguration was not related to the parousia, why would Peter give the Transfiguration as a refutation of those who were denying the parousia? There had to be a direct link between the two events, or else the Transfiguration could not be used as a proof of the parousia and refutation of the scoffers.

The fact that Christ only mentioned the kingdom in verse 28, and not judgment, or angels, or some of the other constituent elements of v. 27 is actually irrelevant. The coming of the Son of Man with the angels is the coming of the Son of Man in the kingdom (Matthew 25:31f). There is no dichotomy here, not two topics. Furthermore, the coming of Christ in glory is the coming of Christ in the kingdom as well (cf. Mt. 20:20/ Mk. 10:35f. This is parallelism, not contrast.

The grammar of v. 28 prevents a delineation between v. 27 and v. 28. V. 28 begins with "amen lego humin" which is used 95 times in the NT and never, I repeat, never breaks a subject, and never introduces a new topic. It is a term that calls attention to emphasis of something that has just been stated. Thus, since there is no break thematically between v. 27 and v. 28, then any relationship between the Transfiguration and v. 28 is a link with v. 27.

Since the Transfiguration was a vision of the end of the age of Moses and the Prophets, with the transcendance of Christ, and since the parousia occurred at the passing of the age of Moses and the Prophets, there is perfect correspondence thematically and theologically between the Transfiguration and the parousia.

To suggest that because there was no trumpet, no angels, no thousands of thousands present at the Transfiguration, therefore it could not be a vision of the parousia, actually demands that we literalize those referents, when in fact they are not to be taken literally at all.

I gave a major presentation on the Transfiguration at John Anderson's seminar in Sparta, N. C. in May. The audio of that presentation is available from John Anderson. Also, my book Can You Believe Jesus Said This? presents some addition information linking the Transfiguration and the parousia.

This is just a few of the reasons why I am convinced that the Transfiguration was in fact a vision of the parousia, and stands as the ultimate definition of the parousia as the passing of the Old World of Moses and the Prophets, and the full establishment of the New Covenant World of Jesus the Messiah.
Respectfully,
Don K.

davo's picture

Absolutely, well said Don.

It is only for the sake and convenience of the dispensational argument that an arbitrary break is forced between verse 27 and proceeding, and that of verse 28 and following. The Greek grammar of the text allows for none of this. In fact, Jesus' very words ties verse 28 to that which preceded it – "Verily I say unto you!" It is emphatic of what Jesus just said – so much so that the contents of verse 28 was also to occur at that same time. "Verily" in the Greek is a 'particle' – linking what had been said in verse 27 to what was about to follow in verse 28. Which is exactly the case for the beginning of each of the preceding verses – 25 For…, 26 For…, 27 For… and 28 Verily… – the "verily" finally and simply being the strengthening of that which had gone before.

Not only that, but Paul makes it plain that the Parousia, the Judgment, the Resurrection and Kingdom were all concurrent events i.e., when one occurred they all did, it being impossible for one event not to happen when the rest did:

2Tim 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead [i.e., resurrection] at His appearing and His kingdom:

davo

mfenemore's picture

Hello Don,

I have read your article "The Parousia, Pt. 1 of 4" at your website.

http://www.eschatology.org/articles/secondcoming/parousiaPt1.htm

As far as I could see, parts 2-4 are not yet available.

1. I humbly suggest that you have gone off track near the beginning of the article. You say:

"In 2 Peter 1:16-18 the apostle refutes the scoffers who denied the parousia (2 Peter. 3:2)...In both 2 Peter chapter 1 and 3, Peter is answering the charges of the scoffers."

"Since Peter says the Transfiguration was a vision of the parousia..."

First of all, you seem to see most of 2 Peter as a refutation of "scoffers who denied the parousia." Actually, chapters 1 and 2 are not about that at all. Peter is warning his audience not to fall back into sin, condemning the sinners among them and branding some of them as false teachers (2:1).

In chapter 3:1 he states his purpose for writing:

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking."

Only after this, does he get around to the scoffers regarding the parousia.

2. RE: The word "coming" (Gk: parousia) in 2 Pet. 1:16.

You say, "Since Peter says the Transfiguration was a vision of the parousia..."

I don't believe Peter said that. I believe you have erroneously assumed that the word "coming" here refers to the transfiguration. I believe this is the biggest problem with your position. If Peter is applying the word "coming" to the transfiguration in this passage, it is by no means clear. The transfiguration was not a "coming" -- Jesus had not gone anywhere. Where would he have been coming from? Taken in context, it appears that Peter is actually referring to Christ's *first* coming and then using the transfiguration miracle to buttress his testimony regarding Jesus. All of this is to encourage his audience to avoid sin. It has nothing to do with scoffers denying the parousia. After his salutation in verses 1-2, Peter begins his message:

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Pet. 1:3-4)"

Next, Peter proceeds to encourage his audience to "keep the faith," so to speak, and reminds them of their eternal reward (v. 10-11). Then in verses 16-18 he attempts to add credibility to his message by reminding them that he had personally witnessed the miraculous transfiguration event -- a demonstration of Christ's "divine power" (v. 3). In no way does he imply that the transfiguration was intended to be a preview of the second coming and a fulfillment of Matt. 16:28. The word "coming" (parousia) does not appear to be referring to the transfiguration. However, even if we concede that it does, the event was only "a" coming (a presence), not a preview of "the" coming, i.e. the second coming. Evidence throughout the New Testament exposes the "transfiguration as fulfillment of Matt. 16:28" view as being highly suspect.

So I can't agree that Peter said, "the Transfiguration was a vision of the parousia." I can't find that in the text.

3. Of course, the transfiguration can somehow be related to the second coming because, after all, all of this is about eschatology and it's all tied together. However, I believe you have missed the point. The real question, especially for the futurist/preterist debate is this:

Is the transfiguration specifically what Jesus was referring to in Matt. 16:28?

I doubt it. Why would Jesus have painted a picture of his coming in glory in verse 27 and then in verse 28 predicted that some would see a preview that he knew would lack the very elements he had just described? What's the point of verse 27?

It's only those who cannot accept the first-century second coming of Christ who leave themselves no option but to adopt this highly questionable interpretation for lack of any better one. As a preterist, I feel no pressure to accept this. In fact, the evidence leads me away from it. I find it most comfortable to take Matt. 16:28 at face value and see it as fitting in perfectly with the multitude of other predictions regarding a parousia to occur within the lifetimes of Christ's first-century audience.

Fortunately, for you and me, it makes no difference what we believe on this since it does no harm to our eschatological views. It's only futurists who have no choice but to accept the transfiguration interpretation.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Fenemore
http://www.Preterism.info

Michael A. Fenemore

Experience a thought-provoking moment at:

http://www.preterism.info

rfwitt's picture

Well said.
As I wrote in my study:

"Peter’s testimony about the power and coming are found in 2 places in scripture.
1. Acts 2 and Peters first sermon!
2. 1 Peter 1
Peter was saying that his testimony concerning the second coming of the Lord could be trusted because he himself was trusted by the Lord as a witness to Christ’s heavenly majesty.
He WAS NOT a witness to any coming of the kingdom at all. Christ was already in their midst when a cloud descended. Christ never went away to have a “coming” take place. Moses and Elijah appeared, but Christ was changed, “transfigured.”
Peter was simply addressing his reliability on the subject of Christ because Christ Himself trusted Peter enough to show him His majesty. It is that simple.

3. Matthew 16:28 states that some of the disciples would not taste death until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. Mark 9:1 states that some of the disciples would not taste death until they saw the kingdom come with great power. (http://www.thingstocome.org)

I agree that these passages say this. However what Bill Grimes has failed to show anyone is that the “kingdom” CAME on the Mount that day. Instead what took place was a display, a change or “transfiguration” of Christ’s earthly appearance to His heavenly one. The kingdom never came. No “parousia” took place. Only a display of majesty by which Peter was affirmed as a trustworthy source.

4. Peter writes that he was not telling a tale when he made known to his audience the power and coming of Jesus. There you have it. If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 are time statements which were fulfilled at the Mount of Transfiguration. (http://www.thingstocome.org)

Actually what we have is a disciple proving his trustworthiness as to the second coming by making known the secret of his presence at the transfiguration. Nothing more."

God Bless
Nate

dkpret's picture

Michael, I think you are right about all of my articles on the Transfiguration not being up yet. I will have to correct that, and thanks for the notice.

You state: "Fortunately, for you and me, it makes no difference what we believe on this since it does no harm to our eschatological views. It's only futurists who have no choice but to accept the transfiguration interpretation."

This is true to a great extent.

I would like to add a few thoughts.
First, It is not appropriate in any way to delineate between Mt. 16:27-28. As I pointed out in my first response, there are several reasons this is true:
1.) The coming of Christ in glory is the coming of the kingdom. See the parallel passages I cited in Matthew 20 and Mark 10. Now since the comingof Christ in glory and the coming of Christ in his kingdom are synonymous concepts, there is no delineation between the two verses.
2.) The coming of Christ in judgment (v. 27), is the coming of the kingdom (Matthew 25:31f; 2 Tim. 4:1). So, once again, it is not tenable to say that v. 27 speaks of the parousia, but that v. 28 speaks of the coming of the kingdom. These are the same events.
3.) Teh grammar of v. 28 forbids a delineation between the subjects of the two verses. As I noted, the Greek "amen lego humin" never breaks a subject and never introduces a new topic. It always calls attention to comments meant to emphasize something that has already been stated. Thus, again, v. 27 says what would happen, and v. 28 emphasizes that by saying, emphatically, when it would occur.

Now, I do not believe for a moment that the Transfiguration was the actual fulfillment of v. 27-28. However, it was a vision (Luke 9)of the parousia. I agree fully with you that the futurists have entirely missed the point of the Transfiguration, and I think my book Can You Believe Jesus Said This is a clear demonstration of the weakness of the futurist attempts to deal with the Mountain vision.

However, Peter was unequivocally using the Transfiguration as a confirmation of "something." That something was "the power and parousia." It seems rather inconceivable that Peter would appeal to the Transfiguration as a refutation of those who said he had used "cunningly devised fables" in preaching "the power and parousia" if the Transfiguration had nothing whatsoever to do with "the power and parousia." Remember, Peter is using the Transfiguration as proof that he had not used "cunningly devised fables in making known the power and parousia...for we were eyewitnesses." There has to be a link between the Transfiguration and the power and parousia, or Peter's appeal to the Transfiguration has no logical power of persuasion in his argument.

Furthermore, and this I think is determinative. We would both agree that the parousia occured at the time of the passing of the Old Covenant World, would we not? As preterists I think that is a given. So, consider:
The parousia occurs at the time of the passing of the Old Covenant World.
But the Transfiguration was a vision of the passing of the Old Covenant World.
Therefore, the Transfiguration was a vision of the parousia.

The attempt has been made to delineate between the Transfiguration and the parousia because there were no angels, trumpets, or actual coming: "Christ had not gone anywhere, therefore he was not seen coming." I believe this misses the point entirely.

First, to seek to dichtomize between the Transfiguration and the parousia based on such "distinctions" demands that one then take the language of coming with angels, the sound of a trumpet, flaming fire, etc. literally. After all, it was not seen, therefore, it is not the parousia, is the argment being made. This logically demands that one is saying since these were not literally seen at the Transfiguration, that they must therefore be literally seen at the parousia. The problem is that these things were not literally seen in A.D. 70. Therefore, per the logic being used, the parousia did not occur in A.D. 70.

There is a danger, rather easy to fall into it seems to me, to draw distinctions between passages based on false contrasts. For instance, K. Gentry says that 2 Thes. 1 is the "final coming" but that 2 Thess. 2, is A.D. 7.. What is his reasoning? Well, chapter 1 mentions angels and uses "elte" a form of "erchomai," whereas, chapter 2 has no mention of angels and uses parousia! Now this is facile, and fatal to Gentry's view, but it exemplifies the way attempts are sometimes made to make passages speak of different events.

Just because Matthew 17 does not mention the angels, Trumpets, flaming fire, etc. does not mean it is not a vision of the parousia. 1 Corinthians makes no mention whatsoever of Christ coming with angels, with flaming fire, and not one word about the destruction of "heaven and earth." 2 Peter says not a word about coming with the angels, contains no mention of the resurrection, is silent about the Trumpet, and says nothing at all (our opponents claim!) about Jerusalem. Would we argue that 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Peter 3--not to mention 1 Thes. 4!!-- speak of different events? This would surely be untenable. Likewise, I think it is unwise to seek to delineate between Matthew 16:27 and v. 28, and then between v. 28 and the Transfiguration. We must not demand that every author include every eschatological element in his particular discussion in order to understand that he speaks of the same events as other authors.

This argument misses the point of apocalyptic language.

The claim is made that Peter was not saying he saw a vision of the parousia on the Mount, and that the first two chapters of 2 Peter are not dealing with the scoffers who denied the parousia. I do disagree with this assessment.

Peter said he had not followed cunningly devised fables in making known the power and parousia "for we were eyewitnesses". Note the use of the particle "for" There are a lot of things to note here, but let me simply address a couple of quick things.
1.) Parousia is never used of Christ's incarnation, as I understood you to suggest.
2.) The terms power and parousia, when used together never refer to Christ's Incarnate ministry, but invariably, unless I have missed something, are referent to his parousia.
3.) I do strongly affirm--but space will not permit explication of my all reasons-- that the entirety of 2 Peter is concerned with the scoffers. That concern is the focus of 2:1:16f, and the scoffers are the topic of discussion in chapter 2. It is the swift destruction that will come on them, because they are the evil scoffers foretold long before (2 Peter 2:1f). There is no disjunction between any of the "chapters." The concern is everywhere the same, to refute the scoffers.

Well, I must close. I am up to my eyeballs in preparation for our Third Annual Preterist Pilgrim Weekend that begins this Saturday. I did not actually have time to engage in this, but the Transfiguration is one of my favorite topics.
God bless!
Don K

RevDrCR1's picture

The following address goes to a post I submitted a while back on this issue. It has a little different angle but agrees with the above argument and addresses some of the thoughts in opposition here.

http://planetpreterist.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1067

Some men would rather deny the truth than be behind the times.

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