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December 6, 2020 12:01 am
What did Jesus mean when He told the disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the kingdom of God coming in power? As he continues his exposition of the gospel of Mark, today R.C. Sproul wrestles with this challenging prediction.
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Bible critics claim some of the predictions Jesus made didn't happen so they say if he was a prophet.
He was a false prophet, Dr. RC Sproul answers the critics next on Renewing Your Mind. Welcome to the Lord, is the addition of our program will graduate with us as we continue Dr. RC Sproul sermon series from the gospel more in chapter 9 Jesus seems to of predicted that he would return in a certain timeframe so was his prophecy falls.
Dr. Strobel explain Jesus prediction and we will come away sure that it's not a mistake our Savior's part is the true and trustworthy word of God.
Notice that between the end of chapter 8 in which Jesus talked about the cost of discipleship and of bearing one's cross and of being exposed to suffering and rejection and death and the actual narrative of the Transfiguration, verse one of chapter 9 reads as follows, and he said to them, assuredly, I say to you that there is some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God present with power know what you have here in this verse is a prophecy and it's a prophecy of something that will take place in the future and it's not a future event that's going to take place according to this text.
2000 years later, there is a time frame specifically attached to this prophecy, where Jesus said some of you who are present will not taste death which means will not die until you see the kingdom of God present in our so we have this cryptic prediction about something that's going to happen is going to happen within the space of time of the lifetime at least of some of the disciples when Jesus says some of you will not taste death.
He does not say none of you will taste death until this takes place, but he uses what we call a particular negative proposition saying that some people will not do such and such a thing which indicates being less then a universal negative or universal affirmative which would include all people, or at least all of the group that's under discussion here, so the implication is that though some of those standing with him.
Listening to this prediction will not die before the prediction comes the past, some of them will die before the prediction comes the past. The first question that we have here is to what event is Jesus talking when he makes the prediction that some people will not die before they see the coming of the kingdom of God in power which is referring to. What is this coming of the kingdom in power all about. Not before I try to answer that question, let me raise the ante on this text and so you that it's linked closely to two other texts in the New Testament that are equally or even more controversial.
Let me read first of all, from Matthew chapter 10 when he started verse 21 now brother will deliver a brother to death of the father his child and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death and you will be hated by all for my namesake, but he will endures to the end will be saved when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. Notice the context in which Jesus is speaking here is similar to Marx and that he predicts suffering and affliction for his followers and now here he says in Matthew if they persecute you in this city, then flee to another city and obviously if they persecute you in that city. Then go on to another city and then here comes the climactic statement for assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes again we have a future prediction of something which is introduced by a time frame reference in this case he refers not till the time that they will see the kingdom of God coming in power but rather he speaks of the Son of Man coming in now instead of saying some of you will not taste death before you see this future event. He says now you will not go through all of the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes a beginning to feel the problem here.
The first aspect of this problem has to do with again a time frame reference where obviously it's not going to take the disciples to thousand years to go through the cities of Israel. They accomplished that within the first generation of Christian missionary activity to the cities and villages of Israel and so we could say of that text that some of those who were sent out also would not taste death until that event came to pass. Now the most controversial of all with respect to timeframe references in the New Testament comes later in Matthew 24 which is Matthew's version of what we call the all of the discourse.
A discussion that Jesus said near the end of his life with his disciples on the Mount of olives and that discourse is contained in all of the synoptic Gospels and has become the most controversy of all. It begins when Jesus makes a future prophecy when he looks at the temple that is standing there and he said that temple will be destroyed not one stone will be left upon another.
Jerusalem will be destroyed and trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, and when he makes this prediction of the destruction of the Temple and of the destruction of Jerusalem, which was a prediction of the most shocking magnitude available that the Jews of Jesus day thought if there was anything on thinkable it would be that the temple would be destroyed and that Jerusalem would be left desolate after all Jerusalem was the holy city.
It was Mount Zion. It was the place of the coming of the people of God for their pain and so Jesus shocks them by saying the temples going to be destroyed in the cities are to be destroyed and then Jesus while he's shocking his disciples. They ask him a question and the question is straightforward question you would ask Lord when will these things happen.
Now that's a time? When and so Jesus gives an elaborate answer to that and I'm not going to go into all of this of the ultimate discourse this morning because will face it again later.
As we study the book of Mark the list. Just let me turn your attention to part of it where he says in verse 29 of chapter 24. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven. The powers of the heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree when its branches already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near at the doors. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Maybe you still haven't felt the weight of the problem setting before you this morning that text that I just read is the text that is used more often by skeptics and by higher critical scholars in the academic world to deny the credibility of Jesus and to deny the credibility of the New Testament when Bertrand Russell wrote his book why I am not a Christian. He gave us his number one argument for not believing in Jesus this text in the New Testament because he said as the skeptics say Jesus clearly predicted his return to this world within one generation, which in Jewish terms is 40 years and appears what's striking about this particular text in the prophecy and the Mount of olives is a Jesus with astonishing accuracy predicts the future destruction of the temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, which takes place just about 40 years after the prediction with the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman invaders.
So, if there's ever a future prediction in the New Testament that would prove the truth of the Bible and that would prove the deity of Christ. It's this prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place exactly and precisely as Jesus prophesied.
But what happened when he is predicting these events of the temple and of the city and the disciples asked him when he links to the answer of when the coming of the Son of Man and says that this coming and whatever coming Jesus talking about their he said assuredly this generation will not pass away until Pontotoc to all of these things will come to pass. So you have three critical passages in the New Testament that set forth future events and they all have a time frame within the first generation of believers and the first thing we don't know we don't know for sure that all three of these passages that I've just talk to you about our referring to the same historical event. Notice that in the passage I read from Mark one.
Jesus said that some of you will not taste death until you see the kingdom of God coming in power. In Matthew 10 he says you will not go through all of the cities of Israel until you see the Son of Man come in in the third when this generation will not pass away until all of these things come to pass, including the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of Christ to see the problem. The weight of New Testament skepticism is this Jesus predicted his return in the first generation of believers. Yes the temple was destroyed. Yes, Jerusalem was destroyed. Batista and come back. Therefore, if he was a prophet. He was a false prophet and not only is his prediction not true, but the New Testament documents cannot be trusted either. So what you do with that. Well, if you would look at the gymnastics. The people used to get around these problems.
It's unbelievable the standard argument among evangelicals is the what Jesus meant here was. He said this generation will pass what he meant this kind of unbelief will not pass away that there will be people like you unbelievers like you in every generation. Between now and so when I come back at the end of the age.
And so that's all he meant by that. It was not an answer directly to the question when well if that's the answer to that dilemma that involves a twisting of that phrase this generation in a way that's utterly foreign to its usage in the New Testament if you're going to be serious about that tax them. If you do believe that the Bible is the word of God, the negatively those disciples understand when Jesus said that he said this generation. That's 40 years.
This is gonna take place next four years.
I can tell you what day I can tell you what our but certainly it's can be within the next 40 or so years.
This generation which leads me to conclude that what he's talking about here is not his coming at the end of time. That is what we call the second coming, but his judgment coming on Israel that does happen within that framework of 40 years with the destruction of the Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem, but I believe that all the discourse aside for now and come back to these other two techs. Clearly, Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 10, you're not going to go through every city in Israel till the Son of Man comes again. He's putting a first century time for some kind of coming of the Son of Man, Possibly in my judgment be referring to his final coming at the end of the age, but now back to Mark where Mark says some of you will not taste death until you see the kingdom of God manifested in power. Now let's ask this question. What is Jesus talking about here, but he doesn't say some of you will not taste death until I return. It doesn't say somebody will not taste death until you see me coming in clouds of glory.
All he saying here is that some of you will not taste death until you see the kingdom of God made manifest in power and so how have commentators treated this prediction in church history. Many of them argue that since marketplaces this prediction right before his description of the Transfiguration and the Transfiguration was the most dazzling manifestation of the presence of the kingdom of God in glory and power that occurred during Jesus earthly ministry prior to his resurrection.
That obviously the editorial reason why marketplaces adhere is that Mark is saying he's giving a prediction of the Transfiguration. Maybe that's why Jesus said that six days before the Transfiguration of something puzzles me about that. If I put my Lieut. Colombo hat on a single node I got solutions here that I got tied up together.
One thing I don't understand why would Jesus say some of you won't taste death. See, saying, don't worry, you're not going to do hi all of you are gonna die in this next week. It's overkill is not doesn't make any sense for him to put a time frame in which some of those people standing there will not die if he's talking about something that's going to take place within the next seven days with no intervening plague or war breaking out that would claim the lives of some of his disciples. Others have looked at this text and say what this refers to the resurrection because the resurrection certainly demonstrates the manifestation of Jesus and his kingdom in power even more powerfully than the Transfiguration. However, the same problem was there, none of those who were there at this moment, died between this announcement and the resurrection, and even the resurrection is too soon ahead to have Jesus saying some of you will not die before you see the kingdom coming up are the next favorite interpretation of the text is that when the disciples really saw the kingdom coming in power was on the day of Pentecost when they receive power from heaven. They saw the dove coming down and the church was empowered as the presence of the kingdom of God and that could be what the references but again I'm puzzled about this reference that some of you will not taste death is still seems to me too soon to put it in the timeframe of life where some of them will not have died but if Jesus is talking here about the manifestation of the kingdom of God in power coming when the last vestiges of Jewish resistance to the breakthrough of the kingdom of God that Jesus is been encountering all through the gospel of Mark happens when the temple was destroyed.
And Jerusalem is laid bare in 70 A.D. for the first time the Christian church was now understood as a distinct entity from Judaism was no longer considered a subset or a sect within Judaism, the triumph of the Messiah's church was made visible and manifest in power with the judgment of God that came to Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and some of those who were present when Jesus was talking about the coming manifestation of the power of the kingdom did in fact die between his announcements and the coming of the kingdom and power in A.D. 70. Now let me end this by saying maybe that's what Jesus was talking but I don't know for sure but I know if you're wrestling with these timeframe passages in the New Testament. You don't need to wrestle anymore. If you take seriously the fulfillment of Jesus prophecy concerning the temple and concerning the city of Jerusalem. One thing I know for certain that the word of God does not fail. The Jesus was truth incarnate, and when he said that something was going to happen in a certain timeframe and will I know I know what happened within that timeframe and if my coming to that conclusion makes me challenge some of the constructs of theology and are they so big because where we go from truth is to the mouth of Jesus.
Will this passage from the Gospel of Mark. It is difficult to understand. So we are thankful for Dr. Sproles exposition of it here today on Renewing Your Mind. We we need trusted theologians like Dr. scroll to help us navigate passages like this in our resource offered today.
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