Matthew 16:28
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
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(28) There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death . . .—The immediate sequence of the vision of the Son of Man transfigured from the low estate in which He then lived and moved, into the “excellent glory” which met the gaze of the three disciples, has led not a few interpreters to see in that vision the fulfilment of this prediction. A closer scrutiny of the words must, however, lead us to set aside that interpretation, except so far as the Transfiguration bore witness to what had till then been the latent possibilities of His greatness. To speak of something that was to take place within six days as to occur before some of those who heard the words should taste of death (comp. John 8:52, Hebrews 2:9, for the form of the expression) would hardly have been natural; nor does the vision, as such, satisfy the meaning of the words “coming in His kingdom.” The solution of the problem is to be found in the great prophecy of Matthew 24. In a sense which was real, though partial, the judgment which fell upon the Jewish Church, the destruction of the Holy City and the Temple, the onward march of the Church of Christ, was as the coming of the Son of Man in His kingdom. His people felt that He was not far off from every one of them. He had come to them in “spirit and in power,” and that advent was at once the earnest and the foreshadowing of the “great far-off event,” the day and hour of which were hidden from the angels of God, and even from the Son of Man Himself (Mark 13:32). The words find their parallel in those that declared that “This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). That such words should have been recorded and published by the Evangelists is a proof either that they accepted that interpretation, if they wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem, or, if we assume that they were led by them to look for the “end of all things” as near at hand, that they wrote before the generation of those who then stood by had passed away; and so the very difficulty that has perplexed men becomes a proof of the early date of the three Gospels that contain the record.

Matthew 16:28. Verily, there be some standing here, &c. — And that you may not doubt that there shall be a day of judgment, when I shall come clothed with divine majesty, to render unto men according to their actions in this life, let me assure you there are some here present that shall not die till they shall see a faint representation of this, in events which will soon take place, especially in my coming to set up my mediatorial kingdom with great power and glory, in the increase of my church, and the destruction of mine enemies. Accordingly the disciples saw their Master coming in his kingdom, when they were witnesses of his transfiguration, resurrection, and ascension, and the miraculous gifts of his Spirit conferred upon them; and lived to see Jerusalem, with the Jewish state, destroyed, and the gospel propagated through the greatest part of the then known world.

16:24-28 A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes. Let him deny himself. If self-denial be a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practised, to redeem us, and to teach us. Let him take up his cross. The cross is here put for every trouble that befalls us. We are apt to think we could bear another's cross better than our own; but that is best which is appointed us, and we ought to make the best of it. We must not by our rashness and folly pull crosses down upon our own heads, but must take them up when they are in our way. If any man will have the name and credit of a disciple, let him follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple. If all worldly things are worthless when compared with the life of the body, how forcible the same argument with respect to the soul and its state of never-ending happiness or misery! Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour's respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.Verily I say unto you ... - To encourage them, he assured them that, though his kingdom was now obscure and despised - though he was cast out and little known - yet the time was near when he would be regarded in a different manner, and his kingdom be established with great power.

This cannot refer to the end of the world, and there is no need of referring it to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Taste of death - That is, die. Before they die they shall see this.

Son of man coming in his kingdom - Mark and Luke have explained this: Mark 9:1, "Until they have seen the kingdom of God come with power;" Luke 9:27, "Till they see the kingdom of God." The meaning evidently is, "till they shall see my kingdom," i. e., my church, now small, feeble, and despised, greatly enlarged, established, and spreading with great rapidity and extent. All this was accomplished. All these apostles, except Judas, lived to see the wonders of the day of Pentecost; some of them, John particularly, saw the Jewish nation scattered, the temple destroyed, the gospel established in Asia, Rome, Greece, and in a large part of the known world.

Remarks On Matthew 16

1. People will often judge far more correctly about natural than about spiritual things, Matthew 16:1-3. In respect to natural objects they are watchful. In them they feel a deep interest, and they watch for every sign that may affect their interest. They are too much concerned to judge falsely. But they feel no such interest in religious things. Hence, it happens that people who have good sense and much wisdom in regard to worldly concerns, are often exceedingly foolish in regard to religion. They believe reports respecting religion, revivals, and missions, which they would despise on any other subject. They read and believe newspapers and other publications, which they would hold in contempt on any other topic but religion. They give a degree of weight to arguments against the Bible, and against the doctrines of the gospel, to which they would attach little or no importance on any other subject. They sustain themselves in infidelity by arguments which they would regard as of no force if the same kind of reasoning was urged in defense of anything else.

2. It is of importance to watch the signs of the times, Matthew 16:3. In the days of Christ it was the duty of the people to look at the evidence that he was the Messiah. The proofs were clear that he was the Messiah. It is also important to look at the signs of the times in which we live. They are clear also. Much is doing; and the diffusion of the Bible, the labors among the pagan, the distribution of tracts, and perhaps, above all, the institution of Sunday schools, betoken an eventful age, and are an indication that brighter days are about to dawn on the world. We should watch these signs that we may rejoice; that we may pray with more fervor, and that we may do our part to advance the kingdom of God. Little children should grow up believing that they live in an important age; that they enjoy many special privileges, and that they may and must do much to spread the gospel through the earth. Even in childhood, they should pray, and they should give to benefit others; and, most of all, they should give themselves to Christ, that they may benefit others with a right spirit.

3. Sinners should be addressed with deep feeling and faithfulness, Mark 8:12. Jesus sighed deeply. So should we. We should not be harsh, or sour, or cold and unfeeling when we address our fellow-men about eternity. We should weep over them, and pray for them, and speak to them, not as if we were better than they, but with an earnest desire for their salvation. Compare Acts 20:31; Philippians 3:18.

4. People easily mistake plain instruction, Matthew 16:7. And especially is this the case where there is any chance of giving a worldly turn to the instruction. If people's thoughts - even those of Christians were more off from the world, and they thought less of the supply of their temporal wants, they would understand the truths of religion much better than they do. No man can understand the doctrines of religion aright whose principal concern is what he shall eat, and drink, and wear. Hence, even Christians are often strangely ignorant of the plainest truths of religion; and hence the importance of teaching those truths to children before their thoughts become engrossed by the world; and hence, too, the importance of Sunday schools.

5. We should not have undue anxiety about the supply of our wants. Christ supplied many thousands by a word, and he can easily supply us, Matthew 16:9-12.

6. We should learn, from his past goodness, to trust him for the future, Matthew 16:9-12.

7. We should be on our guard against error, Matthew 16:11. It is sly, artful, plausible, working secretly, but effectually. We should always be cautious of what we believe, and examine it by the word of God. False doctrines are often made as much like the truth as possible, for the very purpose of deceiving. "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light," 2 Corinthians 11:14.

8. It is important to ascertain our views of Christ, Matthew 16:13-15. Our all depends on this. If we do not think and feel right respecting him we cannot be safe. We should often, then, ask ourselves - we should ask one another - what we think of Christ.

9. It is our duty to profess attachment to Christ. It should be done boldly, and always, Matthew 16:16. We should never be ashamed of him. And to do this, we should always, in our own hearts, believe that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God.


28. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here—"some of those standing here."

which shall not taste of death, fill they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom—or, as in Mark (Mr 9:1), "till they see the kingdom of God come with power"; or, as in Luke (Lu 9:27), more simply still, "till they see the kingdom of God." The reference, beyond doubt, is to the firm establishment and victorious progress, in the lifetime of some then present, of that new kingdom of Christ, which was destined to work the greatest of all changes on this earth, and be the grand pledge of His final coming in glory.

Mark saith, Mark 9:1, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power; Luke 9:27, saith no more than till they see the kingdom of God. There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, that is, that shall not die. Hebrews 2:9. It is the same with not seeing death, John 8:51,52 Heb 11:5. The great question is, what is here meant by the

Song of Solomon of man coming in his kingdom. It cannot be meant of his second coming to judgment, spoken of immediately before, for all who stood there have long since tasted of death, yet is not that day come. Some understand it of that sight of Christ’s glory which Peter, and James, and John had at Christ’s transfiguration, of which we shall read in the next chapter; and I should be very inclinable to this sense, (for there was a glimpse of the glory of the Father mentioned Matthew 16:27) were it not for those words added by Mark,

till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. This inclineth others to think, that it is to be understood of Christ’s showing forth his power in the destruction of Jerusalem. But the most generally received opinion, and which seemeth to be best, is, that the coming of the Son of man here meant is, his resurrection from the dead. His ascension into heaven, and sending the Holy Spirit, after which the kingdom of grace came with a mighty power, subduing all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was declared, (or determined), to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Romans 1:4. And when, after his resurrection from the dead, they asked him, Acts 1:6, whether he would at that time restore the kingdom to Israel, he puts them off, and tells them for an answer, Acts 1:8, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And then, Acts 1:9, he in their sight ascended up into heaven. Then did the kingdom of the Son of man come with power, Acts 2:33-36, they knowing assuredly that the Son of man, whom the Jews had crucified, was made both Lord and Christ, as Acts 2:36, and, as Acts 2:34,35, set at God’s right hand, (according to the prophecy of David, Psalm 90:1), until his enemies should be made his footstool.

Verily I say unto you..... This is a strong asseveration, Christ puts his "Amen" to it; declaring it to be a certain truth, which may firmly be believed:

there be some standing here; meaning either his disciples, or some of the audience; for it is clear from Mark 8:34 that the people were called unto him with his disciples, when he said these words:

which shall not taste of death: that is, shall not die; a phrase frequently used by the Jewish doctors: they say (y),

"All the children of the world, , "taste the taste of death".''

That is, die:

till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom; which is not to be understood of his personal coming in his kingdom in the last day, when he will judge quick and dead; for it cannot be thought, that any then present should live to that time, but all tasted of death long before, as they have done; for the story of John's being alive, and to live till then, is fabulous, and grounded on a mistake which John himself has rectified at the close of his Gospel: nor of the glorious transfiguration of Christ, the account of which immediately follows; when he was seen by Peter, James, and John, persons now present; for that, at most, was but an emblem and a pledge of his future glory: rather, of the appearance of his kingdom, in greater glory and power, upon his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension to heaven; when the Spirit was poured down in an extraordinary manner, and the Gospel was preached all over the world; was confirmed by signs and wonders, and made effectual to the conversion and salvation of many souls; which many then present lived to see, and were concerned in: though it seems chiefly to have regard to his coming, to show his regal power and authority in the destruction of the Jews; when those his enemies that would not he should reign over them, were ordered to be brought and slain before him; and this the Apostle John, for one, lived to be a witness of.

(y) Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 4. & 37. 1. & in Exod. fol. 19. 2. & in Num. fol. 50. 4. & 51. 2. 4. Vid. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 7. 3, 4. Midrash Kohelet, fol, 83. 2.

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his {x} kingdom.

(x) By his kingdom is understood the glory of his ascension, and what follows after that, Eph 4:10, or the preaching of the gospel, Mr 9:1.

Matthew 16:28. Having affirmed the certainty of the second coming and the divine retribution, He now proceeds to do the same with regard to their nearness.

εἰσί τινες κ.τ.λ.] which refers to those present generally, and not merely to the disciples, presupposes that the majority of them will have died previous to the event in question.

γεύσωνται θανάτου] The experiencing of death regarded as a tasting of it (of its pains). See note on John 8:52, and Wetstein.

ἕως κ.τ.λ.] not as though they were to die afterwards, but what is meant is, that they will still be living when it takes place. Comp. Matthew 24:34; Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 629 f.

ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ αὐτοῦ] not for εἰς τὴν κ.τ.λ. (Beza, Raphel, and others), but as a king in all His regal authority (Plat. Rep. p. 499 B: τῶν νῦν ἐν δυναστείαις ἢ βασιλείαις ὄντων). Luke 23:42. There is no substantial difference between the present prediction of Jesus as to His impending advent in glorious majesty (comp. Matthew 10:23, Matthew 24:34), and that in Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27. The βασιλεία cannot be supposed to come without the βασιλεύς. This, at the same time, in answer to Ebrard (comp. Baumeister in Klaiber’s Studien, II. 1, p. 19), who interprets this passage, not of the second coming to judgment, but, laying stress on the ἐν (against which the ἐν τῇ δόξῃ, Matthew 16:27, should have duly warned), understands it as referring to the founding of the church, and particularly to what took place at Pentecost, and that notwithstanding the context and the words εἰσί τινες, etc., which, if this view were adopted, would be entirely out of place (Glass, Calovius). It is likewise to explain it away in a manner no less arbitrary, to understand the passage in the sense of a figurative coming in the destruction of Jerusalem and the diffusion of Christianity (Jac. Cappellus, Wetstein, Kuinoel, Schott, Glöckler, Bleek), or of the triumphant historical development of the gospel (Erasmus, Klostermann, Schenkel), or of the powerful influences of the spirit of the glorified Messiah as extending over the world (Paulus). Others, such as Beda, Vatablus, Maldonatus, Jansen, Clarius, Corn. a Lapide, following Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact, have so strangely perverted Christ’s prediction as even to make it refer to the incident of the transfiguration immediately following.

On the impending advent in general, see the observations at the close of ch. 24.

Matthew 16:28. crux interpretum, supposed by some to refer to the Transfiguration (Hilary, Chrys., Euthy., Theophy., etc.); by others to the destruction of Jerusalem (Wetstein, etc.); by others again to the origins of the Church (Calvin, Grotius, etc.). The general meaning can be inferred with certainty from the purpose to furnish an additional incentive to fidelity. It is: Be of good courage, there will be ample compensation for trial soon; for some of you even before you die. This sense excludes the Transfiguration, which came too soon to be compensatory. The uncertainty comes in in connection with the form in which the general truth is stated. As to that, Christ’s speech was controlled not merely by His own thoughts but by the hopes of the future entertained by His disciples. He had to promise the advent of the Son of Man in His Kingdom or of the Kingdom of God in power (Mk.) within a generation, whatever His own forecast as to the future might be. That might postulate a wider range of time than some of His words indicate, just as some of His utterances and His general spirit postulate a wide range in space for the Gospel (universalism) though He conceived of His own mission as limited to Israel. If the logion concerning the Church (Matthew 16:18) be genuine, Jesus must have conceived a Christian era to be at least a possibility, for why trouble about founding a Church if the wind-up was to come in a few years? The words of Jesus about the future provide for two possible alternatives: for a near advent and for an indefinitely postponed advent. His promises naturally contemplate the former; much of His teaching about the kingdom easily fits into the latter.—γεύσωνται θ.: a Hebrew idiom, but not exclusively so. For examples of the figure of tasting applied to experiences, vide Elsner in Mk. For Rabbinical use, vide Schöttgen and Wetstein.—ἕως ἄν ἴδωσι, subjunctive after ἐν ἄν as usual in classics and N. T. in a clause referring to a future contingency depending on a verb referring to future time.

28. Taste of death] Compare

The valiant never taste of death but once. Jul. Caes. Act. ii. 2.

St Matthew’s version of this “hard saying” indicates more plainly than the other Synoptic Gospels, the personal presence of Christ. St Mark has, “till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power;” St Luke, “till they see the kingdom of God;” but the meaning in each case is the same. Various solutions are given. The expression is referred to (1) the Transfiguration, (2) the Day of Pentecost, (3) the Fall of Jerusalem. The last best fulfils the conditions of interpretation—a judicial coming—a signal and visible event, and one that would happen in the lifetime of some, but not of all, who were present.

Matthew 16:28. Τινὲς, some) Our Lord does not mention them by name; and it was profitable for them not to know that they were the persons meant.[772] Peter then scarcely hoped that he would be one of them.—ὧδε, here) A strikingly demonstrative particle.—ἓως ἄν ἴδωσι, until they see) Something is indicated which was to happen, but not immediately (otherwise all, or nearly all, would have lived to that time), but yet something which would take place in that generation of men. This term (terminus) or period has various intervals: the vision, or seeing, various degrees up to the death of those who saw it, which followed at various times: cf. in Luke 2:26, the expression πρὶν ἢ ἴδη, before he had seen, used with regard to Simeon. And the advent of the Son of Man advanced another step before the death of James (see Acts 2:36), and passim till Matthew 12:2, and cf. Hebrews 2:5-7); another before the death of Peter (see 2 Peter 1:14; 2 Peter 1:19, and Luke 21:31); another, and that the highest, before the death of John, in the most magnificent revelation of His coming, which the beloved disciple has himself described (see Gnomon on John 21:22); a revelation to which the event foretold will correspond; see Matthew 16:27, and ch. Matthew 26:64. And a previous proof of this matter was given in a week[773] from this time on the Mount of Transfiguration; and, at the same time, out of all the disciples those were chosen who should most especially see it. It is beyond question, that those three[774] who witnessed our Lord’s transfiguration were peculiarly favoured with reference to the subsequent manifestations of His glory. This saying of our Lord appears to have been referred to, but not rightly understood, by those who imagined that the last day was near at hand.—τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον, the Son of Man coming) His conspicuous coming to judgment (see Gnomon on Matthew 16:13) is meant, which would begin to follow immediately after His ascension.[775]

[772] And He may have thereby also at the same time sharpened others.—V. g.

[773] “After six days,” chap. Matthew 17:1.—ED.

[774] Of whom James, in the year 44, Peter in 67, John in 102, are generally said to have died.—Harm., p. 372.

[775] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 1: Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bandinel & A. R. Fausset, Trans.) (251–333). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Verse 28. - This verse has always been a crux to commentators, who cannot decide what is the event to which it refers. Many, taking it in connection with the preceding announcement, refer it exclusively to the day of judgment; but this idea is not compatible with Christ's assertion that some present shall see it ere they die. Nor can it refer to Christ's resurrection and ascension, and the mission of the Holy Ghost, which took place only half a year after this time, and the prediction of which so short a time before could not have been introduced in the terms here used. Other expositors, and some of great name, agree that the event to which Christ alludes is his transfiguration narrated in the next chapter. But there are insuperable objections to this view. How could Christ assert in the most solemn manner, Verily, I say unto you, that some of his hearers would tire to witness an event which was to occur only a week hence? Nor is it likely that he would thus publicly announce a transaction which was strictly private, seen only by three chosen witnesses, who were further charged not to reveal the vision till the Son of man was risen from the dead. The Lord had been telling of the final judgment; he now announces, with the formula used by him to present some revelation of Divine truth, that there was to be a coming of the Son of man at no very distant date. This advent is doubtless the destruction of Jerusalem, which, as it occurred only some forty years after this time, some of his auditors, apostles and the multitude, would live to behold. This great event was a type of the second advent, the two being closely connected by Christ himself (see ch. 24.). There is some truth in all the views that have obtained concerning this passage: "The prophecy unfolded itself by degrees; it has put forth buds and blossoms, but it will not be in its full bloom of accomplishment till the great day" (Wordsworth). There was some display of Christ's kingdom at the Transfiguration; another at his resurrection, and the events consequent thereupon; but the great one was when the overthrow of Jerusalem and its temple made way for the full establishment and development of the gospel, putting an end to the first dispensation. Some standing (of them that stand) here. Among the apostles St. John certainly survived the destruction of Jerusalem. There seems to be no recondite meaning in the term "standing," as if it signified "remaining steadfastly by me, adhering to my side;" as, taste of death is merely a periphrasis for "die," and has not the sense of tasting the bitterness of death, experiencing its sting. It appears to have been originally a metaphor derived from a nauseous draught, which every one must drain. Coming in his kingdom. Not "into his kingdom," but in the power and glory that appertain to his kingdom. Not that he will personally appear, but his mystical presence will be seen by its effects, the judgment on the Jewish nation, the establishment of a spiritual, yet visible kingdom in the place of the old covenant. There may be a similar allusion in Christ's words about St. John, "If I will that he tarry till I come" (John 21:23), and "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34) - where the dissolution of the Jewish polity is the event signified.

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