I have a question about an alternative reading of Luke 9:27 and parallel passages in the other Gospels. Typically we read that passage to be emphasizing that some of the disciples will live to see the Kingdom of God. But could it instead have been Jesus intent to stress that some of those standing there would die after/because they saw the kingdom of God? This would shift the passage from being about surviving long enough to see the day of Pentecost to being a prediction of the martyrdom of several of the apostles. This seems to be more in context with what Jesus is talking about in the rest of the passage from 9:23-27 i.e. saving your life by losing it for Jesus. -- Lonny Niederstadt (Madison, Wisconsin)
It is important to strive to understand a passage in its context, and I appreciate your wrestling with the passage in order to do this. Yet while yours is an interesting interpretation, I am not convinced. Firstly, a prediction that some would not be martyred before Pentecost--when none of them was martyred at all until Stephen--would not be much of a prediction.
In fact I'm not convinced Jesus is referring to Pentecost at all. As you will have noticed "the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27) is the same kingdom mentioned in Matthew s parallel account: "For 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" (Matthew 16:27-28).
The text seems to indicate a day of judgment. (In my view this is 70 AD, when Jerusalem, the Temple, and the entire Jewish sacrificial system were formally destroyed by the Romans.) The Lord is coming in judgment; any time God is said to come in his regal power, it is also possible to say that the kingdom "is coming." (When the king comes the kingdom comes. For more on this, please see my responses to previous questions on the Kingdom, as well as the audio series Revelation and the End of the World.)
I believe a more natural reading of "some will not taste death before..." is that the event would take place in their lifetime, not that one person--Judas--would die within the coming weeks as some teach. This, to me, is a real stretch.
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