IN THE last week’s edition, we learnt how many antichrist elements narrow their arguments to a few biblical texts which they do not even understand to scorn Christ and His Church. Two of such texts which have been misinterpreted and distorted to bastardise the Bible are Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 10:23.
We first considered Matthew 16: 27- 28 which reads: “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
It is incorrect to relate this verse to Christ’s second coming to judge the world. Verse 21 of Matthew Chapter 16 specifically tells us that Christ was going to Jerusalem to be killed and buried and on the third day be raised from the dead or come back to life. It should be understood that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is His coming as stated in the verse above. And He came back from the dead with His angles in the glory of His Father as angels were seen at the tomb (John 20:12).
The passage under discussion also talks about Jesus Christ promising to repay each person according to what he has done. Now the question is: did Christ repay people for what they had done? Of course, yes. The people who lived in that period and interacted with Him received their rewards for their work. To be satisfied with the answer, we need to know and understand the work being talked about in this context. Remember the Bible did not say “works” but “work”.
The work Christ expected them to do was the work of God. And the work of God they were expected to do was to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ. In John 6: 28- 29, Jesus taught that BELIEVING in Him was the real work of God people were expected to do. That is, as He preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God, His hearers should believe in Him as the promised Messiah.
And so those who did that work of believing in Him were rewarded or repaid after Christ Jesus’s resurrection or coming from the dead. They were given the gift of the Holy Spirit as their reward for their act of believing in Him. But those who did not believe in Him were denied the Holy Spirit. That was their reward also. To me, the Holy Spirit is the greatest reward one receives on earth for doing the work of believing in Jesus Christ.
A good student of the Bible knows that the first century disciples of Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit to dwell in them and be upon them only after the Lord had been raised from the dead.
The Lord Jesus Christ breathed on His disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” after His resurrection (John 20:22). And Christ fulfilled His promise of empowering the disciples by the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them as recorded in Acts Chapter 2.
Then, in Matthew 16: 28, Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” A misunderstanding or misinterpretation of this verse has led many to conclude erroneously that either Christ Jesus came in the first century or He would not return at all, considering the fact that all the people He made the promise to have died hundreds of years ago.
But none of these views is correct. What Christ Jesus really meant was that there was a high probability of some of His hearers who were standing where He was speaking dying between that time and the time He would be raised from the dead or come in His kingdom. In this world, people die all the time.
In fact, the time span between the day He made those statements and the day He was raised could be several months in which some of the people could die while others could live to see Him coming in His kingdom. It is obvious some of the people died while others lived. Judas Iscariot, for instance, died before Christ Jesus was raised from the dead.
However, the rest of His disciples and several other people lived to see His resurrection.
The Lord Jesus Christ left the earth through death, and powerfully returned to the earth alive just three days later. In just a moment Christ was on the earth being crucified for the salvation of lost souls. He died and was buried, entering the region of the dead, but just three days later, Jesus Christ returned to the earth, appearing in another form (Mark 16: 12).
The Lord did not only appear in another form to people, but also visited the earth again another way. This time, the angel Gabriel did not appear to anyone to announce that Christ would return to the earth in this or that manner. Brethren, the Lord Jesus did not come back to the earth by being conceived in the womb of Virgin Mary. He just appeared suddenly to people as a full grown man just as He died.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to some people, on the road to Emmaus. One of them was called Cleopas. The Lord conversed with them, but they could not recognise Him. They could identify Jesus Christ only after He had sat at a meal with them and taken bread, blessed, broken and given it to them to eat.
“And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures” (Luke 24: 31- 32)? The verse says Jesus vanished from their sight. That means Jesus suddenly disappeared from their midst in the room.
But shortly after those witnesses had found the Apostles and were telling them about their encounter with the risen Lord, they saw Jesus Christ standing in their midst again.