Transfiguration or Parousia?

Of what did Jesus speak in 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. (Matthew 16:28)

A response to the argument such as presented by George Zeller (http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/matt16.htm) that Jesus prophesied the Transfiguration in the above passage, and that the preterist view is ignorant of the Bible.

I would like to stress that I do not speak on behalf of any particular group of preterists, and that I highly respect what the Middletown Bible Church is doing through its web site. I believe they are wrong on this issue, as they believe I am wrong. I pray that they will recognize that I am a born-again, Bible-believing brother in Christ who argues only from Scripture. I believe that God’s word is degraded when clear prophesy becomes subject to (sometimes) outlandish reinterpretations because it did not appear to come to pass.

George Zeller correctly understands the preterist interpretation of Matthew 16:28: “… that the Son of Man came in His kingdom at the time of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  Preterists usually describe this as ‘Christ’s coming in judgment.’”

He then poses the following question: “Was this promise fulfilled in 70 A.D. with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans or was it literally fulfilled in some other way?”

That something was promised within that generation is not disputed. Unlike the promises of Matthew 24, all of which Christ said would occur in that generation (v34), here is a promise which couldn’t mean anything but that generation. This is because the word ‘generation’ is not used, and cannot be reinterpreted. To say that people would still be alive, people who were standing there as Jesus spoke, means “within that generation” more than the words themselves appear to mean.

So be it. As I said, the timing is not disputed, but the event is.

Before looking at each of the points written in the article, I feel the need to observe that, had Jesus said anywhere else in the Scripture that He would be seen coming in His kingdom, this would immediately have been interpreted as His ‘parousia’.

For example, how is the coming kingdom of God interpreted in Luke 17:20? Matthew 24 is all about Jesus’ coming, with full details of the coming kingdom in the next chapter. Yet here, with the same terms used, it means just the “foretaste”, witnessed by so few!

I ask George Zeller to look more closely at the passage in question, and read it as the hearers would have heard it.

Let’s look at the context – just the few preceding verses will do. In fact, the very verse before: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. (Matthew 16:27)

Which coming was Jesus speaking of here? Clearly, it is the judgment coming, when repayment (recompense) would take place.

Next, let’s gain some meaning to Jesus’ words – not to add meaning, but to fill in from the writers of other gospels.

Matthew: “… will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark: “… will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” (Mark 9:1)

Luke 9:27 – “… will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Here, we see that what that generation would see was not just Jesus coming in His kingdom, but they would continue to see the kingdom after it had come with power!

Whatever this means, it is not what Peter, James and John saw on the mountain.

George Zeller suggests that it cannot be coincidence that Jesus’ words immediately precede the account of the transfiguration. The logic is this: Make the promise, witness the transfiguration, therefore the promise is of the transfiguration.

Let’s look at this juxtaposition in the three synoptic gospels.

We see this is true, but we also see that the “promise verse” is more to be connected with the verse before it than with the verse after.

See how these read as necessarily connected ideas:

Matthew 16:27-28 – “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark 8:38 – 9:1 – “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Luke 9:26-27 – “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Notice in Luke’s gospel account, the conjunction “but” (or “and”) actually ties the two ideas together, showing their connectedness.

Now, George Zeller calls to his defense 2 Peter 1:16-18:

“[That this shows the transfiguration as the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise] is confirmed by 2 Peter 1:16-18 where the transfiguration is said to be ‘the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The transfiguration was a marvelous preview of the Lord’s future coming in His kingdom majesty.”

I have to express surprise at this argument. Here is the passage invoked by the author:

2 Peter 1:16-18 – (16) For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

(17) For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”–

(18) and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Let’s look carefully at first, the context, and secondly, the words of verse 16. Peter knows he is going to die soon (imminently), so he urgently instructs Christians about the arrival of the New Heavens and Earth (purpose of the letter spelled out in chapter 3). Therefore, “I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure, you may be able to call these things to mind.” (1:15). This is the context.

Verse 16: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made know to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses to His majesty.”

Read this carefully. Peter is not saying that they were eyewitnesses to “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They were eyewitnesses to His majesty, as God spoke concerning Him and Jesus was shown in glory.

Rather, Peter is saying that they were qualified to speak about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, because they were eyewitnesses to the transfiguration. These were not cleverly devised tales, but knowledge from first-hand eyewitnesses. Jesus did not receive the kingdom at that time, neither did He receive power. He received honour and glory (v17) from His Father. Peter saw that with his own eyes. Now, he is qualified and confident to speak of when Jesus would come with such power: Just as Jesus promised.

Back to the earlier part of the article. George Zeller asserts that Jesus was speaking of the transfiguration, and not Jesus’ coming in judgement. As I said earlier, he acknowledges that Jesus is speaking of something to occur in that generation.

He then provides, under the heading “Biblical Response” (to the preterist interpretation), ten Scriptures (that’s the Biblical bit) with explanations (that’s the un-Biblical, even counter-Biblical bit). He asks the reader to “Consider the following”.

I will now do this, and ask that he does the same, only this time to use Scripture to define and interpret Scripture, and not opinion.

This, then, is

The Biblical Response

When Christ comes in His kingdom there are at least ten things that must take place at or around that time. Consider the following:

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, He will return to earth and be seen by every eye (Matthew 24:25-30 and Revelation 1:7).

George Zeller writes: “This did not take place in 70 A.D.  In 70 A.D. Christ was not seen by anyone.”

I do not want to appear pedantic on this point, but it is not said that “every eye” will see Jesus at His return.

Matthew 24:30 says: “… and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

I know most Christians interpret “all the tribes of the earth” as “every nation on earth”, and indeed the words are flexible enough to mean this. However, these exact words could mean, literally, “all the tribes of Israel.” I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on this point. This word for “world” is the same word that means land, region, ground or world.

Matthew 2:6 – the land of Judah (not the world of Judah)
Matthew 2:20 – the land of Israel (not the world of Israel)
Matthew 9:26, 31 – the news spread throughout all that land
Matthew 10:29 – not one sparrow shall fall upon the ground
Matthew 12:42 – the Queen of the South came from the uttermost parts of the earth

These are but a few, and only from Matthew. Israel was often referred to by its tribes, and Israel was certainly to mourn at the destruction of its identity: the temple.

Revelation 1:7 makes the same reference to Zechariah’ prophesy (Zechariah 12:10) as Jesus does in Matthew 24:30. I have written a study on this (Those who Pierced Him). To cut a long story short, John in Revelation is quoting Zechariah. Zechariah makes it very clear that the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem are the ones who would look upon Him, who pierced Him, and who would mourn for Him. It is actually the only way to make sense of the phrase used in Revelation 1:7: Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. “Even” is not used to include those who pierced Him, because John already said “every eye”. Rather, “even” is used to specify who would see Him. There are lots of places where “even” is used to specify rather than include. The fact is, it has to be the case because otherwise Zechariah would have been wrong.

Zechariah 12:10 – I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him…

In my study, I quote from the Jewish historian Josephus (The War of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 3), who writes of the siege of Jerusalem at AD70 from an insider’s point of view. Naturally, Christians were not present at the crisis time, because they had been allowed to escape God’s wrath, and this is why it is not usually found in Christian literature. However, eyewitness survivors speak of signs and miracles, and even a vision of armies in the clouds.

Sorry, Mr Zeller, but I have to say that a Biblical and historical response to your first condition is that every eye did see him, as promised.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, the Jewish people will be regathered from every country on earth and brought into their promised land (Matthew 24:31; Jeremiah 16:14-15; Isaiah 43:5-7; Jeremiah 23:7-8; Jeremiah 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; Ezekiel 36:24).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D.  Instead of being regathered, the Jews were killed and scattered.”

There is so much of this, I am going to limit Scripture references. I hope that those I refer to without reference (!) are obvious enough for any serious Christian to understand or find out for himself or herself.

Jesus and the apostles take great pains to tell disciples that being a Jew in the flesh is useless. It’s the spiritual Jew who is God’s elect. God could make Abraham’s offspring from the stones lying on the ground, but the true heirs are the heirs not after the flesh, but after the promise. (Galatians 4:21ff) The “present”, i.e. physical Jerusalem is of slavery, while the heavenly one that would come down was free. Paul even says that these are representative of the Old and the New Covenants.

Whatever happened in the fulfillment of the original Old Testament prophesies, the New Testament talks about the “elect” (Matthew 24:31) rather than the “Jewish people”, or, in Paul’s terms, the “true Jews”. The promised land was the place of rest (See Hebrews, particularly Chapter 3 & 4) for the elect, rather than the Jews after the flesh. In other words, it was the elect who would be gathered.

Now, this gathering takes various forms. In terms of the Christian church, you could truly say that God’s people were being gathered from all over the earth, or land. The phenomenal rise of the church in those days, pre and post AD 70 fulfills every such prophesy. Indeed, the racial and cultural boundaries were truly being transcended, wolves lying down with lions and tigers and bears (Oh My!).

In terms of the destruction of the Temple and the Coming in Judgement, at the great escape from the siege, the elect were gathered together from all over where the tribulation was at its height, and found safety from God’s wrath.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, there will be no wars on earth (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3; Psalm 46:9; Zech. 9:10).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D. 70 A.D. was a time of fierce warfare carried out by the powerful Roman army.”

Remember what the angels said? “Peace among men with whom He is pleased.” What kind of peace?

Remember Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 9? With the One born unto us, there would be a complete cessation of war (9:5), and “there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace… from then on and forevermore.” (v7)

His peace was not to be established once and for all at some world-witnessed second coming. It would increase – meaning it would start small, and grow (like a mustard seed…?).

This peace was not a cessation of earthly wars. This was far more important: a cessation of war with God. How does earthly peace begin to compare with this?

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, the kingdom will be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6) and the Messiah will sit on the throne of David which will be located in Jerusalem (Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 17:25;  23:5-6; 33:15; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:11-15; Luke 1:32-33).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D.  In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple destroyed and no King from the line of David was reigning on the throne!”

Why do we insist in looking for God’s kingdom on earth, and God in an earthly temple? This is exactly what the Jews expected with the Messiah. Jesus’ response: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

It does not originate or come from this world. It isn’t a matter of putting Jews (after the flesh) into a physical Jerusalem (said by Paul to represent the covenant of slavery). The Messiah would be no more King by sitting on an earthly throne. Look at the cited references presented by George Zeller.

Acts 1:6 – It was the disciples who mistakenly talked of restoring the earthly kingdom, not Jesus. He knew it had nothing to do with earthly kingdoms.

Isaiah 9:7 – The increase was to start at Jesus’ birth, and continue throughout the destruction of the physical throne and temple. However, the true kingdom would certainly grow, the true throne of David (after the promise, not the flesh) would be established in the true, new Jerusalem, which Paul says is the New Covenant (Galatians 4:26).

Other verses are to be interpreted in the same way. I know this goes against the grain for many Christians, but let’s not fall into the same trap that the Jews fell into when they missed the true Messiah because they were waiting for a mighty warrior!

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom it will be a time of great deliverance and great blessing for the Jewish people (Jeremiah 30:7-9; Ezekiel 34:25-31).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D. which was a time of great judgment upon the Jewish people who decades earlier had crucified their Messiah and rejected Him (although some Jews did  believe on Him).”

Once again, it is a matter of understanding that Jesus spoke of true Jews, not Jews after the flesh.

John 8:37-44 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. (38) “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. (40) “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. (41) “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” (42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. (43) “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. (44) “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, God’s sanctuary (His temple) will be in the midst of His people (Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 40:5-43:27).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D. because it was then that the Jewish temple was destroyed resulting in the Jews having no temple at all.”

The earthly temple was useless. God had left it. It was replaced with a new temple: God’s people. Please don’t confuse earthly things with spiritual, perfected things. The writer of Hebrews spent a lot of words making this distinction. We are the temple, and God now dwells in us, as promised in the above verses. Consider these truths:

Jeremiah 31:31-33 – “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, (32) not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. (33) “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

We are the tabernacle. As soon as the Christian believes, he is indwelt by the Spirit, and by Jesus, and by God Himself.

John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

2 Corinthians 6:16 – Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

1 John 4:13 – By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, there will be a priesthood operating in the temple and animal sacrifices will be offered (Ezekiel 44:1-46:24).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D. because when the Romans destroyed the temple they put an end to a functioning priesthood and they put an end to animal sacrifices.”

Is George Zeller saying that priests and animal sacrifices will be a part of Christ’s kingdom? We know that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, made once for all (Hebrews 10:10ff). Jesus is our High Priest, and Christians are the Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). In this sense, the Scripture speaks of Jesus’ coming in His kingdom: He would establish His kingdom with His people, who are the temple and the priesthood, while He, the perfect sacrifice, is also the High Priest and King.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, “the Jews will possess and settle in all of the promised land, and it will again be subdivided into the twelve tribal divisions.  But these tribal divisions will be different than those described in the book of Joshua” (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footprints of the Messiah, p. 328).  The description of the location of all of the 12 tribes during the kingdom is described in Ezekiel 47:13-48:29.  Seven tribes will be situated to the north of the temple (Ezekiel 48:1-7) and five tribes will be situated to the south of the temple (Ezekiel 48:23-29).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D.  After the Roman destruction of Jerusalem the surviving Jews were scattered throughout the world until the 20th century when a small remnant returned to the land of Israel and a Jewish state was established.”

Once again, we have to be careful about how to apply this prophesy that was fulfilled not long after Ezekiel received it. The true Jews did indeed inherit the Promised Land. “Theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3,10. The Kingdom of Heaven is essentially the New Covenant, the New Jerusalem, the new relationship with God that was to be so different from the old relationship (Jeremiah 31:31).

I believe Revelation is the vision of the establishment and completion of the New Covenant that comes down from Heaven as described by Paul in Galatians 4:24-26. The tribes of the sons of Israel are represented as gates into the city, while the apostles are described as the foundations (Revelation 21:12-14).

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom, there will be a message of good news that will be declared to Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:7-10).  This message will consist of the following elements:  1) The good news of peace; 2) The good news that Messiah will reign in Zion; 3) The good news that God has comforted His people; 4) The good news that God has redeemed Jerusalem.

“This did not take place in 70 A.D.  In 70 A.D. there was only bad news for the Jewish people.  It was the bad news of judgment and destruction and ruin and death, not the good news of comfort and peace.”

To the New Jerusalem, the True Jerusalem, this was the very message. It was proclaimed from the time of Jesus’ ministry and was proclaimed to 70A.D. and beyond through to the present day.

From the proclamation of the angel to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

to the proclamation of the angels to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord… Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:10-14)

to the proclamation of Simeon: “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

… this message was expanded by Jesus Himself and carried on by the apostles. At first, of course, the message was to Old Jerusalem, and after, when the New Covenant was established, it became clear that the message was for New Jerusalem. Old, earthly Jerusalem was in fact to face God’s wrath, but the whole point of the message was for Old Israel to convert to New Israel in their spirits.

The events at 70 A.D. simply fulfilled the promises and the warnings of judgement. For Christians, it spelled the end of the Old Covenant and the completion of the New.

Galatians 4:29-30 – But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.”

Hebrews 9:8-9 – The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time.

  1. When Christ comes in His kingdom there will be joy and gladness (Isaiah chapter 35).  This joy and gladness will result from the following conditions:  1) the desert will become fertile (verses1-2,6-7); 2) Messiah will come to deliver Israel (v.3-4); 3)  Those who are lame or blind or deaf will be healed (v.5-6);  4)  Wild vicious animals will no longer be a problem (v.9);  5) It will be a time of great rejoicing (v.10).

“This did not take place in 70 A.D.  In 70 A.D. the Jews who were fortunate enough to survive the Roman invasion did not have joy and gladness, but only sorrow and sighing (compare Isaiah 35:10).”

The joy and gladness was for the elect. We know there was persecution, but we also know there was joy and gladness in that persecution. Each Christian was a fountain of living water (John 4:10-14) and capable of bearing fruit (Luke 8; John 15 etc). As for the lame and blind and deaf, this was the purpose of Jesus’ and the apostles’ attesting miracles.

Matthew 11:2-6 – [John’s disciples] said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.”

Jesus is, in fact, quoting Isaiah 35, and proclaiming that in Him it was then being fulfilled!

George Zeller closes his article with this:

“It is typical for those who are preterists to condemn dispensationalists for the way we interpret a handful of verses that they do not think we are taking literally (such as Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24:34, etc.) and yet they seem to ignore hundreds of kingdom prophecies given by the prophets of old and say that they will never find any literal fulfillment. Any prophetic view which seeks to take a few passages literally in such a way that forces hundreds of verses to be understood in a non-literal way is suspect, to say the least.”

Clearly, the Old Testament contains prophesies, some of which are to be taken literally, and some of which are to taken figuratively. In most cases, it is easy enough to work out which is which, particularly with the benefit of hindsight. In my study “JewSpeak”, I look at one prophesy (Isaiah 13) that clearly was to be taken figuratively or at least spiritually. The point was, the same prophesy was then to be quoted in the New Testament (Matthew 24:29). In fact, many of the prophesies in the New Testament are simply quotes from the Old.

Were the New Testament ones to be taken literally now? Some Christians say “yes”, but without Biblical reason. I say “no”, for the following Biblical reasons:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus reads out a portion of Isaiah 61. He then asserts:

Luke 4:21 – And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

If you look at what Jesus read, in its context, you will see that Jesus did not literally fulfill all of even the first three verses of Isaiah 61.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus leaves Nazareth and moves to Caperaum in Zebulun (Matthew 4: 13). This was, according to Matthew, to fulfill Isaiah 9:1-2. Read those verses, and you will see that they were not literally fulfilled: Naphtali was not literally made glorious, and not all of those living in darkness saw a great light. In fact, what light they saw was spiritual.

The Jews, however, would have heard such prophesies and seen their fulfillment before. They knew prophetic language. They knew from experience that God going on a cloud or in a chariot to visit a nation meant the coming of God’s judgement, usually in the form of an invading army (Isaiah 19:1). If Jesus wanted to tell them that He would judge Israel, it would be natural to use language such as this.

A good rule of thumb, for prophesy interpretation, would be this: Use Scripture to interpret Scripture. If Jesus or an apostle quotes Scripture to prophesy an event, look at that Scripture. What would the Jews have understood by it? On the other hand, if Jesus or the apostles make a prophetic statement in plain language without reference to something known to be figurative, allow for the literal interpretation.

I know there will be plenty of examples where George Zeller will want to assert that this or that prophesy must be taken literally, but that is not my argument at present. It is simply that the prophesies of Jesus, using plain terms like “this generation”, “some of those standing here”, “weep for yourselves and your children” (Luke 23:28-30 – see what was prophesied here!) all point to literally fulfilled prophesies of calamity and judgement of the Old Covenant and the Old Jerusalem, coinciding with salvation and the inauguration of the New Covenant, the New Jerusalem, AS PROMISED!

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