Mark 9:1 – Seeing the Kingdom before their Death?

In Mark 9:1, Jesus says:

“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.”

What does Jesus mean by this?

13 thoughts on “Mark 9:1 – Seeing the Kingdom before their Death?”

  1. Given the context (Mark 9:2ff.), it makes hermeneutical sense to relate the statement of 9:1 to the Transfiguration. Frankly, to relate this to the destruction of the Temple cannot be justified at all.

  2. Next verse: “and six days later….”

    No need to turn Jesus into a Nostradamus. He’s referring, I think, to the next event: the vision of the King in His glory.

  3. I have to agree with both Keith and DJP and go with the context. Those hearing hte comment are defined in 8:34 and 9:2 puts Peter James and John at the scene of transfiguration which was a display of divine glory and power. It also seems Peter is writing about this event also in 2 Peter 1:16-17 saying “we…were witnesses of His majesty.”

  4. Good comments. Let me stoke the fire a bit and push the discussion a little further …

    I agree that the Transfiguration must be at least part of the answer. But is there any sense in which the transfiguration is only partial/initial fulfillment? And if so, what might the “final” fulfillment of that promise be?

  5. I would expand Marty’s comment and suggest Jesus’ resurrection, the inter-regnum (present mystery form of the kingdom) of Christ today, and the consummation in the future, coming millenial kingdom.

  6. Two issues need to be thought through:

    1. Would you agree with Graeme Goldsworthy that ALL prophecy WAS fulfilled in the gospel event at the first coming of Jesus (pg 93 of his Preaching book)?

    2. How much of a distinction do we make between the resurrection and the ascension? Mark seems to link Jesus’ ascension as the fulfillment of the kingdom (cf 16:19).

  7. can i just say how cool it is to me that a grace professor is friends with paul alexander and has dan phillips commenting on his blog!!!!

    makes me almost wish i was back in school. almost.

    (go bucks!)

  8. Marty,

    1. I don’t have the Goldsworthy book in front of me to see the larger context of that statement, but as it stands no, I would not agree that all prophecy was fulfilled in the gospel event at the first coming. I think there are aspects of prophecy that await their fulfillment in Christ’s second coming as well.

    2. I am inclined to keep the entire crucifixion – resurrection – ascension together as much as possible as one complex “event.” Although there are times when the NT draws specific conclusions from one of these, I think that they are so dependent upon each other as to make them ultimately inseparable.

  9. Matt,
    I agree with you on #2.

    As to #1, Goldsworthy’s argument needs to be read in its entirety. However, here is the paragraph I pulled the quote from:

    It is important to remember here the testimony of Jesus about the fulfillment of prophecy. I want to assert categorically that ALL prophecy was fulfilled in the gospel event at the first coming of Jesus. There was only one coming projected in prophecy, yet somehow we must understand the NT perspective of two comings as consonant with this. There is a tendency to try to differentiate OT prophecies of the end into two groups, those applying to the first coming and those applying to the second coming. It would be tempting to take the prophecies that speak in ultimate terms, for example, the new heavens and earth in Isaiah 65:17, as referring only to the second coming. This is a mistake. A more biblical perspective is one that recognizes that the distinction between the first and second coming is not in what happens but in how it happens. Nothing will happen at the return of Christ that has not already happened in him at his first coming. All the expectations of the OT have come to fulfillment IN HIM. And that has happened FOR US.

  10. Marty,

    Thanks for the larger context; that helps. Although he does not use this language, if by this he means that all that is promised in the OT is inaugurated at the first coming I might be able to agree. Also, I would want to contend that we must be sure when speaking of “fulfillment” language to recognize the reality of partial and initial fulfillment. Some OT promises find only partial or initial fulfillment in the first coming and await the second coming for their “final” or “complete” fulfillment.

  11. Just thinking out loud. Interesting to see this come up, (see my comment on your Mark 4 question on “secrets of the kingdom”). In the sweep of Mark’s theology, the narrative from 1:1,15 is immediately and always driving for “where/when/how is the kingdom of God coming?” and so this is one part of the theme (watch the tenses on a wordsearch for “kingdom of god” from mark 9:1 onwards)

    Jesus has just launched the whole section on what he has come to do…see painful irony Mark 14: Jesus the king is enthroned as he loses to other authorities in execution. The son of man comes on the clouds (enters God’s presence and receives authority) at the resurrection, “just as he told you”.

    I suggest the only reason we naturally think “kingdom of god coming in power” cannot refer to the cross is that we are blind. Surely cross is the failure that needs to be resolved? cross = loss …the trite “but dont worry sunday’s coming” theology. This is the secret of the kingdom. This is why we must repent…and believe that the kingdom has come!

    Ryan: why would Mark refer to a minor change in 70AD when even the resurrection barely gets a mention?
    Keith: the transfiguration mirrors the baptism – both are but the beginning of the quest for who he is/why he came

    Peter Bolt’s “the Cross from a Distance” looks quality.

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