In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)
Some ignorantly think verse 27 is an error in the Bible and try to use it against Christianity, especially as it reads from Mt. 16:28. (It is also referred to in Mk. 9:1.) There is no error here or anywhere in Scripture. What Jesus spoke about in verse 27 was fulfilled about eight days later. To taste death means to experience death.
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:27)
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. (Luke 9:28)
The prophecy cited in verse 27 was fulfilled about eight days later in the lives of Peter, John and James—the inner circle of apostles, whom the Lord took with him to pray. Jesus was selective about who he prayed with. These men were all fishermen with very little or no formal education, but all had a heart condition that qualified them to be there. Peter, especially, had great faith.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. (Luke 9:29)
The experience about to be described occurred as Jesus was praying. It was then that the Lord's face and clothes changed from their ordinary appearance.
Those two Old Testament men were speaking with the Lord, which refutes soul sleep as the Jehovah's Christian Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and others teach. Moses died physically, but Elijah didn't. For those who believe Moses never entered God's kingdom after death, this passage shows otherwise. For those who ludicrously read in a UFO book that Elijah flew off in an alien spacecraft from another planet are also contradicted here. NOTE: some people have invented a false gospel connected with a ufo religion, which is just as deadly as mariolatry!
Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:30,31)
The subject of their conversation was Jesus' departure or death. (Physical death is when one's spirit departs from his body, James 2:26. See also 2 Tim. 4:6 and 2 Pet. 1:15.) Jesus knew he would die in Jerusalem and courageously went forth, just like he knew beforehand that Peter, John and James would soon see Moses and Elijah.
Jesus is called Master there, which is one of at least one hundred names and/or titles given to him. For more see Jesus Titles. What Peter spoke brought about the following rebuke from the Father.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. (He did not know what he was saying.) (Luke 9:32,33)
Not everything from God will make us feel joyful and at peace. That experience caused the three apostles to fear. Neither Elijah, Moses nor any others are equal to Jesus and should never, therefore, be treated in the same way. Jesus is vastly more important than all the rest. We are to focus on what the Lord Jesus says, according to the heavenly Father (which is the opposite message of some so-called Christian teachers today, especially who those who believe in dispensationalism).
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." (Luke 9:34,35)
Peter actually referred to this same experience he had in his second epistle, where he wrote this about Jesus:
When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen. The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. (Luke 9:36,37)
For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Pet 1:17-19)By writing: we have the word of the prophets made more certain, Peter actually said the written word of God is more certain than God's audible voice! Ponder that! That is the absolute highest possible endorsement for the Bible being God's word and message for mankind to abide by. Meditate on that fact and your confidence in believing Scripture will grow. That is how they believed in first-century Christianity and how we should too. Hopefully this teaching has helped you to understand what it means to see the kingdom of God.
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