IT WAS NOT A "MINIATURE PREVIEW" OF THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM.
Was Scofield correct to add this heading to Matthew 16:28 in his Reference Bible? "The transfiguration: a picture of the future kingdom."
No he wasn't! The passage says nothing about a future kingdom.
The verse reads:
"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."
Could you interpret this passage truthfully and literally, including the context, and still believe that
Scofield had any idea what he was talking about? Impossible! The passage has to be twisted and butchered to
make it say anything about a future Millennial Kingdom.
Here is one such spin given by Dr. John R. Rice, a devoted Dispensationalist: "Did some of the disciples standing there see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom before their death? Not literally but symbolically they did. The following chapter tells how. They saw Him transfigured before them and in His glory just as He will be at His Second Coming."(Matthew, page 252).
"Not literally, but symbolically they did!" What happened to "literal interpretation" which
dispensationalists are supposedly so famous for? In truth, they interpret in any way that
makes the Scripture fit the futuristic picture. Believe it or not, in spite of all the Dispensational
boasting, literal interpretation seldom is visible in any of their works.
If one is to interpret literally, rather than "symbolically," then it is clear that "some standing here, which shall not taste of death," means that of those men standing there (Christ's twelve disciples) not all would be alive when they saw Him in His kingdom [the Kingdom of Heaven]. Notice that He said, "some shall not taste of death..." Some
is more than one, so more than one disciple would not have tasted death at the time. And since Jesus didn't in any way specify whether one or more disciple will have tasted death then, even if only one disciple died before the others saw Christ in His kingdom, the prediction would still hold true
Now, those who would be alive at the time would actually SEE Him in His Kingdom. So it is necessary that
Christ be alive, and that He be in possession of His kingdom. There would be no illusions, no spirits,
no "symbols." Christ gave no indication that what they would see would be symbolic, not reality.
Dr. Rice suggests that the next chapter, the "Transfiguration," tells how the disciples could see Him
in His kingdom Remember, this would take place only about a week later, even when no one had died,
and even when Christ at the time had no kingdom. The Transfiguration did happen only a few days later.
All twelve disciples were alive and well and Christ did not yet receive His kingdom. As a matter of fact,
according to Dispensational teaching, Christ is not to receive His Kingdom until after the Church is
raptured, and after the so-called "Great Tribulation." So if the disciples are to see Christ in His Kingdom at the Transfiguration, then obviously
Scriptures are going to require some serious modification. God's Word will have to be spiritualized
virtually every step of the way.
But the verse says that not all of the disciples would be alive, and that those who are alive would
see Him in His Kingdom. Christ would have to be alive for them to see Him, and He would have to be in
possession of His kingdom. He would not be a ghost in some
imaginary "future Millennial kingdom."
Some time later, Judas Iscariot betrayed his Master, and hanged himself. Jesus was crucified, died,
and was buried. On the third day He arose from the dead never to die again. On the cross He had
purchased redemption for all mankind. We know all that. But what else is true? "And declared [to be]
the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:"
The question is, was He simply declared to be the Son of God? Some modern translations re-arrange the words to make it appear so. "He was declared with power to be the Son of God."
Did these translators have a better understanding of the Greek language, and did they have "older and more accurate" manuscripts to work from? I don't think so.
But how can we show that they are wrong, that the emphasis of Romans 1:4 is not on the power needed to declare Christ as Son of God, but to declare Him the Son of God in possession
First of all, He was twice before declared to be the Son of God, once at His baptism, and again at the Transfiguration, and nothing was mentioned about the power needed to declare Him so. It was obviously understood by the inspired writers that whatever God sets out to do, He has more than enough power to do it, and we mature Christians ought not to stand with mouths wide open, flabbergasted at the power God must summon to do anything He wants. There are some things we should take for granted.
By the way, the other two Gospels also speak of the disciples seeing the Kingdom of God, even though the wording is different. We must not fail to notice how the word "power" is associated with His kingdom.
"And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1).
"But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27).
If you put all three Gospel narrations together, the only interpretation that makes sense is the literal interpretation, which reveals that Christ received his kingdom, and all power, at His resurrection.
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
If Romans 1:4 leaves us in doubt, Matthew 28:18 shouldn't. All power in heaven and in earth is a great deal of power, and anyone with that kind of power can be King of any dominion He chooses. Christ had that power when he came to the eleven disciples after His resurrection.
Some disciples had not tasted of death, but one had. And all remaining eleven disciples saw Him.
There seems to be this dispensational dream that Christ does not yet own His kingdom, that He is "in exile," sitting on the right hand side of His Father's throne, waiting to come back, receive the Kingdom, and rule from David's throne for a thousand years.
Why would anyone prefer this to be so, in the face of clear Scriptures, is a question hard to answer. The fact of the matter is, Christ now is in heaven; He sits on His own throne in His Father's throne room, He rules His kingdom now, and if we interpret the Bible carefully and literally, it does not say that he will ever sit on David's throne.
As we have seen in the case of Matthew 16:28, much of dispensational doctrine is the result of slipshod
scholarship; haphazard interpretation, and imagination gone wild. Many of these men are Bible scholars
of great renoun, but must we believe their every word? Nonsense! We'd better open our own eyes. Just
because they are men of letters is no reason to blindly follow.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.