PMW 2019-020 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I finally come to my last article in this four-part series. I have been explaining the significance of Daniel 7:13 for Jesus’ eschatological teaching as recorded in Mark’s Gospel.
My first three articles dealt with the meaning of Daniel 7:13 (it is an enthronement vision for the Son of Man), the influence of this verse on Jesus’ teaching in Mark (at Mark 13:26; 16:24), its backdrop for Mark 9:1 (indirect, but certain), and the expectation regarding when it will be dramatically demonstrated (in the first century while the Sanhedrin and several of the disciples are still alive).
We are now ready for my final two points in my outline.
V. The Function of Daniel 7:13 in Mark 9:1
We must understand what is transpiring in Mark’s three eschatological verses that employ Daniel 7:13 (Mark 9:1; 13:26; 14:62). What is happening involves the coming of the kingdom of God. Mark opens his Gospel with Jesus’ first public message, wherein the Lord declares that the kingdom is coming soon:
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14–15).
So we see that early in Mark, Jesus opens his ministry declaring the kingdom is near. But we must understand that later we will discover that it will come in fullness and power (as anticipated in Dan. 7:13–14) in the first-century. That is, the kingdom of God dramatically comes at the destruction of the temple, which involves the collapse of the typological system of worship and the completion of the old covenant (Heb. 8:13).
An Eschatology of Victory
by J. Marcellus Kik
This book presents a strong, succinct case for both optimistic postmillennialism and for orthodox preterism. An early proponent in the late Twentieth-century revival of postmillennialism. One of the better non-technical studies of Matt. 24. It even includes a strong argument for a division between AD 70 and the Second Advent beginning at Matt. 24:36.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
As we look closer at Jesus’ statement in Mark 9:1, we must note some interesting things. Despite its brevity, it is designed to have a powerful effect on his hearers. Let us consider four important interpretive issues that arise from four particular phrases.
“Truly I say to you”
Jesus opens his remarkable declaration with an amen (in Greek), which is translated “truly” and means “so be it!” And he also pedantically (or so it seems) states: “I say to you.” They know he is saying this to them. The point of the “I say to you” phrase is to press home the dramatic reality of what he is about to say. And “truly” emphasizes its certainty.
In context, this verse follows upon Jesus’ warning that the disciples and the crowds listening to him must follow him — even if it involves losing their lives in the process (Mark 8:34–37). If they do not do so, then Jesus declares that he will be ashamed of them (i.e., not accept them) on Judgment Day when he returns to judge all men (v. 38). We must note that Jesus is speaking to both his disciples and the larger crowd, which means he is also speaking to us today. We must not be ashamed of him, or he will be ashamed of us at his Second Coming.
So Jesus dogmatically and emphatically states: I am certainly (“truly, amen, so be it”) declaring to you (“I say to you”) that some of you will die (implied in his statement that only “some” standing there will not die). And as he notes in the preceding verse (Mark 8:38), this will have dramatic implications (universal and eternal consequences!) when he returns at the end of history.
But now he adds another layer of emphasis on his calling to them that they must be willing to die for him (Mark 8:34–37): the fact that he will judge all men on Judgment Day (Mark 8:38) will be historically confirmed in their lifetimes before all of them die. This glorious proof is prophesied in Scripture (here, in the Olivet Discourse, and elsewhere) and will remain in the teaching of Christianity throughout history as evidence of the reality of the Final Judgment to which it points.
Jesus’ statement about the death of some of them is expressed in a rather prolix way that provides us deeper insights into what he is declaring. Jesus states that his faithful first-century followers “will not taste death,” rather than simply saying: “will not die.” Why this unusual and wordy expression?
This reason is because the context has Jesus speaking about his own death (Mark 8:31) and the (potential) death of his followers (Mark 8:34–37). And both of these deaths (his and his followers) are not referring to death by common causes (e.g., disease or old age). Rather, they are speaking of death by persecution. Thus, his followers must understand that even though they may be persecuted to death, he will demonstrate to those who remain alive that they have not died in vain. They have died in proclaiming “the kingdom of God,” which is coming to historical expression in a powerful way that they themselves will witness.
“who will not”
We must now back up to a preceding phrase appearing before “taste death.” Again, we must discern the dramatic emphasis in his declaration.
When he states: “who will not” taste of death, he uses the emphatic Greek expression ou me (either he himself uses it, or the divinely inspired Gospel writer understands his phraseology to mean this). This is not a simple negation, but an emphatic denial. It could be expansively translated to say that these people “will definitely not” suffer death. Jesus’ prophecy is true, and will come to pass.
Four Views on the Book of Revelation
(ed. by Marvin Pate)
Helpful presentation of four approaches to Revelation. Ken Gentry writes the chapter on the preterist approach to Revelation, which provides a 50 page survey of Revelation .
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
“after it has come with power”
Once again, we must recognize that early in Jesus’ ministry “the kingdom of God” is drawing near (Mark 1:15). But when Jesus speaks of this proof that is coming in the lifetime of some of his disciples, he employs the perfect participle in Greek. This can be clunkily (but accurately) translated: “after it is having come with power.”
Thus, some of those with him will not just recognize its nearness. Rather, they will see its having come. That is, its having come to historical fulfillment.
VI. The Fulfillment of Daniel 7:13 in History
I have been assuming that the Marcan allusions to Daniel 7:13 point to the approaching destruction of the temple in AD 70. But now I must prove that observation.
Mark 9:1 does not directly state that Jesus is speaking of the destruction of the temple as he does, for example, in Mark 13:1–3. So we must find evidence for this interpretation of the their future historical experience that fits the expectation.
It is true that his transfiguration (Mark 9:2ff) is implied in this, for that is a dramatic exhibition to his disciples that he is the fulfillment of the law (Moses, Mark 9:4) and prophets (Elijah, Mark 9:4) and that he possesses the glory of God (Mark 9:3, 7). But this cannot be his referent, for he says that only “some” of them will not taste death until the event occurs. Thus, it must be farther off.
It is true that his resurrection is implied in this, for if he dies and remains in the grave, then his kingdom work has failed. But this cannot be his referent, for he says that only “some” of them will not taste death until the event occurs. Thus, it must farther off.
However, we learn from the Olivet Discourse that the AD 70 destruction of the temple fits the dramatic expectation. After all, the disciples are startled at his prophecy of the temple’s destruction and request more information from him on the matter (Mark 13:3–4). This leads to Jesus’ longest eschatological discourse at the conclusion of his teaching ministry (Mark 13:5ff).
And in his explanation of the destruction of the temple, he speaks quite dramatically of its implications: it will be like the sun and moon being darkened, the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of heaven being shaken (Mark 13:24). It will be an exhibition of Jesus’ “coming in the clouds with great power and glory,” as per Daniel 7:13 (Mark 13:26). (See earlier articles in this series.)
Furthermore, as historically expected in Mark 9:1 all of this glorious drama is “near” (Mark 13:28), “at the door” (Mark 13:29), and will happen in “this generation.” Thus, Mark 9:1 is pointing to the AD 70 destruction of the temple, which is a catastrophic event well-recorded in history and is a dramatic demonstration of Christ’s enthronement by the Father (Dan. 7:13) — as per the first article in this series.