It seems like a ridiculous question to even ask, i.e. did Jesus promise to come twice? Yet, this is exactly what futurists are saying, when they try to divide Matthew 16:27 from verse-28. They tell us that Jesus’ coming “in the glory of the Father to render to each man according to his works” is one coming, (Greek – erchomai, G2064), and Jesus’ coming (G2064) “in his Kingdom” in power (Matthew 16:28; cf. Mark 9:1) is, yet, another coming. They must say this, or something similar, if they are to maintain their eschatology, because Jesus makes the profound statement in verse-28 that some who listened to him on that day would live to see him come in power! So, is what the futurists tell us true? Does Jesus come twice? How do the futurists defend such a statement?
In a previous study I showed how there couldn’t be a 2000 year delay between Matthew 16:27 and 28, but I would like to focus on a different point in this study. Some scholars conclude that Matthew 16:27 focuses on Jesus coming at the end of time, while verse-28 occurred in the first century AD, either at the Transfiguration (see Utley; Ironside; Constable), the Day of Pentecost (see Gill; Hawker; People; Barns; Clarke) or the destruction of Jerusalem (see Henry; Barns; Cambridge; Clarke). Note that the latter there are those who see a progressive coming of the Lord from Pentecost to the destruction of Jerusalem.
The problem with the first two interpretations are, first, none of the Apostles had died by the time of the Transfiguration, and all that Peter, James and John witnessed was a vision of Christ’s departure or exodus not his coming (cf. Luke 9:41). Secondly, by the time of Pentecost only Judas was no longer alive. However, Mark 8:34 shows there was a larger audience listening to Jesus when he made the claims about his coming, so this even further emphasizes that Pentecost couldn’t be the Lord’s coming, even if we wish to say the Holy Spirit is Christ, which I don’t believe anyone is ready to conclude. So, what we have left is Jesus was referring to his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, which both Henry and the Cambridge Bible prefer, even though they conclude it isn’t the same coming as Matthew 16:27.
I agree that Matthew 16:28 refers to Jesus coming in his Kingdom in great power and glory at the destruction of Jerusalem, cir. 70 AD. However I don’t agree that Matthew 16:27 represents another coming of the Lord. There is but one coming of Christ predicted in the New Testament, and that was fulfilled when he came in the clouds, in the glory of his Father, to judge Jerusalem and destroy the Temple (Matthew 16:27; cf. 26:64).
What I’d like to consider at this point is the phrase: “Verily, I say unto you…” (amen lego humin). I have found this phrase used 48 times in the New Testament, all of them by Jesus in the Synoptics. In **all** the other 47 instances Jesus never introduced a new subject. The phrase is always used to emphasize what was said or done immediately beforehand. Why must verily, I say unto you… be taken as an introduction of a new thought in Matthew 16:28 as opposed to what Jesus just said in verse-27?
Under what circumstances should verily I say unto you be used in a manner other than to emphasize what was said or done immediately prior to the phrase being uttered? What rule of Greek grammar demands that we do this? What textual consideration demands we do it? I have to wonder when futurists believe sola scriptura should be embraced. Is it part of the time, all of the time, or only those times when it is convenient. In other words, not when it contradicts their eschatology.