Most assuredly I tell you, there are some standing here, who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. — Matthew 16:28, World English.
Many atheists, agnostics, deists, and others with an axe to grind, often point to Jesus’ words as recorded by Matthew in the above scripture, and they reason that Jesus lied, since all those to whom Jesus was speaking died, and Jesus still had not yet come into this kingdom, that the scripture is a contradiction to facts. In reality, such are only showing that they have not investigated the scriptures close enough to realize what Jesus was speaking of.
Peter later spoke of this, however, as though he had already saw the glory of Jesus, when he wrote: “When we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, we did not rely on cunningly contrived myths. On the contrary, we saw his majesty with our own eyes. ” (2 Peter 1:16, Complete Jewish Bible) When did Peter see the “coming of our Lord Jesus? When did Peter see the majesty of Jesus?
Peter himself identifies “when” he had seen this coming and majesty of Jesus, saying that Jesus “received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This voice we heard come out of heaven, when we were with him in the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:17,18, World English) It was while he was with Jesus in the holy mountain.
Turning back to Matthew, we read in the next chapter of the very event of which Peter wrote in his second letter.
Matthew 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
Matthew 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as the light.
Matthew 17:3 Behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with him.
Matthew 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let’s make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
Matthew 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.
Matthew 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
Matthew 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” It was at that time that Peter saw “the power and the coming of” the Lord Jesus. It was at that time that Peter saw the majesty of Jesus. (2 Peter 1:16) And it was thus in this manner that Jesus’ statement of Matthew 16:28 was fulfilled. In that transfiguration “vision,” these disciples saw Jesus in his kingdom.
There is no contradiction.
Below are some links to related studies on this. We do not necessarily agree with every conclusion presented by the authors:
The Transfiguration (by Michael Nekora)
A Vision of Coming Glory (ZWT)