Vol. 6, No. 4
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A request has come: "Explain your understanding of Matthew 10:23." The verse says: "When they pursue you in one city, escape to another. Indeed, I assure you, that you will by no means have gone through the cities of Israel until the Son of man comes."
On the last day of Jesus' first appearance (for some 35 years, B.C. 5-30 A.D.) "two men in white clothing" said to the apostles: "This Jesus...will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Some 25 verses of the New Testament state that Christ "shall appear a second time" (Hebrews 9:28). Since so much is said about his second appearance, still in the future in 2002 A.D., what is the meaning of Jesus' words in 29 A.D., that his apostles would not have finished a preaching tour "through the cities of Israel until the Son of man comes"?
The explanation is that, though there are only two visible appearances of Christ (one for some 35 years in Palestine, and one to be at the end of the world (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Peter 3:7), there was an invisible coming "in his kingdom": "Indeed, I assure you, some standing here [in 29 A.D.] will not taste of death until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). It was Sunday, May 28, A.D.30, with Jesus personally in heaven, but present invisibly in Jerusalem, when his kingdom was established. He heard the Father's coronation words: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. ...Therefore God, even your God, anoints you with the oil of gladness above your fellows" (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9).
Back in 29 A.D. Jesus had already told Peter, "I will give to you the keys of the kingdom" (Matthew 16:19). On that same day (May 28, A.D.30) that Jesus was made "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36), and was made the invisible "King of kings" (1 Timothy 6:15), Jesus' representative, the apostle Peter, used the keys of the kingdom to unlock the doors of the church (cf. Matthew 16:18-19) by commanding faith, repentance and baptism (Acts 2:36-38). Obedience to those commandments not only made sinners citizens of "the kingdom" (John 3:5), but also made them members of "the church," of which Jesus is "the head" (Titus 1:18). About "3000 souls" were baptized immediately, and "the Lord added to the church daily" those being saved (Acts 2:47, KJV; cf. Acts 5:11 to find the word "church" in all other versions).
Consequently, all Christians today look backward with joy to the invisible coming of Christ in his "kingdom" and in his "church" on May 28, A.D. 30, and they look forward to Jesus' second visible coming when they "meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).