Matthew 16:13-28 Part 14

As we complete chapter sixteen this morning, which flows directly into the first verses of chapter seventeen, it would be most beneficial to once again set the contextual stage so that we are clear in our minds about what is happening here.  Verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight are the highpoint and capstone of Jesus’ revelation of Himself to His disciples, and it all sets the stage for what happens next – which is commonly called the “transfiguration”.  (a term which is fast losing its value for me)

Jesus has taken His disciples to the region of Herod Phillip – the extreme northeast of this Roman protectorate – to a city which epitomized the incorporation of Greek ideas and mythology, in order to reveal to them the direct antithesis to it all!

And after eliciting answers from the disciples concerning his identity, He explains to them that God has manifested His Son, as promised in the Scriptures; and that He, Jesus, is the Rock upon which is to be built the New Covenant Church.  And foundational to the Church will be the doctrine and preaching of these twelve men – as revealed to them by the Father!  And whatever they, in their apostolic office, shall loose and bind upon earth shall have been loosed and bound in heaven.

And Jesus then revealed to them that event around which all history was focused – that fountainhead from which flowed all eventuality (the future of mankind and creation itself).  He told them that it was necessary that He go into Jerusalem and suffer at the hands of the elders and priests and Scribes, and be killed, and, on the third day to be raised.  The gates of hell itself could not prevail against God’s purpose for His creation and His history because the Son of God would enter into the realm of the dead and defeat it by being raised out of it!

That’s when Peter took up the cause of Satan to interrupt God’s purpose and received the command of Christ to desist.

Then Jesus reveals the providential plan of God that those who willed to have life would attach themselves to Jesus exclusively and participate in His suffering and death and resurrection.  Any other course would result in ruin – destruction!

The Kingdom was at hand,


“for the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then shall render to each according to his ways.  Amen I say to you, there are some standing here in this place who shall in no way experience death until they behold the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”


Heaven and earth are about to be shaken; abandon your life, take up your cross, and follow Me.

The nations are about to gather against Me in the gates of Babylon itself; deny your self, join with Me in My suffering, and follow Me.

The “Day of the Lord” is almost here; deny your self, take up your cross, and attach yourself to Me exclusively.

The “Mystery of God” is about to be revealed; the hour of tribulation is coming; the Scroll of judgment is about to be opened (Ezekiel two); deny your self, take up your cross, and be following me.

I Am about to come in the glory of My Father with His angels; heaven and earth are about to be destroyed as with the flood of Noah, and whoever wishes to save his life shall destroy it.

I Am about to come in the glory of My Father; abandon your life and you shall find it!

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great… who has made all the nations drink of the wine and heat of her fornications….”  Be following Me!

I Am about to come in the glory of My Father, and the hour to reap has come; negate your self, participate in My life and My suffering and My death and My resurrection – be following Me!

The war of Armageddon is about to take place and the cosmic shaking to split heaven and earth into thirds is about to happen; be following Me. (Ezekiel five)

The New Heavens and the New Earth is about to be revealed; be following Me!

Glory is about to depart the old temple and it will be leveled; and the New Temple is about to be built on the Rock; if you will to find your life abandon your self and suffer with Me.

“Come out of her, My people… for she shall not be found any longer… for her great wealth has been laid waste in one hour… and her smoke rises up from her forever and ever.  The harlot is destroyed; and the Lamb ascends to His Father to make the Bride ready for the marriage.”  Be following Me.

“Let it be known unto you therefore, that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles….”  Satan has been bound that he deceive the nations no longer.  So “leaven” them.  Deny your self, take up your cross and be following Me.  If you abandon your self – if you negate your self, and attach yourself to Me exclusively, you will find life.  But it you affirm your self, you will lose your life and be negated and suffer infinite abandonment!

Our Lord Jesus has given His apostles, and us, a glimpse into the things that it is necessary for Him to do – that He must go into Jerusalem and suffer, and be killed, and on the third day to be raised; and that He will then come into the glory of His Father with His angels.  And right at the beginning of verse twenty-seven you will notice that Jesus uses the term “Son of Man” once again.

And again I refer you to the only place in the Old Testament Scriptures where the “Son of Man” is used to prophecy Jesus Christ coming into the glory of the Father:  Daniel chapter seven is the place where the four great kingdoms of earth are seen in a vision by Daniel.  The fifth Kingdom is that of the Son of Man.  Listen:


“I saw in the night visions and, behold, One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.  And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a Kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him:  His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed.”


The Son of Man is the One resurrected from the dead – the Second Adam.  The Son of Man Who “comes with the clouds” in His glorious Ascension to the Father and coming judgment upon Israel to receive worldwide dominion, glory, and a Kingdom; Who will be seen by “those who pierced Him”, and mourned over by all the tribes of the land.  Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth… Who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood… has made us to be a Kingdom, priests to His God and Father; “to Him be the glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Verse twenty-seven says that the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels – which is a direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel.  And please notice that the “coming” of the Son of Man, both in the prophecy of Daniel and in the words of Christ, is not referring to coming to earth where men are; but it is in reference to the Ancient of Days, or to “the Father”.  The reference point of the universe is not man – but God!  Jesus “comes” to the Father.  It is from God’s point of view – not man’s point of view!  He “comes” to the glory of His Father with His angels.

The Son of God was “sent” from God. And having taken on the form of man, He suffered and died and was raised again; and He “comes” back to the Father “the Son of Man” – the second Adam, the Firstborn from the dead.  And having come to the Father, He receives glory and dominion – and a Kingdom which is everlasting.

Also please note that the angels are not with Jesus as He “comes”.  The angels are with the Father!  Jesus comes into the presence of the Father with His angels.  The confusion in interpretation of the verse has Jesus returning to earth with His angels in the clouds!  But the “coming” is with reference to God, the angels are with reference to God, and the “clouds” are with reference to God.  The angels are the clouds.  It is a cloud of angels.  The “clouds” are the glory cloud of God – His throne, His chariot; the place where God manifests His glory!  So, as the Daniel prophecy indicates, Jesus was to come in the clouds of Heaven to the glorious throne of the Ancient of Days in order to receive glory and dominion.

Why did He have to be given glory and dominion?  Why did God the Father have to “bestow” Him with a Kingdom?  Was this not Almighty God the Son?  The answers to those questions are found in a number of places, the best of which is Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi, chapter two:


“Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the ‘form’ of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself – taking the form of a slave, becoming in likeness of men; He humbled Himself becoming obedient until death, even the death of a cross….”


This is the doctrine of the “kenosis” of Christ – the “emptying” of Christ of the radiant brightness of His Own glory as God the Son.  So the answer to the questions regarding Christ being “given” glory by His Father have to do with the fact that He had “emptied” Himself of that glory in order to become man!  Therefore the “Son of Man” “comes” again to the radiant brightness of the glory cloud to receive again His glory from His Father!

And that’s exactly what Paul says, as we read a little further in the Philippians passage:

“Wherefore God also highly exalted Him and gave him the Name above every Name in order that, in the Name of Jesus every knee of heavenly beings and earthly beings and beings under the earth should bow, and every tongue should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”


And what did Paul say at the beginning of the passage?  “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus….”  “Whoever wills to come after Me let him deny him self, take up His cross, and be following Me….”  Let us “empty” ourselves of “self”, take up the suffering of Christ as a servant, and participate in Him in His life, His death, and His resurrection, and His ascension.

And now as we come to the last part of verse twenty-seven, I always dread coming to it, because I don’t know what all to do with it.  That’s not because there’s nothing to do with it, but because there’s too many things to do with it!

First, let me say that the translation has an error in it.  So let’s get that done first.  The last word in the verse ought to be singular.  It’s not “ways”, but “way”.  “The son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then shall render to each according to his way.”

Many of the translations have “works” there, but this word is not the word which is always used for “work”.  It’s totally different, and we are not recipients of a works salvation!  An example of its use is found in Luke chapter twenty-three where Joseph of Arimethea did not agree with the “way” of the counsel of elders, the Sanhedrin.  He then asked for the body of the crucified Jesus, and placed Him in his own tomb.  The word does not mean “works”, but it has to do with the essential character or nature of a thing.  The “principle” or “essence” of the operation of the Sanhedrin was hatred and disdain for Jesus Christ, and a desire to kill Him.  That was their “way” – their principle of operation!

Now, the difficulty with this sentence centers around “who does the word ‘each’ refer to?”  It’s closest reference point is the “angels”!  Is Jesus going to render to each of the angels according to his way?  We do know, of course, that many angels are seen by the apostle John, in his Revelation, taking part in the judgmental destruction of Jerusalem and Israel, and in the establishment of the New Kingdom!  Does Jesus, at the receiving of glory and a Kingdom “give forth” (render) to each of the angels his peculiar duties in accordance with his essential qualities and nature?  I think that’s a very logical and feasible explanation of this statement; and it is grammatically correct – and He has been given all power in heaven!

Most interpreters, though, will see only the presupposed final judgment of Christ upon His second coming here.  But, then, they stumble terribly over verse twenty-eight which says that “there are some standing here in this place who shall in no way experience death until they “behold the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”  If those apostles standing there that day saw the Son of Man in his ascent to the glory cloud of the Father, and witnessed the glorious Kingdom of Christ in judgment on Israel, how could they also have experienced the second “coming” of Christ to render to each according to their works?  That hasn’t happened yet!

You see, the “Son of Man ‘coming’ to the glory of His Father”, and the “rendering to each according to his way” refer to the same event!  An event which will be “beheld” by many of those disciples who were standing there that day!  Most of them won’t die before they behold these things happening!

So, the Son of Man “coming” into His Kingdom is a first century event; and the “rendering to each according to his way” is also a fist century event.  And the apostles’ beholding the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom is a first century event!  All of these things happened at the ascent of Christ to the glory-cloud of God – at which time He received the fullness of His reward!

So pre-millenialists, nor dispensationalists, nor amillenialists have any doctrinal, grammatical or contextual legs to stand on when they say that “render to each according to their works” refers to the final judgment of all men!  It cannot be so, and it is not so!

But the context of this statement must reign supreme here.  I don’t think Jesus is speaking of the angels here; and I summarily reject the idea that a final judgment is in view.  The context is the Son of Man receiving glory and dominion and a Kingdom.  And that Kingdom was two-fold:  the judgment of Israel and the salvation of the nations!  “Rendering to each according to his way” is the expression of judgment against Israel in the same sense that Joseph of Arimethea disagreed with the “way” of the Sanhedrin!

When Jesus said, “come out of her, My people…” those who denied self, took up their cross and followed Jesus, came out.  But all those whose “way” was the way of the Sanhedrin were destroyed – whose smoke rises up forever and ever.  That’s my best shot at that; and I hope it is the truth and that God sees fit to bless it to His glory.  Jesus came into His glory and rendered to each according to His way.  To those whose “principal of life” was self, He rendered to them according to their way.  And to those who denied self and attached themselves exclusively to Christ the second Adam, He rendered to them according to their principle of life.  It is either self – or it is Christ!

We’ve already mentioned many things about verse twenty-eight.  It is straightforward and clear.  The men who were standing there that day with Jesus, listening to Him – many of them would still be alive to behold the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.  Jesus witnesses that fact, as He does so many times, with “Amen I say to you….”  “Truly I say to you….”  This is a fact you can rely on.  I am about to come in My Kingdom.  I am coming to the Father to receive glory and dominion and a Kingdom – just as Daniel the prophet prophesied concerning Me.

The apostle John looks up, in Revelation chapter ten, and sees the Lord having already received His glory from the Father, about to deliver the blow to Israel and establish the covenant with the nations rendering to each according to his way.  He was “clothed with a cloud”; He had a rainbow on His head; His face was like the sun; and His legs were like pillars of fire.

He is “wearing” the host of heaven; He had the radiance of the covenant bow; His face was the shining of judgment; and He came to stand upon the land and the sea with pillars of fire and smoke.  Truly these men witnessed, in many ways, the coming of the Lord in His Kingdom.  Not only in His ascent into the glory-cloud of the Ancient of Days, but also in the flood of annihilation of heaven and earth – Israel!  In the conversion of the Gentiles, in the out-pouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, in the establishment of the promised Ekklesia, in the Inspiration of Scripture, and in the vision of St. John.

And we have the benefits of all of these.  Plus the further founding of the Ekklesia in all the nations of earth.  The Gentiles are no longer bound in the deceptions of Satan.  A general uprising of evil for a few years shouldn’t frighten us at all.  Jesus said “go leaven it”.  “All power is given Me in heaven and earth.”  “Go leaven it.”

Many, many people and organizations have attempted to “bring in the ‘millennium’”.  But it is already here, because Christ has been crowned King of Kings.  It was attempted by Charlemagne, and by the Crusaders, and by the Huguenots, and by Marx and Stalin, and by Hitler – a utopia for men, by whatever means necessary.  But we don’t need a utopia, or a new political reformation, or a new agenda or fighting, or demonstrations, or picketing – or any other cultural or political or pugilistic means.  Jesus said “make disciples of the nations, baptize them, teach them to observe My Commandments”.  The power is Mine.  You go leaven it.

“I am bout to come in the glory of the Father with His angels.”  “I go to make a place for you, that where I am there you may be also.”  “Anyone who wills to come after Me, let him deny self, take up his cross and be following Me.”