In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus describes the kingdom through many parables. Reading them it becomes obvious that His kingdom message involves both the here and now, as well as the future. He told of seed being sowed, but only some growing and producing fruit; He told of weeds growing among the good crop of wheat; of the growth of the kingdom being as a mustard seed growing over time into a large tree. He ended by telling of the harvest at the end of this present age. It becomes obvious that the kingdom is birthed and grows during this age.

This fact is obvious because the apostles also preached concerning the kingdom. The following verses make clear that they were spreading the Gospel of this kingdom.

Acts 20:25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

This was the same kingdom about which they had heard while with Jesus:

Luke 8:1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,

Even Paul who came after the original twelve preached about this kingdom, spreading it or growing it.

Acts 28:29-31 When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves. And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

So what is the relation of this kingdom to the millennial kingdom? Jesus stated that when He returns that He will separate the wheat from the chaff; the good fish from the bad ones. Jesus also told us of the separation of the sheep from the goats at His coming. In the interim He is building His kingdom toward that end.

But there is a paradox within Jesus words. Atheists get all worked up because Jesus told His disciples that:

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew 16:28 KJV

And certainly His statement does cause us to ask: what is your meaning Lord? Can one deny that He is speaking of His coming at the end of the age:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27 KJV

So, is His statement not true; if not, then can any of this kingdom teaching be true? Certainly the Atheists like to ask so where is Jesus. And how can you trust Him or the Bible on anything if this statement is untrue?

Some believers will say: “Just another mystery of God”, but that’s really no answer.

If you are truly interested in defending your faith; then bear with me.

Jesus knew the outcome for His disciples lives including their deaths, and they were the ones hearing Him make the statement ( in Matt. 16:28) that some would not taste death until His kingdom comes, or until He comes in His kingdom. In fact as many as 500 saw Jesus come in His kingdom following His resurrection. And it was following His resurrection that Jesus stated this to Peter:

John 21:18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to [go.]” 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” 20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following [them;] the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what [is that] to you? You follow Me!” (NASB1995)

Did Jesus say to Peter that John would not die? Certainly we could not prove that from this verse, but scripture is to be studied; and in that process the Holy Spirit teaches us. We need to observe that John about whom this question was asked by Peter is also the one who was given the Revelation from Jesus to write down for us. This occurred while he was on the isle of Patmos. And it is in that Revelation that John is told the following:

Revelation 10:9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (KJV)

Immediately following this John is told of the two witnesses to come. We are clearly told here through Jesus Revelation that John must prophecy again, and that he was not to write what he learned in the book that he did eat. He was not to do with this bitter message as he had been doing with the other revelations given him. It was for later telling, and it is John who would again prophesy before the nations. So how will this come about and when? Even if it could be proven however, that John did not die, should he be one of the two witnesses to come he will die before Jesus comes back to earth because they do die, but remember none of the disciples died before Jesus came in His kingdom. We are in fact living in His kingdom. We are following Him. The two witnesses will taste death making even John disqualified from seeing Jesus come to earth before he would see death.

But, though this can be confusing, based on Jesus own words that John possibly would not die — “if he remains until I come”. So who then are these who will see the Lord return who stood there with Him then? John could be one of them. Lazarus could be another. Why Lazarus? — unto man it is appointed once to die, and then comes the judgment. Here is what one site states about Lazarus:

Their answer above to this question may in fact violate the teaching of scripture. If a man can die twice, why does scripture state that it is appointed him to die once?

What of John’s death? One commentary says:

We know that the apostle John was exiled for his faith late in life (Revelation 1:9). The Bible does not give us details on how the apostle John died, but tradition gives us a few theories.

One of the theories presented:

Or is there? If Jesus in the Revelation by His sent Angel, tells someone that they will do something which they have not yet done, and then implies to another in the scripture that that same one may remain until He comes, what might be deduced from that information?

One answer to a most pressing scientific question could impact all of this. It is one which also lends support to scripture concerning death.

Is there any scientific evidence to the fact that any one person has ever resurrected after rigor mortise had set in, and then to be followed by a second death and burial?

There really is no such scientific evidence, but one thing every Jesus follower knows is that Jesus tells no lie.

The following article is very interesting — especially the last paragraph.

Is There Life After Death? | The New York Academy of Sciences