Matthew 16 declares the time when the Kingdom of God comes, but when is that time?
28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Most immediately imagine a certain time, at the end of the age, when Christ will come back, a Second Coming, to inaugurate His Kingdom. Let’s look at the Old Testament verse Matthew was referring to in the verse above. It is Daniel 7;
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
When most Christians today read this it just confirms their preconception, that the Second Coming of Christ is what is being referred to here. That is when the Kingdom of God comes.
But let’s look closer at the wording of the passage. “there … was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” This indicates a time when Jesus was coming UP to the Ancient of Days, coming up to God not going down from God to earth.
It has been understood by the church for centuries, until more recently, that this referred to the ascension of Christ not the Second Coming. It refers to the ascension of Christ to be seated at the right hand of God.
This is when His Kingdom comes, at His ascension. Now we all know that there is a fullness of His kingdom that is not here yet, and will only “come” at His Second Coming. But in a very radical and real sense, His Kingdom has come already. We must not denigrate that coming that happened 2000 years ago.
Matthew 26 confirms our reading, as the same event is referred to you can see by the words “the Son of Man” and “coming on the clouds of heaven”.
And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”