The Berean Expositor
Volume 53 - Page 124 of 215
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The same truth is illustrated in the book of Revelation where those living under the
dominion of the Antichrist at the end of the age, choose to die rather than receive the
mark of the Beast. As far as this present life is concerned, they had given up everything,
but the Apostle John, in a vision, sees them raised from the dead later on, not only living
in the millennial kingdom, but on the throne with Christ, reigning with Him (Rev.xx.4-6).
But verse 5 reads "the rest of the dead did not come to life again until the thousand years
were ended" (R.S.V.). So here we have a clear illustration of what being shut out of the
kingdom means in the Sermon on the Mount.
Taking up the cross is a voluntary act of a believer who is willing to suffer pain and
loss now for Christ Who takes note of this, and gives immense gains in the life to come
for eternity. Thus we see that the phrase "the saving of the soul" in the N.T. applies to
faithful believers, not to the unsaved.  Moreover, we can now distinguish between
coming to Christ as sinners needing salvation, and choosing to come after Christ (literally
behind Christ, that is with Christ in front, leading). This can only be experienced after
being saved.
"To deny himself" (16: 24) means more than what we mean by "self-denial". It
means to say `no' to self, to refuse to make our aims, our pleasures, our wills the laws of
life, thus giving them the first place. For these we must substitute the claims of Christ,
His Truth, and the well-being of others. Such a choice is far from easy, but we dare not
alter or tone down the conditions laid down by the Lord.
All this section of the Gospel must be seen in its context of reward for faithfulness in
service. It does not refer to salvation. If this is introduced here we create difficulties that
are insoluble. The Lord Jesus at this point reveals that His coming back to the earth is in
great glory with the accompaniment of the angels of heaven, and He concludes with the
"I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see
the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (16: 28, N.I.V.).
Once more we have the untranslatable particle an with the subjunctive mood which
implies some uncertainty of the timing, not the fact of the Lord's return. By His own
statements that we have considered, the Lord Jesus brought His Second Coming near to
the first, and we know that the conditions that obtained in the Acts period showed that
this second coming was an imminent possibility, for all the epistles written during this
period show that it was near. (See the author's The Unfolding Purpose of God, p.43).
We note that the next chapter commences with an account of the Transfiguration.
Some expositors feel that this is the fulfillment of the verses we have been considering,
for Peter, James and John witnessed it, and the three Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and
Luke record it (Matt. 17: 1-8; Mark 9: 2-8; Luke 9: 28-36) in exactly the same
context. Before we reject this, we should consider Peter's testimony in his second epistle
which refers to his experience at the Transfiguration of Christ:
"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of His majesty. For He