“For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”And He said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
My understanding of this passage is what is known as the preterist interpretation. That simply means I believe the words of Jesus were fulfilled in the future of His listeners but in the past to us, His readers. This means that the Son of Man has already entered into the glory of His Father and the holy angels which occurred at Christ’s Ascension (Acts 1:6-11; Revelation 4-5) and the coming of the Kingdom of God with power has already happened in the historic event called Pentecost (Revelation 8:1-5; Acts 2:1-12). These events were in the future to Jesus’s hearers and in the past to us. However, the effects of these events have changed the world.
In my sermon I listed three ways in which these two historic events have changed the world: evangelism is effective, worship is effective, everything is used for the glory of God. There are other implications to the Ascension and Pentecost and I want to mention one more here, namely, humanity in Christ now changes the world because we have replaced the angels as agents of historic change.
In the old covenant, the old world, angels were the administrators of God’s will on earth (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; and Hebrews 2:2). And because Adam ,the federal head of humanity, lost his position of authority, he was replaced by a cherubim with a flaming sword (Genesis 3:24). Before the fall the order of creation was this: God-humanity-angels. After the fall the order of hierarchy was switched: God-angels-humanity.
Enter the Son of Man.
When Jesus comes and succeeds at every point that Adam failed, Jesus earns the right to ascend to heaven, walk between the heavenly host, and sit down at the right hand of God the Father. Now the hierarchical order of creation in Christ is this: God-Christ (and humanity in Him)-angels. After all, Jesus says “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Henceforth in the book of Revelation, after Jesus assumes David’s throne in heaven, it is humanity that causes changes on earth. It is the gathered saints worshiping and praying and serving that move the Father’s will in heaven to shift the course of human history, and we, the body of Christ on earth, partake of that heavenly movement every Lord’s Day when we are caught up in the Spirit and worship in Spirit and truth (fire and a sword). Through Jesus Christ the church is given the flaming sword and with it, we change the world.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly [church] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24