At Matthew 16:28, Jesus says, "Amen I say to you there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
Some interpret these mysterious words to refer to the Time of the Gentiles, the beginnings of the Gentile Church after Christ's resurrection.
Others interpret the verse to refer to the events described in the following verses -- by seeing Jesus in the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
But still others offer the following story to explain Christ's words.
In the Middle Ages, Crusaders returning to Europe with the Army of Richard in 1192 A.D. reported stories of a Jewish man whom they called "Cartaphilus" and "the Wandering Jew" which went as follows.
During the Way of the Cross, while Christ was still carrying His cross before Simon of Cyrene was drafted to take over that job, a Jewish man who had been hired as a doorkeeper in the Judgment Hall of Pontius Pilate saw Christ stop to rest. Intent on being seen throwing his weight around a little bit, Cartaphilus walked up to Christ and told him to be on his way.
Jesus supposedly answered, "I will go now, but you will wait [i.e., to go to his death] until I return." Cartaphilus did not understand the words, and Roman soldiers shoved him away from Christ and pushed him back into the crowd.
As the years passed, family and friends began to remark at how fit and young looking Cartaphilus was able to stay despite his age.
Ultimately, family and friends began to die of old age, while he always looked young. People became afraid of him, and drove him out of their village, forcing him to travel to places where no one would know him, again and again and again.
The name "Cartaphilus" was probably not a real name, but rather an ancient version of a made-up name reflecting prior travel like "Johnny-Come-Lately." It is composed of two Greek roots meaning "map" and "lover" -- because he was forced to travel so much so that he could always be living someplace where people were not afraid of him, his chronic need to travel also made him a "map lover."
There were various mentions of Cartaphilus in the years following the Third Crusade. The best recorded one is that of a Roman Catholic Bishop of Armenia who visited St. Albans Abbey in England in the year 1228, preserved in a chronicle called Flores Historiarum. The Bishop of Armenia claimed to have struck up an acquaintance with Cartaphilus, and reported that he had converted to the Catholic faith.
Beginning in the early 1700s, the stories of Cartaphilus acquired a new twist. A man calling himself the Count of St. Germain appeared in Venice in 1710 and struck up a friendship with Countess von Georgy. He had a handsome Jewish appearance, seemed to be about 45 years of age, and was deeply intelligent. The countess saw him 50 years later, in 1760, noticed that he looked identical and also still about 45 years of age, and asked him if it was his father she had met in Venice in 1710. The Count replied that, no, it had been himself. The shocked countess accused him of being a demon.
In 1740 the Count appeared at the court of the French King Louis XV and among other things claimed to have personally known Christ (as Cartaphilus). He shocked his listeners with his detailed knowledge of history.
He appeared in England in 1745, he may have been vested with governing authority over a portion of India by the East India Company in 1752, he was definitely seen in India in 1756 by Sir Robert Clive, in 1753 Giacomo Casanova declared him too good to be true, in 1760 Louis XV (who by then must have become suspicious about his persistent youth) dispatched the Count of St. Germain to the Hague respecting a peace treaty between Prussia and Austria.
In 1762 the Count was in Russia, where he had a hand in deposing Peter III of Russia and in elevating Catherine the Great to the Russian throne.
In 1769 he returned to Venice and opened a factory for the manufacture of synthetic silk.
In 1774, Louis XV died. The Count, introducing himself to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and warned them about the coming revolution. Marie Antoinette, years later, recorded her regrets respecting ignoring his warnings.
In 1784, a German prince announced the Count's death.
But in 1785, he was clearly back in France.
In 1820, Mademoiselle d'Adhemar, 45 years after seeing him in Paris, also reported that he had not aged at all.
In 1870-1871, French Emperor Napoleon III, fascinated by "the man who wouldn't die," accumulated records about him in a year-long investigation, but the records were destroyed in a fire.
Reports of meetings with the Count of St. Germain continued for years thereafter, including occultist Annie Besant, as well as French singer Emma Calve.
By this time the occultic crowd had gotten hold of the Count of St. Germain idea, and they never let it go, and lore respecting him becomes hopelessly lost in occultic claims, and as a consequence the modern media, making ample use of the occultic nonsense, bury reputable truth in the mindless speculations of idiots.
If there is a Count of St. Germain "out there," it seems likely that he has counted it unwise to reveal himself publicly any longer -- no place on Earth is safe from the prying eyes of modern mass media -- Cartaphilus, finally, would run out of places to live, if our ugly media get hold of him.
If the story is true -- and, who knows?, it just might possibly be true; God can do anything! -- God might have a special job in mind for Cartaphilus near the end of time.