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Why did the transfiguration happen?

Are Moses and Elijah really still alive?

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Jesus says that some of the disciples would not die (taste of death) until they had seen him (the son of man) coming in the kingdom of God with power (Greek – ‘dunamis’ – physical power).

Mat 16:28 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.

Mk 9:1And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

Lk 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.Now it is obvious that the kingdom of God hasn’t yet come and all the disciples are dead.This means that to see the kingdom of God while they were still alive it must be done by means of a vision.

This is what we find happens about a week later. There is nothing significant in the Luke’s different description of the time period. It can be accepted as just a matter of perception – it is not to be seen as an error or contradiction.

Mat 17:1And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

Mk 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves

Lk 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray

We find that Jesus’ appearance changes and he appears in glory as he will be seen in the kingdom of God.

His face and his clothing emit light, showing him as he will be - glorified with the divine nature.

His appearance is transformed into that often seen in angels:

Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Mat 17:2 And was transfigured (metamorphosed - changed / transformed) before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

Lk 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

The appearance of Moses and Elijah, also glorified, confirms that the disciples were being shown a vision of the future.

Mat 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Mk 9:4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

Lk 9:30,31 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

They talk about Jesus’ death as a thing accomplished, which it must needs be before Moses and Elijah can be glorified. The appearance of Moses and Elijah in glory with Christ indicates the successful fulfilment of all that is written in the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

The word translated ‘decease’ is ‘exodus’; the same Greek word from which the book of Exodus derives its name.

We might see in the words of Jesus that follow shortly when he descends from the mountain that he understood his death in terms of an ‘exodus’ from the unbelief of that generation.

Matthew 17:17... O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

Lk 9:32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

The disciples saw Christ in the glory which he had yet to attain through submission unto death.

Peter is completely at a loss. He doesn’t understand what he is seeing because he doesn’t understand that Christ has to suffer and die before he can enter into his glory.

Mat 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Mk 9:5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.

Lk 9:33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Luke 3:22... and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

God, knowing that Jesus will succeed, repeats his witness first spoken at Jesus’ baptism; adding the command ‘hear him’.

Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell thevisionto no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Mk 9:7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead

Lk 9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone.

Here we have the confirmation that what they had witnessed had been a vision. One that they were not to divulge until Jesus was risen again from the dead. We are told again that they just didn’t understand that Christ had to die and be resurrected.

Mk9:10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean

Lk9: (36) And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen

The ability of God to show visions of the future is demonstrated in Ezekiel 40-48 where Ezekiel is given a guided tour of the Sanctuary and Temple that will be built in the kingdom.

Ezekiel 43:7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

We see it in the revelations given to Paul where he was caught up (harpazo – caught away) to the third heaven. The revelation was so real that Paul couldn’t tell whether he was physically taken to the future (in the body) or whether it was just a vision (out of the body).

2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

This is not to be understood as a journey through space but rather a journey through time to the future, to the kingdom of God; the ‘third’ heaven that Peter refers to.

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men... 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

The same ‘paradise’ that Jesus speaks of to the thief:

Luke 23:43 NKJV...you will be with Me in Paradise."

This vision of the Glory of Christ in his kingdom is referred to by Peter as evidence that what he tells us is true.

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

It is worth noting that Jesus on several occasions takes the three disciples Peter, James and John as witnesses to specific miraculous events.This is in line with the requirements of the Law of Moses.

Deuteronomy 19:15... at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

2 Corinthians 13:1... In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless,
Glenn
thisisyourbible.com

 
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