THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION
Luk.9:29-31 (29) And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. (30) And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: (31) Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. We are taken here to the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James and John beheld Jesus in His state of glory in His kingdom, being "eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Pe.1:16). The glorious appearance of Christ there no doubt set in sharp relief the appearance to which they were accustomed: "....no form nor comeliness, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa.53:2), and especially when "his visage was so marred more than any man..." (Isa.52:14). Let the children of grace, the joint-heirs of glory take note: "it doth not yet appear what we shall be..." (1 Jo.3:2). This weak vessel in which we presently dwell shall be immeasurably upgraded by the now glorified Savior "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil 3:21)." "...This corruptible must put on incorruption" (1 Co.15:53). Let the artists and iconolaters take note: the "beautiful" Jesus is of the glory state, not the earthly. Vain imaginations and icons should both be cast down (Rom.1:21-23 c/w 2 Co.10:4-5). Beast-worshippers adore images (Rev.16:2 & Rev.19:20), not true saints. From our text we may observe: 1) there is a reality beyond the pale of earth, a glory world where abide faithful saints who leave this world. We are here "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb.11:13). Lift up your eyes, therefore, and "set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col.3:2). 2) there is conscious existence after death. Moses had long ago died, the LORD secretly burying his body (Deu.34:5-6), but his spirit was alive and well. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Co.5:8 c/w Php.1:23). 3) Moses was in glory before Christ's death. What then of the notion of some that Old Testament saints who died were relegated to some mysterious netherworld until Christ's resurrection? Solomon knew better: upon death the spirit of redeemed man "goeth upward" (Ecc.3:21) to "return unto God who gave it" (Ecc.12:7). 4) the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah who had preceded them by hundreds of years, for in that world we shall know even as also we are known (1 Co.13:12). 5) Moses and Elijah spoke not of circumcision, nor of the Law, nor of a Jewish millennial reign on earth. They spoke of Christ's impending sacrificial death. Christ's death is the fulfilment of what circumcision foreshadowed: the cutting off of Christ for our sins (Isa.53:11 c/w Col.2:11). Christ's death fulfilled the Law, redeeming us from its curse (Gal.3:13) and He is by that death "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Rom.10:4). And, Christ's death by crucifixion is "unto the Jews a stumblingblock" (1 Co.1:23), and the means by which He already reigns as King upon David's throne (Acts 4:25-26 c/w Psa.2:1-6). His "kingdom is NOT OF this world" (Joh.18:36), Jewish fables to the contrary. Moses and Elijah spoke of Christ's passion, His suffering and death. Moses represents the Law (Joh.1:17); Elijah is representative of the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets have always declared this message, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luk.24:26-27). Paul's gospel concurred, for he said "none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer..." (Acts 26:22-23). The death of Christ was not the interruption of the hopes of Moses and the prophets, it was their hopeful message as they "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1 Pe.1:11). Because of His sufferings, because of His death (and resurrection!), He is now "crowned with glory and honour" (Heb.2:9). Moses and Elijah were here seen in glory. Moses had died bodily but not Elijah (2 Ki.2:11). Thus they beautifully represent the children of the resurrection. Many, like Moses, will have died to "depart, and to be with Christ" (Phil 1:23). On resurrection day, others, like Elijah, shall be "alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (1 Th.4:15). All shall together "meet the Lord in the air..." (1 Th.4:17). Peter, James and John had to in their day descend from that mount and the presence of the glorified Christ, but it shall not be so in Christ's day, for then "shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Th.4:17).