The Transfiguration - A Glimpse of the Future

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The Transfiguration - A Glimpse of the Future

MP4 Video - 720p (97.78 MB)
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A Beyond Today viewer asks a question about the transfiguration.

Transcript

 

[Steve Myers] The transfiguration. We had a question come in about the transfiguration, and here's what the viewer asked, they said, "If the dead know nothing, and even King David is both dead and buried and in his grave still with us today, how it is that Elijah, Moses, and Christ met at this mountain for the transfiguration?"

Good question. In fact we can find that in the gospels. There's one version that's over in the gospel of Matthew chapter 17, right at the very beginning of that chapter. Let's notice what it actually says. It says, "After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, His brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves, and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became white as light." Now in this vision, Christ wasn't alone. It says, "And behold Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him" (Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:1-13 [1] And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. [3] And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] While he yet spoke, 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 you 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 the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. [10] And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? [11] And Jesus answered and said to them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. [12] But I say to you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done to him whatever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. [13] Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.
American King James Version×
; Mark 9:2-12 Mark 9:2-12 [2] And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and leads them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: 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. [4] And there appeared to them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. [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 you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [6] For he knew not what to say; for they were sore afraid. [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. [10] And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. [11] And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? [12] And he answered and told them, Elias truly comes first, and restores all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nothing.
American King James Version×
; Luke 9:28-36 Luke 9:28-36 [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. [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 spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. [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. [33] And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. [34] While he thus spoke, 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. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
American King James Version×
).

So this is what's called the transfiguration. They were transfigured into this glorious appearance. Now, what was this about? Was this actually Moses and Elijah that somehow were resurrected, and now that they were heavenly beings? Many people think that, but in actuality they were like David. They were dead and buried. Ecclesiastes tells us the dead know nothing. They are in their grave awaiting the resurrection. Yet, this seems like a contradiction, but it's not.

We read a little bit further down in verse 9 Christ says something interesting to the disciples. He says, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is risen from the dead" (Matthew 17:9 Matthew 17:9And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
American King James Version×
). So Christ makes it very clear this was not reality. This was a vision. In fact He says in a way it's a vision of the future of what will be because when we find out what it's going to be like in the future, in the future resurrection, we can look to 1 Corinthians chapter 15. And in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 it tells us very clearly that a Christian when they are resurrected, they are raised in glory. That's in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
American King James Version×
. And so this description of a glorious body, this vision, this kind of peek into the future for the disciples to see Christ in His glory, and to see Moses, and to see Elijah in their glory as they will be in the future, that seems to make sense then with the overall plan of God, that Moses and Elijah, they were buried.

In fact, it'd be silly to imagine them glorified and Christ was still a human being, God with us. That wouldn't make any sense. And so understand that this is a vision of the future Kingdom of God, and in fact this was something that was promised to them just a couple of verses before this. If you read the account in Luke, He even told them that some of them wouldn't die, they wouldn't perish, before they had a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. You can look that up in Luke 9:27 Luke 9:27But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
for yourself (Matthew 16:28 Matthew 16:28Truly I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
American King James Version×
; Mark 9:1 Mark 9:1And he said to them, Truly I say to 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.
American King James Version×
).

And so the Bible is consistent. The dead are buried, and they're awaiting the resurrection just like David, just like Moses, just like Elijah. But sometimes God gives us a little peek into the future.

That's BT Daily. We'll see you next time.