This study was taught by Pastor Barry Forder at our family service on 29th July 2018.
It this study we see Jesus transfigured on the top of Mt Hermon (in Northern Israel).
This was unlike any experience any human had known up to this time. The Glory that Jesus had spoken to His disciples of only a week before was now unveiled before their eyes. This was the Son of Man, the Alpha & Omega that John would one day see again on the isle of Patmos (See Rev ch 1), removed from the physical restraints of His human body. Peter, James and John saw Jesus literally transformed from the inside out as the physical gave way to the spiritual. It was almost as if the physical body of Jesus could no longer contain the supernatural Deity it did. Jesus had been perfectly obedient to His Father and ‘turned His innocence to obedience by a series of moral choices’ (Oswald Chambers). He had become what God always intended man to become. The disciples were overwhelmed and lost for words – although Peter, as usual, threw some in anyway!
Jesus could have returned to His Father from that moment, but he chose to come down the mountain, to the demon-possed in the valley below. He came back done for us!
Oswald Chambers comments: “If Jesus had gone to heaven from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone; He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the Mount to identify Himself with fallen humanity.
“We have no corresponding experience to the events in Our Lord’s life after the Transfiguration. From then onwards Our Lord’s life was altogether vicarious (i.e every moment, every step, lived out for you and me). Up to the time of the Transfiguration He had exhibited the normal perfect life of a man; from the Transfiguration onwards — Gethsemane, the Cross, the Resurrection — everything is unfamiliar to us. His Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His Resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to any man, and by His Ascension Our Lord enters heaven and keeps the door open for humanity.
On the Mount of Ascension the Transfiguration is completed.
The Ascension is the consummation of the Transfiguration. Our Lord does now go back into His primal glory; but He does not go back simply as Son of God; He goes back to God as Son of Man as well as Son of God. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God by the Ascension of the Son of Man. As Son of Man Jesus Christ deliberately limited omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience in Himself. Now they are His in absolute full power. As Son of Man Jesus Christ has all power at the throne of God. He is King of kings and Lord of lords from the day of His Ascension until now”.
Suddenly before them, two invited guests arrived: Moses & Elijah. Of all the great saints in Heaven, these two were called for. How much must Daniel or David, Noah or Isaiah have desired this opportunity to meet with the Messiah – the One they had all longed for! Yet Moses and Elijah were the two chosen, and we know from Matthew’s account that they were called specifically to discuss the crucifixion and resurrection. Why? What was it they talked about?
A clue may be in their rolls! Both Moses and Elijah were great ambassadors of God’s revelation to man. Moses was representative of the Law, and Elijah of the Prophets. These are the two witnesses that God as given to mankind that we might believe. The Law convinces of sin, and prophecy convinces the intellect on man to the truth of Scripture.
On the morning of the resurrection Luke records: “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:4-5)
Luke specifically uses the word ‘aner’ which means ‘man’ (and not angel). Although Luke wasn’t there at the tomb himself, he labours the point that he thoroughly checked out all the details he recorded in his Gospel (see Luke 1:1-4), and as a physician, he would know the difference between a man and an angel!
Could it be that these two men, clothed in shining garments, were the same two men that had spoken to Jesus only a short while before about His death? Could it be that the purpose for that conversation was to ensure that there were two witnesses present to witness the resurrection? These two men in white apparel had witnessed the resurrection itself and they give testimony of the resurrection to the women who arrive at the tomb! Who were these two witnesses?
It would seem very likely that it was Moses an Elijah! – we see them again at the ascension (Acts 1:10) and again in Revelation chapter 11 – on each occasion bearing witness to the world!
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.
The Powerpoint slides used in these study are available for free download