Harry Whittaker
Studies in the Gospels

105. Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36)*

A week was taken up with steady tramping southward to the Mount of Transfiguration, for an experience which would ever remain vivid in the memory of Peter, James and John. Luke, reckoning inclusively, says "eight days". It is not unlikely that in both instances the time is stated in a way that will suggest a symbolic meaning. Matthew and Mark-"after six days"-have their minds on the like experience of Moses: "And the cloud covered the mount Sinai six days, and the seventh day the Lord called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud" (Ex. 24:16). Luke's "eight days" suggests a fresh beginning. It is the number of the New Creation, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead.


In the fourth century Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, following the apocryphal Gospel to the Hebrews, claimed identification of the Mount of Transfiguration with Mount Tabor. This was accepted without question for many centuries. Yet it is known that there was a village at the summit of Tabor which Josephus fortified against the Romans during the Jewish War. This makes the identification very unlikely. Today the great favourite is Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi, though some, with an eye to the toilsome climb of over 9000 feet, are content with one of its lower shoulders.

It is a matter of no little surprise that Biblical, rather than geographical, considerations have not been taken more into account. Moses ended his great work seeing the Land of Promise from Mount Nebo, 4000 feet above the Dead Sea, and was buried there (Dt.34:1-5). A careful review of the details in 2 Kgs.2 (verses 5,8,11) reveals that Elijah was on the identical mountain when he ended his public ministry. Then, do not these facts provide strong presumptive evidence that it was to this mountain that Jesus now took his disciples? The distance from Caesarea Philippi is not a valid objection, for it is easy to get from any part of the Promised Land to any other point in it within six days.


Also, if-as certain details will be seen to suggest-the Transfiguration took place about the time of the Day of Atonement, there would be reason enough for a trek from the north towards Jerusalem.

The evidence for this item of chronology although indirect is not inconsiderable:

  1. Peter's "Let us build three tabernacles" makes sense from this point of view, for the Feast of Tabernacles, when the people of Israel actually camped out in booths for week, came only a few days after the Day of Atonement.
  2. Moses' experience of transfiguration (Ex 34-29-35) was the reflected glory of the angel who talked with him on Sinai. So also Stephen: "Behold I see t heavens opened, and the Son of standing on the right hand of God.” “And all that sat in the council . . . saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 7-56; 6:15). Then what Glory did Jesus reflect? Not that of Moses, one may be sure, but the Shekinah Glory of the Father which was manifest in approval of a true sacrifice on the Day of Atonement.
  3. It may be inferred that Peter interpreted the experience of Transfiguration this way "For he received from God the Father honour and glory when there came to such a voice..."(2Pet.l:17). The words are the exact equivalent of the description of the garments of the high priest “for golory and for beauty” (Ex.28:2 LXX).
  4. Next day at the foot of the mountain, there was the episode of the epileptic boy. “Why could not we cast him out?" the disciples asked. "This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting” Jesus replied. (This word "fasting” is omitted from Mk!9:29 by only two manuscripts. Modern versions ought not leave out.) The Day of Atonement was the only fast appointed by the Law of Moses, and on that day the people prayed in the sanctuary court whilst the high priest ministered within. Evidently Jesus saw the healing of the lad as symbolic of the healing of Israel's spiritual sickness by his own atoning sacrifice.
  5. The Greek word anaphero (Mt.l7:l; Mk.9:2) commonly referred to the offering of sacrifice (see concordance; so also in LXX, s.w. ls.53:12; Ex. 24:5). This chimes in perfectly with Day of Atonement ideas. But otherwise it is difficult to see why the word should have been used at all. The mere notion of a mountain climb would surely have been better expressed by anago, or anabaino.
  6. In this connection it is to be noted that Jesus ascended the mountain to pray, "and as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered" (Lk.) Here was the high priest ministering his own timeless sacrifice, and offering prayer for his people, as every high priest must do on the Day of Atonement.
There is fair probability that the transfiguration took place at night time: "And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the mountain . . ." (Lk.9:37). The prayers of Jesus seem to have I been more commonly at night (Lk.6:12; 21:37; 22:39;Mk.l4:23,24;Jn.l7).

Why only three?         f -

It is understandable that, after his great demonstration of loyalty, Peter should be chosen to share his Lord's unique experience. The inclusion of James and John also implies that they had now joined him in a settled conviction that Jesus was the Messiah. Their doubts were now set at rest. Luke's phrase: "Peter and those that were with him" carries more than a surface meaning. But Deuteronomy 17:6 takes on new meaning here: "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall he (Jesus!) that is worthy of death be put to death." Here were two talking about his decease, and before three others also! About fifteen years later James died, a victim of Herodian savagery (Acts.l2:2). But for another twenty years after that there remained two witnesses, today all three still bear witness in their writings.


There, as Jesus prayed, an amazing change came over his appearance: "He was transfigured before them." The word, used uniquely with regard to this event (2 Cor.3:18, Rom.l2:2), is a rather emphatic expression for "change". What happened is described in all three gospels: "the fashion of his countenance was altered ... his face did shine as the sun. . . his raiment became white and glistering... so as no fuller on earth can white them." Matthew's phrase: "white as the light" surely means "as the Light of the Shekinah Glory" (cp. ls.2:5; 10:17; 58:8; 60:1,19,20: Hab.3:4).

As already mentioned, this was the experience of Moses through his communion with the angel of the Lord when the Law was given to him (Ex.34:29). But here was no angel, nor any law of commandments. This glory was Christ's by right, from the Father. A psalm which describes the majesty of Jehovah has this: "Thou coverest thyself with light as with a garment" (Ps. 104:2). And so also now this was true of His Son. Luke's word: "glistering" really means "like lightning". It is a word used in the Old Testament not infrequently for the dazzling splendour of the Shekinah Glory (Ex. 19:16; Dt. 32:41; Ps. 18:14; Hob. 3:4). Indeed, so many words and phrases are used in this narrative which have special association with the Glory that this becomes the dominating idea behind the entire remarkable episode.

Further, time after time, the reader is being reminded of other familiar passages describing the Glory of Christ and his saints: "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Rev.l:16). "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Mt. 13:43). "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament" (Dan.12:3). "The living creatures. . . like burning coals of fire. . . like the appearance of lamps. . . as the appearance of a flash of lightning" (Ezek.l:13,14). "Then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col.3:4). "They shall walk with me in white" (Rev. 3:4). "To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen clean (i.e. gloriously bright) and white" (Rev.l9:8). Compare also: (2 Cor.3:7,8; 4:6).


These similarities provide a solution to what has been an obsessive problem with some regarding the Transfiguration. Was it just a vision? or were Moses and Elijah actually there, in person, bodily?

The use of the word "vision" by Jesus (Mt.l7:9) is not in itself decisive either way, though its New Testament usage certainly suggests something quite abnormal. The conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elijah was real enough. And Peter certainly thought the experience real, or he would hardly have proposed the erecting of tabernacles.

The best suggestion yet advanced regarding this is that in this transcending experience, time was annihilated; there was a transition to the kingdom itself. Jesus and his apostles were all taken, so to speak, through the time barrier-the kind of experience Paul apparently had also (2 Cor.12:2). Some of the phraseology is marvellously appropriate to such an interpretation: Moses and Elijah "appeared in glory"; the disciples "saw his glory"; his garments "white as no fuller on earth can white them" might well imply immortality; "we were eye-witnesses of his majesty", wrote Peter years later (2 Pet.1:16); "his face shone as the sun" is not accidentally like the Lord's own description of immortality: "then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Mt.l3:43;cp.Dan.12:3).

Again, it has to be considered that the majesty of Jesus in this transfiguration far surpassed his appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. Then must not this be so much greater than that? Also, since the phraseology in both Mark and Luke is precisely that used in Daniel 10:6 LXX to describe an angel of glory (at least this!) is not the transfigured Lord to be seen as at least the physical equal of such a glorious being?

So far as one can judge, there is only one short phrase which does not harmonize perfectly with the suggestion just illustrated, and that may well be a parenthetic comment by Luke himself: "They spake of his decease - (which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem)".

Moses and Elijah

Matthew introduces his description of the appearance of Moses and Elijah with his characteristic note of surprise: "Behold!" But so startling was the entire transaction that he is impelled to use it twice more, regarding the cloud and the heavenly voice.

The adversaries of Jesus, sarcastically demanding a sign from heaven (Mt. 16:1), had been denied it. But now such a sign as would have left those men awestruck for life was granted to three loyal disciples.

A week before. Peter had strongly reprobated the idea of a decease at Jerusalem (Mt. 16:22), but now he heard Moses and Elijah speak of it with understanding and thankfulness. The same word comes in Heb.ll:22 and 2 Pet. l:15-"the exodos which he should fulfil." So that exodus in the days of Moses was a prophecy!

The close parallel between certain of the experiences of Moses and Elijah deserves to be noted. All that is now listed here about Moses had its counterpart in the life of Elijah: He attempted to free his people from bondage, failed, and fled to the wilderness where, hidden in a cave, he beheld a mighty theophany in mount Horeb; this happened at the bush also; provided with food and water in the wilderness, he went in the strength of it forty days and nights in the divine presence at Sinai, whilst Israel gave themselves over to calf-worship; judging his work a complete failure, he asked that he might die; but the Name of Jehovah, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, was proclaimed to him, and assurance of an unfailing divine purpose; he was promised a successor with the name "Saviour", and ended his own labours in the presence of the Glory of God on Mount Nebo.

Moses and Elijah also share the Old Testament's last great prophecy of the Second Coming (Malachi 4). Then could there be anything more fitting than their appearance together with Christ in the Transfiguration?

Peter tells of ancient prophets to whom "it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us (the later believers) they did minister" the message about "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1 Pet. 1:11,12). And Paul, looking yet further ahead, writes of "the glory that shall be revealed in us." These things now became realities for Moses and Elijah.

"They spoke with Jesus of his exodus (Ex.3:10,ll: 2 Pet.l:15) which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." They would, of course, talk in Hebrew, and although the apostles may have had only an imperfect knowledge of that now disused language of their fathers, they would be able to pick up enough of the gist of the conversation to infer the character of those with whom their Master was so glad to talk. Not since the days when he and John the Baptist were working together had Jesus been able to enjoy the satisfaction of good talk with men near to his own spiritual level.

Moses, naturally, would speak of his own rejection by Israel, how he "suffered the reproach of Christ", yet in due time returned to bring deliverance (an exodus foreshadowing that which was soon to be accomplished in Jerusalem). He would speak of his own need to die before entering the Promised Land, and with what intensity he had exhorted and encouraged another Jesus-Joshua upon whom the God of Israel had laid the burden of consummating the Promises of inheritance.

And Elijah, with so many experiences to look back on, would recall how he had to steel himself to maintain the truth of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the face of concerted opposition from all the organized religion of his day. He would tell of the collapse of all his great hopes of national reformation, and of discouragement almost to the point of disaster. He would bring to mind the might and majesty of the heavenly splendour seen at Sinai, "the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof", assuring him that God had not abandoned his wayward people. And he would surely speak of the final fruitful years-the patient ministry of the still small voice by which faith was nurtured in the faithful remnant, a mere seven thousand.

How Jesus would gain encouragement and fresh resolution and strength from these men who were alike his teachers and examples, and also his servants!

The disciples asleep

One of the strangest mysteries about the Transfiguration is that "Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep" (Lk). Is it not to be expected that in such extraordinary circumstances through sheer excitement they would have no difficulty in keeping awake? The next phrase might even imply that they did fall asleep. The Greek is rather problematical. It is difficult to be sure just what was intended. The RV margin has: "having kept awake", however the NEB is very different: "Meanwhile Peter and his companions had been in a deep sleep; but when they awoke, they saw his glory ..."

Here, where shades of meaning of a Greek verb are in some doubt, interpretation by other Biblical examples is the safest thing. Daniel's encounter with the angel Gabriel had the like effect on him (Dan.8:18, and again in 10:9). Ezekiel's vision of the Cherubim of Glory affected him similarly(Ez. 1:28 and 2:1,2). Zechariah's experience was the same (4:1). And so also Abraham's when God made the Covenant with him (Gen.15:2), Paul's on the road to Damascus (Acts.9:3,4), the apostle John's in Patmos (Rev.l:17), and even Balaam's (Num.24:4).

The consistency of these experiences is remarkable. They are bound together by an extraordinary passage in Moses' instructions for the Day of Atonement. The high priest was not to venture into the Holy of Holies except with both hands full of incense to burn in his censer. In other words, he was to appear in the divine Presence wrapped, so to speak, in a cloud of incense, "that he die not" (Lev.l6:12,13).

Presumably it was because of faith and godliness that those just listed died only a symbolic death and were awakened to appreciate the majesty of what they saw.

Three Tabernacles?

And now Peter, James and John joined the great company of these privileged men: "when they awoke, they saw his glory." They not only saw, they listened to what was being said, until at last Jesus drew their attention to the fact that Moses and Elijah were now about to take their leave. (Lk).

Forthwith, "Peter answered and said. Rabbi, 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" (Mk.) This, Luke adds, "not knowing what he said." There is more behind these words than a half excuse for Peter, blurting out the first thing that came into his head.

It was a splendid idea, truly, that they should camp out there on the mountain top, and spend the whole week of the approaching Feast of Tabernacles in godly fellowship. Such an encounter was too good to let go after a matter of minutes. Somehow they must keep Moses and Elijah there.

But how Peter put his foot in it!; "One for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias", as though they were three equals! No! not even that! for, thoughtlessly, he addressed Jesus as "Rabbi", giving him the status of a mere disciple and commentator on the Law and the Prophets." "Not knowing what he said!" Mark's apology for his mentor is: "for they were sore afraid."

But if only Peter's improvisation had been adopted, what an experience it would have been for them! It is to be observed that Peter did not suggest six tabernacles, so doubtless he had it in mind that as Joshua had been Moses' minister, and Elisha had poured water in the hands of Elijah, so now three disciples would gladly minister to three men of God. 'James and John can look after Moses and Elijah, and I will see to the needs of Jesus!'

The Glory

Peter got no answer to his excited proposition, for "while he yet spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them." This was, of course, the luminous cloud of the Shekinah Glory which had ratified God's Covenant with Abraham, and led Israel to safety out of Egypt, protecting them from the final spiteful effort of Pharaoh (Ex.U:20). It was this cloud which had rested over the tabernacle in the wilderness, and had filled Solomon's temple at the time of its dedication.

At first, in the transfiguration Moses and Elijah had appeared to be clothed with this cloud-"they appeared in glory". Then, as Jesus talked with them, it centred itself on him. Next, as Peter was speaking, Moses and Elijah were going away and the cloud moved to enshroud the disciples along with Jesus (Lk). The experience almost paralysed them with fear. Nevertheless they actually moved towards the cloud as it moved towards them (Lk); this, perhaps, because they feared lest their Master should disappear along with Moses and Elijah. It is not difficult to imagine how Peter's tremendous anxiety that he might lose his Lord proved more powerful than the awesome proximity of this Glory of God.

The symbolic meaning of all this would be evident enough in days to come. They had seen the transfer of the heavenly Glory, with all the authority it could impart, from the Law and the Prophets to Jesus and themselves-the Christ and his Apostles.

The Voice

The final ratification of this awe-inspiring experience came in a Voice (Jn. 12:28) out of the cloud: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him." At Sinai there had been a Voice out of the cloud, accompanied by thunder, lightning, and the great sound of a trumpet. Now it was just a Voice, and Jesus at their side.

This was all-sufficient.

The declaration concerning Jesus, first made at his baptism, and at that time heard only by himself, was such as could be made now only to men who had settled their doubts and were fully committed to following him through thick and thin. It is not God's way to bulldoze obstacles to faith by theophanies of this kind.

It is profitable to analyse the phrases and their origin. There is Psalm 2:7; "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." And Isaiah 42:1: "mine elect in whom my soul delighteth." And Moses' prophecy of a Prophet like unto himself: "unto him ye shall hearken" (Dt.l8:15; Heb.V.1,2). Thus the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Law were all combined in this heavenly witness to Jesus. And, in addition, there is "the Beloved". Here the Father was repeating what He had said to Abraham when bidding him offer up Isaac: "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest" (Gen.22:l). The word in the LXX is precisely the same. This allusion to the great type of sacrifice in Genesis harmonizes well with the words: "in whom my soul delighteth", for this key word is one which is commonly associated in the Old Testament with God's acceptance of a pleasing sacrifice.

What wonderful encouragement there was for Jesus in this experience! What strength he would gather as his soul was knit to Moses and to Elijah whilst these men of God talked of their failures and successes. And the heavenly Voice, addressing itself primarily to the disciples, simultaneously reassured him of his status as "the prophet like unto Moses". It told him in the words of Psalm 2 of the ultimate triumph of his Messianic work. But it bade him also brace himself to endure suffering as a well pleasing sacrifice for the sin of his people.

The disciples, on their part, would learn that their Teacher, whose word at times had sorely tested their loyalty, had all the authority of Moses, and more, for had not the Cloud of the Glory passed from Law and Prophets to him?-and also, marvel of marvels, to themselves alsol Thus they were being prepared as Apostles of the Lamb, for an authority and mission which would surpass the work of Moses.

In a rather subtle way, the words: "Hear ye him", confirmed this. In their Greek Bible those words from Dt.18:15 implied: "Let each man hear for his own benefit". But now, with a slight change, the implication became: "You disciples must hear him for the benefit of others."

The words of David's great psalm settled their minds once and for all that their Jesus truly was "the Christ, the Son of the living God." And the intimations of his role as a sacrifice for sin reinforced, even if they did not explain, the ominous instruction Jesus had himself lately given them (Mt. 16:21).

Of all the overpowering experiences that had come to these three disciples in such a short time, none was more terrifying than hearing the Voice out of the Cloud. "When the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid" (Mt.) This is now the third time that the narrative has emphasized their great fear. Afraid at the sight of Moses and Elijah! Afraid as they entered the cloud of Glory! Afraid of the Voice!

In all these respects they were repeating the experience of Israel in the wilderness. And their reaction was the same: "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die" (Ex.20:19).

And so it came about. All at once they were aware that Moses and Elijah were gone. There was only Jesus, laying a firm hand on them (Dan 8:15; 9:21; 10:10,18), with bright beams coming out of his hand (Hab.3:4), and speaking his reassurance: "Be not afraid" (Rev.l:16-18). The authority of Law and Prophets was superseded; now their only function-always their greatest glory—was to bear witness in the memory and thinking of the disciples to the greatness of Christ.

Apostolic Reminiscences

Even though for the time being it had to remain locked up in their minds, that encounter in the Mount of Transfiguration burnt itself ineffaceably into the memories of the three apostles. Writing years later-in some instances, many years later-all three of them made allusion to it.

Peter's recapitulation of the event (2 Pet.1:16-18) is well-known to all Bible readers. Writing shortly before "putting off his tabernacle", he made the recollection of it one of the main grounds for Christian confidence in times of discouragement. These things which we believe are no "cunningly devised fables" like the Talmud or the Delphic oracles. "The power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" is certain, for we apostles have already seen it: "we were eye-witnesses of his majesty". This word "majesty" has only one occurrence in the Old Testament: "the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High" (Dan.7:27).

But Peter's phrase: "honour and glory" (= "for glory and for beauty"; Ex.28:2), describes a high-priest. So here is the apostle's recognition of a King-Priest. His authority for this-the transfiguration.

The First Epistle of Peter also has a probable allusion in the words: "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (5:1; note v.l), there being here an implied contrast between i the fading glory on the face of Moses when he came down from mount Sinai and the abiding glory of Christ vouched for by the foretaste of the kingdom which the transfiguration provided.

There are much better reasons than are usually recognized for believing the James who wrote the epistle to be the son of Zebedee. If, for the moment, this is assumed, then the reference to Jesus as "the Lord of Glory" (2:1) adds yet another to the long list of allusions which this epistle makes to the ministry of Jesus.

The suggestion is often made that the apostle John was alluding to the transfiguration when he wrote: "The Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn.1-.14). The words certainly take on a greater vigour when read against the background of that amazing experience.

Other words which may well be looking back to the same occasion are these: "We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 Jn.3:2).

Most impressive of all is the symbolic description of the glorious Priest-King in Revelation 1: "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." This is precisely the description given by Matthew. "His head and his hairs were white like wool" is probably the Bible's way of describing a halo of radiant splendour. Other details in the description are also appropriate but more obviously symbolic.

Assuredly the transfiguration provided an experience these three men never forgot. One is left wondering how they achieved the self-control which kept the exciting story to themselves for the next six months!


On the easier stretches of the descent from the mountain there was much to talk about. Very solemnly Jesus laid it on the three apostles that they must not talk to anyone about what they had experienced. "Until the Son of man be risen from the dead", this prohibition was to be binding on them (cp. 2 Kgs. 2:3,5,15).

However, it may surely be inferred that Jesus did not forbid them to tell their fellow-apostles. From this time on, the twelve reveal an eager confidence in the coming of the kingdom. Something is needed to explain such a marked change of attitude. (Note Mt.18:l, almost immediately afterwards.)

The Lord's ban on public witness concerning the transfiguration puzzled the apostles not a little. They had just seen Moses and Elijah. Then did not this mean that the resurrection had already taken place? So "the Son of man rising from the dead" must surely be one of their Lord's enigmatic figurative expressions such as they had often heard from his lips.

Then, too, all Israel knew that the prophets foretold the advent of Elijah to prepare the people for Messiah's manifestation. They had just seen Elijah. So assuredly the great day of the Lord was not far away. Then why keep silence about it? Ought not all the nation to be told, and so be made the more ready to accept Jesus as its king?

Elijah as forerunner

They put their problem to Jesus: "Why do the scribes say that Elias must first come?" The adversaries of Jesus were making capital out of this just now. Quoting Malachi 4, they were able to assert: 'No Elijah, no Messiah! This Jesus is not Messiah, because no Elijah prophet has appeared yet. John himself said he was not Elijah. He told us so (Jn.1:21). And certainly he did not bring about the national repentance Malachi foretold. So the claims of Jesus of Nazareth must be false.'

In reply, Jesus spelled out the facts in simple fashion. Yes, there is a prophecy of an Elijah forerunner. But there are also prophecies of a suffering Messiah: "How is it written of the Son of Man that he must suffer many things?" How, indeed! The scribes could point to three brief Scriptures about Messiah's forerunner (Mal.4:5,6; 3:1; ls.40:3); but what of the copious foreshadowings of Messiah's sufferings?

Jesus went on: John emphatically was an Elijah prophet, but the leaders of the nation (and therefore the nation itself) would not acknowledge him: "they have done unto him whatsoever they listed"-the words surely imply that the Jewish leaders had in some way given encouragement to Herod's beheading of Job (cp. Mk.8:15; Lk.13:32). And if the forerunner were rejected, how much more emphatically would they refuse the Son of man himself! Tb the argument of the scribes turned bad at themselves. Properly assessed, it real) provided a further demonstration that Jesus w» the Messiah.

This explained, the disciples recognized how these 'Elijah' Scriptures could have reference!! John the Baptist, and perhaps their minds began to grope dimly towards a like experience for their own Leader.

At the same time Jesus had carefully chosen future tense when commenting on the Malachi prophecy: "he shall restore all things" (Mt: Gk. text). Yet John was already put to death by Herod. So the words require a further fulfilment in the future-another manifestation oil prophet like Elijah among the people of Israel before Christ returns as their King.

Notes: Mt. 17:1-13

Six days; cp. Luke's "eight days". Mt. 27:63,64 is an example of inclusive and exclusive reckoning side by side. Gen.2:2 and Ex.24:16 (9,13,15,17,18) are also relevant.
Transfigured. The Greek aorists in Mt. Lk. seem to suggest an instantaneous transformation; cp. 1 Cor.l5:52,

White as the light. This surely implies that then (and habitually) Jesus wore white garments.

Moses and Elijah raised! But the only people the disciples had seen raised from the dead were those raised by Jesus! Then these also?
Talking with him. In all three gospels the verbs imply a sustained conversation.
Then answered Peter must surely mean that he answered Jesus, who presumably had said to them: "Why are you fearful (Mk.9:6) of what you see and hear?"

It is good for us. . . might also be an indirect 'Thanks, Lord, for giving us this opportunity' (Acts. 10:33; Phil 4:14)

Three tabernacles. The apostles would not need to descend the mountain very far to find brushwood and branches suitable for this purpose.
Jesus only. Luke's word 'departed from him' is the same as Gen. 1:4 LXX- dividing the Light from the darkness.
Tell the vision. Mark's word means 'to tell openly or in full'.

The Son of man. A specific allusion to Dan. 7:13 when Messiah is to be transfigured again in the presence of his Father.
Restore all things. The verb is definitely future. With John already dead, another fulfilment is therefore called for. Since Jesus used the very word 'restore' which Mal.4:4 LXX has, the phrase 'all things' must be taken as an abbreviation of the rest of that passage: "the heart of father to son, and the heart of a man to his fellow".

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