“Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance, for we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made know unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
Peter admonishes the brethren that, even though he is about to ‘lay aside this tabernacle’ the doctrine, order and the promises do not depart with him. They remain because they are eternal in the Godhead and are always to be called into remembrance, lest we become weary and faint. The ‘these things’ that he speaks of are based not upon the elaborate legends, lour and fables which were very prominent in the Roman empire at that time and were not reliant upon the telling for them to continue. They were based on the Word of God, as conveyed by the Holy Spirit unto Holy men who wrote them down and were the proven facts of actual events that were witnessed by many. Peter calls into remembrance the event when he, James and John were called to go up into the mount to be eyewitnesses of the honour and glory which God gave to His Son when a voice came from that excellent glory saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. This event is recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9 which is intriguing to us since none of these three were present at the even and those present did not write about it. But three men stood on the mount and three different men attested to the validity of the event as directed by the Holy Spirit of God.
When Peter, John and James went into the mount they first saw the metamorphosis of the appearance of Jesus to another. He did not just begin to glow and sparkle, ‘the appearance of His face changed to another’ and His garments became white as snow and glistened like the sun. This is the same revelation which John had on the Island of Patmos when he saw one whose garments were golden and His hair was white as wool and white as snow (Rev. 1:14). But how did these three Galileans fisherman know that the other two were Moses and Elijah? There were no pictures of them and the artists had not created religious icons of them so the only way that they could possibly know who these were was by revelation. God revealed it unto them just as He revealed unto Peter, “Thou are the Christ the Son of the living God”. And why Moses and Elijah? Because Moses represents the law and Elijah the prophets? That sounds good but Moses told the children of Israel, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, LIKE UNTO ME, unto Him ye shall hearken” (Deut. 18:15). So both of these men represented the prophets.
Moses was given a promise from God and the Word of God to proclaim. He gave a time reference of an event and the culmination of all things, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put My words in His mouth and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.” Thus Jesus said, “I came not to do My will but the will of Him who sent Me” and again he said, “The words which I speak are not my own but as the Father has given to me so speak I”.
Elijah was indeed a strong prophet of God and his return signified the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord, “Behold I will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5f). Since John the Baptist was this voice crying in the wilderness saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” it could only mean that the great and dreadful day had come.
They spoke with Jesus concerning His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). They did not finally reveal to Him why He was on the earth as some might say or had they come to give Him encouragement for the upcoming trials, they came to speak of the manifestation of the works that was finished from before the foundation of the world and that is why Christ appeared in His transformed risen appearance not after the similitude of His earthen tabernacle.
But note that as this was transpiring, lest any one should boast in the flesh or glory in His sight, God placed a heavy burden of sleep upon the three spectators and withheld the full description of what happened. They were granted to see Him triumphant but were not given to see the details. Then when they awoke, Peter proclaims that it was good for them to be there, though they slept through the event, and that three tabernacles, or altars, should be built commemorating this time.
“While he thus spoke, there came a cloud and overshadowed them” (Lk. 9:34). Why a cloud? Was it mist from the warm air coming up the mountain side or had a storm front moved in? No! This was the ‘shekinah’ glory of God. The same glory that led the children of Israel out of Egypt by day (Ex. 13:21), the same cloud that led them through the wilderness and sustained them (Ex. 16:10),the same cloud that lighted upon Mount Sinai and made it quake (Ex. 19:16) , the same cloud that descended upon the completed Tabernacle of the Congregation (Ex. 40:34) and the Temple of the Living God (I Kings 8:10) and the same cloud that clothed the Mighty Angel of the Lord (Rev. 10:1) Jesus Christ. The testimony out of that cloud from beginning till the end is “I am God” and here upon the holy mount He said, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him”. No longer would God go through the prophets of old for all things written had been fulfilled and now He spoke by His Son (Heb. 1:1) and it is a more sure word of prophesy because it is finished. We have heard Almighty God call those things which were not as though they had already been. We have seen His mighty hand in causing all these things to come to pass, we know that it is not left unto man to interpret the prophesy for God has given the proof of the holy writ and we know that all was fulfilled by Him whose name is faithful and true,
“Beloved I now write unto you in which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (II Pt. 3:1).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
November 28, 2010