IN MY MIND the transfiguration on the mountain was the most beautiful scene to be witnessed by man on this earth. If it pleases God to enable me, I desire to write of some of the beauties I see in mediation upon the grand story. Jesus took Peter and John and James and went up into a mountain to pray. He chose the ones to go with him. He did not give a broad opportunity to the multitudes, disciples or apostles, with the invitation "whosoever will," but "took" a special three of his special twelve of the disciples. These three that He took with Him up into the mountain were the same three that He took with Him down into the garden of Gethsemane. Peter, John and James not only witnessed the most agonizing scene, when Jesus was agonizing in prayer and sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, but also witnessed the most beautiful scene of His transfiguration. The thought we get from this fact is that those who are destined to suffer the greatest afflictions and tribulations in the valley of distress are also blessed to experience the greatest joys and brilliancy in the mountain of gladness. Peter, John and James must have not been of the progressive type of Christians we have today, who seem to think Jesus needs help. Instead of helping Jesus pray they were "heavy with sleep" both in the garden of Gethsemane and also on the mountain of transfiguration. "As he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias."
The question that come to mind are, Who was Moses? and who was Elias? We find that the law was given to Moses by Jehovah. The law is referred to in the Bible as "the law of Moses" (Ezra 7:6; Neh. 8:1; Ezra 6:18). The ten commandments on tables of stone, together with ordinances, were given to Moses, who taught the law to the people. We find Moses connected with the law all along, therefore we conclude that Moses represented the law in that trio of talkers on the mountain.
Who was Elias? Elias was that great prophet who predicted the drouth to king Ahab (1 Kings 17:1). Elias hid at the brook Cherith and was miraculously fed by the ravens. He raised a widow's son and contested with Baal's prophets, by whom God manifested Himself as God. He later slew these prophets at Kishon (1 Kings 18). God so blessed him and honored him that Elias ascended into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). He was the most honored of the prophets, therefore we conclude that Elias represented prophecy in that trio of talkers on the mountain.
The third in that trio was Jesus Christ. They spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). In meditations, we hear Moses, representative of the law, giving the requirements of the law, that the law must be kept, and punishment for disobedience, will be completed and justice satisfied. Then we hear Jesus saying, Think not that I am come to destroy the law (Moses), or the prophets (Elias); I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Then Moses and Elias departed and Jesus was left alone. Then Moses and Elias departed and Jesus was left alone. Peter said, Let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias, not knowing what he said. In my experiences I have wanted to make three tabernacles, I have desired to live up to the law requirements of duty as we read in Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Thus erect a tabernacles to Moses. I have desired to fulfill prophecy, in accomplishing the warfare and obtaining pardon for my iniquities (Isaiah 40:2). Thus erect a tabernacle to Elias. And at the same time I have desired to pay homage to that Scripture which reads, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10). Thus erect a tabernacle to Jesus. In my experience there was a time when I verily thought the law, prophecy and grace were contrary. As Peter, I could not see how the three tabernacles could be constructed in one. While Peter was in a confused state of mind the God of heaven spoke thus from the cloud, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him." It was needless to build three tabernacles. The law of Moses and the prophecy of Elias were being fulfilled by Jesus Christ. This command from the clouds (I verily believe) removes the seeming contradiction of the Scriptures. The requirements of the law must be met, and Jesus was the only One who did it. Prophecy must be fulfilled, and Jesus was the only One who did it. Therefore, pay no more heed to the law and the prophets, for they were fulfilled by Jesus.
"Jesus was left alone." Yes, He was sufficient to tread the winepress alone. He did not need Moses and Elias any longer. His services pleased the God of heaven. It so pleased the Father that this command from the clouds means (to me), pay no more attention to the law and the prophets, for they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, therefore, "Hear ye Him." What do we hear Him saying? We hear Him saying, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." "I am the door, by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9). "No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). We are made to realize we are not saved according to our power or works, but according to the power of God, who hath saves us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). Therefore, the law system has disappeared as Moses disappeared. This law system was not destroyed, but fulfilled by Jesus Christ. If I am one who was chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law for me, and my account is so accredited. All the sins that I have committed, or will commit, were laid upon Jesus' shoulders and He bore them on the cross and paid the penalty by shedding His precious blood for me.
Brethren, my mind has traveled faster than I could write, and I know this is very imperfect and scattering, but may God be pleased to enable us by His grace to feast upon some of the beauties contained in the record of the transfiguration on the mountain.
"Tried in the Furnace" pgs 45 – 48
Signs of the Times, June 1983