Dear One Year New Testament Blog readers:
Tim Steiner of Isle La Motte, a dear brother and one of the original "Jesus People" of the Bethel Commune in downtown Burlington in the early 1970's, has submitted this commentary on the Transfiguration. Insightful and well worth the effort to read....and by the way, all readers are welcome to contribute your thoughts. I would like this blog to be a forum of edification for all OYNTB readers and writers.
The Transfiguration always sneaks up on me in that each time I consider it, new shafts of light emerge.
On obeying the Word, one day I was considering how to validate charismatic words that entered my prayer life, when it came to me how sure I could be of words that were the Word itself. I can always count on "Abide in Me" being a sure word for all circumstances, for instance.
Some facts that always leap at me from the Transfiguration. Your thoughts made me think more of the Father in the scene. He Who cannot be seen speaks directly to men from within a visible manifesation of himself. It has only happened a few times. Then the Son Who is the Center of the whole event. He has taken the three disciples apart from the rest of the world, up on to a mountain, a place where the normal traffic of "path of least resistance" folk--the great majority--never bother to go. Of course, having all power and knowing all things, it is not at though any human might wander into this scene casually anyway.
Then, there are not three humans with the Son of God Incarnate, but there are five...as Moses and Elijah are providentially invited. The last time we saw Moses was when he departed to the top of the mountain to die. There, we are told God buried him so that he could not be found after the devil contended to take his body. But, now he is here, alive and having this once-in-all-eternity-foreordained-forever discussion with the Lord about the upcoming crucifixion. God is "not the God of the dead but of the living." Moses is quite alive, sentient, reasoning and discussing. Elijah is also ordained to this meeting. He is one of but two men of whom the Scriptures declare that he was taken to Heaven without death. Moses, on the other hand, unless he has been granted a dispensation we do not know of, has not come down from Heaven with the bodily Elijah, but has come up from Hades as a soul just as Samuel came up to speak to Saul...the only allowed necromancy in all of Scripture, at God's will, as the poor medium was freaked completely by something her imitating demons had never provided...the real thing. Yet, Moses has clearly been in communion with God in the Paradise of Hades, and is "in on" the discussion of the impending crucifixion. The disciples don't seem to notice or report any difference between Moses and Elijah as to their states of being...only being privy to the fact that the Lord and the two of them were discussing upcoming events.
Three quaking mortals, one with the "presence of mind" to try to contribute insight to which God the Father corrects with the right understanding of the scene: "This is my Son (be still!) and listen to him." One mortal who has died but is quite alive. One mortal who has not died (and may or may not need to in the future), but who has been in Heaven, soaked in glory, and in the Presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and all the holy angels whilst still, apparently, flesh and blood--though the blood may be permanently altered to the substance called "glory;" we just don't know the fullness of his estate.
By the way, at that point, only he and Enoch are the only naturally born men to occupy Heaven as the rest of the saints remain in the Paradise chambers of Hades. Why is Enoch not also there? "Bye and Bye," we shall have answers to that. BUT WHAT A SCENE!
Best part is...it is likely we shall all behold the scene in the Eternal Present as part of that "great cloud of witnesses." Maybe, then, we will see that we were all there, too, maybe comprising the glory cloud that hides the Father. Whew!