Lesson 29 of the Discipleship Making process.
I left you last time with this question, “Do you have a desire to know the future?”
Upon ending the discourse of His impending death and the rise of the church Jesus left the disciples with a mysterious but hopeful statement, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” At that point the disciples had no idea what Jesus meant by the statement but within a few days three of them would experience it first-hand.
It happened when Jesus asked Peter, James and John to accompany Him on a trek up the high mountain (Mt Hermon) to pray. We know that this event occurred early in the Jewish month of Tishri, which is the 7th month on God’s calendar (September/October). After the steep arduous ascent the disciples were weary and fell asleep. As the disciples slept Jesus prayed and while praying His appearance changed. His face shined like the sun and His clothing became white as light. The kingdom of God had appeared with power and glory.
Read: Matthew 17:1-3, Mark 9:1-4, Luke 9:28-32
We must remember that what the disciples saw was a vision . . . not the real thing. The vision was a portrayal of future events, much as was the vision given to the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos many years later. And without that revelation we would be limited in our understanding just as the disciples were. What transpired on the Mt of Transfiguration gives us many clues about the future.
When the disciples awoke from their sleep, they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. From this we can make several observations:
- Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses of the book of Revelation (Revelation 11:3).
- Moses and Elijah are “the two olive trees and two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth,” Revelation 11:4 (ex. Zechariah 4:2-4).
- On the Mt of Transfiguration we see Moses, representing the Law and Elijah, representing the Prophets speaking with Jesus, the Word of God. Both Moses the Law and Elijah the Prophets testify of Jesus the Word of God.
- As witnesses of Jesus, Moses and Elijah also represent the following:
- Moses: The Father – Elijah: The Holy Spirit
- Moses: Truth – Elijah: Spirit
- Moses: Domestic Olive Tree – Elijah: Wild Olive Tree
- Moses: Israel, who was given the Law – Elijah: Church, who was given the Spirit
- Moses: Those who have died – Elijah: Those who are living
Jesus had told the disciples that some of them would not die until they had seen the kingdom of God, after it had come in power (describing the future millennial reign of Christ on the earth). In the vision both Moses and Elijah appeared in their glorified state and the apostles knew their identities. This indicates that the time of the vision is after the two witnesses of the book of Revelation are killed and resurrected from the dead (Revelation 11:7, 1 Corinthians 15:49-54).
The book of Revelation also supports the time of the vision because the next major event to occur after the witnesses’ death and resurrection is the sounding of the seventh and last trump (Revelation 10:7). With the blowing of the trumpet loud voices in heaven declare, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever,” Revelation 11:15. This is the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ on earth or “the kingdom of God after it has come in power.”
The point of the lesson is God does not want you to be in darkness when it comes to the future (2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6).
In part 2 of this lesson, we will see the conclusion of the vision, and learn when Jesus’ millennial reign will take place, in addition to what that time will mean for each one of Jesus’ followers today and on into the future.
Until next time . . . Godspeed!