Lesson 24 | Sabbath, 15 June 2019
“Jesus told His disciples that there were some standing with Him who should not taste of death till they should see the kingdom of God come with power. At the transfiguration this promise was fulfilled. The fashion of Jesus’ countenance was changed, and shone like the sun. His raiment was white and glistening.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 207; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 43.
“The Saviour’s promise to the disciples was now fulfilled. Upon the mount the future kingdom of glory was represented in miniature–Christ the King, Moses a representative of the risen saints, and Elijah of the translated ones.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 421.
1. What startling announcement about the heavenly kingdom did Jesus make to His disciples one day?
Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
“Previous to His transfiguration, Jesus had told His disciples that there were some then with Him who should not see death until they should see the kingdom of God come with power. In the transfiguration on the mount, this promise was fulfilled, for they there saw the kingdom of Christ in miniature.” –Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, pp. 336, 337.
Transfiguration and glory
2. Was He speaking of His coming at the time of the end or of a manifestation that would take place during the time of the disciples? What happened about a week later when He went up into a mountain to pray?
Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
“At the transfiguration this promise was fulfilled. The countenance of Jesus was there changed and shone like the sun. His raiment was white and glistening. Moses was present to represent those who will be raised from the dead at the second appearing of Jesus. And Elijah, who was translated without seeing death, represented those who will be changed to immortality at Christ’s second coming and will be translated to heaven without seeing death. The disciples beheld with astonishment and fear the excellent majesty of Jesus and the cloud that overshadowed them, and heard the voice of God in terrible majesty, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son; hear Him.’” –Early Writings, p. 164.
“In these glorified ones, the disciples saw in miniature a representation of the kingdom of the redeemed.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 227.
3. What happened when Jesus was transfigured? How is He described in another glorious appearance?
Luke 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
Mark 9:3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
Matthew 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
“Now the burden of His prayer is that they may be given a manifestation of the glory He had with the Father before the world was, that His kingdom may be revealed to human eyes, and that His disciples may be strengthened to behold it. He pleads that they may witness a manifestation of His divinity that will comfort them in the hour of His supreme agony with the knowledge that He is of a surety the Son of God and that His shameful death is a part of the plan of redemption.
“His prayer is heard. While He is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Saviour’s form. Divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above. Arising from His prostrate position, Christ stands in godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines ‘as the sun,’ and His garments are ‘white as the light.’ Matthew 17:2.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 346.
4. In that extraordinary scene, who appeared in glory and talked with the Saviour?
Matthew 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Luke 9:31, 32 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
They beheld Jesus clothed with the light of heaven; they heard the ‘voice out of the cloud’ (Luke 9:35), acknowledging Him as the Son of God; they saw Moses, representing those who will be raised from the dead at the time of the second advent; and there also stood Elijah, representing those who at the close of earth’s history will be changed from mortal to immortal and be translated to heaven without seeing death.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 227.
“Jesus was clothed with the glory of Heaven, and proclaimed by the Father’s voice to be the Son of God. Moses was present, representing those who will be raised from the dead at the second coming of Christ; and Elijah, who was translated to heaven without seeing death, represented those who will be living on earth at the time of Christ’s second appearing, and who will be changed from mortal to immortal, and be translated to heaven without seeing death.” –Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, pp. 336, 337.
5. What other extraordinary manifestation occurred as He was speaking with Moses and Elijah? What effect did this have on the disciples?
Matthew 17:5, 6 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
Luke 9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
“While they were still gazing on the scene upon the mount, ‘a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.’ As they beheld the cloud of glory, brighter than that which went before the tribes of Israel in the wilderness; as they heard the voice of God speak in awful majesty that caused the mountain to tremble, the disciples fell smitten to the earth. They remained prostrate, their faces hidden, till Jesus came near, and touched them, dispelling their fears with His well-known voice, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’ Matthew 17:5, 7. Venturing to lift up their eyes, they saw that the heavenly glory had passed away, the forms of Moses and Elijah had disappeared. They were upon the mount, alone with Jesus.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 425.
Faith in the coming kingdom
6. After this wonderful event, what did Jesus instruct the three disciples? Why was this event not to be related to anyone until after His resurrection?
Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
“At the foot of the mountain a large company had gathered, led hither by the disciples who had remained behind, but who knew whither Jesus had resorted. As the Saviour drew near, He charged His three companions to keep silence concerning what they had witnessed, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.’ Matthew 7:9. The revelation made to the disciples was to be pondered in their own hearts, not to be published abroad. To relate it to the multitudes would excite only ridicule or idle wonder. And even the nine apostles would not understand the scene until after Christ had risen from the dead. How slow of comprehension even the three favored disciples were, is seen in the fact that notwithstanding all that Christ had said of what was before Him, they queried among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. Yet they asked no explanation from Jesus.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 426, 427.
7. Knowing about the transfiguration, what can we expect in the near future?
Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
“‘Hereafter,’ said Jesus, ‘shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ Matthew 26:64. In these words Christ presented the reverse of the scene then taking place. He, the Lord of life and glory, would be seated at God’s right hand. He would be the judge of all the earth, and from His decision there could be no appeal. Then every secret thing would be set in the light of God’s countenance, and judgment be passed upon every man according to his deeds.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 707, 708.
For additional study
“The disciples, awaking, behold the flood of glory that illuminates the mount. In fear and amazement they gaze upon the radiant form of their Master…. Beside Him are two heavenly beings, in close converse with Him. They are Moses, who upon Sinai had talked with God; and Elijah, to whom the high privilege was given … never to come under the power of death…. Upon the mount the future kingdom of glory was represented in miniature–Christ the King, Moses a representative of the risen saints, and Elijah of the translated ones.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 346.