The transfiguration of Jesus is recorded in the Book of Matthew and also the Book of Mark. Why is it that we read of this changing of flesh into Spirit as witnessed by His disciples? Was God putting on a sideshow for them? Not at all! It is important to note that the heavens were involved in whatever lesson Christ’s disciples needed to learn. At this point in their discipleship, it seems that Peter James and John, saw no difference in the leading of Christ than the leading of any other spokesperson of God. It is apparent that they didn’t recognize the difference between the old dispensation under Moses and the new dispensation under Christ. Today, when looking backward, we should realize the difference. Yet, many people hold on to their old time religion never realizing that the old had to give way to the new.
Times of Dispensations
Genesis chapter one and two give us the age of innocence of Adam and Eve until their rebellion, Romans 5:14, says that the first dispensation was from Adam to Moses. The second was the law of Moses which was given on Mount Sinai, Exodus 20. The law, given by Moses, had to give way to a better covenant and promises, Hebrews 8:6, and a new way, Hebrews 10:20, with the germination of the promised seed written of in Genesis chapter three. That seed, Jesus, brought in a third dispensation which was the knowledge of the Gospel including the gift of the Holy Spirit and not being under law but under grace, Corinthians 1:30. As long as we are in Christ, we are under grace. The forth dispensation will be the return and reign of Christ to usher in the millennium.
When we open the Book of Matthew, one of the first things we should notice is that this is the Gospel according to Matthew. The word gospel means “Good News”. Why? How is the gospel good for us? To really understand the meaning of the gospel is to understand the entire Old Testament which brings us into Christ and the New Covenant.
The gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. When we read of the disciples in the New Testament, we need to place ourselves in their position and experience because we are disciples also. We are no different than they were.
Function of The Old Testament
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel.
This seed and the bruising of the Serpent’s head is no other than the work that Christ did.
Hebrews 2:14, For as much that the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same, that through death, He might destroy him who had the power of death.
Although Adam and Eve wanted their independence from God,and lost their innocence, God made them a promise which was not fulfilled until Christ, as the promised Seed, who was evidently brought to the cross to undergo death. This death was followed by a resurrection. This resurrection is higher than the best human life. This is the life of the Son of God. How can we not say it is good news for us? The disciples, Peter, James, and John, saw a transformation never seen before. To see this vision, Jesus brought them unto a high mountain. A mountain in God’s terminology is a reference to His government, the Holy City, and the New Jerusalem.
Yet, Peter said let us build three tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Peters thought was that all three men were on the same level. This upset the heavens as well as Christ. Jesus didn’t rebuke Peter but the heavens did.
Matthew 17:5, while he yet spoke, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud said, “this is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him”.
We could never be absolutely sure of our being no longer under the law but now under grace without the work of John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for Jesus Christ.
Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming and dreadful day of the Lord”.
Mark 1:1, tells us that John the Baptist preached the gospel and was a voice crying in the wilderness. John’s father was Zachariah who was a priest, so John was born into the priesthood because both his parents were of the Leviticus priesthood.
Luke 1:62, And they made signs to his father, how he would have him be called. 63, And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote saying “his name is John”.
According to the Old Testament and the writings of Moses, John should have followed the priestly life in the temple to do a priestly service and to offer sacrifices to God. He should have worn the priestly robes of linen but he didn’t. He was clothed in a camels hair coat. He didn’t eat of the priest’s food found in Leviticus 2 but ate locus and wild honey. He didn’t go to the temple or into the holy city of Jerusalem or to the religious leaders. No, he was just a voice crying in the wilderness. Yet, Jesus says, “of those born of women, there is none greater than John,” Matthew 11:11.
The Old Testament gives us three basic functions which are an expression leading to the Gospel. The first is the promised seed, the second is the Law, and the third are the prophets who were the guides to lead the nation of Israel into the promise land. Christ fulfilled all three of these functions.
The Beginning of the Gospel
The beginning of the Gospel is the termination of the entire old dispensation, the dispensation of law. For something to have a beginning, something had to have germination. The seed germinated in the New Testament was the promise given in the Garden and the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15. The law was given in an outward way, on tablets of stone, but now, this promise seed would be germinated within us as the seed of the woman. Because we are all in the position of being a wife to Christ, we are all women awaiting His return for a marriage to take place. It follows then that His body of believers have this seed within us, bruising everything negative of Satan within us, as we dispel the darkness within, through the Spirit of Christ and the law within Him. This is the importance of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ causing a voice from the heavens to rebuke Peter. We need to see today what Peter couldn’t understand during his day. As noble and as important as Moses and Elijah were during their day, our saving grace lies in God’s Savior Jesus who become all three as the anointed Christ. See our article, “The Church as a Woman, composed of both men and women.”
Jesus as Our Life
No matter how well a person is able to keep the law and commandments, he will never gain life. Peter although he had a genuine love for Christ could not leave Moses or Elijah out of his worship of God. It is not easy to get ourselves out of religion, culture, or philosophy, or the teachings of the world, that is if we are trying to remove these worldly things with our own strength. Because of the transfiguration, we are able to see that Peter didn’t understand or see the obstacles which stand in the way of focusing on Christ. To focus on Jesus Christ as the word and the anointed one is the only way in which we will be able to gain His life.This is a life in resurrection. Little by little we are able to ascend God’s mountain and reach the pinnacle where we will undergo a transformation ourselves. The Apostle Paul had this vision:
Philippians 3:8, Yea doubtless, and I count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ.