It was actually Peter's deep affection and abiding love for Christ that Satan was able to take advantage of in an attempt to hinder the very plan of salvation.
In Mat. 16:21 Jesus Christ began to teach His disciples concerning His suffering, His crucifixion, and His resurrection: "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." However, upon hearing the words of the Lord Peter began to rebuke Christ because he did not like the plan, as in he did not like hearing about the suffering and crucifixion of His Lord.We need to pay special attention to this because it was actually Peter's deep affection and abiding love for Christ that Satan was able to take advantage of in an attempt to hinder the very plan of salvation which would bring about our victory over death.You see, to destroy death, which is Satan the devil, is the reason Jesus Christ came at the first advent. The apostle Paul explains this to us in very simple terms.
So after rebuking Satan and lovingly admonishing Peter, Christ explained that there would be a time when the Son of man would "come in the glory of his Father with his angels" and "reward every man according to his works". Matthew 16:27 "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Christ now continues in Matthew 17 with His teaching concerning the two advents.
We have stated many times that there are no filler words in the scriptures given to merely occupy space without meaning or significance. That means there is a reason why Christ waited "six" days to bring Peter, James, and John up into an high mountain all by themselves, i.e. apart from others, and that reason is to set the time frame to let the wise know that the subject is the second advent and that the events they are about to witness do not occur until the return of Christ on the Day of the Lord, on the 7th Day, which follows after the sixth dispensation, the 6,000 years (six days) of man. All one needs to know is that which Peter knew and wrote for us in 2 Peter 3:8 concerning a day with the Lord: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." And so it is that even the Lord's Day itself is 1,000 years which is why we call it the "Millennium", a word which means 1,000 years.Matthew 17:1
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
The next question is why did Jesus take these three disciples, Peter (meaning rock), James (English for Jacob), and John (Yahveh is gracious), up into an high mountain, even the holy mount (2 Pet. 1:18)? One reason is again to show us that this teaching concerns the kingdom of God to come upon the earth... as it is heaven (Mat. 6:10). Mountains are used throughout the scriptures to symbolize nations or governments and when Christ returns in His glory and majesty as King of kings and Lord of lords He shall stand upon the high holy mountain of God with His saints and shall rule all nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15), which is the disciplined adherence to His "Truth" and "Justice", i.e. the Word of God. To that end, Peter, James, and John, who alone witnessed the resurrection of Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:51) and who alone will be with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mat. 26:37) the night before His crucifixion, are now privileged to witness the glory and majesty of Christ as He is transfigured before them.
We will also discover that there is a special reason why this witness of the glory and majesty of Christ is given before the crucifixion.
Let us continue to read and learn from our Father's Word.
This is how Jesus Christ shall appear in His glory and majesty at the second advent. Matter of fact, this is how He even now appears.Matthew 17:2
And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.
The important point to remember here, is that it was before He was crucified that these three disciples became eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ that God the Father would bestow upon Him. Thus they came to know with certitude from being first hand witnesses before the fact, the reason the body of Christ would NOT be found left in the tomb.You see, had Christ's body not been transfigured but rather lay in the tomb, it would have been difficult for many who are weak in faith to believe in the resurrection and glorification of the Messiah. Not to worry though now, for the matter has been legally and credibly established and laid to rest by the "witness of two or three". Peter later (i.e. well after the resurrection) recounts their eyewitness of His majesty in his second epistle:Rev. 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.
Do you believe the words of the apostle Peter, a man chosen by God to make known unto us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? Peter wasn't following made up stories nor cunningly devised fables [read traditions of men] concerning the coming of Jesus Christ in His glory and majesty. He tells us from first hand experience for he saw the transfiguration on the holy mount. He actually witnessed Jesus Christ in all His majesty, along with Moses and Elijah, just to let us know that when John, who was also an eyewitness, says we shall "be like Him" in 1 Jn. 3:2, you can count on it! You can take Peter's and John's word for it... for they witnessed it firsthand... and it's true!2 Peter 1:16
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
We shall read about the "excellent glory" surrounding Peter, James, and John when they heard this voice from heaven, a few verses hence. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
"This voice which came from heaven" also had something else extremely important to say! But before we read of that, let's see what else happened in the holy mount when Christ was transfigured! And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
I guess Moses and Elijah were not dead, were they? Of course not! Neither were they asleep in the ground as some teach. In fact Christ addressed this whole issue of the dead and whether they rise or not with the Sadducees in Mark 12:26-27 who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead: "And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." "You therefore do greatly err" means all are wrong who believe that when people die they are dead and gone. Haven't you read in Eccles. 12:7 that the flesh (the dust) returns to earth from whence it came, and the spirit (the intellect of the soul, i.e. the soul in his spiritual body, 1 Cor. 15) returns to God from whence he came. Eccles. 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."Matthew 17:3
And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.
Of course it is written that Elijah
did not see death but was taken up into heaven in a "whirlwind (whirling
vehicle)" which Elisha called the chariot of Israel in 2 Kings 2:12. How
did Elisha know it was the Chariot of Israel? Because
of the horsemen! In other words, it had
the same "faces" on it, the Eagle, the Lion, the Man, and the Ox, that
appeared on the "highly polished bronze whirling vehicle" that came to
Ezekiel in chapter one of his book. These
are the faces on the standards or flags of the tribes of Israel which stood
before them in their encampment. You
will also find these same "faces" to be the living beings which guard the
throne in heaven. Rev. 4:7 "And the first
beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third
beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle."
all, if you saw a jet with the face of a Bald Eagle on it's tail, you would
recognize that as an American plane, right?)
Next, Matthew 17:3 says that Moses and Elijah were talking with Christ which brings up the question, "What were they talking about?" Well, remember what the subject is that Christ began teaching us in Mat. 16:17, which was His suffering, His crucifixion, and His resurrection? Luke confirms that is the subject of their conversation, i.e. His death which He must accomplish at Jerusalem:
It seems fitting that Moses should appear for the law is fulfilled in Christ and when He pays the price on the cross, the subject of which they are now discussing, He will at the same time fulfill all the shadows and types and become our sacrifice once and for all time, doing away with all blood sacrifices, rituals, and religious ordinances. It is also fitting the Elijah should appear for the prophecies of the promised One who would come and suffer (Isa. 53, Ps. 22, etc.) and bring salvation are also coming to pass giving testimony and witness to the truth of God's Word.Luke 9:30
And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
 Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.
It is important to what Christ is teaching us here to know and understand that the Law and the Prophets, i.e. the Old Testament, closes with the Book of Malachi, whose name means "My Messenger", and concludes with reference to these two, Moses and Elijah, in the last three verses. This is not by accident but rather by the design of the Holy Spirit.Matthew 5:17
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Again, these two men represent "the law" and "the prophets" both of which give their testimony to both "the glory" of the first and "the glory" of the second advent of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. Note: I did not say they were the two witnesses spoken of in Rev. 11, but that they both prophesied and give witness and testimony to the glory of the great and marvelous works of His coming. Matthew 11:13 "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." And so it is in these last days, as it has been written and declared in His Word these thousands of years, Elijah the prophet shall be sent unto His messenger's in the last days just BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD!Malachi 4:4-6
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
BEHOLD means pay real close attention! To whom is the LORD speaking? To whom shall He send Elijah the prophet, not Elijah the Tishbite, i.e. the person of Elijah (see note in Companion Bible on pg. 1301). He shall send Elijah the prophet TO YOU, you who are alive in the final generation, the generation alive in the flesh just BEFORE the great and dreadful day of the LORD! Certainly you can "see" that this is NOT speaking of John the Baptist and the first advent for though John came in the spirit of Elijah, he did NOT precede the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And what shall be the result of His "sending you Elijah the prophet"?
What is the "curse" He shall smite the earth with? It is the smiting of the king of Babylon, the curse of Satan as the false messiah whom He shall send at the sound of 6th Trump (Rev. 12:7-9). You see, even before that cursed one comes as His rod of chastisement, there shall be a "reuniting" of many of the lost children of the House of Israel with the true heritage of their forefathers (many even listed in Rev. 7) leading them "back home" (spiritually) to their heavenly Father. Notice also that the word "father(s)" is plural because at the same time the hearts of the children of disobedience shall be turned to their father, the false father, the false rock! And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
And so it is written that there shall come a "seed" in the final generation (Ps. 22:30-31), who are the sons and daughters of the promise, upon whom our Father shall pour out His Spirit whereby they are able to "see" (understand) the visions of the prophets (Acts 2) and they shall teach the law and the prophets (His Word) to their brothers and sisters in love, speaking after the manner of the covenant of Levi, "Thus saith the Lord" and "It is written"! And through the power of His might, through the light of truth of the Word of God, many blind shall "see" and many lame shall learn to walk in His ways and many "lost children" of the House of Israel shall be freed from their captivity and find their way back home to the house of their fathers, even to the House of their loving Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who shall welcome them with open arms!
Now back to the holy mount.
In contrast to Peter's dislike of the suffering and crucifixion which must be accomplished in Jerusalem, you can just hear Peter say, "Now this is more like it! The kingdom has come so let us build tabernacles and tarry right here!" Sorry Peter, it is written that the suffering must take place and the price must be paid by Messiah before the glory is revealed. Peter once again wanted to do his own thing but while he was speaking (not knowing what he was saying again, Luke 9:33) a bright (full of light) cloud overshadowed them. That got their attention real good and immediately stopped the nonsense! Here is what Luke says: Luke 9:34 "While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud."Matthew 17:4
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
Remember they are "gone up" into the holy mount (2 Pet. 1:18) and this bright cloud which has "enveloped them" is the Shekinah glory which is ever-present when God is present (see Ezek. 10:3-4)... and He was present for He spoke to them with His voice out of the cloud giving audible witness in declaring that Jesus Christ was the Son of the Living God. Thus the disciples both "saw with their eyes to see" and "heard with their ears to hear"! We read this same declaration "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased", was spoken to and heard by John the Baptist, who was "sent by God" to bear witness of the Light (Jn. 1:8), when he baptized Jesus in Matthew 3:13-17.Matthew 17:5
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.
Now notice the very important words of God the Father following His declaration that Christ was indeed His Son, in whom He is well pleased: "Hear Ye HIM!" That means Open your ears and HEAR THE WORD OF GOD! He is the one foretold of in both the Law and the Prophets whom God would raise up to speak to us in these last days. Have you ever read that which was written by Moses in the Law.
And so it was and so it is. John 14:10 "... the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."Deut. 18:18
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.
To "hear Jesus Christ" does not just mean to hear His voice, His Word, but to hearken unto His words, i.e. to keep His commands. John 14:15, 21 "If ye love me, keep my commandments.  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
The disciples were totally awe struck when God spoke to them and they fell flat on their faces. Consider this in stark contrast to those preachers and ministers today who claim God speaks to them... even on a daily basis! A word to the wise is sufficient. Just read Ezek. 13:1-9 concerning the supposed "visions" of those false prophets Christ warned us about. Our Father says He DOES NOT speak to them in such a vain fashion.Matthew 17:6
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
When Christ "touches you" through His word, neither shall you be afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
The appearance of Christ in His glory and majesty at the second advent is now GONE and they "come back down from the mountain"! And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
As we read earlier in 2 Peter 1:16-17, the disciples would understand after the crucifixion concerning the glory of Christ risen in His transfigured body.Until then, it was not yet time to speak of the second advent, of the power and coming of our Lord, for the prophecies of the first advent had not yet been fulfilled. However, following the resurrection Peter would declare His power and His coming! 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.
So following the vision they saw of Moses and Elijah and Christ in His resurrected body, and in understanding that this was His first advent and not the "restoration of the kingdom", the disciples asked Jesus the following question concerning the scribes:2 Peter 1:16-17
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
 For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Of course the scribes didn't "get it" concerning the first advent. They still await messiah as king... and their messiah, their rock, shall soon come and not disappoint them.Matthew 17:10
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Elijah the prophet shall come first, before the great and dreadful day of the LORD, and as we saw in the last two verses of Malachi 4, and he shall "turn the hearts of the children back to their fathers" which is to (come with me now) restore all things, as in restore the temple (Rev. 7:1-4 to prepare a people) that it may be made manifest on that great day! You "see", had the people received Christ and not rejected the kingdom at His first advent, then the kingdom would have been "restored then" and so John the Baptist would have been accounted as Elijah who would come in the last days just before the restoration! Matthew 11:14 "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
John the Baptist was not Elijah (he said so himself in Jn. 1:21) but rather as it was prophesied from birth concerning John, he would go before Him in the spirit and power of "Elijah the prophet". To that end, John was a forerunner of "His messengers" who would come in the spirit and power of Elijah in the last days. If you have studied the Minor Prophets (like Zechariah) and the great Book of Malachi ("My Messenger"), then you will understand that which is written concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. Here is what was written of John the Baptist's destiny from birth! But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
The disciples then "got it" concerning John the Baptist! Yes, John was prophesied from birth to come in the spirit and power of Elijah... and so he did. But they rejected him and beheaded him.So too must Christ suffer as it was written of Him in Isa. 53 and Psalm 22.Luke 1:17
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And so it is in these last days, as it has been written and declared in His Word these thousands of years, Elijah the prophet shall be sent unto His messenger's in the last days just BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD!Do you have "eyes to see" Christ and "ears to hear" His voice? Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
In our next study we shall learn what it takes to deal with the man in the moon, i.e. a "lunatic"! Don't miss it!
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