LUKE 9:28-36

Verses 28-36 “28And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31Who 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.
33And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
34While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.”The Transfiguration of Jesus represents His earthly kingdom in miniature.  Jesus will be in His kingdom in His glorified, resurrection body.  The Church will be there.  The Church is represented at the Transfiguration by Peter, James, and John.  The resurrected Old Testament saints will also be in the kingdom, represented at the Transfiguration by Moses and Elijah.  Moses died and was buried by God in a place not known by man, but he has been resurrected and is now in heaven in a glorified body.  Elijah was translated and did not die; so he is in heaven today in a glorified body.  Mortals who have never died will also be living in the kingdom; they will be those saved people who have lived through the Great Tribulation (and their descendants, for those mortals will continue to procreate during the kingdom age).  What a wonderful experience it will be when Jesus is our earthly King!  We will live on an earth that has been cleansed and purified, where sin is not tolerated, where there will be no war, no poverty, no injustice, and no curse upon creation.  In that day we will have a perfect government, with a perfect King.  Glory!

 

LUKE 9:7-9

Verses 7-9 “7Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
8And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
9And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.”

Herod had a bad conscience!  He had beheaded John the Baptist and it had left him shaken.  Perhaps he suspected that his sins would find him out.  When he heard about Jesus’ miraculous deeds and powerful words, Herod began to think, “Is it John, risen from the dead?  Is it Elijah (some people said that he would come back)?  Maybe it is one of the old dead prophets.”  Note that every possibility considered by Herod would have involved a resurrection!  Herod knew that in order for Jesus to do the miraculous things He did, He would have to have resurrection power.  Jesus did arise from the dead, proving that He is able to do anything.

LUKE 1:5-20

Verses 5-20 “5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
9According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17And 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.
18And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

The message of Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, to Zechariah is instructive for us today. Zechariah and his wife, Elisabeth, were both godly believers in the Lord, and they were old and childless. A temple priest, Zechariah was about his assigned duties when Gabriel appeared. Gabriel seems to be one of God’s special messengers charged with the protection of Israel (Dan 8:16; 9:21). The first part of the angelic message is that this old couple would give birth to a son. This son would be the greatest preacher that the world has ever known, except for the Lord Jesus. John the Baptist would be used to bring a great revival to Israel, with thousands of his countrymen turning to the Lord in repentance (v16).

John the Baptist was in the Spirit and power of Elijah (v17). This does not mean that he was a reincarnation of Elijah, as some have taught. It simply means that John would be like Elijah in his simple manner of life and in his powerful pronouncements from the Lord. His message would improve the lives of people in their day to day family relationships, the disparity in generations being brought together in love and respect (v17).

John would not drink any wine or strong drink through out his entire life (v15). There is a great debate today about whether or not the Bible explicitly commands total abstinence from alcoholic beverages; however, John’s testimony is that since he was always filled with the Holy Spirit it would be a hindrance to be under the influence of wine. A person apparently can not be controlled by two spirits at the same time. Paul wrote, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18).

Zachariah was struck dumb (speechless) by the angel because he hesitated to believe a revelation from God (v20). It is a sin to disbelieve the Word of God, even when it tells us something that contradicts our understanding of modern science or history. Where our understanding differs from the Bible, the Bible is correct and our understanding is wrong.

MATTHEW 17:10-13

Verses 10-13 “10And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
12But 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.
13Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

Malachi 4:5-5, referred to here, simply means that an Elijah type character would precede the first advent. Many literal fulfillments of Scripture have been (and will be) seen by God’s people. However, occasionally the prophecy is more or less figurative and the fulfillment is in danger of being over-looked because of inaccurate expectations. On the other hand, very often the true meaning of Scripture is missed because the reader insists on interpreting almost all prophecy in a figurative way when the correct and normal way is to interpret the Scriptures literally.