Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 5 Study # 4
February 21, 2010
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 But 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.
33 And 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.
34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36 And 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
30 And behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah;
31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33 And it came to pass, as they were parting 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 Elijah: not knowing what he said.
34 And while he said these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him.
36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen.
- I. Behold.
- A. Luke uses the term "behold" in 79 verses of his records in Luke/Acts. This means that he used it extensively, but not willy-nilly. At root the word means, "Look at this", but its use looks to be a way to slow the reader down so that what is "in view" has a little longer to "settle" into the mental processes so that it takes a place of more dominance than the norm. It is easy to read over words so that they have little impact. We are even often encouraged to take "speed reading" courses so that we may "speed through" the words. The down side to this is that we are not significantly affected by stuff that goes by us in a blur. The biblical mandate, for significant insight, is not "speed reading"; it is "pondering". There is, of course, a place for "speed reading": the acquisition of large blocks of information can, and sometimes does, give us a backdrop for our "pondering". Our "brains" get the information even if our "minds" do not, and whatever the "brain" traps is available to our minds if, or when, we "ponder" and, more importantly, the Holy Spirit has whatever the "brain" has residing in it in order to influence the results of our "pondering". It is, after all, His job to apply truth to our circumstances and understanding. Thus, Luke simply told Theophilus to "slow down a bit and consider this...".
- B. The "thing" beheld is this: in the context of His transformation, two men -- Moses and Elijah -- were suddenly visible and in conversation with Him about His coming death.
- II. Two Men.
- A. The word translated "men" specifically identifies them as "male" and, by that, intentionally puts an identity focus upon persons who stand before God as "responsible". Luke uses this term a majority of the time it is used in the New Testament (64% of the uses are in Luke/Acts). It is no accident. Luke's focus upon Jesus of Nazareth is that He is the "Second Adam", the "Redeemer" Whose identity as a "responsible male before God" permits His behavior to have an extensive impact upon all of humankind just like Adam's did (Romans 5:16, 19). All "men" are "responsible males before God", and not all such have as extensive an impact as did Adam or Jesus, but without being such a "man", Jesus would not have been able to redeem humanity.
- 1. From this premise, we see that the two "men" were significant in the light of the prophecy of 9:27. Jesus had prophesied/promised that "some" would "see" the Kingdom of God. Thus, the "sights" involved in the mountain were "Kingdom" focused realities. That the "sight" was of "men" displays this fact about the Kingdom: in it, everyone is a "man" in this most fundamental sense of the term. Jesus dismissed "sex" as either an "identity" or an "act" in both Luke 20:35 and Mark 12:25. In the Kingdom everyone is going to enter into the fulness of their earthly identity as "responsible people" who reflect the character of their Savior. Paul pointedly said this in Galatians 3:28, a text that is badly misused in "time" to erase gender before the time (post-resurrection Kingdom reality).
- 2. Given this, it becomes notable that "Moses" was one of the men for two reasons: first, he was the original Law-Giver from the Holy Mountain who was used of God to produce a "form" of the Kingdom in human history -- the theocracy of Israel --; and, second, Jesus was presented by Luke in His "sermon on the mountain" as the Explicator of Kingdom truth (6:20-49) as soon as He descended from "the mountain" and selected The Twelve (6:12-19), thus becoming the "fulfillment" of the Moses "identity-reality". Moses could deliver the Law but he could not enable the practice of it on more than an external basis.
- 3. Additionally, it is also notable that "Elijah" was the other of the two "men". Elijah is notable as the "man" whom God used to address the apostasy of the nation in its darkest hours of idolatry and whom God promised to send "again" before the arrival of the True King of the Kingdom He has planned from eternity. Elijah is so much of a "kind of meaning" in the biblical record that the Antichrist's main spokesman will have his identification as a "spokesman for God" by reason of his ability to call fire down from heaven as did Elijah. The deception will be enormous by reason of this "identity" characterization (Revelation 13:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9). That Jesus actually taught that John the Baptizer was a fulfillment of the "Elijah" concept for Him (Matthew 17:11-13) in His first coming is clear, but John never did the "Elijah thing" (fire from heaven), so the teaching was dismissed by the minds of those whose ignorance was too great.
- 4. The apparent significance of these particular two, in view of the prophecy of 9:27, is that they represented the Kingdom of God in a way that no other "two" could. Moses was the initial, but incapable, Kingdom-Giver and Elijah was the forerunner of the True King in the time of darkest apostasy. Both were characterized in their "function" as "servants" (1 Kings 18:36 and Malachi 4:5) and both were involved in the very last thing God said to Judah 450 years before the coming of the "Elijah" of the first coming. The only way that Peter, John, and James could be viewed as not having "seen" the Kingdom of God after this event is by those blind to the point of the transformation and conversation with Moses and Elijah. What they said was not as important as the fact that it was Moses and Elijah who were in the conversation.