Memphis Belle

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Matthew 16:28


“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”


Matthew 17:1-13


“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them:  and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias [Elijah] talking with him.  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.  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.  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  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.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  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.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”


“Maybe if you’ve been around awhile, we had Michael Soule here years ago, when we were first starting out here, this tremendous, gifted singer, actor, I think he went to one of the schools in New York City.  But we had him, real powerful presentation, really stirred hearts.  And he came back another time, and I think it was called “The Silver Strand”, but he’ll be with us in October, on Wednesday night with a new play that he’s done.  You’ll certainly be blessed, if you’ve enjoyed Potter’s Field, you’ll enjoy Michael Soule, that’s for sure.  Thankful for him to come with us, be with us, minister with us, we haven’t had him in years.  So, we’re picking up in Matthew chapter 16, we’re actually on 17, but last verse of 16 is really where we’ll pick up, and we’ll go into chapter 17.  I was listening this week to an Ugandan minister on tape, somebody passed me a tape and I was listening to it, and he was speaking of just his experience being in the Church in Uganda.  But also just the country, little bit of history in his life.  Of course, we, a lot of us know about Uganda, heard about Uganda, where it is today.  But years ago Uganda used to be considered the Pearl of Africa, it was a beautiful country, a prospering country, a country of influence.  Other countries surrounding Uganda, they would even send in their leaders, to go in and be trained by the Ugandans. It was a strong nation.  But through a series of drastic changes, a lot of it was centering around this individual, Idi Amin, you may remember, 1971, if you know your history.  This military leader, in various ways took over the government and established himself.  Well he was a brutal guy, and things began to change very quickly in the nation of Uganda, even for the Church [Body of Christ].  Prior to him taking rule there were only a small percentage of the population, just a few percent, were Muslim.  But he within a couple years declared Uganda to be an Islamic state.  So now you have a country where most of the people aren’t Muslim, but now it’s declared to be an Islamic state.  And then with that, other religions were outlawed, Catholicism, the Anglican Church were allowed to remain, but they only could meet on Sunday.  Other Christian churches cannot meet at all.  But if you’re Islamic, those few percent, you could worship any day, do whatever you wanted to do.  But with his reign too, statistics say, at least hundreds of thousands, if not a half million or more people were brutally killed. [see]  So, a hard time came.  This beautiful Pearl of Africa, country, suddenly, very different as this man got in and took control.  Well the Church [“Church” with capital “C” means “Body of Christ”, not Catholic or Anglican Church] began to be heavily persecuted, and as a result of this persecution folks started to, as happens, the Church started to pray, there were gatherings going on in the homes in Uganda.  They couldn’t meet in public places, so they met privately in their homes.  But then the government came in and started to even crack down on that.  There was this one particular time a house got cracked down on, this prayer-meeting was interrupted, so people scattered, the pastor goes off into the jungle.  Well after the officials, soldiers and government left, people in the town went in to look for the pastor, and went into the jungle.  He was a way into the jungle and they found him, and they said ‘Hey, you can come back now, they’ve left, you can come back to the town.’  But as he was waiting there those few days, his heart was stirred, and he said to these people, he said, “I’m not going back to the town.”  He said, “I’m going to stay right here, I’m not leaving this place until something changes in our country, and I’ve been praying out here, and I’m going to continue to pray.”  What then happened in Uganda was what they called these “Jungle Prayer-Groups”, people started to go deep into the jungle, the jungle being very thick, foliage, the high brush, hard to get into without clearing some away.  They would go into the areas of the swamps where you would not think anybody would be, they would find a little parcel of land in the middle of a swamp and they would set up camp and they would have prayer-meetings.  Some of the folks went into these jungle prayer-groups and they stayed there for months.  It happened for two years, some of them stayed pretty much the whole time, they stayed in the jungle, existed off the jungle, and began to intercede for the nation, which had changed so drastically.  Well what happened then is, late 70s, there was a change that came, as Idi Amin took his military forces into Tanzania to invade, and it didn’t go so well, he was actually pushed back, and then in fact his country was then toppled, and he ended up leaving, I think he went to Libya.  And so there was a change then in government.  Well, the Church has been praying, that was an answer to prayer.  Peace seemed to come to the nation again, it happened for a period of time.  But with their prayer being answered, it turned out historically, as is often the case, this passionate prayer of the Church stopped, the Church stopped their prayer.  [That’s when “the enemy” likes to strike back.]  And I’m just giving you the story of this Ugandan minister.  Well, Church stopped their prayer, interesting, the peace didn’t last all that long, less than two years.  And a former minister or leader, government leader who had ruled before, Obote, came back into power with his UPC government.  And it turned out this second time in power (for him), he actually basically started where Idi Amin left off.  He began to be very oppressive too, with the people.  And the story goes that in the 80s they were actually worse off than the 70s.  His government was more oppressive than Idi Amin’s, more people were brutalized and tortured, and it began to be a desperate time again, in what used to be the Pearl of Africa.  [see ]  But not only that, with all this decline in the nation, moral decline began to just continue and continue.  The nation was falling apart.  AIDS just started to spread with the immoral lifestyle abounding, and I think it was around 1990 I think is the date, the U.N. did some studies of Uganda, and determined, I mean, AIDS was spreading so quickly, that they determined in just a few years, that one third of the Ugandans were going to die, another one third were going to be so effected by the AIDS virus that they would be basically rendered useless, and so you have one third left of your nation that can do anything.  Of course that would just mean economic ruin and catastrophe.  This nation was basically going to come to an end according to the U.N.  Well, Church again, maybe a little late, but they started to gather to pray, and as the story goes, there were thousands of them, groups like 10,000 Ugandans gathering to pray.  But one particular night, this minister shares, that they were praying, they were praying all night long.  But there was a sense of real hopelessness, a real desperateness, as the U.N. was saying ‘We’re done’.  I mean, you’ve got the government that’s so oppressive, so terrible, government officials, and then you’ve got the people, I mean, living like this.  And it was so desperate, no pastors were really sharing in the meeting, nobody knew what to say, and just a heaviness.  Well, sometime, two, three in the morning, I don’t know exactly the time, but late in the night as they were there, God stirred somebody’s heart, and somebody gave a word of prophecy, and it seemed to have been of the Lord.  But basically the word was, “Are you going to trust and listen to these statements and numbers from the U.N.?  Or are you going to choose to turn to God and trust God for the work that he can do in you and through you in your nation?”  Well, the story goes that within this prayer-meeting where it had been so heavy, such oppression, that suddenly the sense of hope came to the prayer-meeting, and the people began to really cry out in travail in prayer for their nation.  And over time, a work of prayer was really birthed again in a powerful way in Uganda.  And today, I mean, Uganda still exists, and it’s been on the road to recovery.  There’s been strides towards recovery since that time.  Well this minister shares this story, shares a message while he’s in our country, because he’s burdened for our country, watching what’s happening in the United States, in the government, in the culture morally, watching it from Uganda.  I even heard, it was a year ago or so, I heard that there were six hundred Ugandans that had set aside a good portion of their year last year to fast and pray for Salem, Massachusetts.  This particular minister had come a couple times to the States and ended up once in the northern part there of Massachusetts along the coast somewhere near Salem, and I guess when he was there he just had a sense in his heart about the decline of America and all the stuff going on in the government and in the culture, a lot of it has to do with what’s happening in Salem where you have witchcraft being exalted, and Satanism, and Boston being such a promotion and hub of secularism and humanism and liberalism.  Well, Ugandans actually started to pray for our nation.  I think it was actually more than a year ago, I think it was a few years ago.  Then I heard recently, that not only did they decide to set aside time to fast and pray for Salem, but awhile back, couple years ago, they also set aside time to fast and pray for New Orleans, which is real interesting, those two places, Ugandans, Church, fasting and praying for America, but specifically for Salem and specifically for New Orleans.  Well, you know prayer, that’s what’s needed in our nation.  And we’re looking around, all kinds of things going on as they are, the Church, man, the Church turning to God in prayer, that’s so needed at such a time in our nation.  And in their nation it looked desperate, it looked hopeless, but God, as they drew near to God, they saw the Lord, and the Lord ministered to them, and it changed their perspective and it brought life into the nation and into the Church.  And I start with that, as a story, as an example because of what I think of as I look at these verses here that we’re now going to study, the story of the transfiguration of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.  You know, the disciples, you remember Peter, chapter 16.  He is just beautifully, through just the leading of the Holy Spirit, he has just professed that ‘Jesus, you are the Christ.  You are the Son of God.’  And Jesus responded, ‘You’ve said that, it’s not flesh and blood that’s revealed that to you, that’s God that’s revealed this to you.  You’re saying that I’m not just a man, I’m the Son of God, I am the Messiah.’  Well, you remember, we studied that, and just a little bit later he goes from there, and then Jesus begins to share about the cross, that he’s going to Jerusalem, that he’s going to be crucified, the leaders of Israel [Judah] are going to take him and be brutal with him and persecute him and he’s going to be killed, and then raised to life the third day.  Well Peter hearing about the cross, as you remember, Peter then admonishes the Lord and says ‘No way, man!  No way!  That’s not good, forget that!  You won’t do that.’  Well Jesus then gave him a pretty sharp rebuke, and from that Jesus gathers the people and begins to talk about what it means to follow him, because he is going to the cross.  And the life of the Christian, I mean, I pick up my cross, I deny myself, I follow him, he’s my Lord, he’s my Savior.


With this verse Jesus reveals their next experience with him


Matthew 16:28, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”  Well that brings us then to verse 28, but, you know, the disciples, Peter is wrestling now, he’s seeing the Lord in a very beautiful way, but at the same time he’s not understanding.  ‘Cross?  Suffering Messiah?’  he doesn’t understand.  Well the Lord now takes Peter and a couple guys with him, and they have this “alone-time”
with Jesus, and it’s quite radical what happens.  As they’re alone with him, the things that they see and experience are so radical, that the way they go up on the mountain, is not the same way they come down.  When they come down from this mountain, what happens on the mountain so impacts them that both Peter and John, when they write later, they reference it in a way that it impacted their lives.  They got alone with the Lord, they had an experience with the Lord that just opened their eyes, and really impacted their lives.  Kind of like the Church in Uganda, you know that things were looking pretty bad, and then they drew near to God, and saw the Lord, and God spoke to them, and it changed their outlook.  I say this often, and sometimes, if you teach the Bible, you’re like ‘I say that all the time, people must think I say that all the time.’  Although it’s funny with teaching, you can say something all the time, and somebody will come up to you and say ‘Wow, I never heard that.’  You know, they’ve been in the church like ten years.  You’re like ‘I say that every week.’  [laughter]  So you’ve got to repeat yourself when you teach.  But there’s a fundamental thing I say so often, and I think of it in this passage, and I pray, you know as you come to this church, I pray, I mean if there’s any way that I can influence you as a pastor of this church, any way that I can impact your life, you know we’ve only got so much time together.  Who knows?  Our paths will go differently, either you’ll die or I’ll die, we’ll move, who knows.  But I pray by the grace of God that there’s this thing that you learn, that as a Christian, it’s a relationship.  That as a Christian it is so vitally important that you are alone with God.  That you get alone with him, that you do it individually and we do it corporately, that you honestly seek him, and you see him, and hear from him, and you interact with him.  That is so important in your life.  As we’ll see, it impacts, as these few get alone with Jesus, it radically impacts their lives.  Some of us are here today, and we have all kinds of doubts that we’re struggling with.  We’ve all kinds of uncertainties and fears or worries or anxieties, we have issues in our hearts and lives, things that are just hindering us.  We’re living just a very mediocre Christian life.  And yet what God has for us is so much more.  And the way that we experience that so much more is so simple, and I find I say it all the time.  Yet there are many that don’t do it.  But it’s you, getting alone with the Lord, and you honestly getting alone and opening your heart and letting God speak to you, and you fellowshipping personally with God.  Not putting in the Christian tape or tuning into the local Christian radio station on the way to work, not putting on the Christian worship music---that’s part of that, and that’s beautiful---but honestly getting alone in the quiet with God.  That was needed in the Church in Uganda, the Church kneeling before God, it changed them, it impacted the nation, that’s what was needed for these few as we studied now in these verses.  And that’s what’s needed in your life, in this church, and in this nation.  [An interesting book along the line of this subject, updated version just published, is Operation World, written about in the Christianity Today article at this link: ]  Let’s say a word of prayer.  ‘Lord, as we come to this time, Lord, we’re just flesh and blood.  We all are weak, and just feeble, you know what we’re like, that’s for sure.  And Lord, I wish so much for my brothers and sisters, I thank you Lord in this church there are many that seek your face.  There are men and women here that have such a passion, when we sing songs about hungering for you and thirsting for you, it’s true in our hearts, it isn’t just a song.  And I thank you for that Lord.  There are many here that, when we sing, you know, Better is one day in your courts, that they mean it, they feel it, they believe it, to be with you, they know what that’s like.  But yet too, Lord, there are folks that are here, I’m sure, been listening in, because it’s so epidemic in the Church in America, that just don’t really, that’s not part of their life.  You and them, it’s just not really part of their life.  They know you, they come to church, but Monday to Sunday, there’s little interaction between them and you.  And their life is so mediocre, so shallow, so low as a result.  I just ask you Lord, in your grace, that you’d use the verses that are here to speak to them, and you’d move their hearts.  Maybe one or two or three that might be here, that you haven’t become a priority to them, that that would change today, something would happen in their hearts and minds, and in their will, and you’d become the priority.  Holy Spirit, be upon all of us, and meet us, and be upon even myself as we go through your Word, in Jesus name we pray, amen.’


The Transfiguration, Metamorphis of Jesus Christ


Chapter 16, verse 28, “Assuredly I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”  Matthew 17:1-13, “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up a high mountain by themselves; and he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, let us make here three tabernacles:  one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Here him!’  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is risen from the dead.’  And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.  But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished.  Likewise the Son of man is also about to suffer at their hands.’  Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.”  Well, you know, Jesus talks about what it means to be a Christian, a disciple in Matthew 16:24-27, and then he says what he does in verse 28.  And what is he referring to when he says ‘I say to you, there are some that are standing right here listening to me right now, you’re not gonna die, before you see me coming in my kingdom’?  ‘You see the Messiah coming in his glory, coming in his kingdom’, what is he referring to?  Well, we know that all the disciples that were there at that time, and others that were around listening, they’ve all died.  They’re not alive anymore.  And so did Jesus come in his kingdom, did he return in his kingdom?  There might be some that might try to argue that.  But physically as far as the 2nd coming of Christ, we know that that hasn’t happened yet.  The second coming of Christ has not occurred yet.  That’s coming soon in the future.  So what is he referring to?  Well he’s referring to, each time this is recorded, it’s recorded in Matthew, it’s recorded in Mark, and it’s recorded in Luke, and each time it’s recorded, what follows directly after is what we have here in Matthew chapter 17, verse 1.  We have the disciples, three of the disciples, James, John and Peter being taken at the side of Jesus, and they go up to this mountain.  So, what is it referring to?  It’s referring to this experience.  Because when they’re alone with the Lord here, they have quite a radical experience.  They do see him in his glory, there’s no doubt about it.  They in a sense see him in his kingdom and see him in his glory.  So I believe what he’s referring to, when he says ‘Some of you are not gonna die until, you’re actually going to see me in my glory, in my kingdom’ is what were about to read here and study here in these verses.  It says, verse 1, chapter 17, it’s now been six days, a short time later [after verse 28 was spoken].  If you’re a theologian and study the Bible, you know in Luke chapter 9, it says in Luke chapter 9 that it was after 8 days.  Here it says after 6 days, there it says after 8.  Is there an inconsistency, a contradiction?  No, there’s not a contradiction.  In fact, the statement in Luke in the Greek there is actually something in that culture at the time, it was a Jewish statement of meaning ‘about a week.’  We translate it into English as 8 days, but the statement would be understood then as ‘about a week, approximately a week.’  So Luke says ‘It’s been about a week’, Matthew here says it’s been six days.  So they’re both true.  He leads them up on this mountain, a high mountain, it says.  And most probable that is Mount Hermon that sits up there in the northeastern part of Israel right next to Syria.  Mount Hermon, it goes up above 10,000 feet, it often has snow on its peaks, it’s a very high mountain.  Traditionally, if you go to Israel you might go to Mount Tabor, and there is this little shrine there that’s been built that says that, indicating that it was Mount Tabor where this took place.  We don’t know where it took place.  But you remember back in chapter 16 when Peter makes the profession that he does, it says Caesarea Philippi.  And Mount Hermon is right there, at Caesarea Philippi.  To go to Mount Tabor you actually have to go on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and it’s quite a ways away to get to Tabor.  So it’s probably Mount Hermon.  But the interesting thing, how do they come up with Mount Tabor, who determined it was Mount Tabor, anyway?  Was it some historical study?  The way it actually started is a little interesting story, and I’ll share that with you.  But it goes back to Constantine, Constantine and his wife.  The way that came about is she was in the 4th century, came to Israel, was traveling through the land of Israel.  And at times evidently, this is what they say, she would be in a trance sort of state, and would make statements like, ‘You know, I see right now that this is a certain reality, or this is something that occurred here.’  So as they were traveling around Israel, she came to Mount Tabor, and she said “I see that this is where the transfiguration took place.”  [and are you going to believe her??? Log onto and read if you want to believe Constantine’s wife.]  “This is the Mount, this is the place.”  So, they then built a shrine there, and that’s why it’s there.  Now, interesting thing is, we know it wasn’t Mount Tabor, because in the time of Christ, Josephus the historian tells us, who wrote around that time, that on the top of Mount Tabor there was actually a fortress, a Roman fortress, and a garrison.  So it’s probably not likely that Jesus takes his disciples alone with him to go to a Roman fortress.  That’s probably not where they are.  Doesn’t seem to fit the story.  Well anyway, little bit of history for you.  But these guys go, they’re with Jesus.  You know, I don’t know about you, but people that I respect, people that I admire, they’re role models for me, I enjoy getting alone with them, you know, it’s a privilege.  There’s some men that just have been with them alone, or be with them just a few people, just a few of us got to sit down and ask him questions, and listen to his explanations, and spend some time.  That’s a privilege, and so they have a privilege of being alone with the Lord.  And that’s happened on a few instances, a number of times, the Lord for certain reasons takes these three, and takes them alone with him.  [Comment: Peter is going to be at first the head apostle, and then once Paul’s the apostle to the Gentiles, Peter becomes the apostle of the circumcised, or the Jewish churches in Judea and Jerusalem.  James becomes the head of the Jerusalem Church of God, and John becomes the last surviving apostle and head of the Ephesus Church, and the era it represents, the first Church era mentioned in Revelation chapters 2-3.  See]  You may remember, the first time is with Jairus, this ruler, his daughter dies (Mark 5:31-43), and Jesus comes, and these three go alone with Jesus, and they go into the room, and they see Jesus raise this young gal from the dead.  So they witness that, something radical, something certainly that’s going to have an impact on their lives.  Now we have them going alone this second time, with Jesus.  And they’re going to witness things that are quite radical here.  We know another time, the third time this happens is in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples are with Jesus, and Jesus goes deep into the Garden, and he takes as he goes deep into the Garden just the three of them, and they’re with him.  And they’re able to then witness the agony, they’re able to witness the prayer at that time, but they’re also able to witness his surrender to the Lord, the Father.  He says to the Father “not my will but yours.”  So they see that too.  And they’re able to go back to that experience in their minds later.  And the Lord, he wants them to understand certain things and see certain things.  And that’s certainly what’s happening here.  Now, these experiences have an impact in their lives. 


Metamorphis of Jesus Christ---Who He Is


Verse 2, “and he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”  This one is radical event, it says that he is transfigured before them.  The word “transfigured” in the Greek is the word metamorphis or metamorpho.  And in Romans 12:2, it appears there too.  “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  That’s the same word, Greek word, metamorpho, where the caterpillar becomes the butterfly.  And the sense of the word is that it’s not that there’s light radiating on him that he’s reflecting, the sense is that he has gone through a transformation from the inside out.  He is in his glory, he is radiating glory, he is in his divine state [cf. Revelation 1:13-16].  There’s a radical thing that happens right here, as he’s standing there.  They’re seeing into a whole different deal, and so he’s radiating all this light.  You know we’re told “his clothes became white as light”.  Mark chapter 9, verse 3 says, the description, he was so white, Mark says that it was like snow, he says ‘No Laundromat could make them that white, it’s so white, I’ve never seen white like it.’   Mark was probably writing from Peter’s perspective, Mark isn’t here, Mark wasn’t one of the disciples.  But Mark, obviously, we believe learned from Peter.  So he’s transfigured.  Now, the other Gospels tell us that the disciples are tired, they so tired---maybe it’s because of the elevation---obviously just being with Jesus made them tired because he was always ministering and they were always on the go.  They fall asleep.  And putting the Gospels together it seems that they fall asleep, and it’s during that time that he’s transfigured, and maybe it’s because of the greatness of the light [intensity of the light, let’s use scientific terms here] that’s there.  You know, when there’s a bright light it wakes you up.  They wake up, and they marvel at what they see.  And what they see is like what John had seen on the Isle of Patmos later.  He’s exiled, he’s an old man, and he has this vision of Christ, the Son of God, King of kings, the Lord, and it’s described in Revelation chapter 1, verse 13, “And in the midst of the seven lampstands, one like the Son of man clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the chest with a golden band, his head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire.  His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and his voice was as the sound of many waters…and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (verse 16).  So, John seeing Christ, the Son of God, he describes it.  And it’s a similar kind of picture here, just that light, the glory.  Daniel in Daniel chapter 10, sees the Messiah in Daniel chapter 10, some would say it’s an angel, but there’s multiple things going on there.  There is an angel that he sees too.  But he gives a description of Christ there, and it’s the same kind of description.  So here they’re getting a little glimpse into a whole different realm, into the future, Christ in his glory, in his kingdom.  Pretty radical.  Now, the question: Why would Jesus take these disciples up there and have them witness this?  What’s the purpose with these guys, what’s the purpose?  Well if you take it in context, if you consider the flow of where we were.  Just a little bit ago Peter said, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’  And so, a moment later, when he sees the cross, he’s like ‘No, no, no, that’s not good, we don’t want that.’  So he’s seeing certain things, he’s growing and he’s understanding things.  But there’s things that he doesn’t, and so now Jesus takes him to a whole different experience which will just blow his mind.  It’ll attest, yes, when you said divine, Son of God, take a look at this.  That will certainly affirm that, that profession.  But there is this sense, it’s only six months or so to the cross.  That this also is going to prepare Peter.  Peter is going to go through a hard season later, isn’t he.  There’s things that he still doesn’t understand that are going to happen, and when his Lord is crucified and taken away, he, I mean, he denies the Lord three times, has this horrible little season in his life, horrific season.  But this is something that will be with him there.  I’m sure in those few days where he was going through that experience, he had this in his mind, ‘Yet I saw him.  What does it all mean?’.  It’ll be something that will stir his heart, and it would also begin to give him comfort too, and begin to move his heart.  Turn to 2nd Peter, this so impacted his life, turn to 2nd Peter, because when he writes, he writes two letters that we have, and in the second one he notes this.  Later, now, in the later part of his life he indicates in 2nd Peter as he writes this epistle, that he’s about to die.  He’s an old man, he knows he’s dying soon (although we know he was actually martyred).  But he senses his life is about to end and he writes these words, 2nd Peter chapter 1, verse 16, exhorting the Church: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to him from the excellent glory: ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.”  ‘I saw him in his glory, I saw him in his majesty, I saw him as the Son of God.  And these things that we’re telling you are not little things that guys invented in some university or seminary, we saw Christ, man, we saw him glorified, and you’ve got to know that this stuff is from God.’  So he writes with a passion later in his life, with such confidence about the Word and about God, and he brings it back to this experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Turn to John, chapter 1.  John is up on this mountain too, look at what John says when he writes the Gospel of John, look at what he says.  John chapter 1, verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  ‘We beheld his glory, we saw him in his glory.  And so, he is the Word made flesh, he is the Son of God.  As he says in the beginning of the Gospel of John, he is God, he is not ‘a god’, he is God, the Son of God, and he became flesh, and dwelt among us.  We beheld his glory’, John writes.  So the point with all that, they’re drawn aside with the Lord and have this incredible experience that impacts their lives.  You know, it’s like the Church in Uganda, Church in Uganda, they’re in this hard time, the nation’s a mess, and they get alone with God, and God ministers to them.  It was just fuel in the fire, man, it just changed their lives.  These disciples, man, they have an experience here, and it impacts their lives.  And I believe that so much for you and for me, in your life and in my life, that it is so vitally  important and critical that you and I draw aside to be with the Lord, that we honestly get into those times.  Because as we do, when you’re with the Lord alone, you have a greater realization of who he is.  He ministers to you, you can see a greater vision of who he is.  We don’t necessarily have a physical experience like these men are having, but we have spiritual experiences as Christians.  And my understanding, my faith in the Lord, man, is just so increased as I’m alone with him.  You might be here today, and I’m sure there are maybe quite a few, you struggle with doubts about the character of God, you struggle with doubts about his promises, you live a very small life because you have a very small view of God.  Jesus, I mean, you’ve got him in the cartoon sense, the Sunday school sense, Jesus to you.  You’ve got him in your heart as your Savior, but your view is very small of who he is.  And the reasons why it is very small is you don’t see him very often, I mean, you heard that you needed him, you accepted him, and now he’s part of your life, and he fits in, but [in reality] he’s not very small, he’s not just a little deal that I include as part of my life.  He’s the Son of God, he’s God the Creator of the heavens and the earth, he’s so majestic and awesome, he’s the glory and the power and the beauty.  Paul when he writes his letter to the church in Ephesus, he writes and says ‘I pray for you guys, I pray for you guys, I pray that your eyes would be opened and you would be enlightened, that you would see what you have in Christ, and who Christ is.  I pray that your eyes would be opened,’ he says another time, ‘that you would be open and you would see that incredible expanse of his love.  That you would then know, that you would be strengthened in your inner man by his might.  That you would know that he can do anything.’  And when men and women have that sense, when the children of God have that sense, it’s radical.  I live differently, I live such an impassioned life. 


How We Can See Jesus


When things are going down in my life, they may be big things, and they may be hard challenges, but in comparison to the Lord, they’re very small.  And so I live with a faith and a passion and an assurance.  I pray, I pray if you don’t understand that, that somehow, maybe we can meet after the service, and you can tell me how I can help you understand that.  There’s a better way.  Because that’s what it’s about.  It’s about you and I getting alone with the Lord, and seeing who our God is, and seeing his glory.  Now I’ve never physically seen him, but man, my eyes are being opened in the spiritual sense, that I have this faith of who Christ is, and it changes the way that I live, and it changes my passions and desires---my Christian life is alive, and I don’t want it to be mediocre, but to grow and just be inflamed at just such a time in our nation.  And the only way it happens is you and I getting alone with our Lord.  And you’ve got Monday morning, tomorrow morning, you’ve got Tuesday morning, you’ve got Wednesday morning this week, and maybe you look back to last week, it wasn’t part of your life.  But it should be part of your life if you are a Christian.  You should be drawing near to the Lord, letting God reveal himself to you.  And I tell you, you come on Sunday morning then, and you’re hungry, man.  You’ve been like eating all week long, man.  And I don’t know about you, if I don’t eat breakfast, I can probably skip lunch then, because there’s something there, my body wasn’t working, my digestive system.  So if I eat breakfast, it is hard to skip lunch, man.  Because my body’s digesting, and I get hunger pains that are so great, you know.  And when you are drawing near to him, the more you do it, the more you want to do it.  And that’s what we see here with Peter, I mean, that’s just the reality.  But it’s such a basic thing.  You know, I, we’re studying in our discipleship classes next month, and the first class, I was thinking about discipleship years ago, and we could go through, ‘This is how you become a minister, this is how you become a servant, this is how you become a husband, this is how you become a mom’; and that’s all important and needed, but I realized, well we’ve got to really make clear, because it’s such a struggle in the Church, in our culture, is that it starts with you walking intimately with God.  And if you walk intimately with God, we don’t even need to do parenting classes, we really don’t, we don’t need to do husband and wife classes, we don’t have to do any servant classes---because as you walk with God intimately, you grow in Christ.  And so, we’ve got some great material.  Our first discipleship class is called Inside-Out, and it’s a life where the inside, there is this work.  You know, Paul wrote about when we behold him, maybe you’ve never understood that, when we behold him, we are being changed from one glory to another.  And that’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about, is when you draw near to him, it begins to change you from one place to another.  And so our first discipleship class, we’re starting it I think on the 23rd or 30th, it’s called Inside-Out, you might want to consider taking it.  And if you, between now and then, will have not started a devotional time, and don’t really have that intimate time with God, then take the class, please.  [Comment:  Devotional time is what the Sabbatarian Churches of God refer to as Prayer & Bible study time.  One half hour of each a day, bare minimum.  We used to set a standard of one hour of each per day as an ideal goal.  It amounts to two-way conversation with God.  There is a whole section of this website dealing with the subject of prayer and what it is, and what it does for you as a believer.  See and log onto any one of the articles on the upper nav bar.]  Maybe something will happen in the class, that will make you think, ‘You know, I think this needs to be the number one priority in my life.’


In the Cloud with Christ---Listen to Him Speak to you


Verses 3-4, “And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’”  Well, they’re here on the mount, they’re sleeping, I think in verse 3 it says “Moses and Elijah appear”, I think they’re sleeping at that time.  I think what happens is, they wake up in verse 4 and, you know, there’s this bright light, it’s like this other realm opens up.  Christ is in that realm again, and they wake up, ‘What’s going on?’  [Comment:  Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 1:13-18 and then Revelation 19:11-12 and read those verses.  This is what Jesus looked like to these guys who just woke up.  It must have been a vision, because they weren’t burnt to a crisp, melted down in their tracks.  And besides, Jesus says it’s a vision in verse 9.]  And so Moses and Elijah, they appear and they’re talking with him.  Now this is quite the retreat, man.  We’re having a men’s retreat next month, and we’ve got a pretty cool line of speakers, you know.  Rob Likman, Chuck Allers, and it’ll be pretty cool.  But I tell you what, this is the retreat to go to, these guys, you’ve got Moses, he’s the expert on the Law, you’ve got Elijah, he’s the expert on prophecy [and revival], and then you’ve got Jesus the Logos, the Word.  I tell you, that’s quite a deal, man.  And they appear, you know, Moses the Old Testament deliverer, he’s the Law-giver, he’s the expert on the Law.  Interesting, his ministry wasn’t complete, he turned it over to Joshua.  And Joshua then continued that ministry, but he never completely finished the ministry.  Of course it’s completed and fulfilled in Christ.  Joshua, Joshua means Jehovah is Salvation.  Elijah, representing the Prophets, he had the protégé that followed him, that was Elisha.  He had his ministry, and Elisha continued it, and it was not completely finished in them. It’s of course fulfilled in Christ.  Elijah means God is Salvation.  Elijah is actually another form of Joshua in the Hebrew.  [Comment:  And Jesus in the Hebrew is really Yeshua, the Hebrew version of the Anglicized word Joshua.]    So you have Joshua after Moses, same ministry.  Elijah, then you have Elisha, same [similar] name, and then you have Jesus.  And the Hebrew form of Jesus is Joshua [really, Yeshua].  And Moses, the line of Moses, and the line of Elijah, they both go to Joshua [Yeshua], meaning Jesus.  [The Messianic Jewish believers use the name Yeshua for Jesus because it’s more accurate.  Jesus is the Greek form of the word, and doesn’t convey the same meaning as Joshua, Yeshua.]  It’s fulfilled in him, he is Salvation for us.  It’s all about him.  And you see that in those verses.  Moses and Elijah even leave the scene in a moment, and he is left alone, because it’s all about him.  It’s all about getting to know him and following him.  They’re talking with him, Moses and Elijah, they’re talking with Jesus.  Luke tells us that they talk for an extended period of time, the Greek shows it goes on, it isn’t just a quick little conversation, they’re talking for awhile.  Maybe the disciples are snoozing for quite awhile.  They probably wished they’d woken up earlier, would have liked to hear all this stuff.  They talk about, in Luke it says they discuss Jesus’ departure or exodus or decease, his exodus is what the Greek means, when he exoduses, he’s going to die, but it’s not just that he’s going to be nothing, he’s going to exit, he’s going to go back to his glory.  And then you think of the Old Testament, the Hebrews and Israel, the Exodus, into the Promised Land.  And Jesus’ exodus is then provided for you and I, our exodus, meaning how do I get into the kingdom of heaven, how do I get to the Promised Land?  I do it through Christ.  He’s paved the way, man, his death, his exodus has now given me this means.  Well, they speak with him.  You know, another reason of course this is happening is for Jesus, these men I’m sure have come to encourage him.  [Comment:  There’s two interpretations for this passage.  One follows the interpretation that souls, the spirits of  righteous men who die go to heaven.  The other interpretation within the Body of Christ follows the belief in soul-sleep, that the spirits of all men goes to heaven, unconscious until they are resurrected in one of the two major resurrections.  This pastor and sermon are following the soul remains alive and conscious upon death of the physical body.  See for an explanation of both versions, and what they’re based upon Scripturally.]  He’s only months away from the cross, the Father loves the Son, he’s sent Moses and Elijah to minister to Jesus.  [Going along with my comment above, the Father certainly could have sent this to Jesus as a vision of the future reality of the resurrection to immortality where Jesus will indeed see Moses and Elijah alive as immortal spirit-beings, if indeed soul-sleep is the proper interpretation.]  And then the Father even speaks at this point, and it’s that sense of encouragement.  And three times it happens where the Father speaks to the Son, and every time he does, from heaven verbally like that, where people witness it, it’s in a sense where death is there, the cross is there.  Meaning, at the Baptism, God the Father spoke, and when Jesus was baptized he was [in essence] saying ‘I’m yielding to death, the Baptism, I’m submitting to that, I’m going there, that’s the road I’m taking.’  And then at this time, and then later, just before, a week before Jesus goes to the cross, John chapter 12, he says ‘Oh my soul is troubled, and what shall I say, Father save me from this hour’, but then he says ‘But for this purpose I came to this hour.’  And right after that God speaks from heaven a third time, to the Son, to encourage him.  Well, Peter wakes up, verse 4, and he’s like blown away.  And he says ‘Oh man, this is cool, this is good.  Hey Jesus, if you wish, let’s build some shelters, let’s build some tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.’  And the sense is, this is kind of cool, let’s just kind of make this last a little longer.  [Comment:  The Jews all knew about the prophecies of the coming Messiah and that he would bring with him the Kingdom of God upon the earth, just read Isaiah 11.  They didn’t really understand that the Messiah was coming to die the first time around, and then he’d return to set up the Millennial Kingdom of God at his 2nd coming.  So Peter is interpreting this as the coming Millennial Kingdom of God, represented by the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Zechariah 14:1-15, and esp. verses 16-19 of that same chapter).  Jews would build booths on the Feast of Tabernacles for themselves [and observant Jews still do], and Peter wants to build booths for Moses, Elijah and Jesus because he thinks Jesus is bringing that Millennial Kingdom right there on the spot, and Peter’s all excited.  You have to understand the Jewish mindset about these prophecies.  They had an incomplete picture about the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s coming.  So that’s why Peter wants to set up booths.  The Jews know that the symbolic meaning for the Feast of Tabernacles represents the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth.  See and]  In the other Gospels it said specifically that they’re about to depart, and that’s when Peter blabs that out.  And it says in the other Gospels, it says that he doesn’t know what he’s saying, it says he doesn’t know what to say, and it says he’s afraid.  And there’s a rule, when you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything.  Peter didn’t know that rule at this time, he just cuts out, and it’s kind of silly what he says, actually, it’s like ‘What is he talking about?’  And I think everybody’s thinking ‘What is he talking about?’  ‘Whoa, don’t leave, let’s build some houses, this is kind of wild, I’m kind of scared, but let’s not end this thing yet’, that’s kind of the thing that’s happening with him. [If you were an observant Jew, you would have known what he was talking about.  But Gentile Christian pastors don’t always know these things.]  But I think of that, and I think of, it’s true, it’s true, when you’re in the presence of God, you long to be in the presence of God.  When you sing that song we just sang, “Better is one day in your Courts than a thousand days without”, it’s not like ‘Oh I like the beat, I like the beat’, it’s like ‘David is saying it’s one day in your Courts, if I could get one day there, and I had the choice of a thousand elsewhere, I’d take one day there, one day in your presence, that’s where it’s at.’  And Peter is kind of in the presence of the Lord in a very wonderful way.  And he’s like, ‘This is nice, let’s not end this.’  And when you get alone and draw near to the Lord it’s like that.  I have that experience, I hope you have that experience, that’s part of my problem, I’m always running late.  And part of my reason is when I sit down [kneel down] I want to make sure I kind of connect with God when I have my Bible and my journal out.  I don’t just want to go, ‘huh, huh, huh, ok’, or not do it, I want to connect.  And I really like it.  And because of that, everything else kind of gets brushed late.  You can ask my wife, I never leave on-time to anything.  I never do.  Because it’s like ‘I don’t have enough time to do this.’  It’s like, ‘Let’s build some tabernacles.’  And she’s saying ‘You’ve got to go to church!’.  But I like that, I like when I’m, “I know we’re communicating right now, Lord, I know we’ve connected, I can sense your presence, and the Word is suddenly alive to me.”  I love that, when you draw near to him, you long to be in his presence, the more you do, the more you want to.  The less you do, though, the less you appreciate it, the less you want to.  The more you do individually, but also corporately, it’s the same deal.  You  know, retreats, I’ve never been on a retreat where people are like ‘Oh bummer, man, bummer retreat, ah, what a waste of money.’  I’ve never seen, I’ve been to a retreat where there’s a lot of people, and I’ve never met one say ‘Ah, waste of my time.’  Retreats are wild, because you go with Christians for an extended length of time, maybe it’s a day or two, and you worship, and the teaching can be mediocre, you may not even be getting a lot from the teaching, but there’s something about being with the Body of Christ for an extended time, and drawing near to God.  It’s kind of like this experience they’re having right there, it’s, you don’t want it to end.  [That’s exactly the way Sabbatarian Church of God believers feel when they go to the Feast of Tabernacles for eight days, staying in hotels or motels at a Feast site, hearing a sermon a day, fellowshipping with other believers for 8 straight days, eating meals together, going on family outings together.  This is the one major retreat these believers observe every fall.  See .  Jerusalem from the time the Maccabees to Christ filled until it was bulging with Feast-goers, both during the Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread period of time in the spring and the fall Feast of Tabernacles time.  This is something Messianic Jewish believers are getting back into as well.]  It’s almost every time we go on a retreat, it’s “Ah, we’ve got to go home, bummer.”  You know we’re having this men’s retreat next month, I know there are a lot of men in this church, we always have a good number that go that love it, and I appreciate that.  But there are some men that are thinking ‘Ah, I don’t want to hang out with a bunch of men.  Come on, that’s just weird, are we gonna hug or something, buddy, buddy, you know?’  [chuckles]  ‘Man, I don’t do that.’  No, men, it’s Christ, it’s men of God standing with Christ, there’s something wonderful that happens at a retreat with men.  [“Where two or three of you are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst…”]  And if you are thinking about it, I pray you’d consider coming, and if your finances are a problem let me know, maybe something can be worked out.  We don’t want anything to stop you if you can come.  [I’ve been to several of Calvary Chapel’s men’s retreats, hosted by several different congregations, and they’re everything this pastor says they are, really spiritually uplifting.]  You know, the Lord interrupts Peter, verse 5.  Peter, his brain is like disconnected, he’s just like speaking nonsense in a way.  The Feast of Tabernacles is coming, so maybe he’s thinking, ‘Hey, let’s just stay up here and we can kind of do the Tabernacle thing here.’  Maybe that’s what he’s thinking [probably is, for reasons I pointed out], but as he’s going on about this, it’s like God graciously interrupts, it’s almost like God knows this is going to be recorded in the Bible, ‘and that’s strange enough what you just said Peter, I’ve got to cut you short here, before whatever the next thing you’re going to say comes out of your mouth.’  Brain’s disconnected.  ‘Let’s barbeque’, no we don’t want barbeque in the Bible, the Holy Spirit kind of, it says “While  he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and suddenly a voice from heaven came out of the cloud saying,” this wonderful presence comes, it’s God the Father, he’s revealing his presence in a way there.  And you think of the Old Testament, you think of the Shekinah glory, right.  Now the Shekinah glory, in the Tabernacle in the time of Moses, and also when Solomon dedicated the Temple, the Tabernacle, and the Shekinah glory would come, and we have times where the priests would just get out of the Tabernacle or Temple because God just sat there and rested there in this brilliant glowing cloud that the Jews call the Shekinah glory.  That’s kind of what’s happening here in this time.  That hasn’t happened in hundreds of years, about six hundred years.  These guys are having quite an experience.  No wonder it impacts their lives.  Well as they enter the cloud, we read in Luke and we see here too that they’re afraid, they’re afraid.  It’s overwhelming.  Then suddenly a voice comes, and that’s really what kind of gets them shaking in their boots. It says God speaks.  You wonder what his voice is like, right?  In the movies it’s like a big base-level voice booming out, ‘THIS IS MY BELOVED SON’.  But then you remember Elijah, it’s the whisper [the still small voice], just a whisper.  There’s this voice, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him.”  The Greek for that is actually “Hear him, and always hear him, and always listen and continue to hear him.”  So it refers even to today.  That statement refers to you and I today, “always, people, listen to him and hear him.”  I think of Deuteronomy, you know when, I’m sure they probably thought of it too, when Moses was speaking, he says, ‘There’s a prophet whose coming after me, and when this prophet comes, you need to hear him’.  Deuteronomy chapter 18, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren.  Him you shall hear.”  Deuteronomy 18 verse 19, “and it shall be that whoever shall not hear my words which he speaks in my name, I will require it of him.”  ‘There’s coming a prophet and you need to hear him.’  And that’s kind of what’s happening, here’s Moses, here’s the Prophet really, he’s [Jesus is] the fulfillment of that.  God the Father’s saying, ‘Hear him.’  The writer of Hebrews chapter 1, verse 1 says, “God who at various times, and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he has made the worlds.”  ‘So, hear him, hear him.’  And you know, when you get alone with the Lord---there at this time, they’re in a small group with Christ, and they hear the voice of God.  And I know a lot of Christians that struggle.  ‘I don’t know how to hear his voice, how do you hear his voice?’  People ask, ‘How do you hear the voice of God, how do I know what to do?’  And often the reason why they’re struggling is because they’re not drawing near to God, in faith, and having that time with him through prayer and Bible study].  But as you do that, things begin to happen, and then you begin to discern and hear the voice of God.  I’ve never heard him audibly, but I’ve heard him speak to me in my heart.  [Sort of like writing thoughts across the inside of your forehead kind of thing.  It’s real, it happens.]  And I’ve even made decisions because he’s spoken to me and I’ve watched God indeed speak to me.  And that’s what happens here. 


Elijah Must Come---Who is the coming Elijah?


Verses 6-13, “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.  Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is risen from the dead.’  And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.  But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished.  Likewise the Son of man is also about to suffer at their hands.  Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.”  Well they’re greatly afraid, verse 6, they fall on their faces.  They’re terrified, verse 7, though wonderfully Jesus comes and touches them.  Nothing to be afraid of, “Arise, do not be afraid.”  And when they lift their eyes and open their eyes, Jesus is all alone.  It’s all about him, it’s all about him.  Moses and Elijah, it’s not about them, it’s about Christ.  But don’t be afraid, you know, the Ugandans, as they drew near to the Lord, that’s what God was saying to them in that time which was so fearful.  Can you imagine in America, we get all kind of freaked out, we’ve got Katrina, we’ve got Rita [two devastating hurricanes in 2005], like what’s happening?  And can you imagine if the U.N. said two thirds of our population is going to be rendered useless in just a few years.  Could you imagine what we’d be like?  That’s what was happening in Uganda.  The Church there got alone with God, and God said ‘Don’t be afraid, trust me, man, let me work through you.  Seek my face.’  Well, as they leave the mountain, you can imagine, they leave the mountain, they’ve seen Jesus, he looks the same as he did when they went up on the mountain, they’ve been with him, he’s the same man.  [That’s why I think this was a vision Jesus and the Father were giving the three disciples that went up with him.]  But I tell you, I’m sure they’re looking at him a little bit closely, he’s different to them, even though he looks the same, they’ve seen him in a different way.  “Tell this vision to no one, until the Son of man is risen from the dead.”  [See, by Jesus’ own words, this was a “vision”, which would indicate Moses and Elijah weren’t actually there alive at that moment, as spirit-beings, resurrected to immortality, following the other major interpretation about when the saints receive their immortal spirit bodies and immortality.]  We’re told in Luke chapter 9 they’re faithful in doing that.  Mark then adds, Mark chapter 9, verse 10, that they kept debating, ‘What did he mean, rising up from the dead?  What did he mean by that?’  Now they knew the Scribes and the Law taught there would be this great resurrection, the resurrection of the dead, and that all people will stand before the judgment seat of God, the Great White Throne Judgment, the resurrection of the dead, they knew of that resurrection  [through Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy.  For more about these beliefs, and where that prophecy is explained, along with various interpretations about heaven and hell, go to].  But why are they debating here, what does he mean?  Well, it’s the Greek, we don’t necessarily see it in English, but when he says “from”, the Greek word is ek, and the sense of that word “from” is actually “out from among the dead.”  So he’s saying he’s going to be risen “out from among the dead”, of course, what does he mean “out from among the dead”?---meaning he’s going die and he’s not going to stay there, he’s going to raise from the dead after the cross.  Well, they go down the mountain, and they’re thinking, they’re dialoging, and they say “Why do the scribes say Elijah has to come first?  We just saw him up there, Malachi says, even the Scribes teach us, there’s the tradition, they leave the door open, and are waiting for Elijah, during the Feast of the Passover there’s always the empty place at the table, door was open, you know, Elijah.  Malachi says he’s supposed to come first, prepare the way for the Messiah.  But we just saw Elijah, and here you are, it’s not lining up, you kind of were before him, and if that’s him, does it now mean you’re going to be King and be Messiah?’  They’re confused, and so he says to them, as we come to the end of our time, he says Elijah is coming first, to restore all things, there is the future event, Christ is coming back a second time, not long from now, and Elijah will come before, the Elijah they just saw, and it’s in the book of Revelation, he comes as one of two witnesses.  [Now that’s an interpretation I haven’t heard before.  Don’t necessarily believe it, but we’ll find our for sure when it happens, now, won’t we?]  But he says, “But I say to you Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, and they did to him whatever they wished.”   And what does he mean?  Well he means this Elijah that was to come is John the Baptist, we’ve already studied that.  When John the Baptist, just before he was born, his dad was told by the angel [Gabriel] he will come in the spirit of Elijah.  And John the Baptist was like an Elijah, fulfilled that, partially the ministry of Elijah.  [And the work of Elijah and John the Baptist was a work of spiritual restoration.]  Interesting, Jesus comes twice, he came this time, and he comes again in the future.  Both times there is an Elijah that prepares the way.  [Some have said that the end-time work of the Body of Christ, the Christian Church as a whole will serve as a type of an Elijah type work, a work of spiritual restoration.  That is possible too.  We just don’t know until we’re looking back on events.]  John the Baptist, later Elijah.  ‘Well, the disciples then understood, he spoke to them of John the Baptist.’  [And that’s the only sure interpretation is what Christ gave right here.]  They leave this mountain, man, do they have insight into the Word of God now.  Man, are there things that, ‘Wow, man, that’s wild.’  I tell you, when you get alone with the Lord, you get alone with him in your Bible time, and alone and just let God speak to you, you will find the Word of God, and you will have such insight.  You won’t need to go to seminary.  You get alone with him, man, your insight into the Word will be great.  Let’s stand together…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Matthew 17:1-13, somewhere in New England]


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