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to be superior to Moses and Elias, the giver and restorer of the law. 5. As an evidence to the disciples of the existence of a separate state, in which good men consciously enjoy the felicity of heaven. 6. As a proof that the bodies of good men shall be so refined and changed, as, like Elias, to live in a state of immortality, and in the presence of God. 7. As exhibiting the sympathy which exists between the church in heaven and the church on earth, and the instruction which the former receives from the events which take place in the latter: Moses and Elias conversed with our Lord on his approaching death, doubtless to receive, not to convey information. 8. As maintaining the grand distinction, the infinite difference, between Christ and all other prophets : he is “ The Son." “ This is my beloved Son, hear him.” It has been observed, with much truth, that the condition in which Jesus Christ appeared among men, humble, weak, poor, and despised, was a true and continual transfiguration ; whereas, the transfiguration itself, in which he showed himself in the real splendour of his glory, was his true and natural condition.
Rev. RICHARD Watson.
Jesus had (in the conversation mentioned in the preceding chapter) told his disciples, that the Son of Man should come in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels, to judge the world. The scene on the mount therefore, which so soon followed that conversation, was probably meant to convey to them some idea and some evidence of his coming in glory at the great day of judgment, of which his transfiguration was, perhaps, as just a picture and exemplification as human sight could bear.
It is, indeed, described in nearly the same terms that St. John, in the Revelation, applies to the Son of man in his state of glory in heaven. “He was clothed (says he) with a garment down to the foot. His head and his hair were white like wool, white as snow; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” It is remarkable that St. Luke calls his appearance, after being transfigured, his glory. St. John, who was likewise present at this appearance, gives it the same name. “ We beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father.” And St. Peter, who was another witness to this transaction on the mount, refers to it by a similar expression. “ For he received (says that Apostle) from God the Father, honour and glory, when there came to him such a voice from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” There can hardly therefore remain any doubt, but that the glory which Christ received from the Father, on the mountain, was meant to be a representation of his coming in the glory of his father, with his holy angels, at the end of the world; which is one of the topics touched upon in the preceding chapter.
Another thing there mentioned was, our Saviour's resurrection. Of this, indeed, there is no direct symbol in the transfiguration ; but it is evidently implied in that transaction; because Jesus is there represented in his glorified, celestial state, which being in the natural order of time subsequent to the resurrection, that event must naturally be supposed to have previously taken place.
The glory of Christ therefore on the mountain, was a symbol of his exaltation to be the judge of the earth; and the glory of Moses and Elias was an emblem of the rewards given to the righteous in heaven.
The other great purpose of the action on the mount was, I apprehend, to signify, in a figurative manner, the cessation of the Jewish, and the commencement of the Christian dispensation. BISHOP PORTEUS.
Jesus chose Peter, James, and John, that they might be witnesses of his Transfiguration : two or three witnesses being required by the Scripture to substantiate any fact. That fulness of the Godhead, which dwelt bodily in Christ, now shone forth through the human nature, and manifested to his disciples, not only the Divinity which Peter had before confessed, Matt. xvi. 16, but also the glorious resurrection body, in which they should exist in the presence of God to eternity.
Elijah came from heaven in the same body which he had upon earth, for he was translated, and did not see death 2 Kings ii. 11. And the body of Moses was probably raised again, as a pledge of the resurrection. Both their bodies exhibit the same appearance, to show that the bodies of glorified saints are the same, whether the person had been translated, or had died. It was a prevalent tradition among the Jews, that both Moses and Elijah should appear in the times of the Messiah.
We conceive that the Law in the person of Moses, the great Jewish legislator, and the Prophets in the person of Elijah, the chief of the prophets, came now to do homage to Jesus Christ, and to render up their authority into his hands : as he was the End of the Law, and the grand subject of the predictions of the prophets. This appears more particularly from what Luke says, (chap. ix. 31,) that Moses and Elijah conversed with our Lord on his death, which he was about to accomplish, because in it, all the rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices of the Law, as well as the predictions of the prophets, were fulfilled.
Tell the vision to no man. Observe, that as this Transfiguration was intended to show forth the final abolition of the whole Ceremonial Law, it was necessary that a matter which could not fail to irritate the Jewish rulers and people should be kept secret, till Jesus had accomplished vision and prophecy by his death and resurrection.
The whole of this emblematic transaction appears to me to be intended to prove, 1st. The reality of the world of spirits, and the immortality of the soul. 2dly. The resurrection of the body, and the doctrine of future rewards and punishments.—See chap. xvi. 27. 3dly. The abolition of the Mosaic institutions, and the fulfilment of the predictions of the prophets relative to the person, nature, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 4thly. The establishment of the mild, light-bringing, and life-giving Gospel of the Son of God. And 5thly. That as the Old Jewish Covenant and Mediatorship had ended, Jesus was now to be considered as the sole Teacher, the only availing offering for sin, and the grand Mediator between God and man. DR. A. CLARKE.
Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion ; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy
King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. — Zech. ix. 9.
SACRED NARRATIVE. AND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, the Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way. — Matt. xxi. 8.
Much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna! blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord! The people therefore that was with him, when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bear record. For this cause the people