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Transfiguration

Son of Man

After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves. He was changed before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.

I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. And among the lamp stands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.

Many WatersBehold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.

His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters.

Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let’s make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them.

He had seven stars in his right hand.

Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.

When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid. Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.”

When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus AloneLifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.

I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lamp stands are seven assemblies.

Transfiguration

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Transfiguration

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Revelation of the Risen Christ, the Son of Man

Son of ManTransfiguration

Beyond

A powerful thing about Strings is that they let us see something in new ways. The transfiguration scene in Matthew 17 is a great example. Let’s compare this scene with the Son of Man passage in Revelation. Then, if you’re interested, I’ll share five more examples: Jesus on the cross, the City of Light, the Isaiah prophesy, the Before the Throne scene, and the Resurrection story in Matthew.

High Mountain

In the transfiguration story, Jesus takes three disciples up into a high mountain. He’s changed before them. Most translations write the word as “transfigured.” It means, “to be transformed.” His face shines like the sun, and his garments become as white as the light.

This is just like the Son of Man passage in Revelation 1:14 where Jesus is shown, clothed with a robe. His head and hair are as white as white wool. And his eyes are like a flame of fire. He looks like God, as he is God.

Moses Appears

Many WatersSuddenly, Moses and Elijah appear with Christ. These are famous Old Testament people, Moses in particular. The meaning of his name is telling: “drawn from the water,” or “saved out of the water.”

This connects to the Son of Man passage which says Jesus’ voice is like “many waters.” Also notice that Moses and Elijah are talking with Christ. Just like the voice of Christ. No explanation is given as to why Moses and Elijah appear.

Seven Stars

The next part of the transfiguration story is more mysterious. Peter starts to speak. He says he is glad to be there and offers to make three tents. Reading this passage on its own, it appears Peter is somewhat bewildered and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s not the case at all.

Jesus holds seven stars in his right hand. They are the angels or spirits of the seven churches, in heaven. Peter does exactly what he is supposed to do as a disciple of Christ. He offers to build churches in a place that’s eternal.

My Beloved Son

Suddenly, God the Father testifies. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, listen to him.

The revelation parallel also has a voice. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword, which would seem to be the Word of God in Christ the son. His face, shines like the sun. This echoes how the passage began, with Jesus’ face shining, like the sun.

Fall and Worship

At this point, the parallel between these two passages is indisputable (at least to me). The disciples fall at Jesus’ feet, terrified. John sees the risen Son of Man and falls at his feet.

In both passages, Jesus touches them and tells them not to be afraid. His touch is all-powerful.

Look and See

Jesus AloneAll of the sudden, the scene seems to change. The disciples lift up their eyes and see only Jesus. That means Moses and Elijah are not there, or at least no longer visible.

Jesus holds the keys to death and hades in his hand. It suggests that only Jesus holds these keys. The angel commands John to write what he’s seen, which are things that have happened, are happening, and will happen again.

Risen Christ

Jesus then commands his disciples not to tell anyone “what you saw,” until he has risen from the dead. This part of the passage is telling, and it reveals something powerful about the entire transfiguration story.

The disciples have seen Jesus, shining like the sun, with clothes as white as snow, and eyes like a flame of fire. They’ve seen the risen Christ, long before his death and resurrection.

Behind the Curtain

The transfiguration scene is interesting because it transcends heaven and earth. Jesus and the disciples go up on a high mountain, yet the mountain is still on earth. They see a vision of the risen Christ, long before his death and resurrection.

New souls start appearing — Moses and Elijah in particular, and we don’t yet know why. The disciples hear the voice of God the father, speaking to them. All this is taking place in a sort of “between” state, where they are not fully present on earth, nor are they yet fully present in heaven.

I think this is what the book of Revelation does when used in parallel. It lets us see behind the curtain of death, into a place of eternal life, even when we’re not yet fully there. More importantly, it shows us the risen Christ — the one who holds the keys to death and hades, in his hand.

Next, let’s explore how Jesus got to this place. Let’s step through and compare his death, as recorded in Luke 23:42. Click the right arrow or the “Remember Me” link below.

To explore these passages directly, click this button: