Mount Of Transfiguration
Dear reader, we have now arrived at the foot of another great mountain with a remarkable history. We see this mountain recorded in the 17th Chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel, and it is called the Mount of Transfiguration. On this mountain we have a wonderfully interesting piece of history. The disciples had been with Jesus almost three years and had only seen Him as a man. But on the mount they saw Him in His glorified body. We read that His face did shine as the sun and His raiment was as white as the light. Then we read, “And behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him;” and we turn back and notice that it had been 1451 years since Moses had his funeral on the mountain top across the River Jordan from the promised land. After the death of Moses we hear nothing more of him for 1451 years, but to our surprise here he is on the Mount of Transfiguration. We look at the other fellow who is on the mount and behold it is Elijah, and he had been gone 896 years.
So we have before us the Law-giver and the prophet and the Savior. The Savior had said that he would not pass away until all the Law and the Prophets were fulfilled, and now here on this mountain we have in the presence of three witnesses, Peter, James and John, the Christ of the Old and New Testaments. Now here stands before us the man that gave the Law to the world, and we have before us the greatest Prophet that ever lived. No other man ever did such things as Elijah. The prayer that brought the three years’ famine and the prayer that brought the rain, and the prayer that brought the fire from heaven, and the slaying of eight hundred and fifty false prophets.
When we read that Peter wanted to build three houses and live on the mountain top we are not surprised, for today if we were to get into the presence of the Son of God, and if Moses and Elias were to appear on the scene, we would want to stay there and ask questions about our loved ones.
In this wonderful scene on the mountain top we have three great proofs before us, and they are as follows: We have Moses there to represent all the dead, and he proves the resurrection. In the case of Moses we see that the dead will be resurrected and will stand at the Judgment Bar of God as natural as if they had never died. We see this proven by Moses, for here is a man that had been dead 1451 years, and we see him as natural as if he had never died. So Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration represents all the dead in Christ. We remember that Elijah never died but was translated, and went up without ever tasting death, but there he stands on the mountain top as natural as if he had just come from Mt. Carmel. In this wonderful transfiguration we see that Elijah represents all the living, for he never died. He never became an angel while he was gone. He still remained the old Prophet, and the moment that Peter flashed his eyes on him he knew him and called him by name. So that proves that we will know each other in the Land so fair. Some people have always had their doubts as to whether we will know each other in heaven or not. Well, we need have no more trouble about that. We surely will have as much sense in heaven as we have on earth. We know our loved ones here and of course we will know them there.
Another fact that we have brought out on the Mount of Transfiguration is that we have settled forever who is to be our leader. While the face of the Lord was shining like the sun, we hear the voice of the Father saying, “This is my well beloved Son, hear him.” Notice He did not say to hear Moses, or to hear Elijah, but He said “hear him,” that is, hear Christ. While we are to honor all men to whom honor is due, we are to hear the Son of God and we are to obey Him and Him only.
The preacher of the gospel is to hear the Son of God and get his messages from Him, and they are to be fresh from heaven; not man-made, but heaven-born; not to be reasoned out, but they are to be revealed from heaven to the God-made preacher and not the school-made man. Schools may help a man a little, but if a man only has what schools can give him he is to be pitied, for the poorest preachers on earth are men who are just out of school full of self and ignorant of God, and as empty as a tin horn, with no knowledge of God or of the blessed Holy Ghost. I am sure the Lord would use a man with good education if He could get him, but the trouble is this: when a man goes a few years to the schools and finds out enough to make him useful, the devil jumps on the poor fellow with both feet and stamps him into the ground, and makes him believe that he is too important to give his useful life to the Church of the Lord Jesus, and the thing for him to do is to go into the things of the world: Law or Medicine, or the stage. Most anything will beat being a preacher.
And so the devil catches the most of the men out of the schools, but the Lord in His divine providence just takes boys and girls out of the corn fields or from the cook stove or the wash tub and converts them and then sanctifies them and fills them with the Holy Ghost and puts them out on exhibition for the world to look at. He gives them mounts of transfiguration and reveals Himself to them, and the Scriptures all open up to such a fellow and he lives in and revels in the Holy Bible. He has mounts of holy worship, and mountains of law, and mountains of vision and mountains of possession, then mountains of contest, and mountains of temptation, and mountains of blessing, and then his mount of choice, and at last his mount of transfiguration, where he will know Moses as the lawgiver, and Elijah as the great prophet, and, thank God! he will know the Son of God as his Leader, and his Guide, and his Protector, and his Keeper, and his all and in all. He will be a living, walking example of what God can do for a man in this old world, and he will live the mountain-top life which is nothing more or less than the blessing of holiness as a second work of grace, received by faith subsequent to regeneration.
The mountain-top life is the one, and don’t you stop short of it, beloved; don’t you listen to the devil any longer, but press your claim to the throne of grace and tell your heavenly Father that you have come after a mountain, and that you will not be satisfied with a mole hill, or a big ridge; nothing short of a mountain will satisfy you in this world. Well, glory to God! Amen!