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The Transfiguration of Jesus. Miracles. ND after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John bis brother,
and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was 2 transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto 3 them Moses and Elias, talking with him. Then answered Peter, and 4
destroyed, and Judaism was super- his tears upon more than one occaseded by Christianity, as the visible sion betokened a susceptible heart. church and acknowledged religion An high mountain apart. Early of God on earth. John xxi. 22, 23. tradition designated Mount Tabor Similar predictions were also made as the scene of the Transfiguration, by our Lord, in Mat. xxiv. and xxv. though many have supposed that it
was Mount Hermon, or Mount PaCHAP. XVII.
No data now exist to decide 1–9. Parallel to Mark ix. 2-9, the question. Luke states that his and Luke ix. 28–36.
object in going up was to pray, and 1. After six days. Luke writes, the mind of Jesus appears not to “ About an eight days after,” which have been independent of those may not be at variance with Mark elevating influences which came and Matthew, but include the two from the loneliness and sublimity days of the previous conversation of such a place. The mountain and the subsequent transfiguration. was his favorite oratory, and the The language also purposely con
sea his frequent resort. veys the idea of some indefiniteness 2. Was transfigured. Or changed of time; about an eight days after. in the external appearance, not in
Peter, James, and John his brother. shape or size. Iu Luke, it is said, The foriner had been called the " the fashion of his countenance was Rock of the church. The two lat- altered.” His face shone with a peter were termed Boanerges, or sous
culiar lustre, and his garments beof thunder. The three were the came white and glistering. These most prominent men among the phenomena, though outward, must Twelve the most devoted and have conveyed to the disciples a powerful disciples, Gal. ii. 9. They powerful spiritual impression; for were at other times favored with such an appearance was indicative peculiar privileges by their Master. of the Divine presence and favor.
They were admitted to witness the It was an ancient opinion, that he resuscitation of the ruler's daughter, designed here to give his disciples a Mark v, 37, and accompanied Jesus glimpse of that glory promised in in bis temptation in the garden of Mat. xvi. 27, to fortify their minds Gethsemane, Mat. xxvi. 37. They against the scandal of the cross. were a sufficient number, according 3. Moses and Elias. Elijah. The to the law, to bear witness to any one, the great Lawgiver of Israel, fact. Perhaps the tender sensibility the other, the great Reformer and of Jesus shrank from having a Prophet. To see their Master congreater number accompany him to versing with these most venerable his retirement and devotions, for men of Jewish history would exalt 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 5 one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud over
shadowed 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.
bim, in the eyes of his companions, ceeded to say, for it does not apto a height he had not before occu- pear that his remark was any reply pied in their minds. This scene was to what had been said before. We peculiarly fitted, as undoubtedly it are elsewhere told that the disciples was intended, to show the barmoni- were heavy with sleep, but awoke ous connection between the old and and beheld the glorious appearance, new dispensations, since their great and that, as the two men were deLeaders were seen holding a friend- parting, Peter, with his characterisly interview. It afforded new evi- tic forwardness, although particidence of Jesus' Messiahship; served pating in the fear common to all therefore to encourage the disciples, three, and hardly knowing what he whose hearts had failed them at the uttered, said to Jesus, “ Lord,
it is prospect of their Master's death, and good for us to be here,” &c.—Three their own exposure to persecution, tabernacles. Or, booths, such as which he had predicted. Froni a could be formed of the boughs of lowly individual, he now rose be- trees common in that place. This fore their conceptions into the speech, whilst it revealed the wild highest glory conceivable by a Jew- rapture of Peter, disclosed also his ish mind. But more than this. The earthly savor of mind. He seems transfiguration may have taken to have supposed that this scene place for the sake of Jesus as well could, from its nature, be long peras his disciples. This is indicated petuated; or that these distinguishby the subject of the conversation, ed individuals would remain as asas given by Luke, who says, they sistants to Christ in founding a “spake of his decease, which he temporal kingdom; or, as has been should accomplish at Jerusalem.” suggested, he wished to dwell apart They appeared to encourage and from the cares of life, in this sweet strengthen him by their sympathy, solitude and celestial society, nor for a fate which was so dreadful to again return to encounter those tercontemplate, that in the garden herible evils that had lately formed prayed that if it were possible the the unwelcome subject of his Mascup might paes from him. If an ter's conversation. angel then appeared to succor him, 5. A bright cloud. A luminous why is it not likely that this scene, one, which was a symbol of the with its glory, and heavenly visit- Divine presence, or the Shechinah. ants, and voice from the cloud, was Ex. xvi. 10, 2 Chron. v. 14.-Overdesigned to sustain the Master, as shadowed. Better, surrounded them, well
as impress his followers ? We as a cloud of light could not from are not informed in wbat way the its nature overshadow any thing: disciples identified Moses and Eli- A voice out of the cloud, &c. The jab, but not unlikely they ascertain- same audible Divine sanction of Jeed the fact from Jesus himself. sus had been before given at his
4. Answered Peter. Rather, pro- baptisın, and was afterwards at Je
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore 6 afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said : Arise, and be 7 not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no 8 man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, 9 Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, until the Son rusalem, in the presence of the what we understand by that word multitude. Mat. ii. 17, and John now, as some have contended, but xii. 28. Some suppose that refer a sight, an appearance. The purence is particularly made to Deut. pose of the transfiguration, as alxviii. 15. Peter long after, 2 Pet. i. ready intimated, was to strengthen 16–18, referred to this scene and Jesus for his approaching sufferto the Voice, as a proof of his Mas- ings by the sympathy of the great ter's authority and truth. Some worthies of the old dispensation, suppose that John, i. 14, also refers and the approving voice of Heaven; to it, but not upon any strong and to confirm the belief of the grounds.—Though no articulate disciples in Jesus as the Christ, and voice now speaks from the sky to reinove the discouragements lately bid us hear him who is the be- produced by the prediction of his loved Son of God, yet his bloody death, through an exhibition of his cross, his empty sepulchre, and glorified state. The reasons, therehis benign Gospel with all its sweet fore, of Jesus' enjoining this secreand thrilling tones, are ever sound- cy were similar to those which ing the solemn command in our prompted him to make the same ears, and in the depths of our spirit- prohibition on other occasions. ual natures. See note on Mat. iii. Mat. xvi. 20. The disciples did 17.
not yet sufficiently understand the 6. Sore. An old English word nature of his kingdom to proclaim for very, exceedingly. Full of con
Messiahship. Their minds sternation, they fall prostrate upon rather needed to be held in restraint. the earth. Acts ix. 4. From a no The people also were in too inflamtion prevalent among the Jews that mable a state for this fact, which one who saw God should die, they had it been made known would were perhaps afraid to look up. have proved like a spark in a magaEx. iii. 6, Dan. viii. 17. In Luke, zine of powder.
With that wisthey were said to have “ feared, as dom which never failed him, he they entered into the cloud.” therefore commanded them to keep
9. Came down from the mountain. what they had witnessed a secret. Luke states, ix. 37, that they did -The Jews had often required a not come down till the next day, sign from heaven as a proof that from which it has been inferred Jesus was the Christ. Here was that the transfiguration took place a sign from heaven, to satisfy in the night, which they had passed the most skeptical.—The transon the mountain, and that this figuration affects the question of might have partially influenced Pe- Christ's person, for lie appears here, ter in proposing to build three not in his state of humiliation, but tents.—Tell the vision to no man, &c. of glory. And what is his glory? Or, as Mark has it, “that they It is that of a Divine messenger; should tell no man what things they a beloved Son of God, not God had seen,
;" The vision then was not himself, in which character it would
10 of Man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, 11 saying: Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And
Jesus answered and said unto them: Elias truly shall first come, and 12 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. 13 Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then the disci
ples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. 14 And when they were coine to the multitude, there came to him a
seem that this was the time and Messiah has already appeared, and place for him to appear, if he was no forerunner has preceded him ? in reality the Supreme.-Risen If thou art the Messiah, where is again from the dead. Mark says Elijah that was to herald thy adthat they were in doubt about his vent? Are the Scribes right or meaning. They did not yet un- wrong in their instructions on this derstand how, if he were the Mes- point ? siah, he could suffer death, nor, ac- 11. Jesus replies, that the Scribes cordingly, how he could be literally are right; they say truly that Eliraised from the dead.
jah is to come first and restore all 10–13. Parallel to Mark ix. 10 things, or establish, or consummate 13.
the whole or prepare for the Mes10. Elias must first come, i. e. siah by a great moral reformation, Elijah. This was the popular opin- Mat. iii. 1–7, Luke iji. 3—15, i. e. ion entertained by the Jews, found- such is the purpose of God; not ed on Mal. iv. 5, 6.
The error but what Elijah had already come. consisted in supposing that the In Mark the present tense is used, identical Elijah of old times would 12. That Elias is come already, reappear amongst men, and not i. e. John the Baptist, who might be that an Elijah, i. e. a man of like properly called an Elijah, from his character and office, a hardy re- austere life, and his energetic spirit former, was to come before the ad- of reform. Luke i. 17.-Knew him vent of the Messiah. It would ap- not. Recognized him not in his pear that this conversation took official character, as the messenger place whilst Jesus and the three of God, and the forerunner of the were coming down from the moun: Messiah.—Whatsoever they listed. tain, before they reached the other Have treated him with every indisciples and the multitude. They dignity. Listed is old English for asked the question, because they chose. Also the Son of Man. The had been prohibited from proclaim- Messiah will meet with no better ing the Messiah, though Elijah his fate than his forerunner. precursor had already come, as 13. It appears that the Apostles they thought, being seen by them did not know, before this, that John on the mountain, and no reason was the predicted Elijah of Malatherefore seemingly existing why chi. they should not immediately pub- 14—18. Parallel to Mark ix. 14 lish their Master's Messiahship. --27. Luke ix. 37–43. Or, to construe their question dif- 14. When they were come to the ferently, Why do the Scribes say that multitude. Mark states that “ all the Elias must first come, when the people, when they beheld him, were
certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying: Lord, have mercy on 15
greatly amazed, and, running to him, times, and enjoyed only short intersaluted him.” Some bave conjec- vals of reason. Luke ix. 39. This tured that a certain glorious lustre desperate case was presented to our still lingered around his person, as
Saviour to cure. there did around Moses when he 16. Could not cure him. The came down from the mount. Ex. reason why they could not is assignxxxiv. 29, 30, But the probability ed in verse 20. is that he came to them by surprise, 17. O faithless and perverse geneand they were rejoiced to see himn. ration! Perverse in the original is -Man, kneeling down to hin. “ The derived from a word which signiancients consecrate the ear to Mem- fies to twist, to turn awry; as wrong ory, the forehead to Genius, the in English, by a like metaphor, right hand to Faith, and the knees comes from wrung, a participle to Mercy.” The man threw him- from wringen, to twist. This reself into a posture of earnest sup- buke was addressed to those presplication. He was pleading for an ent, in general; as well to bis disonly son. Luke ix. 38.
trusting followers as to the cavilling 15. Lunatic, i. e. moonstruck, or Scribes, Mark ix. 14, who, not unaffected with a disorder which was likely, triumphed in the failure of thought to be influenced by the the disciples to work a cure.--How changes of the moon, though it was long shall I be with you, &c. How also believed that an evil spirit was long will my presence and assistimplicated in the convulsions. For ance be required among you ? How as Lightfoot remarks: “It was very long shall I endure with patience usual for the Jews to attribute some your perversity? The tone of Jeof the more grievous diseases to sus' mind was rather that of regret evil spirits, specially those wherein and sorrow than of impatience. either the body was distorted, or 18. Rebuked the devil. Demon. the mind disturbed and tossed with Jesus used the popular language of a frenzy.” See note on Mat. iv. 24. his day, and addressed the youth as So far as the disease can now be if some evil spirit were in him; but known by the symptoms that are his words no more imply that he recorded, it would seem to have regarded the demon as a conscious been epilepsy, or a falling sickness, being, than his addressing the dead, attended with violent paroxysms,
or the winds and waves, or a fever, the victim foaming at the mouth, as was the fact, would indicate that gnashing with his teeth, wallowing he believed them to be conscious upon the ground, torn and bruised, agents. From that very hour. From falling into the fire, or the water, that moment. The suddedness making violent outcries. He had with which this desperate disorder a dumb spirit, or lost his speech at was cured proved that it was done