A Foreshadowing TransformationSeries: An Eschatological Mix
A FORESHADOWING TRANSFORMATION
Sermon By Terry Siverd / September 12, 2021 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Welcome to this morning's livestream sermon from the Cortland church of Christ. We're grateful that you have chosen to join us online for this study of the Word of God.
I have titled this morning's sermon, A Foreshadowing Transformation. After last Sunday's sermon, Clouds Of Glory, I have found myself unable to leave the clouds behind. In particular, I have been somewhat transfixed by our Lord's transfiguration. I'm seeing eschatology in the transfiguration of Jesus that I had not noticed before. Some of you might argue that I'm hung up on eschatology, but I'm really not. Over the course of my 25 years with our Cortland Church Family we have had a very balanced ministry. While we have preached on numerous topics over these years, we have also attempted to address eschatology. To not do so is to fail to preach the whole gospel. Eschatology is deeply interwoven into God's plan of salvation. For those who are accessing these sermon from places far away, we would invite you to retrieve our weekly essays also. Throughout this present series on eschatology, I've tried to pen a weekly essay to complement each spoken sermon. These are available for downloading from our church website - - www.cortlandcoc.org.
As a companion piece to last Sunday's Clouds Of Glory, I wrote an essay, Wonders In The Sky. In that brief essay I touched on a topic that I want to revisit with a little more detail this morning. Please open your Bible to Luke 9:28-36. Luke notes that the transfiguration took place about a week after Peter’s confession recorded in Lk.9:18-20 - - During a time of prayer, Jesus had asked His disciples, Who do the multitudes say that I am? They responded saying, Some say You are John the Baptist while others say you are Elijah or one of the prophets of old (risen again). Then Jesus asked His disciples, But who do YOU say that I am? Peter answered, saying, You are The Christ Of God! Lk.9:28f says Jesus went to the mountain. Matthew 17:1 and Mark 9:2 specify that this was a high mountain. In Peter's second epistle he alludes to this event, by noting: we were with Him on the HOLY mountain (2Pet.1:18). This was likely Mount Hermon - - located a short distance from Caesarea Philippi, 5-10 miles northeast. It consisted of three large peaks, two rising to over 9,300 feet above sea level. By comparison, Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the U.S. east of the Mississippi, stands at c. 6,700’. Jesus went to the mountain to pray. This was our Lord's pattern of behavior - - Lk.5:16 notes, He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Lk.6:12 adds, Jesus went off to the mountain to pray and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” There is much to learn here: First, if Jesus felt this need to pray, who are we to think we can get along without such? Jesus took with Him Peter, James & John. These three apostles constituted what we might call Jesus’ “inner circle”. These three are seen with Jesus on various occasions: cf. Mk.1:29 (healing of Peter’s mother-in-law) … Mk.5:37 (healing of Jairus’ daughter) … Mk.13:3 (Olivet discourse) … Mk.14:33 (praying in garden of Gethsemane). Vs.29 records that while praying, Jesus was transfigured. The Greek word for “transfigured” is the word from which we get, “metamorphosis”. Lk.9:29 states, the appearance of His face became different and His clothing became white and gleaming. Matthew's account (Mt.17:2) says, His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as light. Mk.9:3 reads, His garments became radiant & exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. This reminds us of the theophanies experienced by Moses on mount Sinai in Old Testament times. The reference in Lk.9:37 (the next day) may indicate that this event took place at night, making it even more dramatic. One interpreter explains it “as Jesus’ deity shining through a humanity which could not contain it.” Vs.30f records that Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus. Moses represented The Law and Elijah represented The Prophets (i.e., the entire Old Covenant). (They) were appearing in glory, and They were speaking of His exodus which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Many translations render this His DEATH or DEPARTURE, but the actual word is EXODUS. The Old Testament Exodus foreshadows much of the eschatological events we read about in the New Testament. Israel’s participation in the exodus from Egypt prefigured the ultimate exodus (i.e., freedom from sin). The real exodus came to a close with the full establishment of the New Covenant which transpired in fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Jesus underscored the importance of Jerusalem's fall in Lk.21:22, declaring - - these are the days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Heb.9:8 also emphasized the vital connection between the temple's destruction and New Covenant's establishment. Writing to the Hebrews in the years just prior to AD 70, Paul affirmed - - The way into THE HOLY PLACE has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing. Vs.33 tells us that Peter made an offer to build three tabernacles. Peter, James & John had apparently fallen asleep and had awakened just in time to see His glory and Moses & Elijah. Peter offers to build three temporary “booths”: one for Jesus, Moses & Elijah. The feast of tabernacles was a Jewish festival that featured dwelling in make-shift booths commemorating 40-yrs in wilderness. “It is good for us to be HERE” - - we can celebrate the feast of tabernacles right here on the mountain. Peter’s thinking was most likely that it was better on the mountain with Jesus, Moses & Elijah than to venture down and go to Jerusalem where Jesus will be crucified. Peter was struggling to accept Jesus’ crucifixion. Remember, Mt.16:21-23 - - where Peter rebuked Jesus, saying, God forbid it, Lord! Jesus rebuked Peter, Get Behind Me, Satan! As vs.33b notes, here again Peter did not realize what he was saying. Vss.34-36 reveals that the clouds rolled in and God Almighty spoke. They were enveloped in the Shekinah / cloud of glory. As with Jesus’ baptism, a voice thundered from heaven, This is My Beloved Son, My Chosen One. With this declaration came a command: Listen to HIM! Literally, “keep on listening to HIM”. When the voice fell silent, Jesus was found alone! - - i.e., gone were Moses & Elijah. Mt.16:7 notes that Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid'.
This is a story that is quite profound in its deeper meaning, which I fear we often fail to grasp. More often than not, this text is used to emphasize a post-resurrection body of Jesus, which I think misses the point. The Lord's transfiguration is a story of a major metamorphosis (change) that was soon to come for the people of God. It is my view that the transfiguration of Jesus foreshadows the changing of the covenantal worlds. Peter makes this precise connection in 2Pet.1:16 - - we made know to you the power & coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the kind of language that frequently accompanies the eschaton (the second coming of our Lord). It speaks to us about a change that could only be accomplished by the exodus of Jesus. When Moses and Elijah were speaking of His exodus, I do not believe they were just talking about the Lord's crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus was soon to ascend back to the Father, as recorded in Acts 1:9-11. The ascension of Jesus parallels the work of the High Priest in ratifying the offering for sin. Here again, as I have urged you over the last few weeks - - take time to read very carefully the book of Hebrews. And please read my essay in today's FamilyMatters: Speaking Of His Exodus. Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus promised His disciples (Jn.14:3) - - If I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN and RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; that where I am, there you may be also. In the deliberations recorded in the Old Testament, atonement for sin was not completed (ratified) until the high priest had returned to receive and bless the congregation. cf. Lev.9:22 Heb.10:12-13 records: having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, (Jesus) sat down at the right hand of God, WAITING FROM THAT TIME ONWARD UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. This took place with God's judgment on Israel in the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in AD 70.