The Transfiguration of Christ

We continue today to meditate on who Jesus is. We have been saying the last few days that the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testament, prove that Christ is God in the flesh, coming into the world for a specific purpose—that of being the sacrificial Lamb of God who would pay the sin-debt of all who put their faith in Him.

On one occasion, Jesus took three of His disciples to the top of a mountain. While they were there, something happened to Him that the three witnessed. Christians call the event the Transfiguration. Here’s what the scripture says:

As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning (Luke 9:29).

The Gospel writer Mark records what happened with these words, “There He was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). Mark uses the Greek word, Metamorphoo, translated into the English word transfigured. We get our word, metamorphosis, from this Greek word to describe the change that takes place when a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The word literally means to change form, to alter fundamentally, a change of place or condition. This was the revealing of His inner supernatural glory being seen on the outside by the three disciples who were witnesses of His glory.

Let’s look at a passage that will help explain what was happening. Paul the Apostle, writing to the church at Philippi, tells us about Christ in this way:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7).

The Greek word that is translated made nothing is the word Kenoo. The word means to empty, to void, to make empty, to be without content, to be made ineffectual. It means to empty something of its power, to render insignificant, to cause to be irrelevant. The mystery of the Gospel is that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). When Jesus left heaven and the glory He had with the Father, He became fully man and voluntarily accepted the restrictions upon Him as a man without laying aside His nature as God.

At the same time as becoming man, He was fully God. In the passage about the transfiguration, the Lord was allowing the three disciples to see beyond the veil of the flesh to Who He is in essence. Not only did they see Christ as He really is, but at the same time, they were seeing two others, Moses and Elijah, in the glorious state that they now have in the realm beyond the flesh. This change of nature or metamorphosis will also take place in the believer in Christ. The Lord was encouraging the disciples that, in their denying of themselves, inner glory would be the result, and this glory from God would be manifest in the future, just as Elijah and Moses’ were. What God is doing on the inside of us, i.e. our spirit man, will come to the outside. How glorious will that time be! Keith Thomas

Who Is the Angel of the Lord?

We are thinking of the fact that God has visited earth in the form of a man several times in the Old Testament, before He was born as the Man, Jesus. In a number of places in the Tenach, the Old Testament, He was called the Angel of the Lord, but make no mistake, this was YHVH in the flesh that visited. For instance, God was the One who was protecting the birth of Ishmael, because He was going to bring about the birth of the Arabic people. We are told that Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, when she was running away from her mistress, Sarah, was protected and cared for by the Angel of YHVH:

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur (Genesis 16:7).

This was not a normal angel, He is called the Angel of YHVH in verses 9,10, and 11. But in verse 13, this angel is called YHVH:

Then she called the name of YHVH who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis: 16:13).

This was the same angel, the Angel of YHVH, that held Abraham’s arm as he was about to sacrifice Isaac. He spoke to Abraham in the first person, as if He Himself was and is God.

10Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:10-12).

Did you miss it? This Angel, the One in the form of a man, was speaking as if He was and is God. Again, further in the conversation between Abraham and the Angel of the Lord, the scriptures tell us:

15Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son (Genesis 22:15-16).

In the Old Testament, God Himself has visited earth in the form of a man. The same One who was born into the human race as a man to be a sacrificial Lamb, a holy offering for sin. God Himself came to the human race as a Man in order to take away and purge away sin, for every man that will take His substitutionary sacrificial offering as your own.

Keith Thomas