Summary: Even though we have read the record of the Transfiguration many times, I feel we have not fully understood that it is a prophetic preview of the Second Coming of Jesus. The Transfiguration was actually a glimpse of Glory and a foretaste of the future.
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
Even though we have read the record of the Transfiguration many times, I feel we have not fully understood that it is a prophetic preview of the Second Coming of Jesus. The Transfiguration was actually a glimpse of Glory and a foretaste of the future. Part of the reason is because of the chapter divisions of Matthew 16 and 17. Realize that the Scriptures are inspired, but the numbers are not. In fact, it was a long time before the chapter divisions were placed in the Bible. Some were not inserted correctly and have thus divided subjects and caused some confusion.
Jesus began to talk about His Second Coming right before the start of Matthew 17. Notice the two verses at the end of chapter 16, which seem to present a discrepancy, because Jesus had said, “Some of you who are standing here shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”
Was Jesus right or wrong? He was not wrong. The Transfiguration was a microcosm of the Second Coming when you put the pieces of the entire picture together. It was a prophetic preview. It was a foretaste of the future. It was a picture that Matthew was recording for the saints concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As we study this portion of Scripture, I want us to learn three primary lessons about the Transfiguration as it relates to the Second Coming.
FIRST, LEARN WHAT THIS PERIOD INDICATED
A) Notice the Duration -- Matthew 17:1 says, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart.” I want you to notice the duration. The Word says, “after six days.” This was nearly a week after Jesus had said that some of those that were standing there would see Him coming in His Kingdom.
The Old Testament prophets never saw the church age; they always saw Jesus Christ coming in His glory and power. They preached it like it was about to happen. In the New Testament, the disciples are also preaching the soon return of Jesus.
When Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, he first told the story from Joel. He then leaped over the church age and preached about the signs in the moon and stars and what was going to take place during the Tribulation. Then he says, “This same Jesus who left here is going to come back again.”
Understand that Matthew was sharing about the Second Coming of Jesus. If it was to be soon then, it is definitely soon now. I want you to see the duration, but also the division.
B) Notice the Division -- Peter, James and John were with Jesus. The rest of the disciples, and many other people, were also there on that occasion. They heard Jesus say that “some would not pass away before He would come in His glory and Kingdom.” Although many today are in the work of the Lord, or may be faithful to attend the house of the Lord, still some are not ready for His return. There will be a division as to who is ready when Jesus comes in His glory. I want you to see that there is a division, but that there also is a departure.
C) Notice the Departure -- The Bible says that “He took them up into a high mountain.” When Jesus does come back in His glory, there is going to be a rapture, a departure. Some church workers will be left behind. Some will be tares while others are wheat. The tares will be left behind. Friend, you have got to be genuinely ready for the coming of Jesus if you are going to go with Him when He returns.
Jesus was sharing with all of the people that day about the soon-ness of His coming and that there was going to be a separation between those who are ready and those who will be left behind. Jesus’ message and prophecy are still going to come about just as He told them a long time ago. It will happen just as Matthew recorded.
Some time ago a man was staying in a chalet in the Swiss Alps. Early one morning he heard what sounded like an earthquake. Hurriedly he got out of bed and ran to the front desk and asked if there was something wrong, if the mountains were breaking up? He was scared. The man at the front desk explained, “Sir, we are on the west side of the mountain. As the sun comes up in the east, and the snow and ice expand as they begin to warm. The expansion causes a large crashing noise. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just the beginning of a new day.”