Important message from the Mount of Transfiguration

1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” (Matt. 17:1-9)

In the story about the Mount of Transfiguration, there is a very important hidden message for us today. Moses represents the law, Elijah represents the Prophets, while Jesus is a picture of the New Covenant.

Peter was very excited about watching Jesus interact with Moses and Elijah – heroes from the Old Covenant – on the mountain. So excited that he wanted to build a tabernacle for all three of them. He obviously regarded Jesus, Moses, and Elijah as equals.

However, Peter was immediately corrected by God the Father Himself through a voice from heaven that said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” The Father basically said, “Jesus is not equal to Moses and Elijah. He is the perfect representation of Me. Hold on to the words of Jesus alone!”

The same moment the voice from heaven was heard, Moses and Elijah were removed so that only Jesus remained together with the three disciples. This is a picture of that we who live in the New Covenant are only to hold on to Jesus, when it comes to relating to God and understanding who He truly is.

This does not mean that we should stop reading the Old Testament! The sum of the holy Scriptures is truth. The law and the Prophets bear witness of Jesus. But what it means is that we must read the Old Testament based on the revelation of the finished work of Jesus, and with the knowledge that the Old Covenant was not an accurate expression of God’s true nature. We can only know who God truly is through Jesus and His finished work!

The hidden message in the story from the Mount of Transfiguration is not only that Moses and Elijah (the Law and the Prophets) have been removed and replaced by Jesus (the New Covenant). There is also a hidden message in the meaning of the names of the three disciples that received the honor of joining Jesus on the mountain: Peter, James, and John.

Peter means “stone” and represents the Law – which was written on tablets of stone – and the Old Covenant. James means “supplantor”, i.e. someone who replaces something else. John means “God is gracious” and represents the New Covenant of grace.

In other words: the Law (Peter) has been replaced (James) by grace (John).

That Jesus commanded the three disciples not to tell anyone else about what had happened until He had died and raised from the dead, has its logical explanation. The Law and the Prophets were still valid until the death of Jesus on the cross. There was therefore no point of telling the others what had transpired until after the New Covenant had come into force.

The story about what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration is thus a beautiful prophetic picture of how the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant.

The church, however, has done exactly what Peter had in mind. By mixing truths from the Old Covenant with truths from the New, we have built tabernacles for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. The Gospel of grace has been “balanced” with the Law and the Prophets.

”These are the days of Elijah” is one of the most well-known worship songs within Pentecostal and Charismatic churches today. The title of this song is an evidence that body of Christ has not yet understood the hidden message in the story from the Mount of Transfiguration. After the cross we don’t live in the days of Elijah. We now live in the days of Jesus!

The two first verses of the book of Hebrews, which was written to show that the New Covenant has replaced the Old, says it plainly:

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son… (Heb. 1:1-2)

Let us receive this important lesson from the Mount of Transfiguration: Moses and Elijah belong to the past. Now we are to adhere to Jesus and His finished work only.



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