An Imaginative Interpretation of The Transfiguration from Matthew 17:1-8, Luke 9:28-37, Mark 9:2-9, John 1:4, 14, and Ezekiel 37:26-27 using the Hebrew names and written from the perspective of John (Yochanan)
November 26, 2019
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Yeshua (Jesus) took the three of us up a mountain to a secluded place surrounded by kermes oak trees. He had asked if we would accompany Him for a time of prayer. Of course! Father had revealed to us that our Friend was the Messiah, and His teaching had penetrated our souls every day as we listened to the life-giving grace that came from His every word. What a thrilling privilege – that He would ask us to go anywhere at all with Him! We were eager for each purposeful adventure.
A week earlier, Yeshua had spoken of the sacrifice that would be involved if we kept company with Him. He said that if we would lose our lives, we would find them. And He spoke of the glory of His return that implied the truth of His imminent leaving. Whatever He required of us, we would embrace, for no one had every spoken like He had spoken – weighty words, full of love, purpose and truth that invaded our hearts with transforming life.
So, here we were, walking up this mountain under the cloudless sky, feeling the dry breeze and hearing the rustling of the oak leaves. We arrived to the destination that He had determined and stood there – Yeshua, Kefa (Peter), Ya ’akov (James) and me, in a sheltered companionship. The joy of our union as brothers rushed through me. I felt deep comfort, belonging and gratitude in our fellowship.
Yeshua invited us to kneel, and as we began to pray, I thought something strange was happening to my eyes. Yeshua’s face changed instantly from His dark flesh tones to a translucent radiance that became so bright I could hardly look at it…like the sun. His garments were gleaming. I squinted away and saw Kefa and Ya ’akov, both transfixed with awe as though they were paralyzed.
Two noblemen appeared with Yeshua; they seemed to have come from nowhere, perhaps climbing up from behind Him from the other side of the mountain. The atmosphere was ethereal as if the light was reflecting off a fine mist. I recognized the men to be Moshe (Moses) and Eliyahu (Elijah). I don’t know how I knew who they were. There was a deep knowing within me. Their skin. Their smiles. I remember their iridescent skin and their joy in reuniting with Yeshua. They exchanged a few words about Yeshua’s final work in Jerusalem and His departure.
I was overcome with extreme drowsiness. I don’t know how long I slept. When we all awoke, the gentle breeze around us became a strong wind as we steadied our feet to grip the terrain. I peered with concentration so that I would not miss one detail of this moment. I was terrified to the depths, while at the same time I felt no fear. I cannot describe the warm, incapacitating feeling.
Then, I heard Kefa’s stumbling, nervous words offering to make the men three holy tabernacles for a dwelling. Even in this dreamlike experience, Kefa was still Kefa – wanting to do something, to fix something, to stockily enter in. I had to give Kefa credit. It made sense. His acute mind remembered the promise made by the prophet Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) that the Holy One would set His dwelling place in their midst forever and be with them and be their God forever.
But Kefa’s offer was interrupted as a bright, thick cloud enveloped all of us. I heard a clear, calming, resonate voice say, “This is My Beloved Son, My Chosen One Whom I favor! Listen to Him!” I don’t know if I was overwhelmed by the strength of this voice or the impact of the words, but I could no longer stabilize my stance. I fell forward and now my hands gripped the earth as well. I became afraid to move or speak. I just closed my eyes and held on to the ground with my face on the earth’s warmth… and waited.
Then, I felt His touch. And heard Him softly say, “Arise. Don’t be afraid.” I opened my eyes and saw my Friend’s familiar grin looking down on me. No more bright light. Earthy skin tones. Brotherhood. It was very quiet, and we were alone again. Yeshua affectionately rested His gaze on each one of us individually as we slowly recovered.
I will never forget pushing my hands into the stones to stand and brushing them from the dirt, my eyes silently embracing this One. Staring in wonder, I slowly smiled back. Not one of us spoke a word. We sat together, revived ourselves with a small meal, and settled in for the night.
The next day, after a deep, long sleep, we walked back down the mountain. We were all very quiet. Memories flooded my mind – Yeshua’s healing of the nobleman’s son, the water that had become choice wine, the restoration of the paralytic, the multiplying of the bread, seeing Him walk to us on the water, His healing of the man born blind. Hadn’t He said to Martha that, if we would believe, we would see the glory of God?
The surrounding nature was the same coming down from the mountain as it had been the day before. But now, the words from heaven, “Listen to Him,” would firmly guide my remaining steps. I would strive to listen, more and better. I would listen to every morsel that fell from His glorious lips. The lips of my holy God. The lips of the One Who created me. The lips of life. I had seen His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth! I knew His life was the light of all men. And He was my Friend forever.
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