It has been said that "to most ordinary men the Transfiguration seemed to promise much and yield little"; but, by a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture we shall find some of what it promises so much, and receive much of what it seems to yield so little.
1. The event is recorded in three out of the four Gospels. It is therefore of great importance.
2. It is dated in all three accounts, and is therefore of particular importance. It took place "about six days" (exclusive reckoning), or "about eight days" (Luke 9:28, inclusive reckoning) from the Lord's prediction.
3. The event from which it is dated, in all three Gospels, is the Lord's first mention of His sufferings, and rejection (Matt. 16:21. Mark 8:31. Luke 9:22). It must therefore have some close connexion with this (*1).
4. What this connection is may be seen from the fact that, in the O.T., while the "glory" is often mentioned without the "sufferings" (Isa. 11; 32; 35; 40; 60, &c.), the "sufferings" are never mentioned apart from the "glory". See Ap. 71.
5. It is so here; for in each account the Lord goes on to mention His future coming "in the glory of His Father"; and this is followed by an exhibition of that "glory", and a typical foreshadowing of that "coming" (2Pet. 1:16-18) on "the holy mount".
6. The Transfiguration took place "as He prayed"; and there are only two subjects recorded concerning which He prayed : the sufferings (Matt. 26: 39, 42, 44) and the glory (John 17:1, 5, 24).
7. It was on "the holy mount" that he "received from God the Father honour and glory" (time kai doxa, 2Pet. 1:17), and was crowned with glory and honour, for the suffering of death" (Gr. doxa kai time, Heb. 2:9). In these passages the reference is to Exodus 28:2, where the High Priest at his consecration for the office of high priest was clothed with garments, specially made under Divine direction, and these were "for glory and for beauty". In the Greek of the Sept. we have the same two words (time kai doxa).
8. These garments were made by those who were "wise hearted", whom Jehovah said He had "filled with the spirit of wisdom that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office" (Ex. 28:3). These latter words are repeated in v.4, in order to emphasize the Divine object. This tells us assuredly that the Transfiguration was the consecration of our Lord for His special office of High Priest and for His priestly work, of which Aaron was the type.
9. This is confirmed by what appears to be the special Divine formula of consecration : (1) In Matt. 3:17, &c. "This is My beloved Son", at His Baptism, for His office of Prophet (at the commencement of His Ministry); (2) In Matt. 17:5 "This is My beloved Son" at His Transfiguration, for His office of High Priest (Heb. 5:5-10): and (3) at His Resurrection, "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee", i.e. brought Thee to birth. Gr. gegenneka, as in Acts 13:33 and Ps. 2:7 (Sept.).
10. At His resurrection His sufferings were over; and nothing
further was needed before He should "enter into His glory" according to
Luke 24:26. there was nothing to hinder that glory which He had then
"received" from being "beheld" by those whom He had loved (John 17:24).
The sufferings had first to be accomplished; but, this having been
done, the glory of His kingdom and His glorious reign would have followed
the proclamation of that kingdom by Peter in Acts 3:18-26. It was,
as we know, rejected : in Jerusalem, the capital of the land (Acts
6:9-7:60), and afterward in Rome, the capital of the dispersion (Acts 28:17-28).
Hence, He must come again, and when He again bringeth the First-begotten
into the world, the Father will say "Thou art My Son", and "let all the
angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1:5, 6).