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    The glory, the glory! around him are poured
    Mighty hosts of the angels that wait on the Lord;
    And the glorified saints and the martyrs are there,
    Who in triumph their palm wreaths of victory wear.
    PROLI 23.1

    WHEN Jesus had returned from healing the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, and had reached the region of Caesarea Philippi, he turned to his disciples, and very abruptly asked, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:13, 14. These ideas that were held by different persons were no doubt derived from Deuteronomy 18:18; Malachi 4:5. Besides this, it seems that there was a tradition that before the end some of the prophets would rise from the dead; men were looking for the Messiah at about the time of Christ’s advent, but they had confounded the prophecies concerning his first and his second advent, and were looking for him to come in glory. Accordingly, some thought that Jesus might be one of the prophets risen from the dead as a pledge of the general resurrection. It is to be noted, however, as a mournful fact, that nobody is reported as saying that he was the Saviour of the world. So true it was that “he came unto his own, and his own received him not.” John 1:11.PROLI 23.2

    Again Jesus put the direct question, “But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Here was a recognition of Christ’s real nature and mission. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” — the Son of the Author of life, — conveying the same idea as in the confession recorded in John 6:68, 69: “Thou has the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” This confession of faith which Peter made on behalf of the disciples, must have been as a refreshing draught to Jesus, in view of the way in which he was regarded by the world at large.PROLI 23.3

    And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona [Simon son of Jonas]; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven.” No human being had revealed this wonderful truth to Peter; no human being could reveal it. For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. Says Paul: “Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18. From these texts we learn that no matter how much one may have heard of Christ, he doesn’t know him if he has not received the revelation which God alone can give by his Spirit. He who has this knowledge indeed, is a new creature. Many can testify that when Christ was revealed to them as the Saviour of sinners, and not merely of sinners in general, but of them in particular, it was in the place of secret prayer; or perhaps it was after hearing words, the like of which they had often before heard unmoved. And nothing could be more positive than the knowledge which is thus revealed. No argument could make it so plain, and no argument could make the individual doubt the knowledge thus revealed. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.PROLI 24.1

    “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Upon this we quote the following from Edersheim’s “Life of Jesus the Messiah:” —PROLI 24.2

    “Not less Jewish in form are the succeeding words of Christ: ‘Thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this Rock (Petra) will I build my church.’ We notice in the original the change from the masculine gender, ‘Peter’ (Petros), to the feminine, ’Petra’ (’Rock’), which seems the more significant, that Petros is used in Greek for ‘stone,’ and also sometimes for ‘rock,’ while Petra always means a ‘rock.’ The change of gender must therefore have a definite object which will presently be more fully explained. Meantime we recall that, when Peter first came to Christ, the Lord had said unto him: ‘Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter [Petros, a Stone, or else a Rock]’ — the Aramaic word Kepha meaning, like Peter, both ‘stone’ and ‘rock.’ But both the Greek Petros and Petra have (as already stated) passed into Rabbinic language. Thus, the name Peter, or rather Petros, is Jewish, and occurs, for example, as that of the father of a certain Rabbi (Jose bar Petros). When the Lord, therefore, prophetically gave the name Cephas, it may have been that by that term he gave only a prophetic interpretation to what had been his previous name, Peter. This seems the more likely, since, as we have previously seen, it was the practice in Galilee to have two names, especially when the strictly Jewish name, such as Simon, had no equivalent among the Gentiles. Again, the Greek word Petra — Rock — (’on this Petra [Rock] will I build my church’) was used in the same sense in Rabbinic language.”PROLI 24.3

    “Believing that Jesus spoke to Peter in the Aramaic, we can now understand how the words Petros and Petra would be purposely used by Christ to mark the difference, which their choice would suggest. Perhaps it might be expressed in this somewhat clumsy paraphrase: ‘Thou art Peter (Petros) — a Stone or Rock — and upon this Petra — the Rock, the Petrine — will I found my church.’ If, therefore, we would not entirely limit the reference to the words of Peter’s confession, we would certainly apply them to that which was the Petrine in Peter: the Heaven-given faith which manifested itself in his confession. And we can further understand how, just as Christ’s contemporaries may have regarded the world as reared on the rock of faithful Abraham, so Christ promised that he would build his church on the Petrine in Peter — on his faith and confession.” — Vol.2, book 3, chap. 37.PROLI 25.1

    Some have thought from the reading of Ephesians 2:19, 20 that Christ referred, not to Peter alone, but to all the apostles, as the rock upon which his church should be built. That text reads: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” But 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11 shows just how this should be taken. There the apostle Paul says: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”PROLI 25.2

    This text teaches that Jesus Christ is the only foundation; he is not only the chief corner-stone, but the entire foundation. Then how could Paul say to the Ephesian brethren, that they were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets? He means the foundation which the apostles and prophets laid, as he says in 1 Corinthians 3:10, that is, Jesus Christ as the Life-giver and the Saviour of sinners. That this is the foundation to which he refers, is proved by the second verse of the preceding chapter: “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”PROLI 25.3

    This was the foundation which all the apostles laid, as Peter himself said after he had healed the lame man: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12. And this was likewise the foundation of the prophets, as Peter further says: “To him [i.e., to Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. Thus we see that the rock upon which Christ’s church is founded, is belief from the heart in him as the one whose blood can cleanse from sin.PROLI 26.1

    “And the gates of hell [hades, the grave] shall not prevail against it.” This does not mean that the gates of the grave are carrying on an aggressive warfare against the church, hurling themselves against it in a vain endeavor to overthrow it. Gates do not “prevail” in that way, neither do men use gates as weapons of offense in warfare. Gates “prevail” against anyone when they effectually bar his passage. Now Christ is the Son of the living God; and “as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26), “that he should give eternal life” to as many as the Father should give him. See John 17:2. He says of himself, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [hades, the grave] and of death.” Revelation 1:18.PROLI 26.2

    Satan has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); the grave is his prison-house, and all the dead he counts as his lawful prey, since death came because of sin. So he, as “a strong man armed keepeth his palace” (Luke 11:21), and “opened not the house of his prisoners.” Isaiah 14:17. But Christ is the stronger than he, who has come upon him, and overcome him, and passing through his prison-house, has carried away the keys, and will divide the spoils. Luke 11:22; Isaiah 53:12. The saints of God may go into the grave; Satan may stir up persecution against them, and may slay them by the thousands; but the gates of the grave cannot prevail to hold a single soul that has been fastened to the eternal Rock. “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”PROLI 26.3

    Immediately after Peter’s confession of Christ, our Saviour said to his disciples: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:28. That our Saviour did not refer to his coming at the end of the world is evident from the fact that in his discourse on that event, in Matthew 24, he foretold a long period of persecution that was to intervene; and that he did not refer, as some have supposed, to the day of Pentecost or to the destruction of Jerusalem, nor to the spread of the gospel, is evident, because (1) Christ did not come in any sense of the word either at Pentecost or at the destruction of Jerusalem; (2) the spread of the gospel is not the coming of Christ, and (3) even if it were, the gospel work had already been begun by Christ and had indeed been carried on from the days of Abel.PROLI 26.4

    In 2 Peter 1:16-18 we are set upon the track of that which our Saviour did really refer to in Matthew 16:28. That text reads as follows: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”PROLI 27.1

    The apostle here refers to the transfiguration scene, which took place about a week after Christ’s statement found in Matthew 16:28, the account of which immediately follows those words. That account reads thus: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:1-5.PROLI 27.2

    Remembering that Peter referred to this event as proving the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that it follows closely upon Christ’s statement that some standing there should see him coming in his kingdom, and that just before he made that statement he was speaking of his second coming (Matthew 16:27), we must conclude that in the statement made in verse 28, Christ referred, not to his actual coming at the end of the world, but to a miniature representation of that coming, given to strengthen the faith of the disciples.PROLI 27.3

    In his “Life of Our Lord” (p.321), Samuel J. Andrews makes the following clear statement of the case:—PROLI 28.1

    “The promise that some then standing before him should not taste death till they had seen ‘the Son of man coming in his kingdom’ (Matthew 16:28), or had seen ‘the kingdom of God come with power’ (Mark 9:1), was fulfilled when, after six days, he took Peter, James, and John into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them. These apostles now saw him as he should appear when, having risen from the dead, and glorified, he should come again from Heaven to take his great power and to reign. They saw in the ineffable glory of his person, and the brightness around them, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of God as it should come with power; and were for a moment ‘eye-witnesses of his majesty.’ 2 Peter 1:16. Many errors still remained to be removed from their minds, especially respecting the time of its establishment (Acts 1:6), but the great fact of its supernatural character they could not mistake.”PROLI 28.2

    Now let us briefly notice the details of this wonderful scene, to see how they agree with what we are told of the second coming of Christ in his kingdom.PROLI 28.3

    1. “A cloud overshadowed them.” So of Christ it is said, “Behold, he cometh with clouds.” Revelation 1:7. At his ascension, while the disciples were talking with him, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9. And the angels afterward said to them: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Verse 11.PROLI 28.4

    2. “His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Mark says that “his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them;” and Luke says that “his raiment was white and glistering.” So of Christ’s coming we are told that it shall be “in the glory of his Father.” One, prophetically describing that coming, says: “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had bright beams out of his side.” Habakkuk 3:3, 4, margin. John, who afterward had a view of his coming, said, “His eyes were as a flame of fire.” Revelation 19:12. And Paul speaks of “the brightness of his coming” as being so great as to destroy the wicked. None but those who have been strengthened by the Lord can behold the glory of his coming and live.PROLI 28.5

    3. When he comes the second time he comes to take his people to himself, and this he does by raising the righteous dead, and translating the living. Says Paul: “For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. Again he says: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.PROLI 28.6

    When Christ comes on his throne of glory, with a cloud of angels, to give reward to the righteous, there will be two great classes of them: those who shall be translated without seeing death, and those who shall be raised from the dead. These, when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, shall also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4. Now representatives of these two classes were with him on the mount of transfiguration. If they had not been, it would not have been a true representation of the “power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” as Peter says it was. All Bible readers are familiar with the fact that Elijah (the Hebrew form of the name which in Greek is Elias) was translated without seeing death. See 2 Kings 2:1-11. The record says that as he and Elisha went on, and talked, “behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” So Elijah was there with Christ in the mount, as a representative of those who, when Christ comes, shall be caught up to meet the Lord without tasting death.PROLI 29.1

    Concerning Moses, we have the record: “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he [the Lord] buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor; but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day.” Deuteronomy 34:5, 6. Turn now to Jude 9, where we read: “Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” What could cause a dispute between Christ (who is Michael) and the devil, concerning the body of Moses? Only this one thing, that the devil has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); he brought sin into the world, and death comes by sin; those who die he considers as his lawful prey, and he refuses to open the house of his prisoners (Isaiah 14:16, 17), which is the grave. He is the strong man keeping guard over his house; but Christ is the stronger than he, who has entered into his house, overpowering him (Luke 11:21, 22), and who now has the keys of death and the grave. Revelation 1:18.PROLI 29.2

    This power Christ gained by his death (Hebrews 2:14); but long before his death and resurrection he had this power by virtue of the promise and the oath of God, which were the surety that he would be offered. Knowing these facts, and reading that Christ contended with the devil over the body of Moses, we are forced to the conclusion that their dispute was concerning the resurrection of Moses, Satan claiming that Christ had no right to take him. But in every contest with Satan, Christ has come off victorious, and so Moses was raised from the dead, and appeared with Christ on the holy mount, as the representative of those who, at the second coming of Christ, shall be brought from their graves to ever be with the Lord.PROLI 29.3

    If there should still be a lingering doubt in the minds of any that Moses was really raised from the dead, and they should think that it was only his disembodied spirit that appeared on the mount, we will state (1) that the transfiguration is expressly declared by Peter to have been a representation of “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and that at that time he and James and John were “eye-witnesses of his majesty,” which shows that it was a view of Christ in his kingly glory; (2) it is absolutely certain that when Christ comes there will be no such thing as disembodied spirits, because, says Paul, he “shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), and this change is performed for both the living and the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:51. When the saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, it is with their own bodies glorified like the body of Christ. Therefore, (3) since, as shown above, the transfiguration was a representation, on a small scale, of this glorious event, it is certain that Moses must have been there in person, and not in shadow.PROLI 30.1

    The transfiguration stands for us, as it did for the apostles, a sure pledge of Christ’s second coming in power and great glory; and yet “we have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19. Let us study this sure word of prophecy, that we may walk in the light, and be prepared for the dawning of the “perfect day.”PROLI 30.2

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