Mark 9:2
And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and leads them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2-8) And after six days.—See Notes on Matthew 17:1-8.

Mark

THE TRANSFIGURATION

Mark 9:2 - Mark 9:13
.

All three Evangelists are careful to date the Transfiguration by a reference to the solemn new teaching at Caesarea, and Mark’s ‘six days’ plainly cover the same time as Luke’s ‘eight’-the former reckoning excluding in the count, and the latter including, the days on which the two incidents occurred. If we would understand the Transfiguration, then, we must look at it as the sequel to Jesus’ open announcement of His death. His seeking the seclusion of the hills, attended only by the innermost group of the faithful three, is a touching token of the strain to which that week had subjected Him. How Peter’s heart must have filled with thankfulness that, notwithstanding the stern rebuke, he was taken with the other two! There were three stages in the complex incident which we call the Transfiguration-the change in Jesus’ appearance, the colloquy with Moses and Elijah, and the voice from the cloud.

Luke, who has frequent references to Jesus’ prayers, tells us that the change in our Lord’s countenance and raiment took place ‘as He prayed’; and probably we are reverently following his lead if we think of Jesus’ prayer as, in some sense, the occasion of the glorious change. So far as we know, this was the only time when mortal eyes saw Him absorbed in communion with the Father. It was only ‘when He ceased praying’ in a certain place that ‘they came to Him’ asking to be taught to pray {Luke 11:1}; and in Gethsemane the disciples slept while He prayed beneath the olives quivering in the moonlight. It may be that what the three then saw did not occur then only. ‘In such an hour of high communion with’ His Father the elevated spirit may have more than ordinarily illuminated the pure body, and the pure body may have been more than ordinarily transparent. The brighter the light, fed by fragrant oil within an alabaster lamp, the more the alabaster will glow. Faint foreshadowings of the spirit’s power to light up the face with unearthly beauty of holiness are not unknown among us. It may be that the glory which always shone in the depths of His perfectly holy manhood rose, as it were, to the surface for that one time, a witness of what He really was, a prophecy of what humanity may become.

Did Jesus will His transfiguration, or did it come about without His volition, or perhaps even without His consciousness? Did it continue during all the time on the mountain, or did it pass when the second stage of the incident began? We cannot tell. Matthew and Mark both say that Jesus was transfigured ‘before’ the three, as if the making visible of the glory had special regard to them. It may be that Jesus, like Moses, ‘knew not that the skin of His face shone’; at all events, it was the second stage of the incident, the conversation with Elijah and Moses, that had a special message of strength for Him. The first and third stages were, apparently, intended for the three and for us all; and the first is a revelation, not only of the veiled glory that dwelt in Jesus, but of the beauty that may pass into a holy face, and of the possibilities of a bodily frame becoming a ‘spiritual body,’ the adequate organ and manifestation of a perfect spirit. Paul teaches the prophetic aspect of the Transfiguration when he says that Jesus ‘shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be fashioned like unto the body of His glory.’

Luke adds two very significant points to the accounts by Matthew and Mark-namely, the disciples’ sleep, and the subject on which Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus. Mark lays the main stress on the fact that the two great persons of the old economy, its founder and its restorer, the legislator and the chief of the prophets, came from the dim region to which one of them had passed in a chariot of fire, and stood by the transfigured Christ, as if witnessing to Him as the greater, to whom their ministries were subordinate, and in whom their teachings centred. Jesus is the goal of all previous revelation, mightier than the mightiest who are honoured by being His attendants. He is the Lord both of the dead and of the living, and the ‘spirits of just men made perfect’ bow before Him, and reverently watch His work on earth.

So much did that appearance proclaim to the mortal three, but their slumber showed that they were not principally concerned, and that the other three had things to speak which they were not fit to hear. The theme was the same which had been, a week before, spoken to them, and had doubtless been the subject of all Jesus’ teachings for these ‘six days.’ No doubt, their horror at the thought, and His necessary insistence on it, had brought Him to need strengthening. And these two came, as did the angel in Gethsemane, and, like him, in answer to Christ’s prayer, to bring the sought-for strength. How different it would be to speak to them ‘of the decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem,’ from speaking to the reluctant, protesting Twelve! And how different to listen to them speaking of that miracle of divine love expressed in human death from the point of view of the ‘principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ as over against the remonstrances and misunderstandings with which He had been struggling for a whole week! The appearance of Moses and Elijah teaches us the relation of Jesus to all former revelation, the interest of the dwellers in heavenly light in the Cross, and the need which Jesus felt for strengthening to endure it.

Peter’s foolish words, half excused by his being scarcely awake, may be passed by with the one remark that it was like him to say something, though he did not know what to say, and that it would therefore have been wise to say nothing.

The third part of this incident, the appearance of the cloud and the voice from it, was for the disciples. Luke tells us that it was a ‘bright’ cloud, and yet it ‘overshadowed them.’ That sets us on the right track and indicates that we are to think of the cloud of glory, which was the visible token of the divine presence, the cloud which shone lambent between the cherubim, the cloud which at last ‘received Him out of their sight.’ Luke tells, too, that ‘they entered into it.’ Who entered? Moses and Elijah had previously ‘departed from Him.’ Jesus and the disciples remained, and we cannot suppose that the three could have passed into that solemn glory, if He had not led them in. In that sacred moment He was ‘the way,’ and keeping close to Him, mortal feet could pass into the glory which even a Moses had not been fit to behold. The spiritual significance of the incident seems to require the supposition that, led by Jesus, they entered the cloud. They were men, therefore they were afraid; Jesus was with them, therefore they stood within the circle of that light and lived.

The voice repeated the attestation of Jesus as the ‘beloved Son’ of the Father, which had been given at the baptism, but with the addition, ‘Hear Him,’ which shows that it was now meant for the disciples, not, as at the baptism, for Jesus Himself. While the command to listen to His voice as to the voice from the cloud is perfectly general, and lays all His words on us as all God’s words, it had special reference to the disciples, and that in regard to the new teaching which had so disturbed them-the teaching of the necessity for His death. ‘The offence of the Cross’ began with the first clear statement of it, and in the hearts that loved Him best and came most near to understanding Him. To fail in accepting His teaching that it ‘behoved the Son of Man to suffer,’ is to fail in accepting it in the most important matter. There are sounds in nature too low-pitched to be audible to untrained ears, and the message of the Cross is unheard unless the ears of the deaf are unstopped. If we do not hear Jesus when He speaks of His passion, we may almost as well not hear Him at all.

Moses and Elijah had vanished, having borne their last testimony to Jesus. Peter had wished to keep them beside Jesus, but that could not be. Their highest glory was to fade in His light. They came, they disappeared; He remained-and remains. ‘They saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.’ So should it be for us in life. So may it be with us in death! ‘Hear Him,’ for all other voices are but for a time, and die into silence, but Jesus speaks for eternity, and ‘His words shall not pass away.’ When time is ended, and the world’s history is all gathered up into its final issue, His name shall stand out alone as Author and End of all.Mark 9:2-10. Jesus taketh with him Peter, &c., apart by themselves — That is, separate from the multitude, apart from the apostles; and was transfigured before them — The word μετεμορφωθη, here used, seems to refer to the form of God, and the form of a servant, mentioned by St. Paul, Php 2:6-7, and may intimate that the divine rays, which the indwelling Deity let out on this occasion, made the glorious change from one of these forms into the other. White as snow, as no fuller on earth can whiten — Such as could not be equalled either by nature or art: And there appeared Elias — Whom they expected: Moses — Whom they did not. See the whole paragraph explained and improved, Matthew 17:1-13.9:1-13 Here is a prediction of the near approach Christ's kingdom. A glimpse of that kingdom was given in the transfiguration of Christ. It is good to be away from the world, and alone with Christ: and how good to be with Christ glorified in heaven with all the saints! But when it is well with us, we are apt not to care for others, and in the fulness of our enjoyments, we forget the many wants of our brethren. God owns Jesus, and accepts him as his beloved Son, and is ready to accept us in him. Therefore we must own and accept him as our beloved Saviour, and must give up ourselves to be ruled by him. Christ does not leave the soul, when joys and comforts leave it. Jesus explained to the disciples the prophecy about Elias. This was very suitable to the ill usage of John Baptist.And after six days ... - See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 17:1-9.CHAPTER 9

Mr 9:1-13. Jesus Is Transfigured—Conversation about Elias. ( = Mt 16:28-17:13; Lu 9:27-36).

See on [1462]Lu 9:27-36.

Ver. 2-10. Both Matthew and Luke, as well as Mark, bear record to the truth of this history:

See Poole on "Matthew 17:1", and following verses to Matthew 17:9. Our Saviour was pleased thus to fortify these three of his disciples against his passion, which they were soon to see; and also to confirm their faith as to his Divine nature. Why Moses and Elias, rather than any others, appeared, is but a curious question, of no great use to us if resolved, and not possible to be resolved. These three disciples, by this apparition, saw our Saviour owned by Moses, who gave the law, and by Elias, both of them in great repute with the Jews. The three disciples could know neither of them (dead many hundreds of years before they were in being) but by revelation: probably Christ told them who they were. What their discourse with Christ was in the general Matthew telleth us. There is no considerable thing in this evangelist’s relation which we did not meet with in Matthew, which may supersede any further labour about it here. And after six days,.... Six days after this discourse with his disciples, in their way to Caesarea Philippi, and after they were come into those parts:

Jesus taketh with him Peter, James, and John; favourite disciples, and a sufficient number, to be witnesses of his transfiguration:

and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves; where he and they were alone. This was not Mount Tabor, as is generally said, but either the mountain which Caesarea was at the foot of, or it may be Mount Lebanon; See Gill on Matthew 17:1;

and he was transfigured before them; the above three disciples; See Gill on Matthew 17:2.

{1} And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

(1) The heavenly glory of Christ, which would within a short time be abased upon the cross, is confirmed by visible signs, by the presence and talk of Elias and Moses, and by the voice of the Father himself; all this occurred before three of his disciples, who are witnesses against whom there is no objection.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
[117]–13

[117] A definite specification of time, similar to μεθʼ ἡμέρας ἕξ in this case, is only found again in Mark at Mark 14:1, and there, too, of a very important turning-point of the history.

Mark 9:2[118]–13. See on Matthew 17:1-12, where on the whole the narrative is presented in its most original form; Matthew has followed a tradition mostly more accurate (in opposition to Schenkel and Weizsäcker) than Mark, and altogether more so than Luke 9:28-36 f.

τὸν Ἰάκ. κ. Ἰωάνν.] The one article embraces the pair of brothers.

Mark 9:3. ἐγένοντο] plural (see the critical remarks), indicates the different articles of clothing, which became white (a vivid delineation), see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. I. 2. 33.

οἷα γναφεὺς κ.τ.λ.] i.e. of such nature (they became) as that a fuller on earth is not able to furnish such a whiteness (οὕτως λευκᾶναι, see the critical remarks). ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς is added with reference to the heavenly nature of that lustre. Bengel well says, moreover: “χιών natura, λευκᾶναι arte.”

Mark 9:6.[119] ΤΊ ΛΑΛΉΣΕΙ] what he shall say (future, see the critical remarks), not inappropriate (Fritzsche); but ᾔδει has reference to the point of time, when Peter was just desiring to begin the utterance of what is said at Mark 9:5; and ΤΊ ΛΑΛΉΣΕΙ expresses the unknown more strongly and more vividly than the deliberative ΤΊ ΛΑΛΉΣῌ (what he should say).

ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο (see the critical remarks): for they became full of terror (Hebrews 12:21; Deuteronomy 9:19; Plut. Fab. 6; Arist. Physiogn. 6), namely, by reason of the appearances, Mark 9:3-4.

Mark 9:7. καὶ ἐγένετο] and there became (there arose, came into manifestation) a cloud. Comp. Luke 9:34.

Mark 9:8. And of a sudden, having looked around, they saw, etc. ἐξάπινα occurs only here in the N. T., frequently in the LXX., but elsewhere is rare and late.

ΟὐΔΈΝΑ] applies to the persons who had appeared; hence ἀλλά is: but, on the contrary, not equivalent to εἰ μή (Beza, and many others), which Matthew has.

The fear of the disciples is presented by Matthew 17:6 with more of psychological accuracy as only subsequent to the voice (this is the climax of the event), but in such a manner that they fall down, and Jesus Himself delivers them from it. The saying about building tabernacles does not bear the impress of confusion, as Mark presents it, but that of a still fresh ingenuous joy at the ravishing spectacle; nor yet does it bear the impress of drowsiness, as Luke designates it, whose expression, according to Baur’s opinion (see Markusevang. p. 69), Mark has only wished to modify; comp. Baur’s very unfavourable judgment on the narrative of Mark in general in the theol. Jahrb. 1853, p. 82 f. In Luke the later tradition betrays itself; see on Luke 9:28 ff., and Holtzmann, p. 224 f. But all three narratives in this particular, as also in their other features, stand opposed to the boldness of Schenkel, who (following Weisse) reduces the whole matter to this, that Jesus had by His instructive teaching made the two representatives of the old covenant appear to the three confidential disciples on the mountain in a right light, in the light of His own Messianic destination; while, on the other hand, Weizsäcker abides by a vision as the culmination of a deeper process of faith. And assuredly a visionary element was combined with the marvellous event. See on Matthew 17:12, Remark.

Mark 9:10. τὸν λόγον] what Jesus had just said to them, Mark 9:9, not the occurrence of the glorification (Beza); see the following question.

ἘΚΡΆΤΗΣΑΝ] kept the saying fast; did not let it go out of their consideration, “non neglectim habuerunt” (Bengel). Comp. Test. XII. patr. p. 683: ἐν ψυχῇ σου μὴ κρατήσῃς δόλον, Sir 21:14 : ΠᾶΣΑΝ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ Οὐ ΚΡΑΤΉΣΕΙ. Comp. Bar 4:1; Song of Solomon 3:4 : ἘΚΡΆΤΗΣΑ ΑὐΤῸΝ ΚΑῚ ΟὐΚ ἈΦῆΚΑ ΑὐΤΌΝ. To explain it in harmony with the ἘΣΊΓΗΣΑΝ in Luke 9:36, we must neither attach to the ΚΡΑΤΕῖΝ in itself the meaning: to keep concealed (on behalf of which Theodotion, Daniel 5:12, and the Scholiast Aesch. Choëph. 78, have wrongly been appealed to), nor bring out that meaning by the addition to it of πρὸς ἑαυτούς (Vulg.: continuerunt apud se; comp. Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Lachmann, Ewald, and many others, including even Euthymius Zigabenus; see, on the other hand, Mark 9:16; Mark 1:27; Luke 22:23; Acts 9:29; comp. Schulz); but simply explain it with Fritzsche, comp. Bretschneider: they held fast to the prohibition of Jesus, that is, they were silent on the matter. But this entire explanation does not agree with πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς συζητοῦντες κ.τ.λ., wherein is contained the accompanying more precise definition of the κρατεῖν τὸν λόγον.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς prefixed with emphasis: among themselves discussing, not questioning Jesus thereupon. To Him they have another question, Mark 9:11. Comp. on Mark 1:27.

τί ἐστι τὸ ἐκ νεκρ. ἀναστ.] relates not to the resurrection of the dead in general (which was familiar as a conception, and expected in fact as a Messianic work), but to the rising just mentioned by Jesus, namely, that the Messiah would rise from the dead, which, in fact, presupposed His dying, and on that account was so startling and enigmatical to the disciples. Comp. Mark 9:32; John 12:34. And in reference to the historical character of the prediction of the resurrection, see on Matthew 16:21.

Mark 9:11. ὅτι λέγουσιν κ.τ.λ.] wherefore say, etc.; that, indeed, is not in keeping with thy prohibition! It is, with Lachmann, to be written: , τι (“quod est διὰ τὶ, simillimum illi notissimo εἴ interrogativo,” Praefat. p. xliii.); and the indirect character of the question (Thucyd. i. 90. 4) lies in the thought that governs it: I would fain know, or the like. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Euth. p. 271 A; Lücke on John 8:25, p. 311 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 218 [E. T. 253]. Comp. Mark 9:28, and Homer, Il. x. 142: , τι δὴ χρειὼ τόσον ἵκει, Barnab. 7, and Dressel in loc. Ewald likewise appropriately takes ὅτι as the recitativum, so that the question would be veiled in an affirmative clause (but at Mark 9:28 : wherefore). Comp. Bleek. Still the bashful expression, which according to our view the question has, appears more in keeping with the circumstances.

Mark 9:12. Ἠλίαςπάντα] a concession of the correctness of the doctrinal proposition (comp. on Matthew 17:11), the theoretical form of which (hence the present) is retained.[120] Bengel appropriately says: “Praesens indefinitum uti Matthew 2:4.”

What follows is, with Heinsius and Lachmann, to be punctuated thus: καὶ πῶς γέγραπται ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ κ. ἐξουδ.: and how stands it written as to the Son of man? He is to suffer many things, and be set at nought. The truth of that proposition of Elias as the theocratic restorer, who is destined to precede the Messiah, has side by side with it the Scriptural testimony of the suffering of the Messiah. καί is the simple and, linking what stands written of the Messiah to what was said of Elias. Mark ought, after beginning the construction of the discourse with μέν, to have followed it up by δέ; but he passes over in an anacoluthic fashion from the form of contrast with which he began into the subjunctive. See Nägelsbach on the Iliad, Exc. i. p. 173; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 257; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 659. The answer follows in ἵνα κ.τ.λ., and that conceived under the form of the design of the γέγραπται ἐπὶ τ. υἱὸν κ.τ.λ. The entire καὶ πῶςἐξουδ. is usually regarded as a question, containing an objection against the prevailing way in which that doctrine regarding Elias was understood: But how does it agree with this, that it is written of the Messiah that He is to suffer many things? The solution would then be given in Mark 9:13 : “Verum enim vero mihi credite, Elias venit, non est talis apparitio expectanda, qualem expectant Judaei, jam venit Elias, Johannes baptista … et eum tractarunt, etc., neque ergo mihi meliora sunt speranda,” Kuinoel. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus, Theophylact, Grotius, Bengel, and many others, including de Wette. In substance so also Hofmann, Weissag. und Erfüll. II. p. 80 f. In opposition to this entire view, it may be decisively urged that it would need an adversative particle instead of καί, and that, in Mark 9:13, instead of ὅτι καὶ Ἠλίας ἐλήλυθε, the expression would have run: ὅτι καὶ ἐλήλυθεν Ἠλίας. Fritzsche, following the reading[121] καθώς too weakly attested (instead of καὶ πῶς), says: “Quod Judaici doctores perhibent, venturum esse Eliam, non minus certum est, quam e V. T. oraculis illud, fore ut ego Messias multa exantlem.” But Fritzsche himself does not fail to see the want of internal connection herein, and hence he conjectures as to Mark 9:2-13. The transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36).Ch. Mark 9:2-13. The Transfiguration

2. after six days] St Luke’s words “about an eight days after” (Mark 9:28) may be considered an inclusive reckoning.

Peter, and James, and John] the flower and crown of the Apostolic band, the privileged Three, who had already witnessed His power over death in the chamber of Jairus: St Peter who loved Him so much (John 21:17), St John whom He loved so much (John 21:20), and St James “who should first attest that death could as little as life separate from His love (Acts 12:2).” Trench’s Studies in the Gospels, p. 191.

leadeth them up] It is the same expression in the original, which is used in reference to His own Ascension (Luke 24:51).

into an high mountain] One of the numerous mountain-ranges in the neighbourhood, probably one of the spurs of the magnificent snow clad Hermon, the most beautiful and conspicuous mountain in Palestine or Syria. The Sidonians called it Sirion = “breastplate,” a name suggested by its rounded glittering top, when the sun’s rays are reflected by the snow that covers it (Deuteronomy 3:9; Song of Solomon 4:8). It was also called Sion = “the elevated,” and is now known as Jebel-esh Sheikh, “the chief mountain.” “In whatever part of Palestine the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the mountains of Samaria, from the Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the plateau of Bashan, that pale-blue, snow-capped cone forms the one feature on the northern horizon.”

apart by themselves] St Luke (Luke 9:28) tells us that one object of His own withdrawal was that He might engage in solitary prayer. We may infer, therefore (comparing Luke 9:37), that evening was the time of this solitary retirement. The fact that it was night must have infinitely enhanced the grandeur of the scene.

was transfigured] St Luke, writing primarily for Greek readers, avoids the word, “transfigured,” or “transformed,”—“metamorphosed” would be a still closer rendering,—which St Matthew and St Mark do not shrink from employing. He avoids it, probably, because of the associations of the heathen mythology which would so easily, and almost inevitably, attach themselves to it in the imagination of a Greek. In naming this great event, the German theology, calling it “die Verklärung,” or “the Glorification,” has seized this point, not exactly the same as our “Transfiguration.” From the records of the three Evangelists we infer that while He was engaged in prayer (Luke 9:29), a marvellous change came over the Person of our Lord. The Divinity within Him shone through the veiling flesh, till His raiment became exceeding white as the light (Matthew 17:2), or as the glittering snow (Mark 9:3) on the peaks above Him, so as no fuller on earth could white them; moreover the fashion of His countenance was altered (Luke 9:29), and His face glowed with a sunlike majesty (Matthew 17:2, comp. Revelation 1:16). “St Mark borrows one image from the world of nature, another from that of man’s art and device; by these he struggles to set forth and reproduce for his readers the transcendant brightness of that light which now arrayed, and from head to foot, the Person of the Lord, breaking forth from within, and overflowing the very garments which He wore; until in their eyes who beheld, He seemed to clothe Himself with light as with a garment, light being indeed the proper and peculiar garment of Deity (Psalm 104:2; Habakkuk 3:4).” Trench’s Studies, pp. 194, 195.Mark 9:2. Κατʼ ἰδίαν, apart) In antithesis to the people [Mark 8:34].—μόνους, alone) In antithesis to the nine remaining disciples.Verses 2, 3. - After six days. St. Luke 9:28 says, "About eight days after these sayings." There is no real discrepancy here. There were six whole days that intervened between our Lord's words and the Transfiguration itself. Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John. He chose these three, as the leaders amongst the disciples, and he showed to them his glory, because he intended also to show them afterwards his bitter agony in the garden. This magnificent splendor - this "excellent glory," as 2 Peter 1:17 describes it - this, together with the voice of the Father," This is my beloved Son," would assure them that Christ was truly God, but that his essential Deity was hidden by the veil of the flesh; and that, although he was about to be crucified and slain, yet his Godhead could not suffer or die. It was an evidence beforehand, a prospective evidence, that he underwent death, even the death of the cross, not constrained by infirmity or necessity, but of his own will, for the redemption of man. It was plain that, since he could thus invest his body with this Divine glory, he could have saved himself from death if he had so willed. He taketh with him Peter, and James, and John. St. Peter's reference to the transfiguration (just alluded to) shows what a deep and abiding impression it made on his mind. St. James, too, was there, as one who was to be amongst the first to die for his sake. St. John also was with them, who, having seen the glory of the Son of God, which is subject to no limits of time, might be bold to send forth his grand testimony, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And bringeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves. "It is necessary for all," says Remigius, "who desire to contemplate God, that they should not grovel amidst low thoughts and desires, but ever be lifted up to heavenly things. And thus our Lord was teaching his disciples that they must not look for the brightness of the Divine glory in the depths of this world, but in the kingdom of heavenly blessedness. And he leads them apart, because holy men are in intention and desire separated from evil, as they will be altogether separated from it in the world to come. For they who look for the glories of the resurrection ought now in heart and mind to dwell on high, and to seek these glories by continual prayer." Into a high mountain. A tradition of the time of Jerome identifies this mountain with Tabor, in Galilee. But there are two weighty objections to this view:

(1) that our Lord was at this time in the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, a considerable distance from Tabor, and

(2) that there is strong reason for believing that Tabor had at this time a fortress on its summit. It must be remembered that Caesarea Philippi was at the foot of Libanus; and the spurs of Libanus would present several eminences answering to the description, "a high mountain (ὄρος ὑψηλὸν)." The Mount of Transfiguration was in all probability Hermon, a position of extreme grandeur and beauty, its snowy peaks overlooking the whole extent of Palestine. "High up," says Dean Stanley, "on its southern slopes there must be many a point where the disciples could be taken 'apart by themselves.' Even the transient comparison of the celestial splendor with the snow, where alone it could be seen in Palestine, should not, perhaps, be wholly overlooked. At any rate, the remote heights above the sources of the Jordan witnessed the moment when, his work in his own peculiar sphere being ended, he set his face for the last time to go up to Jerusalem." Although compelled to dismiss from our minds the old tradition of Tabor as the scene of the Transfiguration, we still think of that mountain as near to Nazareth, where our Lord was brought up; and of Hermon, where he was transfigured, as we rejoice in the fulfillment of the old prophecy, "Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy Name." And he was transfigured (μετεμορφώθη) before them. The fashion of his appearance was changed. It was no illusion, no imaginary appearance, but a real transformation. It was the Divine glory within him manifesting itself through his humanity; and yet not that glory of Deity which no man hath seen or can see; but such a manifestation that the disciples might in some degree behold the glory and majesty, of Deity through the veil of his flesh. Nor, we may believe, did our Lord in his transfiguration change the essence or form of his countenance. But he assumed a mighty splendor, so that, as St. Matthew 17:2 tells us, "his face did shine as the sun." This splendor was not in the air, nor in the eyes of the disciples, but in the person of the Son of God - a splendor which communicated itself to his raiment, so that his garments became glistering (στίλβοντα), exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them. This figure is taken from natural things. The first idea of "fuller" from the Latin fullo, is that of one who cleanses by "stamping with the feet." His business is to restore the soiled cloth to its natural whiteness. The evangelist uses an earthly thing to represent the heavenly. The heavenly Fuller gives a purity and a brightness infinitely exceeding the power of any "fuller on earth." It would almost seem as if the figure was one specially supplied by St. Peter. Transfigured

See on Matthew 17:2.

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